College Football Commits Focus on Future

Helena Lara, Sports Editor

LBJ Junior Latrell McCutchin has committed to playing for the University Of Alabama in 2021 as a cornerback after playing 4 years of varsity football at LBJ. McCutchin also has offers from the University of Tennessee, University of Texas, Louisiana State University, Ohio State, and 14 others.

For McCutchin, and many other players competing in college, it is not solely based on pursuing success in a football career, but also about striving for a scholarship that helps them continue their education and support themselves and their families financially.

“Football is something I feel like I can use to get an education and help my family financially,” McCutchin said.

LBJ Junior and varsity football player Andrew Mukuba has been playing football since sixth grade with a longstanding goal of playing collegiately. Like McCutchin, Mukuba plans on continuing his career by playing for a university to earn a scholarship that supports him financially throughout college.

“I started playing because I’ve always liked football and I’ve always wanted to play football and I feel like that’s the way to make my family’s life easier because my mom wouldn’t have to pay for college,” Mukuba said.

Mukuba’s offers include University of Arizona, University of Tulsa, and University of Arkansas. Additionally, LBJ senior and varsity football player Sean Fresch has committed to Rice University after receiving offers from the University Of Texas at San Antonio and Sam Houston University and others. Not only have the players received offers individually but as a team they have been working towards and discussing these offers and their athletic and academic goals together.

“We talk about it all the time, we’ve been talking about it since we were little, playing college football, big-time football so I feel like they feel the same way too,” Mukuba said.

Playing collegiate football brings financial benefits that many players on the team strive for because of the support it brings. According to Mukuba, they come together on this matter and it contributes to their team spirit that is essential to their success.

“The people around here I’ve been playing them since I was little and so it’s like the chemistry is here and we just like being around each other,” Mukuba said.

According to head coach Jahmal Fenner, playing collegiately after high school is part of what drives the students in playing and practicing hard. At games and practices, players don’t only have high school success on their minds, they think about playing professionally after their high school careers.

“A part of chasing their dream is to get a scholarship and hopefully one day get a big paycheck and go to the NFL and the likelihood of it is very small, you know, but that was one of the things that inspired me to be a collegiate athlete,” Fenner. “That was the goal of going in and playing in the NFL and so I think that does exist within a lot of our kids in our program.”

For Mukuba, playing in high school is a step towards continuing in the NFL. Therefore, practicing and working towards games now is how he will extend his career in college and hopefully into the future.

“My goal is to continue my career playing football and hopefully continue to the league one day,” Mukuba said.

To continue playing football in college, players go through the recruiting process where coaches scout players for their teams. According to McCutchin, the recruiting process is different for each player and can affect their ultimate decision about where they want to play in college.

“The recruiting process is long and stressful but Alabama made it a lot easier when they came and offered to me,” McCutchin said. “My experience with the recruiting process was pretty good and I didn’t really have to wait on any offers and things like that.”

An important part of recruitment is getting noticed by colleges and making sure their abilities are highlighted. One way players fo this is by taking recruitment films and during games and practices.

“We’ve created a culture of promoting recruitment and that’s why I really feel like we’ve gotten a lot of attention from recruiters because we’re really working hard behind the scenes and trying to get our kids looked at and making highlight films,” Fenner said.

Mukuba believes the support from the coaches about recruitment is paying off. He said that the coaches continue to encourage him to put in the effort during practice and perform at his best level during games.

“I feel like I put in so much hard work into the game and countless hours and I feel like I’m on the right path right now,” Mukuba said.

McCutchin believes he has prepared for his collegiate football career because of his achievements in high school and is ready for that next step in 2021 where he has committed to playing for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.

“I feel like my high school career has prepared me for college,” McCutchin said.