THS football stars ink scholarships
Published 11:00 am Wednesday, February 3, 2016
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – Five Thompson High School football players will extend their athletic and academic careers at the next level after graduation this spring after they inked scholarships with a plethora of colleges during a National Signing Day ceremony on Feb. 3.
Friends, family members, teammates and school leaders flooded the THS library during the ceremony, which was the first of two signing events of the day, to show their support for the athletes.
“What a family of support. What a great morning this is. They’re really going to make a dream come true for themselves, for their families,” said THS Principal Dr. Wesley Hester. “This truly is a family thing, and I know that they’re happy to be able to share all of this with all of you.”
During the ceremony, Walker Lott signed a football scholarship with Yale University, Derrick Shaw inked a football scholarship with Murray State University, T.J. Rayam Jr. signed to further his football career at the University of Massachusetts, Ty Paul signed to play football at Lane College and Jabari Alexander signed a football and track scholarship with Lane College.
“What a great honor it is going to be for these guys to further their education. The most important thing for these young people is furthering their education,” said THS football coach Mark Freeman. “The football is going to go away one day, it always does. We want you to be prepared for that day when you’ve got to make it on your own.
“It’s like we say every day, we try to raise you to be great husbands, great daddies and great people. This bunch of guys right here are great people,” Freeman said. “There’s a lot to be said for this senior class because they endured a rough road. They laid a great foundation for our program at Thompson High School to build on. We’re not where we want to be, but that foundation that these guys laid, when we get there, you guys will always be a part of that.”
During his senior season as quarterback at THS, Lott ended the year with 1,363 passing yards, 859 rushing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, seven rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown.
Shaw recorded 44 solo tackles, including 11 tackles for a loss, four sacks, nine pass breakups and three caused fumbles.
Rayam ended the year with 31 solo tackles, including 13 tackles for a loss and six sacks. Paul recorded 48 solo tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, two sacks and seven pass breakups.
In football, Alexander finished with 48 solo tackles, eight tackles for a loss, 12 pass breakups and one interception. On the track team, Alexander was a middle-distance runner excelling in the 800-meter and 400-meter events. He was a member of the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter relay teams, which finished in the top 10 in the state in 7A last season.