PELL CITY -- Three Pell City High School student-athletes signed letters-of-intent to play football, and one signed to compete in football and track during a ceremony Wednesday coinciding with National Signing Day.
Sergio Alvarez Jr. signed with Jacksonville State University, where he’ll have an opportunity at kicker and punter for the Gamecocks.
“I was looking at Troy University, but I figured they had a little more depth than Jacksonville State would,” Alvarez said. “So I figured if I went to Jacksonville State, I could play earlier, or even in my freshman year, I could probably play.”
Alvarez said he started playing football in seventh grade but didn’t really take it seriously until his freshman year, when he started to embrace the sport.
“I really just learned that even if you miss one, you’ve got to look to the next one,” he said. “There’s really nothing anybody can do to take away what you have with your brothers in the locker room. There’s nothing that can ever change what you’ve learned, because the memories I’ve made the past four years, they’ll stick with me forever.”
Quarterback Braden Crow, who opened the 2017 season for the Panthers as a backup to Jackson Burkhalter, committed to Mississippi College. The Choctaws play in the Division II Gulf South Conference and finished the 2017 season 1-9.
“I had been offered by LaGrange (Georgia), Brevard College up in North Carolina and Belhaven University up in Jackson, Mississippi,” Crow said. “I had a lot of other outstanding offers, but financially, Mississippi College was the best path for me to go down. I think with my business degree I want to pursue, it’s going to be the best path for me as well as my education.
“They want me to come play quarterback for them. They had a bad season last year … So we look to improve on that.”
Crow said he grew plenty from having three different coaches during his playing career with the Panthers.
“It was crazy learning three different offenses,” he said. “I think that’s really going to help me to catch on quicker when I get to the next level to be able to play, and I think it’s going to allow me to be able to play as a freshman and really help the team out.”
Pell City running back Gaitlin Roberson picked Kansas Wesleyan University over offers from Trinity International University (Illinois), Brevard College (North Carolina) and the University of the Cumberlands (Kentucky). He’ll play running back and slot receiver for the Coyotes.
“The coaches were showing a lot of interest in me, and I could tell they care for their players,” Roberson said. “They had nice facilities (and new) facilities.”
Roberson’s attire, a glistening sports coat that looked like it could easily find a home in Cam Newton’s wardrobe, stood out among the quartet.
“I’m a very spiffy kind of guy,” Roberson said. “You know, I’ve got to always look good, and I’ve got to always (give) a great first impression.”
Panthers offensive lineman Jordan Burgos will continue his football and track career at Brevard College. He’ll play center and guard for football and compete in the shot put in track.
“My senior year, I didn’t really get to play because I blew my shoulder out,” Burgos said. “I had a couple of schools looking at me, but since they found out about my shoulder, they cut me. Brevard (College) was really a prayer answered to finally give me a shot, but Brevard was the only one I was looking at because they gave me my shot.
“One thing I’ve learned is never give up and never turn my back on people. Alway trust people and trust the process.”
Burgos said he plans to study secondary education.