Christmas has come early for some local high school football players in the form of scholarships. Several players signed National Letters Of Intent Wednesday on the first December signing day ever.
At Pearl City 6-7, 280 pound offensive tackle Peyton Asche signed with Illinois State. Asche is the first Pearl City football player since 1988 to sign with a division one program. The plan is to redshirt him at ISU his first year and then he’ll be ready to contribute the following year for Brock Spack’s Redbirds.
“I like the coaching staff down there. They made me feel like I was one of the top priorities,” says Asche. “They made me feel like there was a spot there for me. They wanted me not to just be part of a football team. They wanted me to be part of a family down there.”
At Forreston All-State tight end Sam Barkalow signed with Western Illinois. Forreston isn’t known for throwing the football, but Barkalow and the Western Illinois coaches have no doubt he’ll be an excellent target for the Leathernecks.
“I know that it’s not going to be as easy as high school football obviously,” says Barkalow. “Whether they need me to run routes or block I’ll do whatever.”
At Auburn two-way lineman Keivon Walston signed with Indiana State. He is an all-NIC-10 player at 6’4, 273 pounds. At Indiana State they plan to play him at offensive tackle.
“This is a very exciting moment!,” says Walston. “I’m living my dream. My dream became a reality!”
At Guilford Julian Haynie signed with Illinois State. Haynie was primarily a quarterback at Guilford, but the Redbirds plan to play him at defensive back.
“I’m real relieved just getting signing season over with,” says Haynie. “I’m kind of glad it was an early signing day because if I had to wait until February I’d probably be stressing right now, so I’m just glad it’s over with. We’ve got finals this week. Once I get that over with it’s going to be happy holidays from there.”
At Harlem former Huskie Anthony McKinney signed with TCU. The mammoth 6’7, 340 pound offensive tackle is a junior college All-American. He played the last two years at Iowa Western Community College. He was recruited by almost every major college in the country. His choices were down to Oklahom and TCU when he settled on TCU.
When he was at Harlem he never thought he’d see the day when big-time schools coveted him.
“I did not honestly. It’s crazy to look back and think about,” says McKinney. “I just took it one day at a time and I’m just grateful that I’m here.”