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Sign of the times Senior athletes commit to colleges

By Olivia Huckabee, staff writer

Graci Henard

Dallas Baptist University

Q: What was the biggest factor in your college decision?

A: Definitely Coach Trapp, he has been the number one national coach of the year the last seven out of 11 years. I know that he is the type of coach that is going to push me, but he is going to make me better.

Q: Who along the way would you like to thank for your commitment?

A: Both of my parents, but especially my dad. He has spent countless hours on the golf course with me. He has come home early and gotten up early, just to practice with me. He and my mom have given up their summers to drive me to my tournaments, and they’ve invested so much time and money. I am forever grateful for them.

Q: How has committing motivated you to perform during senior year?

A: For me, because golf is such an individual sport, it’s pushed me to get better, but it’s also put more pressure on me because people look at you like you're a DBU commit so you should be good. I’ve kind of put a little bit of extra pressure on myself now that I am committed.

Ben Depriest

Ouachita Baptist

Q: What was the biggest factor in your college choice?

A: I really liked the size of the school, how it’s set up, and when I went on my tour, I knew that’s where I needed to go.

Q: Who along the way would you like to thank for your commitment?

A: I’d like to thank all my coaches from summer ball, my high school coaches, my parents, my teammates, and God.

Q: How did they help you?

A: My parents paid for all my camps and tournaments, and my coaches really pushed me to be the best I could be.

Q: How has being committed motivated you to perform during your senior year?

A: I just need to go out and do my best, try to help us win state this year, and just perform to the best of my ability.

Q: What was it like a weight lifted off your shoulders or more pressure?

A: It was a weight lifted because I don’t really have to stand out for coaches anymore. I already know where I’m going, but I still need to do good this season.

Clayton Smith

University of Oklahoma

Q: What was the biggest factor in your college choice?

A: I would definitely say development, as far as putting players in the league or not and how much weight my degree will hold.

Q: Who would you like to thank the most?

A: God, he’s the one who got me here and my coaches and friends. They pushed me to be the player I am today, and I wouldn’t be here without them.

Q: How has being committed motivated you to perform during your senior year?

A: There’s a target on my back. I have to play like I did before I was committed, and play my best.

Q: Was signing a weight lifted off your shoulders or more pressure for you?

A: It was a weight lifted as far as talking to schools, but now people know who I am, and they are going to be targeting and game planning against me.

Mollie Johnson

Central Baptist University

Q: What was the biggest factor in your college choice?

A: I would say it’s a whole mix of factors, but mainly the coach. She’s just the sweetest person, but you can tell she has a great coaching side. They are an overall solid team.

Q: How do you think the coaches and the players will push and improve you?

A: It is a family type group. Everybody supports each other and you can get help from them for anything.

Q: Who along the way would you like to thank for your commitment?

A: [I would like to thank my mom and dad. They are so supportive through everything I have ever done in life. They always supported me financially and they never missed anything. They are always there for me and that is the best thing you could ask for.

Rian Cellers

Texas Tech

Q: What was the biggest factor in your decision to where you shot where you're signing?

A: [Texas Tech] has always been my dream school since I was little. When I got the offer, I was excited.

Q: Do you think that your future coach or future teammates are going to push you to get better?

A: Yes, because I'll be playing with a lot of upperclassmen and they'll push me to do my best.

Q: Who along the way, would you thank for their role in your success and commitment?

A: My friends, my family and my coaches from previous years.

Q: How did they help?

A: [They helped by pushing me as a young kid to do my best and to show out in front of those scouts and coaches.

Q: How did it make you feel that you had people who are invested in you?

A: It makes me feel good, like I'm actually doing something that I prove myself.

Q: How has committing motivated you to perform during your senior year?

A: [It has pushed me harder. I know I’m committed, but it helps other people look at me and makes me feel like I'm actually doing what I need to do.

Q: Do you think it was a weight lifted off your shoulder or more pressure to perform.

A: I think a little bit more pressure. [Committing] has made me work a lot harder than what I normally used to do.

Jackson Halter

Texas Tech

Q: What was the biggest factor in your decision?

A: Just talking to the coaches. I really liked how they presented the offer and how they were really invested in me and how they really liked me.

Q: How do you think your coach will improve your game?

A: He knows a lot about baseball and can show me a lot of tricks about baseball and how to make my craft better and make me a better person in general.

Q: Who along the way would you thank for their role in your success and commitment?

A: Coach Stanford, my dad, my mom and my brothers. [I would also like to thank all]ll the coaches on the staff at Texas High.

Q: Who has helped you the most throughout this journey?

A: My dad. Ever since [I was] four years old, we'd go practice early, no matter if it was T-ball or coach pitch. We'd always go early and work for everybody.

Q: How has committing motivated you to perform during your senior year?

A: It has made me a leader on the team. It makes everybody look up to me, and I have to show them the way and be ready for a good season.

Q: Do you think it was a weight lifted off or more pressure to perform?

A: I wouldn't say like weight lifted off, but it's still a grind because even though I got an offer to go there I've still got to perform when I get there.

Trey Lavender

Cameron University

Q: What was the biggest factor in your decision?

A: Probably when I went on the visit and saw the campus because most D2 colleges aren’t that nice, but it was a really nice campus and I could see myself living there.

Q: Did the coach or your future teammates have any kind of influence in you going there?

A: The coach did because my summer ball coach said he's a really good coach. He really seemed to know what he was talking about.

Q: How do you think that the coach is going to improve your game?

A: [my summer ball coach] said he was looking for people with good mechanics already. I think he can help me get bigger and stronger and that'll help my game a lot.

Q: Who along the way would you thank for their role in your success and commitment?

A: [I would definitely thank]my dad because of all those late nights going up and hitting.

Q: How did it make you feel that you had someone in your corner?

A: I don't think I would have be able to get [to college ball] if I didn't have my dad there because he motivated me and made sure I was doing what I was supposed to be doing

Q: How has committing motivated you to perform during your senior year?

A: It's definitely made me want to work harder because I know what's coming next.

Created By
Peyton Sims
Appreciate

Credits:

Caden Rainwater