The Grey Wolves senior football class is ready to pass the torch.
Shoemaker had nine players sign national letters of intent Wednesday morning inside the school’s gymnasium.
In the last two years, 19 players from Shoemaker signed to play football at the collegiate level.
“We take pride in that,” Grey Wolves head football coach and athletic coordinator Toby Foreman said, “but these kids deserve everything that they’re getting today.
“They went above and beyond, and that’s why they’re getting the opportunity to further their careers.”
Marquez Chatman, Zion Carter-Bryant and Claude Williams all signed to NCAA Division II Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.
“It’s truly a blessing,” Carter-Bryant said. “I’ve been watching signings since I was a freshman, seeing guys that I look up to.
“So, I’m proud to be in this spot, signing in front of other guys who look up to me.”
Mark Walker and Nehemiah Brown are both headed to Division II Southern Nazarene University to continue their academic and athletic careers.
“I’m looking forward to competing and getting a starting spot,” Walker said. “When I took my official visit and saw how the school was and how the teachers taught and the acceptance rates, I knew it was the right choice.”
Tiji Paul, Joshua Thomas and Tristen Clay all committed to in-state junior colleges.
Paul is a multisport athlete for Shoemaker, but the cornerback
committed to play football for Kilgore College.
“(Football) has always been No. 1,” Paul said. “This is the best school, and I wouldn’t pick any other school to represent.”
Signing his name on the dotted line, Thomas made his commitment to Tyler College official, and Clay signed to play for Navarro College.
Freddy Hicks is well known at Shoemaker, playing football and leading the band as drum major during halftime performances in the fall.
Hicks signed to be part of the Prairie View A&M marching band.
“It means a lot,” Foreman said. “In the two years that I’ve been here, I’ve seen a lot of growth out of these young people.
“They had an opportunity to leave and transfer to other schools, but they chose to stay here and help us break the streak and get this show back on the road.”
Ending a 27-game losing skid was a memorable night for the seniors, but a majority of them are equally proud to have ended the season with a win against Harker Heights.
“They will be the reason and the class, as well as the Class of 2018, that gets this program turned back around,” Foreman said.