The Model Blue Devils saw a flurry of football signings on National Signing Day as Owen Henderson, Luke Holtzendorf, Sam Silver and Chris Ridling all committed to continue their academic and football careers at the next level.
Owen Henderson and Chris Ridling both signed with one of the hometown programs in Shorter University.
“It’s special,” Henderson said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of since I started playing (football) in second grade. Signing at Shorter, the hometown place, it’s something special. Coach (Zach) Morrison was definitely high on me (and) the brick-by-brick mentality.”
Ridling touched a bit more on the spiritual side.
“I felt like it was my calling from God,” Ridling said. “I feel like it’s what I needed to get closer in my relationship with Him and it’s a good school. I want to stay in my community.”
Sam Silver committed to Birmingham Southern in Alabama and will likely be a defensive back for them.
“As soon as I walked on campus, I knew that’s where I was supposed to be at,” Silver said on his signing. “Just relentlessly pursuing excellence in everything that you do in life, not just on the football field.”
Luke Holtzendorf will be traveling the farthest of the group that committed on Wednesday. He inked with Wingate University in North Carolina.
“It’s a long ways away from home, so when I got there, I felt like I was more at home. It’s giving me a chance to mature and grow up to be a man,” Holtzendorf said. “I really love the team. I felt like it was the best place for me.”
For Model head coach Jeff Hunnicutt, the significance of signing day is not lost on him, as he has stood in their shoes before.
“It means a lot and I think once these guys get out there, the greater thing they are going to need to take away from this is getting that education,” Hunnicutt said. “They’re becoming young adults.”
The Model faMily is dealing with a tragic loss in Cole Couey, who was killed in an auto wreck last weekend. All four signees proudly wore a blue ribbon in Couey’s memory.
“It’s just about being behind the Couey family, not as a coach but as a parent,” Hunnicutt said. “It’s heart wrenching. Cole’s a special kid and he’ll always be a part of this community.”
“It means a lot to do this after Cole passed away,” Henderson said. “Just something to give to him and something we can always have as a memory.”
Model High School will be hosting a community prayer service at Woodard-Tuggle Stadium Thursday at 7 p.m.