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Nine Copperas Cove football players pose with their coaches after signing letters of intent during a signing ceremony Wednesday inside the school's auditorium.

COPPERAS COVE — Jack Alvarez knows they will become better players, but he hopes they also become better men.

Nine Copperas Cove football players made their collegiate commitments officially Wednesday during a signing ceremony inside the high school’s auditorium.

Regardless of where each athlete is heading, the Bulldawgs head coach and athletic director believes evolving as a player is merely a part of the experience.

“Know why you are there,” Alvarez said during the ceremony. “You are there to get an education, and you are there to play football, but you’re also there to learn how to be dependable. You’re there to learn how to be a great daddy, how to be a great husband and how to be a great worker.

“That’s why you are really there.”

And some of the signees will not be embarking on the next chapter of life alone.

A trio of Bulldawgs standouts will be heading to California together as defensive lineman B.J. Abraham, linebacker Giovanni King and receiver Quinton Lewis each committed to Monterey Peninsula College. Lewis was Copperas Cove’s leading receiver last season, catching 41 passes for 601 yards and seven touchdowns.

Additionally, standouts Jaylan Brown and Trevor Troy will continue their careers together at Angelo State.

Brown, a linebacker, led the Bulldawgs with 59 tackles, including 21 for a loss, as a senior, while Troy caught 13 passes for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns as a tight end.

Offensive lineman Ezekiel Buchanan committed to play at Hardin-Simmons after helping Copperas Cove average more than 400 yards of offense in 2018.

Undoubtedly, Buchanan’s efforts helped fellow signees Shontez Simmons and Easton Simpson thrive.

Simpson, who signed with Texas Lutheran, completed 119 of 198 passes for 1,755 yards and 18 touchdowns to go with a trio of rushing touchdowns, while Simmons — an all-district first team selection at running back — averaged 145.5 rushing yards and recorded 14 touchdowns.

Although Alvarez wants each player to enjoy life as a collegiate athlete, he also hopes they benefit from it.

“Do not waste this opportunity,” he said. “Make the very most of what you are getting.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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