When I graduated in 2006 from Jersey Village High School in Houston, I knew I wanted to play college football. I was recruited by several colleges, but Tyler Junior College was the only one that offered me an athletic scholarship. I knew I would give TJC 100% on the football field, but I didn’t know they would give me so much more back. Lots of colleges recruit athletes solely to win championships and don’t care whether that athlete is a success in life. TJC didn’t just use me to play football but instead put me in a position to be successful after TJC.
College academics weren’t like high school. I got my first and only “F” grade incollege during my first semester at TJC but they helped shape me into a student athlete. I achieved a “B” average before long, and I wasn’t the only one. TJC’s athletes actually have a higher grade point average than the rest of the student body, and that was the key to me being able to transfer to a major university. Coaches Palmer, Critchlow, and Mahon knew from experience what it takes to be successful at the D1 level and they provided the tough love we all needed.
At TJC, I played tackle and guard. At 6’4” and 280 pounds, I was able to be part of some exciting games that I’ll never forget. We played in Kilgore with a full stadium--half of Tyler must have been in stands. We were behind and got the ball in the final seconds of the game. I did my best to give our quarterback, John Weed, extra time but we had a broken play and he had to scramble so I kept working to give him more time. Weed found Johnny Knox in the end zone with two seconds left and we won the game. Even though Johnny is having a great professional career with the Chicago Bears, I’m sure he never forgot that night either!The University of Alabama-Birmingham offered me a full scholarship and because of TJC, I was able to succeed academically and athletically there. It’s a great university and I got to play in stadiums with over 90,000 fans helping quarterback, Joe Webb, make some great plays. In fact Webb became the first player in NCAA history to pass for more than 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in consecutive seasons. He’s gone on to play for the Minnesota Vikings and I hope with Brett Favre retiring, Joe Webb will be the starting quarterback.
I also got to play against athletes like Eric Berry, who was the first round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs; Dan Williams, who was the first round pick for the Cardinals; and Robert Ayers who was first round for the Denver Broncos.UAB is a great university. I received my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in the fall and I’m working now on a degree in mass communications--but I’ll never forget TJC either! I made friends for life at TJC and I’m encouraging my little sister, who graduates from high school this year, to follow me to TJC.
- TJC Hero and Friend Daniel Seahorn grew both academically and physically after being a standout player at TJC. He grew another inch and added 50 pounds to become a standout player at UAB, where he was the recipient of the George “Snoozy” Jones Scholarship in 2010 and the Ironman Award in 2008. Daniel is currently pursuing an additional bachelor’s degree in mass communications.