For the third time this school year, John Tyler High School conducted a signing ceremony for student- athletes.

Just as the first and second, the day was filled with enthusiasm for the JT seniors as coaches, family, friends, teammates and classmates celebrated.

"We are so excited for these young ladies and young men," JT head football coach and athletic coordinator Ricklan Holmes said while noting this was the third football signing with one held in December and another in February.

Sports represented on Wednesday at the Tyler ISD Career & Technology Center were basketball, football, soccer, tennis and volleyball.

The seven students signing were Xavier Allen (football, Erskine College), Maritza Montoya (soccer, Angelina College), Darry Moore (basketball, Trinity Valley Community College), Dyvione Patterson (football, McMurry University), Lacorria Rollins (volleyball, Cisco College), Talia Smith (volleyball, Cisco College), and Mackenzie Wade (tennis, Ouachita Baptist University).

Before the official signings, which was held before a packed room, Holmes noted the academic achievements of the seven along with thanking the parents for raising outstanding young women and men. He also noted while stressing the educational aspect was that other JT students were heading to college on academic scholarships.

Along with Holmes, others participating were boys basketball coach Cedeno Clark, volleyball coach LaMessa Derrett, tennis coach Alex Quinones and girls soccer coach Paakal Mendoza.

Allen said he was ready to graduate and head to South Carolina to compete for the quarterback position and continue his education.

"There are six quarterbacks there, but I'm not scared of the competition," Allen said of Erskine, a private Christian college in Due West, South Carolina that is an NCAA Division II school. He noted the competition at JT makes for a better football player.

Allen, who plans to major in pre-med with a goal of being a chiropractor, said he considered Texas College and was accepted at Alcorn State, but Erskine "felt like Tyler and felt like home."

Montoya said Angelina "was a great place for me and it was calling my name after I visited other schools."

The midfielder and forward said she also considered Jacksonville College, Jarvis Christian College and Northeast Texas Community College. 

Moore, who was just named the MVP of the 16th Annual Azalea Othropedics All-Star Basketball game, was elated to sign with TVCC, just down the road in Athens. He also considered UT Tyler, Kilgore College, Angelina College and Centenary College.

"I am super excited for the opportunity to continue my education and get the chance to play basketball," said Moore, who is in the top 10 percent of his class and plans to major in criminal justice.

Patterson will be playing cornerback at McMurry. He also said he chose the Abilene school over Texas Wesleyan University and Cisco College.

"It will be exciting to play in one of the best NCAA D-III leagues in the nation," said Patterson, who would like to major in veterinary sciences.  

Both Rollins and Smith thanked their families and Derrett for helping them achieve their goal of playing collegiate athletics.

"When I had my visit, there was nothing but love and a great environment at Cisco," said Rollins, an outside hitter who plans to major in criminal justice. "When I started playing volleyball I never thought I would have the opportunity to play in college."

Smith, who plays middle blocker, loved the "energy and the support" on signing day. She also considered Ranger College and Centenary College. She will major in pre-med with a goal of being an athletic trainer.

Wade, who has already completed two years of her college classes, picked Ouachita Baptist because "it's one of the top private schools in Arkansas" along with a competive tennis program.

Wade, the District 16-5A singles champion, will major in either pre-engineering or biology. 




Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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