It would have been easy for Teriq Houston and Korey Waters to quit and give up on their dreams.
Both Southeast High players suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that had the potential to derail their football futures.
But neither let it hinder their drive to return to the field and secure a college scholarship.
Both were part of the Seminoles’ 10-person signing class Wednesday.
Never miss a local story.
Houston, whose cousin on his dad’s side is Atlanta Falcons defensive back Brian Poole, inked his national letter of intent with Eastern Arizona College.
Houston credits athletic trainer John Karl and strength and conditioning coach Mark Douglas for helping with his speedy recovery.
Houston tore his ACL and his lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in the offseason, and the injury threatened his senior season.
“I thought I was never going to play again,” said Houston, a linebacker/defensive lineman. “If you put your mind to it, you can do it. You have to have that mentality – 100 percent.”
Meanwhile, Waters, a wide receiver, tore his ACL and missed his junior season. After transferring from Palmetto to Southeast last spring, Waters became one of quarterback Alex Taylor’s viable options in the passing game during his senior season in the fall.
“My family kept me up and I just kept working,” said Waters, who signed with Carson-Newman. “Went into the weight room, got big and stronger, faster. I came out stronger and faster than I was before.”
Taylor (Keiser University) and running back Latrell Peavy (Ellsworth Community College) weren’t in attendance, but signed. Taylor was sick and Peavy had a family obligation.
Other Southeast High signees on Wednesday were defensive back Damien Washington (Eastern Arizona College), offensive/defensive lineman Devin Logan (Kilgore Community College), wide receiver J.T. Galloway (Savannah State), defensive back Damon Poole (Dakota College), offensive/defensive lineman Raeshaun Lopes (Itasca Community College) and wide receiver Tyler Stevenson (Ellsworth Community College).
For the first time in four years, the Bruins celebrated National Signing Day with football players making their college choices official.
Jassiel Velez (Wisconsin Lutheran), Michael Franks (Minnesota State-Moorehead) and Edwin Crespo (Wisconsin Lutheran) signed Wednesday at the school.
After signing three Power-5 players in December’s early period, the Pirates saw two more football players sign: defensive lineman Chase Knopf (Albion) and center Brendan Bengtsson (Ferris State).
Alexis Madrid (Florida Southern) and Isabelle Vazquez (Gordon State) signed off the girls soccer team.
Running back Bryce Williams signed with Minnesota in December but was honored at the school on Wednesday.
Five soccer players signed Wednesday. They were Zack McLaughlin (Eckerd College), Matias Siems (Oral Roberts University), Hannah Rose (Southern New Hampshire University), Sam Reavis (George Washington University) and Haruki Kimura (Ashland University).
The Mustangs inked one football player with quarterback Justin Curtis going to Huntingdon College.
Other signings at the school were Madi LoCastro (State College of Florida softball), Kailey Christian (State College of Florida softball), Madison Mirandilla (University of Cumberland soccer), Shyanne Madison (Shorter University soccer) and Faith Schyck (Florida International University soccer).
The Tigers saw seven football players sign Wednesday. Offensive lineman Jesse West and linebacker Alonzo Houston are heading to Carson-Newman University.
Wide receiver Jason Spicer Jr. is going to William Penn University. Offensive lineman Eriq Porter (Southeastern University), defensive back Tyrique Castillo (Wisconsin Lutheran College), defensive back Sidney Pompey (Bethel College), defensive lineman Andrew Osborne (University of West Florida) and wide receiver Tray Goodman (Bethel College) rounded out Palmetto’s 2018 class. Palmetto’s Jordyn Petty signed with Barry University for softball.
Chase Brown (Western Michigan) and Sydney Brown (Illinois) were honored as the two signed in December’s early period when the Falcons weren’t in class.
The Falcons signed three boys soccer players – Chris Pennewill (Rhodes College), Henry Howell (Davidson) and Trevor Mulqueen (East Tennessee State) – on Wednesday.