Thursday, February 6, Pope John Paul II held their winter signing period where nine student-athletes signed to continue their education and athletic careers at the next level.
Below is a few words from each coach who spent the last four years with the respective student-athletes.
Zach Crum -
Zach Crum will continue his baseball career at Kentucky Wesleyan.
Said by his coach, Christ Parker, "Too many times in sports we measure a team, a program’s success by wins and Losses. But this signing day, helping players develop so they may continue their education and still play the games they love are the true victories. Victories that last forever. In so many ways a coach is like a parent or an extension of a player’s parents. I’d say it’s a fact, especially during season, a coach spends more “quality time” with the athlete. And as coaches we share the same emotions as parents. Sometimes you wanna hug em’ and sometimes you just shake your head. Whether he forgets his socks, his belt, his cap or he makes a great throw or drives in two runs with two outs I still care for and am very proud of Zach Crum. Zach in so many ways models what we want a Pope John Paul II baseball player: he’s tough, talented, and a very hard worker, always striving to do his best and help his team. These characteristics along all he’s learned from his teachers here at JPII will stay with Zach at Kentucky Wesleyan and in his adult life. I am very excited to coach Zach again this season, his senior year. All his perseverance will pay off. The Panthers in Owensboro are getting one of our best Knights!"
Devvan Darden -
Devvan will continue his football career at Western Kentucky University.
Said by his coach, Justin Geisinger, "Devvan was not light in the stats area as he may have the all-time record here at JPII for career interceptions. His physical presence and style of play in our secondary will certainly be tough to replace, but again, I want you to see the trend here in these guys...Devvan Darden was a strong student taking care of business in our classrooms. Academics was a priority to him and because of this, as in all these athletes, several options opened for him across the country...and at the end of the day, an opportunity to compete on a big stage at a high level and follow in a family members footsteps sealed the decision for Devvan at WKU...but all 5 of these guys up here have one big thing in common...they had a commitment to excellence in taking their opportunities they have given here at JPII and worked to make the most of them...and here they are."
Brooks Heagarty -
Brooks will continue his football career at the University of Richmond.
Said by his coach, Justin Geisinger, "When I talk about a self-made player, I mean someone who through their individual buy-in and hard work, put themselves in position to succeed. Brooks was certainly not taken lightly as he was a 2-time All-Region selection in the deepest league in the state. He was also right there at the top of list as one of the most productive players on the stat sheets each year playing both sides of the ball for this football team as a top tackler at his linebacker position and key utility guy for us as a tight end. However, with Brooks, the lesson is this...Brooks did not always look this way. He was not always a 6’3” 230 pounder that looked the part of Division-1 football player. He created this with a mindset, investment, and decision that this is what he wanted to do and through his consistent hard work in the weight room, added 30 solid pounds to his frame in the past 2 years...and the University of Richmond took notice and have offered him a full-aid scholarship where he will attend this fall and where he has already signed and accepted his letter of intent back during the early signing period in December."
Jacob Lann -
Jacob Lann will continue his football career at Centre College.
Said by his coach, Justin Geisinger, "Well, it should not be a surprise to anybody in this room that this young man has put himself in position to where he is today. You all voted on him as your student-body president, his team voted on him as a team captain, so to me it is clear he possesses the qualities of someone you trust has his ‘ducks in a row’. Jake Lann has that and more as 4 years ago, he was not even a football player...in fact, he showed up to our football weight room orientations not realizing he was at a football function... at that time, I was able to convince he and his dad to stay for the session, and 2 hours later he was a football player...4 years later he has worked himself into not only one of our most valuable 2-way starters, but someone who because of his outstanding academic achievement (hear me on this young ones out there – this will ALWAYS put you in better position than athletics alone) and has drawn interest from many top academic schools around the country...and it just so happens the Colonels of Centre College were the lucky ones to land this guy. Congratulations to Jake Lann, who will become the newest Centre Colonel (of several) of our JPII alum."
Rory White -
Rory White will continue his football career at the Air Force Academy.
Said by his coach, Justin Geisinger, "This program loses its most productive and dominant wide receiver force in our school’s history, that’s the bottom line. An All-State selection in all the publications, a Tennessee Toyota East-West All-Star Selection, amongst all the other accolades on down – you name it, Rory was certainly recognized for his talents and deservingly so. 900 yards receiving on 20 yards average per reception with 8 receiving TD’s is not to take lightly in his senior year.
While Rory will be remembered as a standout player, what I think we will remember most about Rory is his humble attitude as one of our team captains... and his decision to continue to this leadership and his education on to one of our fine military academies serving in the United States Air Force. I know Rory’s best years as an athlete, but more importantly as a standout citizen and ambassador for our country, are still ahead of him, and I look forward to following him as he continues to make us proud in Colorado Springs this fall."
Jay Wright -
Jay Wright will continue his football career at Cumberland University.
Said by his coach, Justin Geisinger, "Jay Wright leaves our program this year as one of the most productive football players to ever wear a JPII uniform. A 2-time DII-AAA All-Region performer, and more than likely JPII all-time career leading tackler with 72 tackles, 14 TFL’s, 3 sacks, and 1 INT just this past season...it is clear if you have watched JPII football, you knew who #40 was. Jay Wright is a competitor, a 2-way starter who rarely came off the field. The best way I could describe Jay is as I did for his senior banquet...and I googled, just to see what the good ole’ google machine had to say “what makes a good football player” you will find the words tough, physical, strength, instincts, aggressiveness....and you can check all the boxes, Jay fits them all and then some. JPII will miss the tenacity and the consistency of #40 and he leaves very big shoes to fill, his mission now lies ahead of him as he continues on just down the road at Cumberland University as a Phoenix in the fall."
Kyle Winter -
Kyle Winter will continue his lacrosse career at Birmingham Southern.
Said by his coach, Pat Kennedy, "
It is an honor to be able to talk about Kyle Winter today. Although we are very early in the lacrosse season and have only had a handful of practices, it is clear as to why Kyle was a coveted recruit within the college lacrosse world. First of all, he plays with passion and goes 100% in every aspect of practice, including our “Coach Hanson” conditioning sessions, where he always seems to win every sprint or competition, or at least finish in the top handful of players. Secondly, he is extremely competitive. When we keep score during certain drills, he continuously puts his team “on his back” and somehow finds ways to score the game winning goals. Finally, Kyle has been receiving national recognition while at recruiting events scattered throughout the country. He was named MVP of the Southern MBX Showcase. Brett Manney, who is known as one of the top high school talent evaluators in the nation, had this to say about Kyle after the MBX Showcase:
"It was great to see Winter again as he shined at our Baltimore Showcase this past June. As a natural lefty, Winter can operate from the wing or behind at X and always finds a way to get to his left hand. Over the course of the event, he was the focal point of his offense and everyone knew he would make a play by assisting or scoring. He was a threat every time he had the ball but the most impressive thing was how he got better over two days. He started to use his size and skill to come across the cage more and finishing from his high arch rather than his hip. Someone who still needs a 2020 attack-man would score a late bloomer with Winter who would add a nice piece to your offense."
"Wow! All I can say is congratulations to Birmingham Southern and Coach Kear for landing Kyle Winter. My only wish is that this wasn’t Kyle’s last season at JPII! "
Roxy Preston -
Roxy Preston will continue her soccer career at St. Michael's College
Said of Roxy by her coach, Zack Trobaugh, "
JPII Soccer is excited to celebrate Roxy Preston today as she signs with Saint Michael’s College. Roxy is a four-year varsity starter and key contributor to the growth of our soccer program over these past few years. Roxy is the type of player who will do anything for her team. In her time here, she has played through injuries and has learned new positions in an effort to help her team be successful. She has been a strong presence that our players can look to for guidance and has set an example for others to follow both on the field and in the classroom. It is this dedication and willingness to persevere through challenging times that shows she will be a success at the next level both athletically and academically. We are so excited that Roxy has earned this opportunity and know she will represent our school well. Congratulations to Roxy Preston and Saint Michael’s College on signing this exceptional student-athlete!"
Noah Putman -
Noah Putman will continue his soccer career at Maryville College.
Said by his coach, Zack Trobaugh, "
JPII Soccer is happy to celebrate with Noah Putman and his family today as he signs with Maryville College. Noah is a four-year varsity starter and has been a stand-out for our men’s team for the past three years. Since his sophomore year he has had a lot of responsibility and expectations pushed his way. In that time, he has captained the team in multiple games, has led the team in assists, and has helped push our team into becoming one of the best in our region. Noah is a leader. He is a dedicated, hard-working young man who loves to play the game. I’m excited for what this season holds for our team because we are led by players like Noah. We are excited for Noah and this opportunity he has earned. There is no doubt that he will be successful at Maryville and we will continue to cheer him on. Congratulations to Noah Putman and Maryville College on signing such a great student-athlete!"