When Payne Neeson started playing football his freshman year at Tuloso-Midway High School, he had little experience with the sport.
"Well, London Middle School had one little year of eighth grade football, but it was nothing like any football anybody else had," Neeson said.
"Payne started a little slow for us the first year I was here," T-M football head coach Joe Sendejar said. "He's improved quite a bit and I'm glad that he did because he got a chance to go to that next level. He has a tough assignment and I think that he'll improve and make us proud."
Now Neeson, a senior, is ready to move on to the collegiate level as he signed a letter of intent Wednesday to commit to Texas A&M University - Kingsville after he graduates high school this year.
"They offered me a full ride," Neeson said. "(Also), I've always grown up around Kingsville. My dad's been to Kingsville and it means a lot to be a Javelina."
The signing took place on National Signing Day, which is the first day a high school senior can sign a binding letter of intent for college sports. It always falls on the first Wednesday in February.
While at TAMUK, Neeson plans to study Agriculture Business with a minor in Wildlife Management.
"It's a business degree, but Ag. based," Neeson said.
Also signing on Wednesday was Banquete High School senior Wade McElroy, who plans to attend Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.
"I'm so excited and pumped up," McElroy said. "Playing college ball is something I've always wanted to do and now I'm finally going to do it."
In addition to getting to play football for the school, McElroy was also given an academic scholarship.
"My mom's always pressuring me to keep my grades up and do good in school and it's just all come together," McElroy said.
Currently, McElroy is ranked fourth in his class with a 106.65 GPA.
"He's worked hard and managed to stay at the top of his class as busy as he is all year long," Vicki McElroy said of her son. "His athletics run all year long, his 4-H and FFA, Spanish club and UIL (as well). He's constantly on the road for something and he stills manages."
McElroy plans to get his bachelor's degree in kinesiology and then pursue a PhD in physical therapy.
"The plan is to get a physical therapy practice opened up down the road some time," McElroy said. "Physical therapy is something I've wanted to do and it's what I'm going to go in."