Athletes prepare for next step with commitments

Merrillville is on one of its best runs, and is constantly being surprised by more commitments. 

With seven of those commitments being from just the Merrillville Football Team, it is needless to say the class of 23 future athletes is bright. 

EJ Shirrells committed to Indiana Wesleyan University along with two other football players. Jeremiah roberts, and Morris Smoot both announced their commitment recently. 

Shirrells earned a full ride scholarship and believes he was welcomed to the school with open arms. 

“I feel like I was welcomed with open arms, they really genuinely accepted me,” Shirrells said. “They also made me feel like I could be better than when I first got there.”

Smoot would agree. 

“I liked the facility, the coaching staff was very friendly,” Smoot said. “We were just all on the same page.” 

Although this was Smoots only offer, he has high hopes of what he could bring on the field as well as in the classroom his freshmen year. 

“I want to get on the field my freshmen year,” Smoot said. “That’s the main goal, and knock my classes out.”

Senior Payton Young took a different route and committed to the University of Saint Francis. 

Young believes that this was the best offer he got. 

“Honestly it was the best offer I got, and not too far from home,” Young said. “The situation I am in right now I am ok with being a little far, but also still close enough to come home and come back.”

Young took a lot into consideration when making his decision, and was even surprised that he was able to play at the next level. 

“The first thing was playing time, and where they got me playing,” Young said. “With me playing on both sides of the ball. I didn’t think I would play in college. But another thing was money, the other offers I had were good money but this was the best offer I had financially.”

Just like the other athletes, Young has high hopes of starting as a freshman. 

“Hopefully I get to start as a freshman either on defense or offense,” Young said. “If I don’t, as long as I get reps I am okay with that.”

Jaylen Thomas, another senior football player, committed to Lincoln University where he won’t be too far from one of his close friends, Philip Roche, a Missouri commit. 

Thomas received a full ride scholarship. 

Thomas did have other offers but Lincoln showed him the most interest, and also gave him hopes of starting as a freshman. 

“They said it’s a pretty good chance if I come down there I will probably start my freshmen year,” Thomas said. 

Everyone’s goals are different but in the end these are small goals leading up to the bigger ones. Starting. 

“I want to learn the offense, start, and get a good film,” Thomas said. 

Thomas had other offers but believes this environment was the most suitable. 

“I was looking at the classrooms, the environment (who I was going to be around) and where it was all located,” he said, “and luckily for me I’m 30 minutes away from my childhood friend (Roche).” 

Other athletes committing:

Colin Early- Manchester University (baseball)

Myalee Jackson- Kaskaskia College, Illinois (basketball)

Justin Marshall – Colorado State (football) 

Fredick Retic- Indiana Wesleyan University (football) 

Jeremiah Roberts- Indiana Wesleyan University (football)

Philip Roche- University of Missouri (football) 

Adonis Rodgers- Lakeland University, Wisconsin (football)