By Clay Fowler
Killeen Daily Herald
The first time Keith Smith set foot on the Purdue campus it felt like he was in a foreign country.
It just so happens the Shoemaker High School senior spent the first seven years of his life in a foreign country, Germany.
Smith signed a national letter of intent Wednesday morning making West Lafayette, Ind., his future home, where the 6-foot-3 215-pound quarterback will attend Purdue University.
"The entire atmosphere reminded me of Germany," said Smith. "It felt like I was back home, just everything about it. I knew immediately that was where I wanted to go."
Smith was also offered scholarships by Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tulsa and Division I-AA Stephen F. Austin. Georgia and Georgia Tech, however, recruited Smith as a receiver or safety, positions he was not willing to play.
In leading Shoemaker to a 16-14 record in three years as the starting quarterback, Smith completed 48 percent of his passes for 3,792 yards, 31 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. The athletic signal caller also rushed for 2,369 career yards and 40 touchdowns on 336 carries.
Smith said he favored leaving the state of Texas in order to broaden his horizons. He was so taken with Purdue during his November visit he made it his first and last recruiting trip.
"When (Smith) came back from Purdue he was on cloud nine," said Shoemaker head football coach Ken Gray. "He asked them all the right questions and it looks like a great fit for him."
Purdue's starting quarterback of a year ago, Brandon Kirsch, has declared for the 2006 NFL draft, leaving Kirsch's backup, rising redshirt sophomore Curtis Painter, as the most experienced quarterback on the roster. The other quarterback in Purdue's 2006 signing class will switch to receiver, according to Smith.
"When you're sitting there signing it really hits you what's happening," said Smith. "I mean it's already kind of hit you, but you're putting a stamp on it that you're going to college."
Parks, Poullard to remain linked
Contrevious Parks' and Chris Poullard's football relationship may be a little strained next season; the Shoemaker products and close friends signed with opposing teams in the Division I-AA Southland Conference.
Parks, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound receiver, inked a letter of intent with Stephen F. Austin. Poullard, a 5-10, 185-pound running back, signed with Sam Houston State.
Poullard could have remained a teammate of Parks. Stephen F. Austin extended scholarship offers to each.
"I had a tough decision to make," said Poullard. "Do I go with one of my best friends? But Sam Houston offered me very early and that meant a lot, so I stuck with them."
Parks is a two-time first-team all-district selection and three-year starter. The speedy wideout, who has clocked a 40-time of 4.38 seconds, will also return kicks and punts in college. While his uniform color will be different, his confidence level remains the same.
"I'm still going to be unstoppable," said Parks. "I'm going to nothing but get faster, stronger and better. I'm excited to be going to college but it's still kind of scary."
Poullard, a two-year starter named second-team all-district the past two seasons, rushed for over 2,000 yards in three years as a letterman.
"I was watching Sam Houston play Montana last year and Sam Houston's quarterback was (Texas) A&M transfer Dustin Long and the Montana quarterback was a transfer from Colorado," said Gray. "So (Division I-AA) schools are comparable (with Division-I)."
LB headed to Angelo State
Shoemaker linebacker Brandon Mayse signed a letter of intent to attend Division II Angelo State. The 6-2, 180-pound linebacker led SHS with 99 tackles in 2005.
"It felt good signing that letter," said Mayse. "It's not a dream anymore, now it's a reality."
Mayse was considering UMHB, Trinity, Texas Lutheran, Prairie View A&M and New Mexico State, but he said Angelo State made him feel the most wanted.
Skipper's signs with Kilgore College
Shoemaker cornerback Jamaal Skipper signed a letter of intent to attend Kilgore College. The first-team all-district selection intercepted five passes and recorded nine pass breakups and 41 tackles in 2005. The 5-7, 170-pound cornerback was a three-year starter.
The versatile Skipper has been assured a starting cornerback spot at Kilgore, which is 120 miles east of Dallas. He will also return kickoffs and punts.
Because Kilgore is a Junior College, Skipper retains the option to sign with another school.
Contact Clay Fowler at email@example.com