SIGNING DAY: East Texas athletes commit to play at collegiate level


EAST TEXAS, Texas (KETK) – Multiple schools had their high school senior student-athletes commit to play at collegiate levels.

Some of the schools include Bullard, Whitehouse, Lindale, Lufkin and Jacksonville.

One of the top basketball players in Jacksonville, Grace Abercrombie will play at the division one level as she signed with the college of Charleston in South Carolina. Abercrombie was a starter and dominant player since she was a freshman.

The reigning 16-five-A player was rated the 15th best prospect in the entire state. She got a little emotional as she signed her name on Wednesday evening.

“…I would just doubt myself a lot,” Abercrombie said. “So I really didn’t think I was gonna get here. It’s not over, it’s just starting a whole new chapter.”

At Bullard, four seniors signed the division one level:

  • Pitcher Hagen Smith will head to Fayetteville to join the Arkansas Razorbacks.
  • Gage Wakefield will be an outfielder for the Texas Longhorns.
  • Bryce Jewel and Connor Carson will both take their talents to Abilene Christian University.

“It’s everything to us, we’ve worked for this for years,” Gage Wakefield said.

The Lady Panthers were also represented. Softball pitcher Ariel Matula, who has a no hitter under her belt, will play for Butler Community College in Kansas.

For Basketball, Stephanie King will be staying in East Texas where she will play for Jacksonville college

At Whitehouse, the soon former Wildcats signed to play the following:

  • Logan Whitfield, who had been dealing for the cats on the mound, will head to Lubbock to pitch for Texas Tech.
  • Jack Clark, will be playing short stop for the Ragin Cajuns at the University of Louisiana Lafayette
  • Kate Idrogo, also joined the two after she spiked her way into the Northwestern State Demons Volleyball team.

At Lindale, a player followed his older brother Brad’s footsteps, on the exact same stage. Eagles middle infielder Brandon Burckel signed to play for the Houston Cougars. He and his brother played together at Lindale when Brandon was freshman and could play again if Brad doesn’t get picked up by the MLB draft in June.

Starting in August, both Brandon and Brad could have as many as two seasons together at the University of Houston.

Brandon is a four-year starter at Lindale and a first-team all district players as a sophomore.

“We’re both pretty excited to see each other again. To step on the field together. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always dreamed of being a division one athlete,” Brandon Burckel said.

Lindale high school volleyball’s Chelynn Palmer and Shelbi Steen signed as well. Palmer will head to Arkansas to play at Central Baptist College while Steen will go to Tyler Junior College

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