LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's no surprise to see Lufkin sign at least a handful of athletes every year, and this time around it was no different.
Eight athletes signed their National Letters of Intent Wednesday morning at Lufkin High School.
Bronson Massie will be playing in the Big 12 next fall at Kansas State and will be an asset for the Wildcats.
The 6-4 defensive end is coming off a season where he recorded 80 tackles and 10 sacks. Overall the three-year letterwinner has 173 tackles, 26 sacks and is looking to bring that spark to the Wildcats.
"I'm hoping to bring excitement into the program. I want to get the program rolling and try to win the first three games at least," said Massie. "It's a crazy feeling signing. It's a once in a lifetime thing and a feeling you can't explain."
Scout.com has rated Massie at the No. 16 defensive end in the state of Texas while ESPN marked the senior the 62nd best outside linebacker in this year's class.
Northeastern State University will get a small pack of Panthers as JaCory Miller and Vonte' White both signed to be Riverhawks.
Miller was a second-team all-district selection last season and his junior year was named the Special Teams Game Changer for Lufkin.
"It was a great school, the teammates were nice, the coaches were cool, it was just a great team overall," said Miller. "I'm going to bring some really good talent, bring my speed and agility, and an overall great person."
White chose Northeastern State because it felt like home and feels the college transition will be easier with a teammate.
White is able to bring some speed to the Riverhawks. As a junior he went to regionals in the 110 hurdles and this year was named the Defensive Back of the Year.
"I'm hoping to bring height, quickness and my intelligence on the defensive back side. I'm looking to start as a true freshmen and get my degree," said White.
Karl Chatman signed with Southeastern Oklahoma. The Panther will join 66 other high school athletes that signed with The Savage Storm.
The two-year letterwinner is eager to be a part of a new family.
"The bond that they have is great and I'd like to be a part of that and be a family. The greetings and the way they approached us made it feel like home," said Chatman. "I think I'm going to bring greatness to the program."
Eric Smallwood put his name on the dotted line to take his talents to Southern Arkansas University.
Smallwood is a three-year letterwinner and was given the Outstanding Defensive Linemen Award for Lufkin.
"It's very exciting. The fact that you're playing at a high level out of high school is a blessing. I can bring a lot of energy, I know that. I feel like I can go down there and have a lot of fun with the players and build a new family," said Smallwood. "I'm looking forward to the life of the stadium and how many people are in the stadium watching games because I know it's going to be a full house."
Jaylen Dawn will suit up with Tarleton this upcoming college football season. Dawn admits playing college football may not have been in his future had it not been for his experience with the Panthers. Dawn moved to Lufkin from Missouri his junior year.
"It's been unreal. I definitely didn't come here with a positive mind. I met a lot of great people who influenced me a lot and changed me. Great group of guys, great coaches that really cared and I'm just excited for the next level," said Dawn.
Jerrod Johnson has decided he will stay in the East Texas hub and go the junior college route. The offensive linemen is headed to Tyler Junior College.
"It's a great opportunity and I like having the opportunity to go Division I after that," said Johnson. "I like that I'm going to be able to stay close to home."
It wasn't all football signees Wednesday. Jace Mahan signed to play tennis at Mary-Hardin Baylor.
Mahan is the captain of the tennis team at Lufkin with all-district honors under his belt.
"I've always wanted to sign and I like my school so I'm excited. I hope to be versatile as a doubles player and singles player," said Mahan. "We all work hard here at Lufkin so it's nice to move on to the next level."