Daniel Carson, one of the most highly recruited student-athletes in the history of Eastern Jackson County prep sports, was finally able to put his signature on a national letter of intent early Wednesday morning in front of a large group of family members, friends, students, teachers, administrators and coaches at William Chrisman High School.

The all-state defensive end and Buck Buchanan Award finalist stood by his verbal commitment and signed his letter of intent with Division I Texas.

The signing session also included three of Carson’s teammates. All-state linebacker Emori Thomas signed with NCAA Division II Missouri Western. Lineman Dominic Toese chose Graceland University, an NAIA program in Lamoni, Iowa, and defensive lineman Lovelle Williamson signed with Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Carson – who was recruited by many of the top programs in the country, including Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida and Oklahoma – said the Longhorns were his choice for many reasons.

“I feel very blessed to be signing today with Texas, because the coaches from Texas have been with me since the first part of the recruiting process,” Carson said. “I have been blessed to be a part of our 8-2 football team, along with James Bailey (who is now playing at Missouri Western), my junior year and our team last year.

“I was part of the building process here at Chrisman and I want to be part of the building process at Texas. Their coaches are awesome. They always made me feel like a part of the Texas family, and when I visited, they made me feel like a part of the family, like I was already a member of the team.

“It’s been a long recruiting process, and while I enjoyed visiting with coaches and players all over the country, I’m glad it’s all over. I’m so excited about going to Texas and hope I can be a part of something special like I have been blessed to be here at Chrisman.”

First-year Chrisman head coach Matt Perry praised the quartet of signees who helped the Bears turn around the struggling program, going 15-6 over the last two seasons and claiming their first conference title in 35 years as juniors.

“Daniel is a four-year starter who is a true student-athlete,” said Perry, who told the crowd that Carson sports a 3.8 grade point average this year and a 3.5 GPA overall. “He had 35 sacks in his high school career, but even more impressive than that stat is that he is a great young man.

“As hard as it is going to be to learn the ‘Hook ‘em Horns’ sign, I will for Daniel. It’s hard to see him leave, but we are so excited about his future.”

Thomas, a four-year starter, leaves Chrisman with more than 300 tackles and the admiration of his coach.

“We called Emori the tackling machine,” Perry said. “All you young guys in the audience, you better work on your tackling because the tackling machine is going to Missouri Western.”

Toese, another four-year starter, finished last season with 59 tackles and four sacks.

“We played Dominic at fullback, linebacker, offensive guard and last season on the defensive line,” the coach said. “He’s a great player and a great young man. We’re going to miss seeing that big smile every day.”

Williamson moved to Chrisman from Ruskin, and earned the respect of his peers and his coach.

“Lovelle came to us from Ruskin, and he has that big, big body – I call him the teddy bear,” Perry joked, “but he’s not a teddy bear on the football field. He has some work to do, but if he works hard, he can be a special player in college.”