Two football players and a powerlifter from Ellison signed their letters of intent Wednesday afternoon.

Keith Jackson II, who played football for the Eagles, fell in love with powerlifiting after offensive line coach, Richard Polvado, introduced him to the sport.

His love grew into a passion which led to Jackson take matters into his own hands by contacting the powerlifting coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin, but it wasn’t only the athletics that drew him in.

“Mostly the academics,” he said as he currently is enrolled in a middle college program that will have him graduate with his associate’s degree before he gradutes from Ellison.

“UT is one of the top academic schools in the area, so that’s what first interested me, and once I found out that they had powerlifting, that just set it off.”

The Eagles football team prides itself on being a brotherhood, which was reflected as best friends Kipshawn Washington and Jayire Shorter chose to sign their letters of intent, Washington to Tarleton State and Shorter to North Texas, side-by-side.

Washington never thought this day would happen when he was a freshman roaming the halls of Ellison, but signing with his best friend made it an even more special moment.

“It’s like a dream come true,” he said. “It’s kind of crazy because everyday in practice we would compete and I’d tell [Shorter], ‘Your time is coming,’ so we just kept working.”

For Shorter, his biggest takeaway from being an Eagle are the hallmarks head coach Trent Gregory has worked to instill the past five years he’s run the football program-

“Honor, discipline, toughness and effort,” Shorter said, “it’s just grows on you. The coaching staff, everybody, they all help you out and it’s just a family.

“We’re all brothers.”

With Gregory retiring at the end of the season, 2018 marks his final signing day class. Hearing that his players are taking the philosophy of his football program with them, “Gives me chills right now thinking about that.”

As these three young men prepare for the next chapter of their lives, Gregory leaves them with a final piece of advice.

“Just enjoy the ride,” he said. “Make sure the education is top priority at all times, enjoy the sports that they’re involved in because it’s going to go by in a hurry.”

fcardenas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7562

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