Twelve THS football players sign to play at next level

Published 12:46 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2019

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – After a few years of enjoying a significant turnaround in its football program, Thompson High School got to celebrate one more major milestone on National Signing Day, as members of one of the largest signing classes in school history inked with several collegiate programs.

Twelve THS football players finalized their college plans during the NSD ceremony on Feb. 6 in the school’s gym while hundreds of family members, friends, coaches and fellow students cheered them on.

“Today is a great day to be a Warrior. A lot of firsts this year, a lot of momentous occasions. These signees will end up rounding out a signing class of 20 football student athletes, and that doesn’t include the athletes we’ve had sign in other sports,” said THS Athletic Director Vincent Pitts. “That’s something to be commended, and it shows you how far we’ve come, and it shows you why we’re so excited about the events of today.”

For a program only a few years removed from a winless 2014 campaign, the signing day was an emotional one.

“I’m so proud of our coaching staff. It is significant, and I want to remind everyone of how far we’ve come,” said Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers. “We’ve seen a significant turnaround, and I’m proud of our students and I’m proud of our parents for buying in. I want to thank these young people for laying the foundation for what’s to come. I want us to be a championship program in everything we do.”

For THS Principal Dr. Wesley Hester, the team’s 23-3 record over the past two seasons – including a region championship and a trip to the state championship – is nice, but seeing students have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of playing at the next level is just as important.

“Today, this is what it is all about. Yes, it’s about winning, it’s about championships, and we’re going to take care of those things, and have. But these types of things today is what it’s really and truly all about,” Hester said. “The thing they’ve been working so hard to do for so long, they get to take that to another level. You are in a very elite group, because there aren’t many that get the chance to play beyond high school. Guys, enjoy this moment. We’re all very proud of you.”

THS head football coach Mark Freeman said he admires the students’ work ethic, and said working with them has been a pleasure.

“These young men, we’re not asking them to have an easy task. What they do is very, very difficult, and I don’t know how they do it. I’m blessed, and I want to thank the Lord for blessing us the way he has blessed us,” Freeman said. “I think it goes back to our kids and the way they work and what they stand for. They’re good kids, and they’re raised by good parents and grandparents. People are fixing to find out a little more about Thompson High School. I want these parents to be proud, I want Alabaster to be proud. I’m proud of our kids for meeting the standard to go to school.”

The 12 THS football players signed with the following colleges:

-Seth Macmillan – University of the Cumberlands

-Kyle Smoak – University of the Cumberlands

-Elijah Clayton – University of the Cumberlands

-Gage Motes – University of the Cumberlands

-AJ Bonham – University of the Cumberlands

-Will Hoffman – West Alabama

-Greg Inman – Belhaven University

-Jalen Bustamante – West Georgia

-Eric Mizell – Wofford College

-DJ Douglas – Preferred walk-on at University of Alabama

-Aubrey Glidewell – Berry College

-Chris Hector – Mississippi College