By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
Now everybody gets a clean slate, everyone moves on.
The Grey Wolves' football and basketball teams, though, will be better next year for the five seniors that shared the spotlight Wednesday.
"I wish I had one more year here," said Shoemaker defensive back Otis Hudson, who committed to play for Division III Trinity University. "These coaches are great guys and it's been good growing with them and my teammates, I wish them the best of luck next year because they have so much potential and I was there to lead them."
Hudson was one of four members of Shoemaker's defense to announce their college future along with Daily Herald All-Area boys basketball MVP Chris Runnels, who signed with Richland College Wednesday morning at a ceremony in the Shoemaker gym.
"It feels great to leave something behind knowing we helped do it," said Darrian Parker, who committed to Division III Hendrix College in Arksansas. "Now that the streak is over, we know that next year's team is going to bring us something new."
Dominique Smith and Stanley Virgile both signed with NAIA Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa.
The Grey Wolves' defense, which had one of the best run defenses in District 12-5A this season, helped Shoemaker snap its 31-game losing streak with a 32-24 win over Ellison in the season finale.
"It's our senior year, we finally got our little losing streak over with, done with thanks to the help of some new coaches and our brothers," Virgile said. "We're just out there playing ball with each other, having fun like we usually do. It feels great. I just wish the team next year the best of luck."
Runnels, the District 12-5A defensive MVP, led the Grey Wolves basketball team to its first playoff win in nine years and its first 5A playoff win in school history.
Runnels, who averaged 15.5 points, 11 rebounds (5 offensive) and 2.5 blocks a per game, received early interested from out-of-state schools, but wasn't interested in leaving Texas. He was introduced to Richland coaches during an open gym at Harker Heights after the end of the season.
"I was a little nervous because of the fact that there was going to be a college coach in there," Runnels said. "After a while, once you get up and down, you get that feeling that it's just basketball, the thing you love to do everyday."
Hudson, a second-team all-district safety, said he originally snubbed the Tigers when they approached him, but after further consideration admitted Trinity would ultimately give him the best opportunity.
"They're Division III and everybody's dream is to go Division I," Hudson said. "When I took a deeper look, I was thinking maybe this is what I needed because they helped me find myself, really.
"I felt comfortable there and I'm really excited about the football coaches because they want to try me at different places and they want to really use my versatility."
Parker took the opposite rout to get to Hendrix. The school first started sending the outside linebacker letters beginning his freshman year. As a senior, he started looking further into attending the Conway, Ark. campus. Then, he started calling them about three or four times a week for about three or four weeks, he said.
Virgile, a defensive back, and Smith, a defensive lineman, are travelling the farthest from home to make their college football dreams come true, but at least the duo can adjust to the drastic change together.
"That's like my brother and it feels really great to have somebody," said Virgile, an all-district honorable mention.