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Rising ninth graders at Benjamin Russell High School have committed to the future of the program with a glorious signing day.

For many athletes that enter a high school program, there is a sense that they become just one of the number, but the Wildcats’ signing night for rising ninth graders is set to go a long way.

“Our football program going forward will be one unified family and welcoming our eighth graders to the high school is a key first step to making sure they know we are excited about them coming and that we want them to have a great first impression while getting to know each other,” BRHS head football coach Aubrey Blackwell said. “Each year, this event will continue to get better and better as well. It was great to have these families here to get a jump start on knowing our coaches and program while at the same time, having a great experience getting to put that jersey on for the first time. We want playing football at BR to be full of pride and excitement.”

A huge part of the signing day gave many people a chance to get comfortable in new situations and introduce them to help them start thriving in the environment.

“I have not been able to meet the majority of our families yet, so this also gave me an opportunity for me to start the process of developing my relationship and trust with the parents as well,” Blackwell admitted. “I want the community, especially our community of parents at BR, to start getting excited again about BR football. Like I also told the parents that were there, I want them to go back to those families who are on the fence about their son playing football in my program and communicate to them all the things our program will offer them in their development as quality young men.”

The night was upbeat according to Blackwell. The commitments made weren’t to the football program, Blackwell said, but to themselves as athletes.

“It was a commitment for them to give their best, no matter what,” Blackwell said. “To not allow for excuses or effort get in the way of their hope for their futures. I also challenged them to be a difference maker, to go out and fight for their future and allow this program, their teachers, and their coaches to help them along the way.”

There is a plan for more of these specific events in the future of the Wildcat football program but with the passion and energy and a determination in Blackwell to be first class in everything they do – the program will reflect that idea.

Blackwell says that he will fill his program with coaches who are that way and wants to surround the program with people who want the same.

“I don't want excuses as to why we can't, but find ways to say ‘yes we can’ when it comes to running a first class, life-giving program.” Blackwell said.

Regional Sports Director

Darius Goodman graduated from South Carolina State University in 2015 and returned to Georgia as a sports journalist. 2017 Award-winning sports journalist in Georgia now in Alabama looking to tell the stories of the community.