For the first time in 21 years, East Central High School had a football player sign with an FBS program on Wednesday.
Senior offensive tackle Conner Estes followed through with his verbal commitment and inked with Louisiana Tech.
“It's just a blessing,” Estes said. “I'm surrounded by great guys. It's definitely been a team effort. I was in the right place at the right time.”
The signing of Estes on Wednesday was also a sign of the progress that East Central football has made under Seth Smith, who is entering his fifth year at the school.
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“It shows you reap what you sow,” Smith said. “He came in as a freshman, had great attitude and worked extremely hard. You see the fruits of his labor. It's an honor to coach these likes Conner and all these young men.”
Estes verbally committed to Louisiana Tech in July after also receiving scholarship offers from Southern Miss and Arkansas State. Estes remained dedicated to Estes throughout the process.
“I loved it from the beginning and I knew it was by far my favorite,” Estes said. “Southern Miss was the only real competition. (Offensive line coach Robert McFarland), me and him are tight. I look forward to getting up there and working for them.
“There was never really a weight on my shoulders because I knew the whole time. I sent (the letter of intent) in right after 7 a.m.”
The 6-foot-5, 304-pound Estes said that the staff expects him to play tackle, but could also fit in at guard.
Estes developed from a raw talent into one of the best offensive linemen in the state as a senior.
“He didn't even play junior high football,” Smith said. “He started in his ninth grade year. He came in humble, willing to learn. He had a great attitude. Here we are signing our first one in 21 years. It's an honor to be part of it.”
Also signing: East Central senior offensive lineman Devin Auvil also signed with Jones County Junior College on Wednesday. He will play center for the Bobcats.