As the standing-room-only crowd gathered in the Spencer High School library Wednesday to watch nine Greenwaves sign college football scholarships, coach Pierre Coffey put the scene in perspective.
“This is probably the most fulfilling moment of the football season,” he told the Ledger-Enquirer. “It’s always great to see kids use football as a platform to get their education. … I’m extremely proud of them, extremely proud.”
Leading the team’s class of signees is Ye’Majesty Sanders, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound offensive tackle, who will play for Jacksonville State at the NCAA’s second-highest level, the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
Sanders had more than 15 offers, Coffey said, including two from the NCAA’s highest level, Division I Football Bowl Subdivision members Arkansas State and Charlotte. Coffey said Sanders also had offers from FCS members Campbell, Mercer, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.
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Sanders told the Ledger-Enquirer he declined the FBS offers in favor of Jacksonville State because he “felt like it was for me. I felt comfortable, at home.”
He still expects to get a chance to play pro football.
“To me, it really doesn’t matter,” Sanders said. “With the grind and hard work that you do, any school you go to will be acceptable.”
Regardless, signing his scholarship is an “overwhelming” feeling, Sanders said. “I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I still have more to accomplish.”
Sports Illustrated selected Sanders as one of four “captains” on the 91-player 2017 National Signing Day All-Name Team. Coffey, however, noted Sanders has more than an unusual first name and big body.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to be around this young man,” he said during the ceremony.
Then the coach addressed the student athletes in the back of the library.
“Ye’Majesty has offers like that, and he has those choices, because he’s also an exceptional student,” Coffey said. “It is so important, young people, that we do what we’re supposed to do in the classroom.”
Spencer had 11 seniors sign football scholarships last year, nine on National Signing Day and two later. This year, Coffey expects another Greenwave to also sign later. “So we’ll be in double digits again this year,” he said in the interview.
SPENCER FOOTBALL SIGNEES
The following Spencer High School football players signed college scholarships Wednesday:
Jaleel Grimes, RB, Mesabi Range College
Marquis Hamilton, DE, North Georgia Technical College
Travell Jones, DB, ASA College
Giovonnia Moore, LB, Blinn College
Ye'Majesty Sanders, OT, Jacksonville State University
Jalen Taylor, S, Mesabi Range College
Khalil Thomas, QB, Middle Georgia State University
Dayquon Thornton, C, North Georgia Technical College (will play FB)
Mike Wallace, OG, Middle Georgia State University