Categorized | News

Houston sees six sign with local colleges

Houston sees six sign with local colleges

The largest college football signing class in Houston High School history followed the school’s first region championship, a first-round state playoff win and a 10-2 record.
“This group made history during the season. They are still making history after the season is over. It is a special group,” said Head Coach James Thomas.
“Usually success on the field transmits to kids getting college scholarships and getting looks at the next level. The success of these kids and the hard work that they have done the whole year, to have six, means a great deal. I can’t wait until it is 12 or 15.”
Kip Frankland, an offensive and defensive lineman, signed with Navy. Linebacker Will Gusmus and wide receiver Jordan Monk signed as preferred walk ons at the University of Memphis. A preferred walk on is guaranteed a spot on the team.
Offensive and defensive lineman Matt Needham signed with the University of Tennessee at Martin. Jaren Alnutt, an offensive and defensive lineman, signed with Southeast Missouri State University. Chris Colebank, a senior outside linebacker and running back his junior year, signed with Mississippi College.
The signing was Feb. 6. Players had individual tables, decorated with college memorabilia. Family, friends, coaches, administrators and the football team were present.
“It is special obviously for all six of us being able to play our dream sport at our dream schools. To see how many people who came out and our whole team supporting us it is special,” said Frankland, who is excited not only about playing for the Midshipmen but serving the country.
“They play big-time football with a lot of big-time players. Then after to be able to serve our country, that is a big honor that I am ready to go accomplish.”
At Houston he learned time management as well as football skills.
“You have to get your things done before you play football,” he said. He plans to continue to encourage his brother R.H. Frankland, a rising junior wide receiver.
He has told him to get mentally ready and also physically ready under Strength Coach Raheem Shabazz.
“It’s going to be a big year without us six but they are going to end up fine. They are going to be great. They have a whole lot of skills. They are going to be up for the task and score a lot of touchdowns.”
Frankland was first-team Region 7-6A on the offensive line and second-team defensive line and played in the Toyota East v. West All-Star game in Clarksville.
Frankland, who made 31 on his ACT and entered his senior year with a 3.8 grade-point average, will be joined at Navy by tight end Ryan Bullock, who has gotten a scholarship to play rugby. Bullock made 34 on his ACT and has a 4.0 grade-point average. Senior tight end Landon Schmidt has a scholarship to play rugby at Tennessee.
For Needham, the energy and the passion that he saw on his official visit to UTM is what made him commit.
“It is an upcoming program. This (recruiting) class is No. 2 in the country and No. 1 in the (Ohio Valley) conference. I’m really excited,” he said.
UTM Head Coach Jason Simpson wants him to play tackle and Needham thinks he may be redshirted.
He is looking forward to playing under Simpson.
“The way he coaches, the way he takes care of his players and the Martin community, everybody knows each other. It was a perfect fit, especially with the education there,” he said.
Needham plans to major in physical therapy or human health performance.
At Houston, Needham was a major contributor along with other seniors on the offensive line for a record-breaking rushing offense.
“The offense we had was explosive and I helped contribute a lot,” he said.
Needham was first team All-Region 7-6A offensive lineman. He played in the Toyota East v. West All-Star game and the Blue-Gray All-American game in Dallas.
It’s all about family at Southeast Missouri State said Alnutt after meeting players.
“It gets me excited to get up there and get to work in the summer. I have to improve my run blocking. I think I bring a really good pass set. I am a leader. That is what I’ll bring up there, the leadership aspect.
“I moved here my freshman year. I didn’t know anybody but over the years talking to Coach Thomas, he got the leadership out of me. Last year was a show of that and how I progressed over the four years I’ve been here.”
Alnutt will go from a high school region championship team to a college championship team. The Redhawks won the 2018 Ohio Valley Conference.
“Being a part of a team like what I had last year was something special; a real good group of guys coming together to finish up the year strong with that conference championship. This adds more experience and it will help to grow me as a football player as well as a person and a student,” he said.
He plans to major in sports management.
Alnutt was All-Region 7-6A honorable mention.
Gusmus went to his first University of Memphis football game when he was 6. The Tigers were playing Rice.
With that memory lingering, “I have always wanted to play there. It is close to home and my brother (Tim Gusmus) is going there. We have been together our whole lives. That was a big part of it and I wanted my parents to be able to watch me play every game,” he said.
Calling the community and atmosphere “crazy” with winning seasons, bowl games and new facilities, Gusmus was sold on the opportunity to become a Tiger.
He also had something to prove.
“For the longest time, I had coaches and people tell me that I would not make it to the next level. To be able to show them that I can do that and prove them wrong, it means a lot to me.”
His goal is to start by his sophomore year and work his way up, even to NFL special teams.
Named first-team All-Region 7-6A, Gusmus encouraged his teammates to reach their potential.
“I like to push people. A lot of people don’t like me until we are on the field and they see what I’ve done and what I’ve pushed them through. When it is the hardest time, they are like, ‘He pushed me through this stuff, so this is a joke. When it comes to real situations I have been prepared for this because Gus has pushed me. I thought I couldn’t do it but he was right there by my side.’ People tell me that all the time. When it is rough during the game they look and me and say, ‘Ok I know I can do this because he has helped me through it,’” said Gusmus, who plans to continue the practice of eating Snickers pregame.
Gusmus played in the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl All-Star game and the Blue-Gray All-American game in Dallas.
Moving from Pensacola, Florida, at the start of his sophomore year, Monk said that he “found a liking to Memphis. I really wanted to be here.”
He spoke with Memphis coaches on Feb. 3 and cried tears of joy when he was officially given preferred walk on status.
“I was happy. I have been praying for I don’t know how long for an opportunity and I hopped on it. I’m ready to make an impact. Memphis has always been my dream school,” he said.
At Houston, it was about teammates and “pushing your brother. I feel like at Memphis everybody will be encouraging their brothers. No matter who you are or what you do, they will encourage you to be better.”
Better is a word he used Wednesday during signing ceremonies.
“Having all my family and friends around, it couldn’t get any better than this,” said Monk, who was first team all-region defensive back and second-team wide receiver.
With his decision to go to Mississippi College, which is in the Gulf South Conference, a “weight” has been lifted off his shoulders said Colebank.
“Seeing the amount of people that were encouraging me, who had my back, that were happy for my decision, gets me ready to move on. I think it is a great fit. It’s a great Christian environment. Academics are really good there. Their kinesiology program is really good.”
Colebank was a captain this past season along with Frankland, Gusmus and Monk.
He expects to add leadership to the Choctaws.
“I am going to try my hardest to stand out and try to outwork everybody. I think that is going to make everyone else work harder.”
As a junior, Colebank led the Mustangs in rushing yards with 1,287 and scored 15 touchdowns. He was moved to linebacker this season.
Mississippi College coach John Bland will play him at running back.
“I’m really excited to be back at running back. I would also be really excited if I was playing defense. Running back is the position at my heart right now that I feel like I am most comfortable in but I am willing to play anything.
“My junior year I couldn’t tackle anybody. My senior year I definitely built love and respect for defense that I didn’t have before and an aggressiveness that I didn’t have before. When you are on defense you have to have to set the edge and hit hard and that is something that I can definitely translate to being a running back,” said Colebank, honorable mention all-region.
The Mustangs built trust in teammates to make plays that led to a championship. They also tried to outwork each other to make each other better he said.
One of the team’s spiritual leaders, Colebank said, “I know God is going to take care of me. I can’t get wrapped on what happens outside of my relationship with God. I can’t worry about things I don’t have control over.
“When I think having my security in God knowing if something bad happens I’ll still have Him definitely helps me a lot.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *