The Brownwood Lions' 2019 starting backfield will be reunited on the gridiron at Hardin-Simmons University in the fall.
On Friday, Lions senior running back Reece Rodgers signed a national letter of intent to join the Cowboy program during a ceremony at Warren Gym. Earlier this month, Brownwood quarterback Drew Huff also inked with Hardin-Simmons.
“I'm ready for that,” Rodgers said of teaming up with Huff again. “We have a past, we played together and hopefully he'll be my quarterback for the next four years.
In regard to continuing his athletic career in college, Rodgers said, “It's great being able to play at the next level. I can't thank everybody enough for giving me the opportunity to do this. I'm ready to go for it and see where it takes me.”
Rodgers stated he picked Hardin-Simmons over Howard Payne and a couple of junior colleges that showed interest.
“Hardin-Simmons was really the top one,” Rodgers said. “I really enjoyed how everything was there. When I went there it was such a great atmosphere, it felt the right way. The coaches were great and the players were respectful.
As a senior, Rodgers rushed for 1,902 yards and 28 touchdowns while catching 12 passes for 121 yards with another trip to the end zone as the Lions posted an 11-2 record and reached the third round of the playoffs. Rodgers was named the Lions Offensive MVP, the District 5-4A Division I Offensive Player of the Year and received honorable mention all-state accolades by the Texas Sports Writers Association.
“We didn't know how things were going to be,” Rodgers said while reflecting back on the season. “A lot of people were doubting us and I'm glad we went out there and proved everyone wrong and showed them what kind of people we were and what kind of team we were.”
Regarding what he'll remember most about his senior campaign, Rodgers said, “Probably the fans, the atmosphere, and the way people changed their outlook on us. We switched everything and made it seem like Brownwood was going back to the way it was.”
Lions head coach Sammy Burnett was also on hand at the ceremony.
“I had a great opportunity the last two years to build a relationship with Reece, he's like one of my own,” Burnett said. “What an outstanding career he had for us, not just on the field but with his leadership. Anybody that knows Reece knows he's fun to be around, he jokes all the time, makes you smile and makes life worth living. I'm thankful he has an opportunity to play at the next level. Hard work and dedication pays off and I appreciate the example he's set for others.”
Bryan Clark served as Rodgers' position coach on offense, in charge of the running backs, and spoke as well.
“I've been here eight years now so I've seen him since he was such a little pup,” Clark said. “I've never been around a kid that was more enjoyable to coach. He made my job easy, he knew how to work but have fun at the same time, too. More than anything, thanks for being a great role model for my kids and the younger Lions coming along.”