E.A. Sports Today

Local signing day

Oxford’s Peavey, Houston sign in-state; Wellborn’s Montgomery signs with Samford; Piedmont’s Big Two heading to JSU; Munford’s Robinson to Cincy

Wellborn athlete Jordan Montgomery (R) expresses heartfelt appreciation to the well-wishers who watched him sign scholarship papers for Samford on Wednesday. On the cover, Oxford’s Jack Peavey (L) and Brett Houston sign with their schools of choice. (Photo by Melanie Brooks)

By East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Two Oxford senior football players made their college choices official Wednesday when they signed in ceremonies that have become a tradition in the Oxford Sports Arena.

Versatile Jack Peavey signed with North Alabama, a place “I’ve kind of always wanted to go,” while massive offensive lineman Brett Houston signed with UNA’s conference rival, West Alabama.

Peavey is expected to be a slot receiver for the new coaching staff and punter with the Lions. Houston was Oxford’s center, but has played all three line positions (even in the same game) and could be a center or guard starting out with the Tigers.

UNA is getting Jack Peavey as part of its signing class, but it could just as easily be getting his dad, Oxford assistant coach Scott Peavey, of 25 years ago.

The similarities in their career paths is uncanny. They both wrestled in the same weight class. They both wore the protective face mask on the mat and now the son is signing with a Division II program about the transition into Division I (FCS).

The only difference is Jack isn’t going 1,500 miles away from home to get there, as his dad did when he signed with transitioning Jacksonville State back in 1989.

“It felt like home, the place I should be,” Jack said. “It’s weird to how many things in my dad’s high school career and college career have fallen the same way mine is.”

“It’s amazing,” Scott added. “As your boy, you and your son you always like the same foods and doing the same things and that’s always true with us, but following almost the same path is amazing. I’m just thankful he’s not going 1,500 mikes away like I did. I’m glad he’s going to get an opportunity to play somewhere I can go watch him play on Saturday and those kind of things.”

As committed as Peavey has been to UNA, to the exclusion of all others, he was a little nervous about its commitment to him after the school announced its intentions to move into Division I after a longstanding tradition as a Division II power. After all, there aren’t many guys his stature being recruited on that bigger level.

Here’s where another connection with his dad entered the picture.

“The best thing about it is when my dad was at Jacksonville State his senior year they went D-I, so he’s kind of experienced the same deal with his career and he’s talked me through it,” Peavey said. “I feel good about it, for sure. They’ve always won and they can compete with about anybody, especially when they get more guys in.”

At 6-3, 326, Houston – Big Hou as he’s known everywhere around campus — has always been the biggest guy in the high school locker room and he’ll likely be in his college team room after signing with West Alabama. There might not be anyone stronger; Houston squats 700 pounds and Jackets coach Ryan Herring wouldn’t let him go any more.

“They don’t call me Big Hou (at West Alabama), I’m sure they will when I tell them,” Houston said. “The coach’s name is Brett (Gilliland) and they say they like to work with Brett Favre and that’s who I’m named after, so I just thought it was a name of winners.”

Just about the same time these signings were taking place, Wellborn’s Jordan Montgomery was signing with Samford.

Later, Piedmont’s Taylor Hayes, and Mason Langley signed with Jax State, and teammate Krae Keener signed with Olivet Nazarene in Chicago. At the same time, Munford center Jakari Robinson was signing with Cincinnati.

Robinson sticks with Cincinnati, gives Bearcats a steal

Munford center Jakari Robinson works the room before signing his scholarship papers to Cincinnati.

MUNFORD — There was a time when Jakari Robinson wondered if he would ever get an offer to play college football. Munford coach Bill Smith knew how special his senior center was, but no one else seemed to be biting.

Today, Robinson is being considered one of the steals of this year’s signing class.

Robinson made the new staff at Cincinnati real happy Wednesday morning when he officially signed the papers to play with the Bearcats. He recreated the event in front of teammates, family and well-wishers later in the day in the school lunchroom.

Robinson committed to the Bearcats in October, but his pledge was tested by the uncertainty of coach Tommy Tuberville’s Dec. 4 resignation and some late-comers looking to entice a change.

The former offensive line coach encouraged him to keep his commitment. If he wasn’t convinced UC was the place for him before, Robinson was sold when new offensive line coach, Ron Crook, visited him twice in one week to protect their mutual interest.

Georgia Tech came around a few weeks ago, along with several other programs, but the center remained resolute, adhering to the notion that a prospect signs to a program not a coach. His signing Wednesday was part of the top-rated class in the AAC.

“I felt like I was at home there,” he said, “even with the coaching changes because the new coaches liked me there, too.”

Lions coach Bill Smith knows the Bearcats are getting a catch.

“I think he’s the most underrated player at his position, the most underrated player in the state,” Smith said. “This time last year he had a little bit of a chip on his shoulder because he wasn’t getting recruited, he wasn’t getting noticed.

“But turn on his highlight tape. (UConn offensive line coach) J.B. Grimes told me it was the best center highlight film he had ever seen and, quite frankly, one of the best O-line tapes he’s seen. He’s got really good speed, he plays with good leverage, and he’s an outstanding young man, but he has a mean streak on Friday nights.”

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