The first Wednesday in February may not have any significant notification on most folks’ calendars, but that date has meaning for high school seniors who play football.
That is the first day of the regular signing period for National Letters of Intent. On this day many football players have big celebrations and creative reveals about their college choice.
It was low key at Howe High School as Matt Griffin and Tyler Grisham inked letters of intent to continue their football careers at the next level.
Griffin, an offensive lineman and four-year varsity starter for the Bulldogs, chose Missouri Southern, an NCAA, Division II school located in Joplin.
Named Offensive Lineman of the Year in both 2015 and 16, and four years as an all-district selection, Griffin also held offers from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Midwestern University, Mary-Harden Baylor University and Southern Nazarene University.
Griffin, who will be an engineering major at the school, liked everything about the atmosphere on his visit.
“I liked the coaches, campus; it just seemed like a good place to continue my education,” Griffin said.
Howe coach Zack Hudson has no doubt about how successful Griffin will be at the next level.
“He was in our freshman class when we started here, and he’s been a hard worker in these four years with the varsity,” Hudson said. “He and Tyler have played in 48 varsity games in those four years and both have gotten better each season.”
Griffin said that the move up to the collegiate level will be similar to the jump from high school Division II to Division I.
“We got the feel of playing better opponents every week, and I think college will offer that same experience,” Griffin said.
Grisham, who set a school-career rushing record this past season will continue his football career at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene.
Hardin Simmons is an NCAA, Division III school which plays in the American Southwest Conference.
Grisham, also playing four years on the varsity level, ended his high school career as the Bulldogs leading rusher with 3,044 yards on 481 carries. He also had 46 touchdowns in his four seasons at Howe.
He suffered a knee injury in the summer before his senior season and collegiate interest backed off a little after that incident.
“I had received letters from a couple of schools, but after I got hurt that dropped off a little,” Grisham said.
He held an offer from Mid American Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas before hearing from Hardin-Simmons.
“I’m really looking forward to getting the chance to play college football,” Grisham said. “The coaches sent me a workout program for the off season, and I know I will have to get quicker and stronger to compete out there.”
More than the personal and team records set over the four years, Grisham was more excited about his influences on young kids in Howe.
“It felt great when they would come up after games and tell you they wore your number and looked up to you,” he said. “That was probably my highlight.”
Hudson said that Grisham, because of his strength and speed, will be a success at the collegiate level.
“He’s worked really hard for us, I have absolutely no negative feelings about these two kids, they helped us get better every year and that’s what it’s all about,” Hudson said.