After leaving Louisiana Tech this spring, former East Central football star Conner Estes said Saturday that he hoped to land an offer from South Alabama after playing the 2018 season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
His prayers have been answered a little earlier than expected.
Estes received a scholarship offer from South Alabama on Sunday and verbally committed to the Jaguars during a visit to the Mobile campus on Monday.
“All I can think about is how blessed I am,” Estes said. “It's all working out. I couldn't have written it up any better. It'll be like a family reunion there.”
Estes will have a handful of familiar faces in the USA locker room.
East Central star running back Tony Brown and offensive lineman Wyatt Green signed with South Alabama in February and MGCCC offensive lineman Jacob Shoemaker, a Harrison Central product, committed to South Alabama last month.
South Alabama is entering its first season under head coach Steve Campbell, a former MGCCC head coach, who was hired away from Central Arkansas in December. A member of Campbell's staff, Chad Huff, is an East Central product and also a former head coach at MGCCC.
Those close ties to East Central and MGCCC helped speed up the process for Estes to land the USA offer.
South Alabama first reached out to the MGCCC staff and Estes following the Saturday publication of a story to the Sun Herald website that indicated his interest in playing for the Jaguars.
The USA staff first spoke with MGCCC offensive line coach Les George about the prospect of Estes coming to South Alabama. On Sunday, Huff and Campbell called to inform Estes that he had a scholarship waiting on him at South Alabama.
“It happened exactly how I wanted it to,” he said.
Estes sat down and talked with Campbell during his visit.
“He's pretty excited about me, looking at my size and all,” Estes said. “He liked East Central and the way they play super tough football. I think every football coach likes that.”
Estes will play the 2018 campaign at MGCCC and have three years of eligibility remaining once he signs with USA in December as planned.
Estes said his former East Central teammates are “stoked” that he will be joining them at South Alabama and his family is even more excited to have him close to home.
“They're very, very thankful they'll get the opportunity to see me play right down the road,” Estes said.