BELTON — Garrison Vaughn and Logan Hall both wore red pullover jackets and khaki pants. The matching wardrobe made sense because the Belton products likely will be dressed exactly alike on future Saturdays.
Vaughn, a safety, and Hall, a defensive end, made their destination official Wednesday, the first day of the new December three-day early signing period for football players, as they inked national letters of intent to play for coach Major Applewhite at the University of Houston.
The Tigers’ tandem celebrated the accomplishment at a ceremony inside Belton’s athletic complex, where Tigers head coach Sam Skidmore lauded Vaughn and Hall for their tenacity, competitiveness and athleticism.
The players addressed the crowd — albeit somewhat begrudgingly with a hint of bashfulness — to thank those who made it all possible.
Both players first verbally committed to the Cougars in June. After this initial three-day window, the next chance for football players to sign is Feb. 7.
“It’s really exciting having the whole community come out and support. Belton’s always been great about that,” Vaughn said. “This town lives and breathes football, so it’s been a pleasure to play for all these people.”
Vaughn played three varsity seasons for the Tigers that included three playoff appearances.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound secondary ballhawk closed his high school career with plenty of statewide accolades, and totaled 279 tackles, 13 interceptions — including a school-record four in one game last season — three caused fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
He also was a scoring threat on kickoff returns and was often utilized at wide receiver during his senior year, averaging 13 yards per catch and hauling in four touchdowns.
“A lot of people say ‘it.’ He’s got ‘it,’” Skidmore said. “He’s got a competitive drive. He’s going to try and fight to win every play. If you’ve got that drive and that competitive nature, you have a chance to be successful.”
Vaughn’s time in Houston will begin sooner than most.
Presented with the opportunity to graduate from Belton a semester early, Vaughn expanded his course load as a senior and completed all the requirements.
He said he’ll move to Houston Jan. 13, and his first class is Jan. 17.
“It was a little tough, a little more work, but it wasn’t a problem,” Vaughn said. “This is really exciting. A dream come true.”
Hall, meanwhile, has five more months of high school, a time during which he said he’ll focus on finishing strong in regard to academics while putting on a few pounds in preparation for his June arrival with the Cougars.
Hall, a nuisance on the end of Belton’s four-man front who routinely had his No. 2 jersey ripped in multiple places during games by opposing offensive linemen, had 10 tackles for losses among his 46 total stops as a senior, and finished with five career sacks.
“It was a real wake-up call, honestly,” Hall said of his signing. “It’s hard to believe that this high school (football) journey is over. But I’m really excited for what’s next.
“I’m ready to get down there and do some work.”
Skidmore figures the 6-7, 220-pound Hall, who moved to Belton prior to his sophomore season, will be able to get right to doing just that.
“When he stepped on campus, we knew he had a lot of potential because of his physical attributes. But the thing that stood out to a lot of recruiters was his kickoff coverage. They saw him flying down the field,” Skidmore said. “And he progressively got better every year, worked hard in the weight room, ran track and did all the things he needed to do.
“And his upside is so huge. I think he’ll become a huge force for Houston.”