By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (December 20, 2017) — High school seniors are no longer required to wait until February to sign the dotted line and accept a football scholarship to the school of their choice.
That’s perfect for Blake Aragon, who committed verbally earlier this fall to Texas State University in San Marcos and couldn’t wait to make it official on the first ever December national signing day as part of the new early signing period being allowed by the NCAA.
“They made it feel like home as soon as I visited there, and they kept in contact with me and made me feel like it’s the type of program I want to be a part of,” said Aragon moments after signing his national letter of intent with the NCAA Division I-FBS Bobcats in front of his Yellow Jacket coaches and teammates and others in the Green Room of the Mike Copeland Athletic Complex Wednesday.
A late bloomer because of a injury his junior year and with quarter back Easton Jones injured and not available to pass the ball the initial two weeks of this fall, Aragon finally came on strong to compile 52 receptions for 924 yards and 11 touchdowns, helping Stephenville reach the 4A Division I semifinals and earning himself an honorable-mention spot on the Associated Press Sports Editors Conference 4A All-State Football Team.
He is the third Yellow Jacket this decade to sign a letter of intent with Texas State, the first since quarterback Tyler Jones, who became a 4-year starter there, and wide receiver Brice Gunter from the 2012 Yellow jacket state championship team and the graduating class of 2013.
Aragon provides Texas State a big target and proven leaper, winning the Conference 4A boys high jump championship at the UIL Track and Field State Meet in May. While he will defend his title next semester and also plays basketball at Stephenville, Aragon has made it clear throughout the recruiting process that football is his primary sport.
“They’ve been talking to me about (high jumping there), but we’ll see when I get there,” he said. “I’m a football player first and foremost.”
More valuable than the gold medal UIL officials draped around his neck at the state meet and the CORE values medal awarded him by superintendent Matt Underwood and SISD trustees at the ensuing school board meeting was the opening of Aragon’s eyes.
“It really opened my eyes to the type of athletic skill that I have and how to utilize it,” said Aragon.
No wonder, it took a state championship for him to recognize what he had become. It’s a wonder he recognizes himself in a mirror after growing, he says, from a 5 foot, 10-inch, 120 pound freshman to a physically imposing 6-5, 210.
“I was just trusting the process,” he said. “I kept hitting the weight room and did everything they told me.”
Mirroring the physical improvement of Aragon through his high school athletics career is the improvement of the Yellow Jacket football team four wins in 2016 to the 4A Division I final four in 2017.
“It’s meant so much just to be a part of this whole process here at Stephenville,” Aragon said. “I remember seeing Jarrett Stidham sign my freshman year and then Josh Nowell signing my sophomore year. When I saw them I said, ‘One day that’s going to be me signing to have my education pay for.'”
That day has arrived, and Aragon hopes some of the freshmen and sophomores among those gathered to witness his signing walked away saying the same thing. He knows firsthand how far one can go with such determination.
Especially at Stephenville.
“From what we couldn’t accomplish last year to what we did this year, to see how the program is growing, I can only imagine how great it’s going to be for the younger players coming up,”Aragon said. “Trust the process, trust these coaches, you’ll accomplish great things.”