Feb. 8—Samford University came into Morgan County on Wednesday and left with signings from two high school football stars.
Austin's Nicholas Crayton, a receiver/tight end hybrid, and Hartselle linebacker Jake Haynes will pay Division I football for the Bulldogs.
"This is a dream a lot of guys have growing up. I just wanted to make my mother proud," Crayton said.
Crayton finished his senior season with 26 catches for 528 yards and five touchdowns, while also being an important blocker at the tight end position.
For Haynes, Wednesday's signing was extra special.
In ninth grade, Haynes still suffered from occasional seizures that threatened to derail his athletic career. However, he persevered and now is headed to play at the next level.
"It amplifies for the feeling for me," Haynes said. "I know there are things that other people have gone through that I haven't, but there's things I've gone through that others haven't. This is a big deal for me and my family."
Haynes had a stellar senior season, totaling 116 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception.
Both players feel they will be key additions to Samford's football program.
"They're going to get everything from me," Haynes said. "I'm not going to leave anything out, I'll give 100% like I would anywhere else."
"Samford's definitely getting a dog," Crayton added. "Someone that likes to win, someone that likes to compete."
Three other players from Austin and Hartselle signed to play at the next level on Wednesday as well. Austin linebackers Jeremiah Carter and Soloman Lyle signed with Faulker University and Shorter University respectively. Hartselle tight end Stinnett Hagemann signed with Huntingdon College.
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