Thursday afternoon was a time for the celebration of education — and football, of course — at Springfield High School.
Thirteen senior football players announced or confirmed where they will be playing next season, all getting a round of applause from a large group assembled in the library.
The last to take the microphone was Leonard Taylor, the four-star tight end prospect who announced Wednesday he is going to the University of Cincinnati to play for coach Luke Fickell.
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“I think Cincinnati is a good fit for me,” Taylor said. “It’s a good school, good academics, good program. They’re on the come up. I think Coach Fickell is a good coach and his coaching staff is great. It’s good to stay home.”
He ended up picking the Bearcats over Texas A&M.
“Texas A&M has all the big-time stuff, but that really don’t mean nothing. So I just broke it down to the little things that are more important instead of (being in the) SEC and stuff like that.”
Taylor was far from the only Wildcat to sign with a college this week.
Five Springfield seniors signed to play at Urbana: defensive back JahErinn Echols, athlete William Finch, defensive back Tayshawn Heatly, receiver/defensive back Zion Rogers and receiver Niko Jones.
Defensive lineman Brennan Hess and running back Todd King are headed to Mount Union, while offensive lineman Darnell Ishman is going to Cincinnati Christian, offensive lineman Austin Garza is headed to West Virginia State, defensive back Dyier Smith signed with Malone and fullback/linebacker Ja’Sha-Meik Button signed with Marietta College.
Also present was linebacker Cameron Hoelscher, who signed with Army West Point in December.
“I was just a little kid from a county school, but coming here changed everything for me,” Hoelscher, who started his high school career at Shawnee, told the crowd.
Next year’s signing days figure to be pretty busy, too.
Five Wildcats in the 2019 class already have at least one Division I scholarship offer: defensive back Moses Douglass (Nearly 30, including West Virginia, Duke, Iowa, Kentucky, Cincinnati and Wisconsin), receiver/running back Michael Brown-Stephens (Bowling Green, Eastern Kentucky, Kent State), lineman Isaiah Gibson (double-digits, including including Purdue, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Kentucky and Louisville), linebacker/running back CJ McDavid (Bowling Green) and defensive back RaHeim Moss (Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Bowling Green and Cincinnati).