by Zack Cohen . contributing writer |
A total of seven Johnson Jags were fortunate enough this year to be able to sign with universities all around the United States.
Senior Ekow Acquaah recently signed with the University of Houston.
“It’s close to family, good education, great city, and [has a] great prestige.”
Most athletes usually forget about the people who got them to where they are today. This isn’t the case with Acquaah.
“Yeah I’m gonna remember my coaches at Johnson, and I wanna tell them thank you for making me a better man; I couldn’t have done it without you guys.”
Athletes who meet the expectations needed to compete at the college level begin the process sometimes before their senior year even starts.
Some say the process is actually quite easy.
“I got scouted over the summer on my select team,” Jori Fox who signed with UTSA in November said. “UTSA offered me a scholarship during the fall after they watched me play several tournaments and after I went to one of their camps.”
Accquah expressed mixed feelings about the whole process.
“Well I would say neither; it has its ups and downs. Sometimes great, yet sometimes disappointing. It’s hard not getting the necessary feedback from coach after you fee like you’re in,” when he was asked about the whole signing process.
The process may be simple but different athletes base their decisions on different aspects of the school.
“I just based it all on the school itself and the football program,” Michael Watford said of his choice. “Howard Payne’s football program reminded me the most of Johnson.”
The easiest part is notifying the school you are going to attend their school.
“They had a letter of intent the gave to me when I visited them. I waited a couple of weeks, thought about it, picked them and send it in. Then I e-mailed the coach and told him.”
Acquaah said his decision was based entirely on what the school could offer in the classroom.
“Well, if you know me, academics always comes first. Next comes affordability. It was nice that I got into school like Baylor, SMU and even considered Rice – but in the end University of Houston was definitely the best fit for me. A great school academically.”
Most athletes make it to the collegiate level by a lot of hard work and dedication to their craft.
“I’ve been playing football now for about two years, only my junior and senior year of high school,” said Michael Watford, who signed with Howard Payne in February. “A whole lot of weight and agility training, I can remember waking up early in mornings to get to school to workout and staying for even more workouts. It’s really hard work to train for football.”
Through all the hard work comes satisfaction when is all pays off in the end.
“It felt good knowing that I was going to be able to play college football but also knowing all the hard work paid off but still knowing Im going to have to work a lot harder.”
The satisfaction of being able to play college sports is unparalleled according to Ekow. “I’m excited beyond measure. Anyone could tell you that football has been instrumental in my life since elementary school; it kept me on the ball in school, kept me in shape and made me a lot of friends I will probably keep a lifetime. Now, I get to play on a bigger stage. I’m nervous, but I know that if God is with me, no one can truly be against me.”
Just because you get to the college level doesn’t make practice any easier according to Ekow Accquah .
“Well from what I’ve heard, the practices are a lot more intense and fast-paced, a bit different then my laid back style of play. I look forward to it. It’s different than high school because the coaches all expect you to be at a certain level the moment you step on the field, and the don’t slow down [for] anyone to necessarily catch up to their standards.”
Through all the hard work are memorable moments that live with you forever. When asked about his most memorable moment as a Jaguar Taylor Lampe said “Beating Macarthur after being tied in the bottom of the 7th inning. [That moment] goes to show that anything is possible if you’re determined enough to go out and take it.”
Sports come easy to some, but there’s still some difficulty in transitioning from high school to the collegiate level.
“Yes, [it will be difficult] because you play more games and you are in a completely different environment as dar as your fan base and support outside of the game.”
Even though athletes are fortunate to reach the collegiate level, their scholarship can be taken away just as fast.
“Well losing your scholarship is probably equivalent from getting suspended from games, practices, or school in high school. College is different and the money they give you is a privilege – a reward for your hard work, not something to be taken lightly. If they offer you a scholarship you are reflecting their morals, and you convey the attitudes that they expect you to have. I plan on being the same way I am now, I’ve never truly been in in trouble,” Ekow said when asked how he would avoid losing his college scholarship.