HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Six Permian standouts sign to continue playing career - Odessa American: Sports

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Six Permian standouts sign to continue playing career

By Sam Waller swaller@oaoa.com, 432-333-7791 | Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 5:13 pm

Six Permian senior football players made their college choices official Wednesday during a signing ceremony at the Permian High School Auditorium.

Slotback Justin Hammond (Baylor) and cornerback Christian Tschauner (Texas) accepted offers as preferred walk-ons, while the trio of running back Ed Williams, offensive lineman Dawson Reynolds and cornerback Rakeeb Adeyemi signed letters of intent with UTPB and slotback Kaden Horrell signed with William Penn University.

With the December signings of offensive lineman Landon Peterson with Texas Tech and quarterback Peyton Powell and defensive end Matt Jones with Baylor, Permian will send nine players to the college ranks in the fall, five of them to Big 12 programs.

“There’s a bunch of Mojo in the Big 12 and I’m excited for it,” Tschauner said.

Permian coach Jeff Ellison said the ceremony, which included Peterson and Jones (Powell has already enrolled at Baylor) was the culmination of years of hard work on and off the field.

“They did not get to this day by accident,” Ellison said in an opening statement to the assemblage of teammates, classmates, family, fans and well wishers. “First, they were blessed with God-given talent. Then years ago, they made a choice. They chose to be great leaders in the classroom. They chose to get up in the morning to get their extra lift. They chose to give up their summers and attend summer speed and strength camp. They chose not to miss practice.

“Because they chose to do the right things and be a coachable athlete, they get to choose what college they want to attend and to continue playing football.”

Hammond was a versatile offensive threat for Permian, which went 8-4 last season, shared the District 2-6A championship and reached the area round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs. Hammond caught 46 passes for 833 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 654 yards and five TDs in earning district MVP honors. He also had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score and threw a touchdown pass.

“I just felt like when I went to go visit there it was a good community and their coaches were cool,” Hammond said of choosing Baylor. “Most of my teammates that I already hang out with are going there. I just felt like it was my next home.”

Hammond said Baylor’s academic reputation led him to turn down offers from FCS or Division II programs.

“I just really want to get an education,” he said. “I feel like Baylor University is a good education program and I wanted to focus on that, too, not just football.”

Jones said Hammond was an easier sell on Baylor than Powell, who originally committed to Texas in October.

“At first, it was hard getting Peyton, all the offers he had, all the media attention,” Jones said. “It was hard getting him to come to Baylor, but I eventually got him on the train.

“Justin wasn’t as hard because he went on a visit not too long ago and he loved it. So I got him on the train. Bringing both of them on board is going to feel like we’re at home again.”

Tschauner recorded 33 tackles with three tackles for loss, four interceptions and eight pass breakups in 2018. He scored on a 97-yard interception return in the area playoff game and also returned a PAT blocked by Adeyemi for two points.

“My dream’s always been to play big-time DI football,” Tschauner said. “I didn’t want to go somewhere else and never know if I could accomplish my dream. I decided to go PWO and grind it out.

“When I took the visit there, I just knew it was home. I got into the business school at McCombs, which is very prestigious. I was supposed to have a good education, and then they surprised me with all their facilities and everything they have.”

On the other side of the Permian secondary, Adeyemi had 28 tackles with an interception, eight pass breakups, two fumbles caused and the blocked extra point. He said being able to stay in town to continue his career was a factor in choosing the Falcons, but not the only one.

“It is close to home,” Adeyemi said. “All my family’s here and I know a bunch of guys there. It felt like a fit, just like at home. There are some former teammates up there.

“I think (UTPB coach Justin Carrigan’s) doing a good job. He’s getting a good recruiting class out of here and bringing guys from everywhere.”

Reynolds, who played next to Peterson in the Panthers’ offensive line, graded 96 percent for the season with 88 pancakes and 75 knockdowns to help Permian average 431.6 total yards and 39.7 points per game.

“It was just best for me,” Reynolds said of his selection. “I’m there literally with my best friends, so we’re going to go do some big things.

“My parents can go to all the games. I get to play at Ratliff Stadium. All the new facilities are just like a Division I program, so it’s just great.”

Reynolds said the chance to be part of a program on the rise also made UTPB attractive.

“If you think about it, this is the first real season. This is the fourth year and this is the year we have seniors. We’re going to do good things.”

Williams was Permian’s leading rusher with 1,517 yards and 19 touchdowns. He finished sixth on Permian’s career rushing list.

“I had multiple offers, but I was looking to stay at home,” Williams said. “(Joining seven former Permian players in the program) feels good. Now that I’m used to playing with them, I know how they’re going to be on the field.”

Horrell caught 13 passes for 285 yards, rushed for 245 yards and scored six total touchdowns last fall. While Adeyemi, Reynolds and Williams chose to stay home, Horrell is heading out of state to William Penn, an NAIA member in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

“It’s far from home, but they made me comfortable with the environment,” Horrell said. “It was pretty good on my official visit. They made me feel welcome. It’s a good choice.”

“It’s a great opportunity. It gives me a chance to prove myself and try to improve and find a chance to play more football.”

Horrell said William Penn’s small size — about 1,300 students — and academics were part of the reasons for his decision.

“They’re more focused you getting your school work done, then you’ll play football,” he said. “If you’re not passing you classes, they give you three times, then you’re out of the program.”