By Matthew Girard
Killeen Daily Herald
The Shoemaker High School weight room was full of smiles and flashbulbs Wednesday morning as nine members of the Grey Wolves' football team signed their national letters of intent to play college football at their respective schools.
Brandon Joiner (Texas A&M), Eugene Daniels (Colorado State), J.R. Brown (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Kenneth Nichols (Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa.), Corey Bowser (Susquehanna), Antwan Gibbs (Susquehanna), Rory Lomas (Susquehanna), Tim Thomas (Hardin-Simmons) and Josh Reynolds (Iowa Wesleyan) all took the next step as football players by signing their individual offers on the first day high school seniors were allowed to sign the binding letter of intent.
Joiner, a defensive end for the Grey Wolves and a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, said he has been waiting for this day to come.
"When you're working out and stuff, it always seems so far away," Joiner said. "But when you actually sign your name on the paper, it's like, 'I'm actually going. All my hard work paid off.' When I was a little kid I just thought that football was fun, but that's gotten me this far."
Fellow defensive end Daniels said it was an amazing feeling to get the opportunity to play college ball.
"I don't think it's a feeling anyone can describe, because it's the reward at the end of all the hard work that everyone put in," said Daniels, who was a two-star recruit by Rivals.com.
Although Shoemaker finished the season with a losing record at 2-7, Grey Wolves coach Ken Gray was happy to see these seniors get the opportunity to move on.
"It's a big thing for us and a big thing for our program," Gray said.
Brown, a wide receiver, said he was still in shock about getting to play college football, but it didn't take him long to recover when asked about getting to see the field as a freshman.
"My dream was always to sign with a Division I school and right now everything is a reality. This is a big relief, but I'm still shell-shocked," Brown said. "I plan on playing. As a matter of fact, I'll be in the weight room (today) getting big. I plan on playing in my first season."
Contact Matthew Girard at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569