The biggest class to sign National Letters of Intent since the breakthrough class of 2007 put pen to paper Wednesday at Palestine High School.
The Wildcats will send four players to the next level, and celebrated National Signing Day with a ceremony in the new Palestine High School library.
Along with being Palestine’s biggest class in more than five years, it’s the biggest class ever assembled by PHS athletic director Lance Angel, who gave credit to the players, their families and their teachers for helping them reach these heights.
“Obviously, these guys earned it, and I think as a team you’ve got to have a successful program for colleges to notice,” Angel said. “In large part to these guys and the senior class before them and the senior class coming up, we’ve been able to have some success.”
He also praised defensive coordinator Ty Robinson, who he called the program’s recruiting coordinator. Angel said Robinson tirelessly worked to promote Palestine players to coaches from various colleges.
It paid off as four — Paul Barksdale, Jadarrius Beasley, Ivory Brown and Walter Sheridan — all signed with junior colleges to continue their careers.
Barksdale and Sheridan will both travel up Hwy. 19 to play at Trinity Valley Community College, while Beasley will head to Yuma, Ariz., and play at Arizona Western and Brown will play at Tyler Junior College.
Also signing Tuesday was Thomas Jones, who earned an athletic training scholarship to New Mexico Junior College for his work with the Palestine training staff.
PAUL BARKSDALE, TVCC
In his own words, Barksdale just “loves to play football.”
He’ll be doing it for at least two more years after signing with TVCC.
“I mean, it’s just a blessing to be able to play college football,” he said. “I’m going to keep trying my hardest and my best.”
Barksdale was a do-it-all athlete for Palestine the past two seasons, and should continue that in Athens, joining a TVCC squad that was ranked nationally early in 2012 before ending the season on a rough-note.
Barksdale recalled receiving his offer to play at TVCC, calling it “a special feeling.”