By John R. Schirmer
Two Scrapper seniors signed NCAA letters-of-intent Feb. 1 to play college football.
Defensive lineman Hunter White signed with Ouachita Baptist University.
Running back Darius Hopkins signed with Coffeyville Community College.
The signing ceremony was held in the Nashville High School cafeteria with family and friends in attendance.
Athletic Director James “Bunch” Nichols opened the program by reminding those in attendance that “It’s a great day to be a Scrapper.”
He said there are “not two better young men than these two. I watched them grow up and play football together. They’re a great example of being a Scrapper. I won’t ever forget you and wish you all the luck,” he told Hopkins and White.
Coach Mike Volarvich congratulated the signees and told them that selecting a college “is one of the biggest decisions in life. It’s one of your first adult decisions. Marriage, your religion and college are three major life choices that dictate the rest of your life.”
White and Hopkins “worked hard to put themselves in this position. Very few athletes sign to play at the college level,” Volarvich said. “About 2.5 percent of all high school athletes sign. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort.”
Volarvich talked about each player, starting with White. “This was a dream for him to play college ball. When I came here two years ago, he would have been shocked if I’d said he would sign with a college. He’s going to a very good school that offers a good education. All of his family is proud of him.”
For Hopkins, “The recruiting process has been very tedious. He will get an associate degree [at Coffeyville] and then go through the process again. He’ll be re-recruited after Coffeyville,” Volarvich said.
The Kansas community college has “a bunch of guys in the NFL. They sign 16-20 D-I transfers every year. They have very talented players and good coaches,” Volarvich said.
White and Garrett Gordon were the Scrappers’ Defensive Linebackers of the Year. White was the team’s leading tackler with a total of 111. He recorded three sacks and an interception. He also saw duty on offense and caught a touchdown pass.
Hopkins was the team’s Offensive Player of the Year. He carried the ball 180 times for 2,073 yards and scored 41 rushing touchdowns during the season. For his career, he scored 78 rushing TDs. He also set a number of school and state records.
White said he chose Ouachita because it was “just like home when I went there.” He plans to major in sports medicine and minor in education on his way to becoming a coach and teacher.
OBU coaches have left open the possibility that White will play next fall as a true freshman.
Hopkins said that attending Coffeyville is “the best route for me. It’s a good junior college.” He will report in June or July and is undecided about his major.
Volarvich said Hopkins and White “are both guys who played the game the way it’s supposed to be played. Look at their stats. They speak for themselves.”
The two signees “are great representatives of what a Scrapper student-athlete should be. They represent themselves well in the classroom and in the community,” Volarvich said.