Houston, Texas – Feb. 7, 2018: Each year on National Signing Day, high school seniors across the country sign letters of intent to attend their universities of choice and participate in collegiate athletic programs at those schools. On this year’s National Signing Day, 45 student-athletes from Westfield High School, Dekaney High School, and Spring High School signed their letters during public ceremonies held at the campuses.
At Westfield, Head Coach Matt Meekins spoke to the players, their coaches and families, members of the news media, and other Westfield students. “We’re here to celebrate the success of these young men and women, but also to remember that each one of them had a support system – made up of teachers, coaches, friends, family and others – that helped them get where they’re sitting today. It took grades, test scores, hard work and practice both on and off the field, and plenty of sacrifice.”
Westfield’s Keondre Coburn, who will join the University of Texas Longhorns this fall, is looking forward to starting the next chapter in his playing career. “I can’t wait to get to Austin and work hard for Tom Herman and get ready to win a national championship.” Of the offer extended by UT, Coburn said, “It’s amazing, a blessing. It’s what you dream about when you are a kid, and now that it’s happened, it’s unbelievable.”
Also headed to Austin this fall is Dekaney’s Malcolm Epps, whose parents both spoke during the Dekaney event about the challenges and rewards of helping their sons develop as students and athletes.
“We’re proud of Malcolm and we’re excited that he’ll be playing for UT, but this did not happen overnight,” Mechelle Epps said. “This was years and years of hard work and dedication. From Clark Elementary and Clark Intermediate, through Claughton Middle School and on to Dekaney, it really has taken a village, and I’m grateful to all the teachers, coaches and others who have helped Malcolm become who he is today.”
Dekaney Principal Alonzo Reynolds III was also on hand to congratulate the players and wish them luck with their collegiate athletics. “We’re really proud of our kids,” Reynolds said, “and it’s a proud moment for our school as well.”
Spring High School, which held its National Signing Day event at noon in the school’s auditorium, saw its largest number of signers ever – a diverse group of male and female student-athletes from more than half a dozen different sports. Asked what accounted for this year’s especially large showing, Assistant Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Chad Johnson praised the hard work of the students and the commitment of the school’s coaching staff. “We’ve experienced a lot of success in a lot of different sports, and that helps,” Johnson said.
He also stressed the fact that, to get the best possible offers from colleges and universities, student athletes need to be well-rounded and work hard in all their subjects. “Athletic scholarships alone usually aren’t enough. All the universities have standards they look for in their recruits – including academic standards – that they take into consideration when helping to make it affordable for these kids to go to college.”
Spring High School Senior Willie Smith III, who will attend University of Houston on a football scholarship after graduation, said that focus and dedication were both key factors driving and keeping him motivated over the years. “I just love the game – I have since I was a kid – but I’ve also got a lot of people behind me, supporting me,” he said. “The coaches here really challenge us. It’s helped me learn to not be scared of competition, because it’s part of how you grow.”
At Spring High School, 27 student athletes signed letters of intent: baseball players Andrew Cossio (McLennan Community College), Kyle Frame (University of Arkansas at Monticello), Dylan Golden (Saginaw Valley State University), Joseph O’Bryant (Wiley College), Derek Pena (Wharton County Junior College), Austin West (Missouri Valley College) and Harrison Woods (Central Christian College); cheerleader Brooke Longoria (Trinity Valley Community College); football players Derrick Bailey (Texas A&M University–Kingsville), Justin Guillory (Midwestern State University), Larry Lewis II (University of Arkansas at Monticello), Donevin Manuel (West Texas A&M University); Brandon Robinson-Baylor (Texas Wesleyan University), David Russ (Navarro College), Jarvis Smith (Texas A&M University–Commerce), Paul Smith (Navarro College) and Willie Smith III (University of Houston); softball players Jadyn DeWitte (University of South Dakota), Aziah James (University of Connecticut), Kaelyn Roberts (Stephen F. Austin State University), Brelyn Senegal (Prairie View A&M University), Brittney Vazquez (Texas Wesleyan University) and Gabby Vasquez (San Jacinto College); swimmer Aaron Parrott (Drury University); track athlete Aliyah Mallard (Clemson University); and volleyball players Paxton Boyd (Henderson State University) and Morgan Dougherty (North Lake College).
At Westfield High School, 11 students were on stage to sign their letters: football players Joshua Carr (Southeastern Louisiana University), Keondre Coburn (University of Texas at Austin), Greg Green (Abilene Christian University), Dorien Hawkins (University of Texas at San Antonio), John F. Kennedy (Texas A&M University–Kingsville), Noah Massey (Bowling Green State University), Christopher Rodriguez (Hastings College), Ali Walter (Independence Community College) and James Young (Angelo State University); and volleyball players Hadiya Dyer (Langston University) and Jada Roland (Langston University).
Dekaney High School’s National Signing Day event featured seven football players who signed letters of intent: Byron Clark (Texas Institute of Agriculture & Technology), Malcolm Epps (University of Texas at Austin), Levar Gumms (Fullerton College), Redarrius Jackson (San Diego Mesa College), Cedrick Montgomery (Texas Institute of Agriculture & Technology), A’quan Randolph (Midwestern State University) and Cameron Washington (Texas Wesleyan University).