Dreams came true for Jacksonville seniors, Darrell Minifee, Dadrian “DD” Franklin, Cory Holman and Bryson Haywood on Tuesday as the Tribe football foursome inked National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and football endeavors with two nearby junior colleges.
Minifee and Franklin signed to play for Tyler Junior College while Holman and Haywood will be heading over to Athens to join the Trinity Valley Community College team.
TJC and TVCC both compete in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.
Jacksonville athletic director Chris Taber opened the ceremony, which was held before a large crowd of students, faculty, staff, administrators, school board members and friends and family, in the JHS Library.
“This is an exciting day for these young men and their families and for Jacksonville athletics,” Taber said. “I have spoken with the coaches (from Tyler Junior College and Trinity Valley Community College) and they have high expectations for each of these young men.”
Haywood, who has accepted a full ride to Trinity Valley, will continue to play linebacker for the Cardinals.
Haywood summed up his feelings like this.
“I am real excited about getting an opportunity to play for them (TVCC),” Haywood said. “Trinity Valley is a real good school and I think that I will have a lot of fun playing over there.”
Holman, a tight end, was a late bloomer according to Taber, but a player that possess a great upside, which the Cardinal coaches should enjoy refining.
“I always have dreamed of this day,” Holman said. “When I was was called on, I wanted to do my best in every situation, and I think once I got the chance, I was able to show what I could do and I look forward to continuing to do that at Trinity Valley.”
Minifee, a stud wideout during his days as an Indian, listed three reasons for his deciding on TJC.
“I really like the coaches, its close to home and the coaches told me that I would have an opportunity to come right in and start and that was important to me,” Minifee said. “It will be a new start, a new beginning for me, but I think it will be one that will enable me to achieve my dreams in the end.”
Minifee said that he also liked the idea of being able to help the Apaches “get some “W's” on the board.”
Regardless of what happens at TJC, Minifee said that he would always have a warm spot in his heart for the time he spent as a Fight'n Indian.
“The years I spent here, I loved every moment of it and I'm going to miss it and playing in the Tomato Bowl,” Minifee said with great sincerity.
Keeping Minifee company in Apacheland will be Franklin, who is also targeted as a receiver at TJC.
Franklin, who is also a starter for the 31-0 Tribe basketball team, said that he is glad the recruiting process is over and that he is at peace with his choice.
“It got hectic for a while,” he said. “After basketball practice most every day it seemed that there was a different school's scout there to talk to me about playing for them. It was hard staying focused for a while.
“In the end I really liked the school (TJC) and the people there and I felt it was the right choice for me.”
Taber said that he is under the impression that Franklin will also have a good chance to play as a freshman.
The Tribe could have a couple of more players to sign with colleges in the near future, according to Taber.