Monday, February 19, 2018

Carthage's Ingram honors his commitment to Longhorns

By Hayden Henry
Feb. 7, 2018 at 9:11 p.m.

Carthage head coach and athletic director Scott Surratt speaks prior to a National Signing Day ceremony Wednesday at the Carthage ISD Performing Arts Center.

CARTHAGE — Throughout the process, Keaontay Ingram remained focused on the moments.

The first was in December when, instead of signing during the early signing period, he helped guide Carthage to an undefeated season and back-to-back state titles.

Another moment was Wednesday morning, when the longtime University of Texas commit signed alongside seven teammates and 11 total Carthage student-athletes.

"It meant a lot to me," Ingram said following a ceremony at the Carthage ISD Performing Arts Center. "I wanted to sign with my brothers, the guys I grew up with and share this special moment with them."

Not signing in December may have kept Longhorn fans on edge when it came down to where Ingram, who held opportunities from prestigious programs from across the nation, would sign. It was, however, Hook 'Em from the start for Ingram.

"I heard from several schools late in the process from all over but it was Texas," Ingram said. "They kept it real with me the entire way.

"I understand the situation with what we're going through and how we're going to get to where we need to be.

"I feel like everyone there is on the same page and focused on making that happen."

With the process officially over, Ingram will now focus on his next moment: Joining the Longhorns and hitting the ground running to do whatever he can to help out.

"The next step is to become a better me," Ingram said. "I want to be a running back but go out and run routes like a wide receiver and block every time I have to.

"I want to run the ball like Adrian Peterson and have the patience of Le'Veon Bell. I want to be all of that and be the best me I can be."

The list of accolades and achievements from all 11 Carthage signees from athletic director Scott Surratt was long on Wednesday morning.

"These are 11 special student-athletes who excelled on whatever field, court of classroom they've stepped in," Surratt said. "It's a very talented group that have represented themselves, their families, their teams and their community very well.

"They have great attitudes and great character, every single one of them."

Carthage's wide receiver duo of Dee Bowens and Dewaylong Ingram will once again team up at Sam Houston State University. Linebacker Ahmad Brown signed with Tarleton State University, while Mehki Colbert and Mykel Gates will go the junior college route, signing with Tyler Junior College and Blinn College, respectively.

Callahan Baldree, who was a tight end on Carthage's state football team, will continue his baseball career at Weatherford College.

Volleyball standouts Courtney Edge and Matti Doffitt signed with Eastfield Junior College and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, respectively.

Softball standouts Carson Robertson (University of Texas at Tyler) and Hope Kruebbe (Chipola Junior College) will continue their careers after their final season at Carthage.

"They've all put in a tremendous amount of work to reach this point," Surratt said. "And now it's time to get back to work."

Ingram was proud to share the moment on Wednesday before all 11 go their respective ways.

"There was a lot of talent and a lot of bright futures on this stage today," Ingram said. "There was a lot of hard work and dedication that was put in by everybody to reach this moment."



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