Five football players sign their Letters of Intent as Signing Day 2020 concludes

Courtesy+of+Mark+Martin

Courtesy of Mark Martin

Alex Cirino

The second wave of college-bound student-athletes signed their NCAA Letters of Intent on February 5. Wilson’s second annual National Signing Day event featured five football players who have each committed to play at the Division II and III levels. 

The Wilson atrium was once again packed with numerous members of the Wilson community ready to celebrate several student-athletes as they officially got set to take their football careers to the next level. Curtis Jefferson, Elijah Hayes-Miller, Masiah Thorne, Haason Forbes, and Trevor Thiesfield-Jones were all honored in a ceremonial fashion, leading up to the eventual signing of the Letter of Intent. These players committed to Shepherd University, the US Coast Guard Academy, Wheeling University, and Lincoln University respectively.

Elijah Hayes-Miller has committed to the US Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut where he won’t just be playing football. He is a rare collegiate multi sport athlete who has also committed to play lacrosse. “What drew me most to Coast Guard was the family aspect,” said Hayes-Miller. Along with the coaches, many of his friends have also committed or are already on the team, which was one of the main deciding factors. Although Hayes-Miller will graduate from Wilson this year, he has been appointed to spend a year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Rhode Island through the Coast Guard’s lacrosse program. 

Wheeling University’s newly formed football program took off in 2016 and is still looking to climb up the ranks of Division II football. They have turned to Wilson athletes Masiah Thorne and Haason Forbes to try and turn that around. Wheeling’s underdog status is something that drew Thorne to its program. “With them being a young team, I know I can get on the field,” said Thorne. He sees it as the best opportunity to showcase what he’s capable of. After battling many injuries his senior season, Thorne’s recruiting process got off to a late start as he didn’t receive an offer from Wheeling early last December. Thorne, however, views this season’s setbacks as an advantage. Not playing at full health forced him to play new positions, which has prepared him to be a versatile player on Wheeling’s up-and-coming squad.

Thorne was the one who got Forbes on the school’s radar and he was a major factor in Forbes’ decision to commit. “Ever since I got the offer, they were showing me a lot of love,” Thorne added. A lot of coaches tell you what you want to hear but the Wheeling coach kept it 100 with me.” A strong, motivated mentality allowed these two athletes to shine despite a disappointing season, earning them the ultimate recognition they deserve.

Curtis Jefferson had received the most offers out of the five signees ahead of February’s Signing Day, but he ultimately decided on Shepherd University. A very successful Division II program in recent history, Shepherd has won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference three out of the past five seasons along with a trip to the 2015 NCAA championship game. Jefferson, a 6 foot 2 inch, 285 pound center earned many offers through standout performances his junior and senior seasons including the 2020 class’ only Division I offer from Rhode Island University. After 71 tackles and four fumble recoveries this season, Jefferson will look to represent the Tigers next fall at a competitive collegiate level.

Fellow center Trevor Thiesfield-Jones has committed to Lincoln University, a Division II program in Pennsylvania. He will join former Wilson standout Amir Gerald, who just concluded his freshman season at Lincoln where he averaged 18 yards per game in just six games played. Thiesfield-Jones will hope to be a key factor in this season’s turnaround as Lincoln finished this season 0-10.

A lot of credit for these student-athletes’ college readiness stemmed from the strict yet motivated mentality orchestrated by former Head Coach Mark Martin. “They got my body ready, they got me mentally ready, and they got me academically ready,” Thorne said. Martin’s supportive environment didn’t just prepare these five student-athletes for NCAA ball. The entire senior class has received an offer from a collegiate football team. It is very likely that 2020 will see its whole football class commit although there will not be another National Signing Day event this year.