For six Fort Worth high school athletes, the long road of college recruitment finally came to an end Wednesday morning.
The Fort Worth Independent School District hosted a national signing day ceremony for early committers to officially sign their letters of intent.
The event was held at the Wilkerson Greines Athletic Center, where the athletes’ families and coaches came to watch them sign their letters of intent one by one.
FWISD Executive Director of Athletics Kevin Greene opened and facilitated the event and spoke about each of the athletes. Greene said signing day is one of the events he values most.
“It’s very exciting…to have people makeover all the hard work and dedication they’ve done in their academics and their athleticism,” Greene said.
This is the beginning of the early signing period the NCAA mandates for certain sports, including basketball, baseball, golf and softball. Greene said taking advantage of this early signing opportunity shows nothing but confidence from the student-athletes and the colleges.
“It shows that [the athletes] are focused on their academic and possibly professional careers after high school so they’re trying to position themselves,” Greene said. “The other part of it is the university recognizes these are the types of student-athletes they want in their schools right now and are ready to commit to them.”
Five of the athletes are committed to colleges in Texas, while Andre Washington, a senior at Arlington Heights High School, is committed to play basketball at Illinois State University next year.
For Drew Medford, who is committed to play baseball at TCU, proximity was one of the many things that convinced him to become a Horned Frog.
“The way they play and the competition they play too, it’s just amazing,” Medford said. “I want to be a part of that and everything that goes around there.”
For other athletes, recruitment was a difficult process with signing day signifying a rewarding success that others may not enjoy.
“With the student-athletes, a very small percentage of them have the opportunity to participate in college [athletics],” Greene said. “To know there has been a lot of dedication by the student-athletes themselves…is pretty exciting.”
One such student who fought to be recruited was Arlington Heights High School golfer Zach Cole. Cole, who is committed to play at the University of Texas at Arlington, said the sport of golf presented a unique challenge in being able to play at the next level.
“With golf, it’s a lot harder because scholarships are very limited and you have to be the top of the top to be able to play division one,” Cole said. “UTA came out at the last minute and I actually really enjoy everybody on the team, the coaches and the campus. That’s just where my home is now.”
Alexis Martinez is committed to run track at Texas A&M University–Commerce and recognizes the opportunity he and his fellow athletes have. He said he was grateful for the preparation he has received to take full advantage of it.
“Not a lot of kids get to say they can compete in the NCAA and be part of a big system and perhaps do good things for yourself and for your family,” Martinez said. “High school has prepared me to be more disciplined and prompt.”
The early signing period will end Nov. 18, and then the athletes who aren’t finished can sign their national letters of intent in April.
The complete list of athletes who signed their letters of intent at the ceremony:
- Alexis Martinez from South Hills High School–committed to run cross country and track at Texas A&M–Commerce
- Andre Washington from Arlington Heights High School–committed to play basketball at Illinois State University
- Blair Henley from Arlington Heights High School–committed to play baseball at the University of Texas at Arlington
- Drew Medford from Paschal High School–committed to play baseball at TCU
- Victoria Poulard from Northside High School–committed to play softball at Abilene Christian University
- Zach Cole from Arlington Heights High School–committed to play golf at the University of Texas at Arlington