By MARINA WATERS
By signing their names to a single piece of paper on Feb. 3, four Daniel Boone High School athletes officially committed to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
Ethan Harrell and Justin Clark signed to play football at the University of the Cumberlands and Justin Turner signed to play football at Union College. Meanwhile, Ian Weir signed to play baseball at Milligan College.
However, for two of these student athletes, their time as teammates didn’t end with their senior season; Harrell and Clark will continue their college careers side by side as Cumberland Patriots in Williamsburg, Kentucky.
“I have the opportunity to play with one of my best friends since I was five or six,” Harrell said. “That’s amazing. There’s no feeling like it, to play with one of my best friends. I’m looking forward to four more years to watch him grow as a person and as an athlete.”
Harrell is a defensive tackle who also spent some time as a linebacker and was second team all-conference for the Daniel Boone Blazers. Though the high school senior said he’s ready to be a Patriot, he took a moment on Friday to look back on his high school career.
“It’s been my home for four years,” Harrell said. “I grew up in elementary school and middle school just wanting to come here and it’s sad that it’s almost over. Hopefully the mark we left on the students and the campus in general—hopefully we’re remembered.”
In thanking his teammates, family and coaches, Clark, who is also a soon-to-be Patriot, spoke on a difficult part of his journey to signing day. The defensive end recalled his injuries throughout his time at Boone.
“Most importantly, I want to thank God. I’ve had multiple injuries, two knee surgeries where I had to start back at zero,” Clark, who was the defensive lineman of the year, said. “And I just want everyone to know that it’s all for His power. I give all the glory to Him. He’s blessed me with this opportunity. He’s given me all the abilities I’ve had. And He’s blessed me with people in this room who’ve helped me along the way.”
Meanwhile, Clark and Harrell’s teammate, Turner—who has been a right guard, defensive end and defensive tackle for the Blazers—will be heading to Barbourville, Kentucky in the fall of 2017. For Turner, the persistence he saw with the Union Bulldog coaching staff throughout the high school senior’s final season at Boone is what convinced him to choose the college.
“They offered me going into my senior year and they kept with me for the whole year,” Turner, the co-lineman of the year, said. “That was a really big thing for me. They gave me a really good offer and it’s just a blessing to have them.”
Harrell, Clark and Turner’s seasons ended in the fall, but Weir has one final season on the diamond this spring for the Blazers. Though the pitcher’s sights were set on becoming a Milligan Buffalo on his signing on Friday, he also kept his focus on landing the Boone squad at the top of the conference this season.
“We need to focus on beating Science Hill and D-B mainly,” Weir said. “We gotta get out of that third place spot and move into second or first to get to state.”
Friday was more than just a signing day for Weir; it was a day that represented a dream he has been chasing since he was a kid.
“Whenever I was little, my main objective was to go to college for baseball,” Weir said. “When I was 5 years old, the main thing my dad drilled into me was go hard in the classroom and you’re gonna get a baseball scholarship out of this.”