Lebanon enjoyed a great season of football, going 9-2 and sharing the Ozark Conference title with Parkview.
On Wednesday nine seniors from that team signed National Letters of Intent to take their football careers to the next level.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF SIGNING DAY
“It is so exciting. Number one, that we had so many guys that academically met the standards in order to be qualifiers. Being good enough to play is one thing, but you also have to be good enough to meet the academic standards and our athletes did a great job of doing that. I’m really excited for them,” said Lebanon head coach Will Christian.
Of the nine players moving on, two signed with Division 1 institutions. Offensive linemen Tyler Couch and Alex Cooley will be playing at Southeast Missouri State and Missouri State respectively.
“It feels good to get a scholarship to play at the Division 1 level. I visited SEMO and loved the atmosphere and the facilities. The chance to play those big FBS programs is really exciting,” said Couch.
Cooley with be joining his brother and former Lebanon standout Zack Cooley in the Bears’ uniform.
“It feels amazing with everything I’ve been through, especially with the injuries. I’m really excited about the chance to stay home and play with my brother,” said the younger Cooley.
All-State running back Brock West will be playing his football at Evangel, following his record breaking career at Lebanon. West ran for 1,930 yards and 31 touchdowns in his final campaign.
“I liked the coaches. It felt right, it was a good fit. Coach Illum has got Evangel going,” said West.
West will continue taking handoffs from Hayden Brackett, as the YellowJackets signal caller will also be playing his college football at Evangel.
“It is really special to me to be able to go to a school that is so close to home, with great coaches, and also to be able to play with some of my teammates from here. I’m really looking forward to hanging out with the guys and getting a chance to play football. It felt like home,” said Brackett.
Kicker Andre Smith and tight end JT Dorris will also be joining West and Hackett in the maroon and white next year.
Evangel Offensive Line Coach Ben Blake is excited about adding the quartet of YellowJackets.
“Lebanon is a hub for us. Last year we signed Just Breedlove and he did a great job for us. To be able to keep that connection with Coach Christian is huge. He has one of the highest quality programs in the state. Very Christian led and it reflects in these guys. They understand what it takes for a year round commitment at the collegiate level. We expect great things. We expect them to come in and compete and be great players for us for four years,” said Blake.
Linebacker Shawn Dalagin, who missed much of the past two years due to ankle and knee injuries, will also continue his football career in the HAAC with Avila.
“I’ve been excited for a while now. I signed when I took my visit if that lets you know anything,” said Dalagin. “It’s going to be a great four years for me to work hard and earn a spot up there. I loved the facilities, the atmosphere and they had my major so it’s a nice fit.”
Also signing were wide receivers Aren Martin and Jeff Plake who will be joining Pitt State and Missouri S&T respectively. Lebanon student assistant Cole Coffeman will continue his managerial duties next year at Bethel College in Tennessee.
Lebanon Volleyball player McKenzie Hayes also signed her letter of intent with MidAmerica Nazerne in Kansas City. Hayes, who set school records for blocks and kills, is the second YellowJacket to sign LOI to play volleyball. Teammate McKenzie Wade signed with Evangel last month.
"McKenzie was a great leader and was definitely the most competitive player we had. She tried to lead by example and expected a lot out of herself and the team. She never settled for mediocrity and I know that competitive drive will get her far in college," said Lebanon coach Brittni Allison.