High school athletes across the United States – and several right here in the East Texas area – took part in the annual ritual that is National Signing Day on Wednesday.
The day – where senior athletes around the country make their college destinations official by signing letters of intent – has evolved over time and now has hours of coverage on ESPN and its family of networks, and entire websites – rivals.com and scout.com among them – make their living off of NSD coverage.
This is actually now the second signing day of the school year. The first was back in December.
But athletes in the Kilgore News Herald's coverage area were in the mix this week. Kilgore High School seniors Elivan Torres, Deiontrae Wheat and Gus Witt were the centers of attention for a large assembly in the gym, and then signed on the dotted line: Torres, a kicker, signed to continue his education and football career at Kilgore College. Wheat, a wide receiver, signed with Southern Arkansas University with an athlete distinction; and Witt opted for baseball, signing with Weatherford College, where he'll likely play the bulk of his time at shortstop.
West Rusk's Darius Richardson, a defensive tackle for the Raiders, will stay local, too, and join coach Willie Gooden's KC Rangers. His former teammate, Trevor Henson, listed as both a wide receiver and defensive back, signed with Louisiana College.
Sabine lineman Chadwick Foster, led by SHS coach Rex Sharp, signed his letter of intent with lots of family and friends present in the Cardinals' weight room. Foster, who considered a college in Ohio, instead opted to stay more local and signed with Howard Payne University, where he will line up at defensive end.
The Rangers were busy, too. They sent 27 current players on to four-year schools – players who had helped KC win both the regular-season and playoff championship in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, as well as the TIPS-CHAMPS Heart of Texas Bowl, a 10-win season for the Rangers.
KC also signed another healthy class of incoming freshmen – see the complete lists of both in this section.
Several players that will be new Rangers were involved in the UIL's state championship games, including Longview's Jepheniah Lister, listed as a safety for KC, and Beaumont Westbrook quarterback L'Ravien Elia, from the team that the Lobos beat for the 6A, Division II title.