Five RHS players sign
RUSSELLVILLE — The Russellville Golden Tigers have never had a lack of talent on the football field, and the team once again proved this during the 2012 season.
Another testament to the hard work and ability of this group is the number of players that signed letters of intent to play at the collegiate level Wednesday morning on National Signing Day.
Kaelan Bonds, Logan Ezzell, Jordan Gist, Bud Coleman and Tyler Boyd each made their intentions known by signing with college teams at the Russellville High School field house.
Bonds signed with Miles College, while Ezzell, Gist, Coleman and Boyd signed with the UNA Lions.
These five players and possibly more will represent Russellville next season at the collegiate level for different programs.
Each player was recruited by UNA as part of head coach Bobby Wallace’s plan to get back back into the habit of signing hometown talent over transfers from larger schools.
Bonds decided to go to Miles College over UNA, however.
“It was kind of a last minute decision,” he said. “I got along well with the coach and he felt like a guy I’d known for a long time. I didn’t get that kind of connection at UNA, so I decided on Miles.”
Bonds has been playing football since he was “four or five,” and now he can look forward to playing the sport he loves on Saturdays instead of Fridays.
“It feels amazing to play at the next level because I worked so hard to get there. Now that I’ve done it I’m ready to get to work and see how college plays out,” he said.
UNA still managed to sign four Golden Tigers in their 2013 recruiting class, and they will certainly be better off by adding this talented group to the roster.
“I think these guys will do an excellent job at the next level,” Russellville head coach Michael Jackson said. “These guys have always worked extremely hard and they all have a lot of potential. They’re still growing as players and they will get better and better every year. The main thing is they will get better because they work at it. They are extremely dedicated not only to the physical aspect of the game but the academic part as well. The sky’s the limit for this group.”
Each of the players who signed with UNA weighed in on their history with the sport, what it means to be playing collegiate football and why they chose UNA over other offers.
“It feels good. I want to get a chance to extend my education and play some more football,” Ezzell said. I started playing football in seventh grade, so I’ve been playing for six years. It’s close. My family can come watch me, and it feels like home. A lot of people from around here play at UNA. I’m looking forward to it. I need to get bigger and stronger, but I want to show that I can play at the next level and be successful.”
“I played one year of mini midgets. I played for two years in middle school and four years of varsity football,” Gist said.
“I like being a part of a brotherhood with my team, the feeling of walking out under the lights and hitting people. When you hit somebody there’s nothing better than pumping up the crowd and the feeling you get from it. I love baseball, and I’m going to try to play when I get to UNA. I’ll try to work it out. It’s right across the river. I’m a homebody. My uncle went to UNA. I’ve got friends going with me and I’ve got friends there. It feels good. It’s a privilege. Not many guys get to. I’m blessed that I get the opportunity to play college ball.”
“I’ve been playing football since I was 10 years old,” Coleman said.
“I like all of the tradition involved. I like to run out on the field on Friday nights and listen to the crowd. I decided on UNA because of the coaches. They made me feel at home and feel like I was part of the family. It feels like an accomplishment because it’s a goal I reached. I’ve always had the goal of playing at the next level. I think I prefer being a linebacker. I’ve been playing linebacker all through high school and I feel more comfortable there.”
“I’ve played football for about eight years,” Boyd said. “I like the intensity of the game, the hard hitting and running in touchdowns. I remember the first touchdown I got. It’s probably the greatest experience of my life. That was against East Lawrence.”
UNA is close to the house and I can go home every Sunday and get my clothes washed and eat a fresh meal. We have each other’s back and it will be just like high school because we all played together. It’s going to be challenging. I’ll have to work hard and get bigger, faster and stronger.”
Each of these five young men have a bright future ahead of them in athletics, and given their work at Russellville and the talent they showed off, none of them should have much difficulty making the transition to college ball.