He signed his name, and the social media world erupted.
When the area’s top recruit, Arlington Martin defensive end Myles Garrett, officially inked his pledge to Texas A&M on Wednesday, word of the event garnered more than 1,500 interactions on Twitter within minutes.
“I think it was funny,” Garrett said. “I don’t really see myself as that much of a big deal.”
Garrett joined fellow top Arlington school district FBS signees Justin Hollins (Oregon), and Edwin Freeman (Texas) to celebrate national Signing Day at the the district’s Professional Development Center.
There was plenty of excitement through the morning from Garrett’s family and Martin head coach Bob Wager, but the uproar found on Twitter when his National Letter of Intent was received by A&M shocked the ESPN No. 4 recruit in the class of 2014.
Garrett’s own message on Twitter had 254 retweets by noon. Even the words “myles” and “garrett” were trending in College Station.
“I never thought I’d be as successful as I am now,” said Garrett. “I’m just glad that I am and I’m just glad that God blessed me with talent and ability to do great things in his name.”
Another ESPN 300 recruit, Freeman, signed his name to play for his “dream school,” Texas, even though the coach that recruited him was gone.
Freeman said even after Mack Brown stepped down as head coach, Brown offered to help Freeman go wherever he wished to attend, but it was always the Longhorns for the Arlington Bowie safety.
“I felt like it was the best place for me to go anyways even if he wasn’t there,” Freeman said.
For a high school coach, signing day is tangible proof of a job well done.
“It’s awesome because I had a chance to help raise them with their parents and for most of them, not just in high school, but in junior high, I know who our guys are when they are done with seventh grade,” Wager said. “You go about building a relationship and trying to build a football player that’s a great person as well. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Garrett and Freeman hope that Texas A&M and Texas soon renew their rivalry, too.
Six of the seniors from Aledo’s 2013 record-breaking football team looked to the future Wednesday when they signed Letters of Intent at an early morning school event.
“It’s incredible to see all my buddies signing and going to different places,” said running back Daythan Davis, who signed with Southern Mississippi. “They all deserved it and all earned it. We all worked hard to get where we are.”
The 16-0 Bearcats won the Class 4A Division II state title in December and set a national record for points in the process, finishing with 1,023.
“Anytime you have kids go on to compete in collegiate athletics it’s a feather in our cap for Aledo High School and these kids,” said coach Tim Buchanan, who expects two or three more players to sign with Division II schools in the coming weeks. “It makes us feel really good. It makes us feel good about all the hard work that these kids have put it, and all the stuff that the coaches have done.”
High school football coaches can usually spot the kid with a college future long before they take a varsity snap. Then there’s Tristan Stary, who played on the JV as a junior.
“Tristan started to work hard in the weight room and became a really good football player,” said Aledo coach Tim Buchanan, who expects Stary to play defensive end or outside linebacker at the Colorado School of Mines. “He got bigger, stronger and faster. That one was probably the only one that would have surprised me when they went through middle school and sub-varsity sports.”
Aledo offensive lineman Ernie McQuade signed with Air Force and linebacker Jordan Mittie is headed to Navy.
“Air Force was it for me all the way, of course,” McQuade said. “I tried to get Jordan to go. In the end it was his decision.”
Mittie said he picked Navy over Air Force, “but I’m still looking into being a pilot.”
Toya Berry could barely find the words.
The mother of Fort Worth Paschal wide receiver Darrell James, Berry was recalling her son’s recruitment process Wednesday when tears welled up in her eyes.
“At one point, it just felt like [a scholarship offer] would never happen, and then it happened,” Berry said. “It’s overwhelming.”
James signed with Southern Illinois University during a ceremony for Fort Worth school district athletes Wednesday at Wilkerson-Greines Acitivity Center.
James, a first team all-state receiver in 2013, was among area leaders in receiving yards (1,372) and touchdowns (14) as a senior. He received an offer from SIU on Jan. 15 after schools like Texas State and North Texas were hesitant to extend an offer.
“I had a couple schools that came at me on a consistent basis, but it was tough for them to jump the gun with a full ride,” James said. “I was a late bloomer, so I’m just grateful I was able to get a chance to play college football.”
James also was a senior leader on a Paschal team that finished 5-5 after going 2-8 in 2012.
“It’s super exciting,” Paschal coach Matt Cook said. “His senior year, he was almost 1,500 yards of offense by himself. He’s a big playmaker for us, a big first down guy for us, and one of the big reasons we won as many games as we did.”
Fort Worth Southwest receiver Isaiah Holmes, who signed with East Central University in Ada, Okla., on Wednesday, got the offer less than a week ago.
“I didn’t even know about them,” Holmes said. “They wanted to get in contact with my coach to talk to me. I was trying to throw my name out there to other schools, but it just wasn’t working.”
Holmes said the offer from ECU was a weight off his shoulders.
“It was a big relief,” he said. “It was what I wanted.”
The process of getting that offer began last off-season in the weight room, Southwest coach Lanny Trammell said. Holmes bulked up, allowing him to be a versatile pass-catching threat, ranging from tight end to slot receiver to H-back. He was recruited in a similar hybrid role by ECU.
“Isaiah was one of our strongest guys last year in the weight room,” Trammel said. “He just totally reinvented himself with hard work. He put a lot of pounds on. He gained with strength and gained his confidence.”
Staff writers Eric Zarate and Ryan Osborne, and correspondent Travis L. Brown contributed to this report.