Four footballers and a golfer sign to play at the next level
Fri, 2017-02-03 05:00 News Staff
By TJ MAXWELL
Four Copperas Cove football players and another former footballer that transitioned to golf participated in Wednesday’s National Signing Day festivities at the high school.
Tariq Anthony and Tyson Curry signed from the defensive side of the ball to Kilgore College and Cisco College, respectfully while tackle Bryant Williams (Howard Payne University) and running back Kylan Herrera (Navarro College) will move on to the next level from the offensive side.
Caden McAnally, son of longtime Cove football coach Vance McAnally, also signed to play at the next level in golf at Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa.
It was a tumultuous year for Herrera.
He finished his junior season as a back up to senior Antonio Lealiiee before winning a gold medal in the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics in 7 on 7 football.
Expecting to come back with a chance to be the starter, Herrera missed most of the season with eligibility issues due to his family relocating. After transferring out of Copperas Cove ISD to Killeen ISD, he was unable to get clearance to join the Shoemaker Grey Wolves, which left him in limbo after an extremely active off-season where he attended college camps throughout the country and won a gold medal.
Eligibility rules required he be eligible somewhere as a senior, which brought him back to Copperas Cove where he finally got back on the field with just a few games remaining to again find himself in a back up role. He could have been bitter but used it as fuel to get better.
“I was just thanking God,” he said about getting back on the field. To have the ability to showcase my talent one more time was a blessing.
“It really changed me to work harder. Being behind two running backs pushed me a lot. I helped me with my work ethic and staying poised.”
Despite all the obstacles, he signed to play for Navarro College with eyes on the Division I level.
“It feels good,” he said about the opportunity. “I’m just ready to ball out and get ready for the Division I level after six months.”
Herrera chose Navarro to get him to that next level but he likes what they do offensively and the fact they work to get players to the next level.
“I feel like they are really moving forward in their program,” said Herrera. “They talk about wanting to push their kids to the D I level and that’s what I want to do. I want to get to the next level.”
Copperas Cove head coach Jack Welch believes he has that opportunity and compares Herrera to another Cove great.
“Kylan Herrera has so much ability,” said Welch. “You are going to see him explode in the next couple of years. He can run, he has great hands and he can block. When you have a running back that can do those three things, you’ve got a complete player.
“Here’s the thing about Kylan. You can’t contact him because you can’t catch him. When you do get him, he tries to truck you. We had a running back very similar to that a few years back in Donald Buckram.”
Williams excelled in his senior season on the offensive line, which earned him an opportunity to reach the next level. After sitting in the shadow of top prospect, now University of Texas player, JP Urquidez and others on the line a year ago; Williams made the best of his opportunity this year and it paid off.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Williams. “The facilities and coaches are really nice. They players are cool and I like their scheme and what they do.”
Being a part of what of the top offenses in Central Texas was pretty cool too, he said.
“It was amazing and probably some of the best experiences of my life,” he said. “Throwing kids on the ground was the best part. Watching them fall and running people over is fun.”
Welch feels Bryant is another who hasn’t reached his full potential.
“Bryant has a good frame on he’s a good offensive lineman,” he said. He’s going to be big and he’s going to be a tremendous ball player. He’s growing into himself and he did a good job for us.
“He’s always working and giving the best he can give. I think he will be a standout in a couple years.”
Playing at the next level was a foregone conclusion for Curry after leading the team in tackles for two-straight years despite being moved to several different positions.
“Tyson Curry played multiple positions for us defensively,” said defensive coordinator Reb Brock. “He’s like that patch kit for a bike. You put him in one spot and a hole busts through somewhere else. You move him over and he’d plug the hole. He did whatever we asked him to do.
“He was our leading tackler for two years. He’s very coachable, but what’s even better, he would coach the younger players and that’s a great show of leadership.”
Curry is excited and glad for the opportunity with Cisco.
“It feels pretty great to be able to play football at the next level,” he said. “They have a good student-to-teacher ratio. I like the class sizes and how the coaches were treating us.”
Anthony also took full advantage of his senior season to get to the next level.
“It feels good that I get this opportunity to further my education and my football opportunities at the next level,” he said. “I had several other choices, but one was in state. My dad and I thought about it and thought it was the best decision for me. It was in state, the team was good and the coaches liked me so that’s basically what it came down to.”
Anthony showed flashes of brilliance during the 7 on 7 season before transferring that to the gridiron in the fall.
“I’ve been on Tariq for a couple years telling him he had a chance,” said Brock. “Well, he had a really good senior year and he’s getting his chance and I hope he does well.
“He was a stalwart in our backfield. He was a good cover man and got progressively better each week. He’s very coachable and I wish him all the best.”
McAnally was a late bloomer but a quick learner.
Originally set on a college a college career in football, McAnally switched gears to his new sport of golf and earned a college scholarship after just four years in the sport.
“It’s extremely exciting,” he said. “I grew up always wanting to go collegiate but I was always looking at football growing up with my dad. Half way through high school, I realized that’s not an extremely attainable goal so when I started playing golf early, I figured that’s what I really had to do. I have been working at it as hard as I can this past four years.”
Those dreams started to look more like reality after his sophomore season.
‘I realized after my sophomore season when I really started to be decent at golf. I had the seniors above me who are now in college. Playing with Bryce (Anderson) and Tyler (Morrison), I knew I wasn’t far off from them and I could make it too. I got really excited to try and reach out to coaches.”
The coaching staff and the opportunity to play right away and against stiff competition drew him to Waldorf.
“Their coach is a grade A teaching professional and you really don’t see that in college,” he said. “Also, there is guaranteed playing time and, with them being in the NAIA Division I and playing against the bigger schools, I look forward to the competition.
McAnally is the midst of his final season with the Dawgs’ golf program. Theteam recently competed in the Lampasas Tournament and will play in the Hutto Invitational on Feb. 22.
“I’ve been coaching with his dad since w he was about 2 ½,” said Cove head golf coach Ryan Younglbood. “We grew up together. He gave me a scar on my eye watching him when he was a kid. I watched him grow up. He was team captain. He’s a great kid and I’m proud of him. I wish him the best and I look forward to watching him in Iowa. I hope he don’t freeze out there on the golf course.”
Welch is just happy to see the student-athletes continue their education.
“They are going to get an education,” he said. “You might be looking at the future President of the United States. We don’t laugh about that anymore. You might be looking at a Governor. Whatever you’re looking at, you’re looking at five people that are going to be successful and that’s what we’re most proud of.”
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