Forth Worth ISD officials boasted that last year’s National Signing Day haul of 33 was a record, well 2018 breezed right past that number.
With 31 football players and nine from other sports, 40 players participated in Wednesday’s event at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center or later in the day at school celebrations.
National Signing Day is an occasion for players to make permanent their commitment to a college. The event also acknowledges that all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears finally paid off.
“This is a tribute to you as parents, you as athletes, you as faculty members and individual schools, and to Fort Worth ISD,” assistant athletic director Dean Pritchett said.
Helping to increase the count were Benbrook High and Young Men’s Leadership Academy. Both have their first senior classes in 2018. YMLA athlete Draylon Roberson, one of the top area uncommits, signed with Tarleton State.
Also, Fort Worth North Side had a rare football signing.
Bobcats running back Ron Brown signed with East Texas State, and lineman Matthew Perry signed with Wayland Baptist University.
“It’s going to be one of those accomplishments I’ll hold dear to me,” Perry said. “I’ll be able to come back and watch the younger guys on the field and mentor them so they can go to college and get an education as well.”
After finishing 0-10 in 2016, the Bobcats won their first two games in 2017.
Brown scored three touchdowns, seven in his career.
“It feels great,” Brown said. “It’s crazy to look around and see all these kids and you grew up with most of them and now we’re splitting up and going our separate ways. It’s kind of an eye opener.”
Rafael Carbajal did something no Steer has done in at least two decades, signed a letter of intent to play college football.
According to coach Joseph Turner, “it’s been a long time.”
Carbajal, an all-district tight end and linebacker in 2017, signed with Texas A&M Commerce, which just won the NCAA Division II national championship.
“When I first came to North Side, I always wanted to make a name for myself and to be remembered,” Carbajal said. “Whoever comes out to the next signing day, I want them to be better than me – the next person.”
Following a group photo, Carbajal embraced Turner and shed a few tears.
“North Side means the world to me,” Carbajal said. “I met coach Turner my seventh-grade year. I talked to him about playing collegiate football and we kept that dream together.”
Two years ago, the thought of being the Scorpions quarterback wasn’t even on Trey Jones’ mind.
He was playing defense as a sophomore and South Hills had a top quarterback prospect in Tracin Wallace, now at Oklahoma State.
But following back-to-back knee injuries for Wallace, Jones became the guy.
“It’s crazy because I thought I was coming here to play defense and wide receiver,” Jones said. “But once Tracin got hurt, I had to figure out how to be a leader. The coaches believed in me.”
Jones, who signed with Tyler Junior College, threw for a school-record 2,497 yards as a junior, which broke Wallace’s record of 2,123 yards the year before.
For his career, Jones recorded over 7,000 yards and 96 touchdowns. The Scorpions finished the past two regular seasons 10-0 with back-to-back district titles.
“Tracin was great,” Jones said. “I always tried to do better than him and his brother Tylan – that was my challenge everyday. It was about being successful or being in the shadow and I wanted to be successful.”
Byron Hobbs was the only athlete on Wednesday to sign to an FBS school. He’ll be a Texas Longhorn in the fall.
“It’s definitely a big deal to be here,” Hobbs said. “I grew up with a lot of these athletes.”
Hobbs is one of the top prospects in the country and is ranked the No. 28 outside linebacker overall and No. 64 player in the state.
He also considered TCU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Baylor and Arkansas.
“I wanted to play for Tom Herman and Texas just felt like home,” Hobbs said.