“Very excited, very excited,” were the words Trey Bolton chose to describe his feelings after making the decision to attend Faulkner University in Montgomery and play football for the Eagles. The Cleburne County senior, a running back for the Tigers, expects to report in mid-June but will continue working out in the meantime.

“The environment that they have fits me well and it’s right down the road so my parents won’t have to travel six or seven hours to come see me,” Bolton said.

“They also have a degree that I want to major in.”

That degree program, criminal justice, is as important to Bolton as the opportunity to continue playing football.

“My parents always taught me that education comes first,” he said. “I have bought in to the program that if you don’t like what you are doing you can always fall back on you education. Ever since I was a child I’ve taken education seriously.”

Faulkner plays its football in the NAIA’s Mid-South Conference. Second-year head coach Brent Barker’s team was 9-3 last fall, winning the conference’s West Division and advancing to the first round of the NAIA playoffs.

Bolton said he expected to receive an email soon from assistant coach Henry Woodard with a workout program. He should already have a leg up on most Faulkner recruits.

“Coach (Rusty) Mayfield’s program up here is one of the toughest I’ve seen,” Bolton noted. “I’m looking for it to be a step above what we’re doing but coach Mayfield does have a great program.” Bolton, a compact 5-foot- 8, 185 pounds, doesn’t question his ability to play successfully past high school and avoid injury.

“It’s a big transition from high school to the collegiate level but if I train my body properly and follow the program they have for weightlifting that factor of injury is not going to affect my body,” he predicted.

On an early-season trip last fall, Bolton was able to see the Eagles in action. He liked what he observed of the offense and, while there haven’t been any discussions yet about his role on his new team, he hopes to have the ball in his hands.