By J.R. Tidwell
TRUSSVILLE — Six student-athletes from Hewitt-Trussville High School signed letters of intent to continue their athletic careers in college at a ceremony held at the school Wednesday afternoon.
Students, faculty and administration gathered to honor Ed Johnson, Carson Skipper, Tate Moseley, Jade Thomas, Jake Diggs and Dawson Atkinson.
Johnson and Skipper are both baseball players who signed to play at Auburn.
Softball players Tate Moseley and Jade Thomas signed with Auburn and Alabama-Huntsville respectively.
Track and field athlete Jake Diggs signed with Samford, and golfer Dawson Atkinson put pen to paper for South Alabama.
Several different speakers praised the signees during the ceremony. The six student-athletes were also given a chance to say a few words.
Trussville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Pattie Neill was one of the first to say a few words.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here and see the students I love most at Hewitt-Trussville High School,” she said. “You all are so near and dear to my heart.
“I just want to say that when I see the students at the high school, I see talent all the way around. The students are so talented here, and I appreciate the parents, students and coaches for developing the talent of these student-athletes to this level. This is amazing.
“Congratulations on this very special day. Please continue to develop your talent, and come back and see us. You are going into a journey for the future, but promise you will come back and see us and help these other students develop their talent as well.”
Next up was Trussville City Schools Athletic Director Lance Walker.
“We have six athletes that we are honoring today that are signing,” he said. “We are certainly proud of all of you and all of the work you have put in.
“To get to this point it’s certainly been a team effort, so I would like to take a moment and thank the parents and grandparents that are here for all the countless hours you spent watching games, taking kids to practice and taking them all around our state and our country.
“I know our students would not be here without you. I appreciate you encouragement that you have had on nights they struck out four times or rounds where they had double bogies. Thank you for all you have done.
“I would like to recognize the coaches that are here today. We are so fortunate here to have a great group of coaches that we rely on. I appreciate everything you all do with supporting our student-athletes both athletically and in the classroom making them the best that they can be.
“Thank you so much to you six for everything you have done to get to this point. Thank you most of all for how you represent our school. We are excited to be here for your day.”
The next speaker was HTHS baseball coach Jeff Mauldin, who said a few words about Johnson and Skipper.
“I just want to say congratulations to all six of you,” he said. “This is a huge opportunity to go to the next level and continue your academic and athletic careers. You are all going to outstanding colleges, and we wish you all the best of luck.
“Ed and Carson are both going to Auburn University. It’s a huge opportunity for them to be part of an outstanding program at Auburn and to play in the best league in college athletics in the SEC.
“These guys are close to me. When I first got here six years ago they were seventh graders, so we have been on this path
“They were a major, major part of our state championship two years ago. Ed was our starting shortstop, and Carson was our starting pitcher for the first game in the championship series. I’m so proud of you guys. You guys have really been an example for the City of Trussville and our baseball program.”
“I just want to thank my family, friends and coaches. It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger,” Johnson said.
“I would like to thank everyone for coming out today, and obviously my Lord and savior Jesus Christ,” said Skipper.
“I would like to thank my friends, family, coaches and the coaches at Auburn for giving me the opportunity to go further my education. Go Huskies, and War Eagle.”
The next speaker was boys golf coach Lyon Dove, who spoke about Atkinson.
“It has been an honor working with Dawson the past two-and-a-half years,” he said. “He has helped me learn some things, and he is a great golfer.
“Nobody is harder on Dawson than Dawson. You can tell if he’s having a good day, and usually he is having a good day. He always does a good job.
“One thing about Dawson is he is just an encouragement. Dawson works with the elementary school kids, and he has been able to teach them and help them. He is going to the University of South Alabama, and he’s going to do a great job.”
“I want to thank my coach, of course, for scheduling all those tournaments,” Atkinson said. “He took his time to work with us in practice. It takes a lot of time.
“I would also like to thank my parents for supporting me and putting in the time and effort to take me to tournaments and covering all my needs.
“I’d also like to thank my family for always being there supporting me, as well as my teammates. They always picked me up when I was down and kept me going. I’m just thankful for everybody who played a part in getting me to where I am now.”
Next up was softball coach Taylor Burt, who highlighted Moseley and Thomas.
“Of course you know I was hired in this year, and I have only spent a short amount of time with these girls,” Burt said. “In that amount of time I have been very fortunate to get to know both of these ladies really well.
“One of the first things you notice right off is they are both very strong leaders. They lead by example.
“They are a great example of what we want our program to look like. I have not had much of a hand in helping these ladies get here, but we have a wonderful coaching staff that has played a very large part in that. I am excited to see what they do at Auburn and Alabama-Huntsville, both great programs.”
‘I would like to start off by thanking my family, for taking me to tournaments and always paying for anything I needed,
taking me to practices and cheering me up when I didn’t do well,” Thomas said.
“I’d like to thank my teammates for supporting me and picking me up when I was down, cheering me on and being there for me inside or outside the school.
“I’d like to thank the coaching staff here. I know Coach Burt hasn’t been here that long, but she has already made a big impact on our program. I can’t wait to see what it does this season. I thank every other coach and teammate that I had.”
“I just want to thank God, and my parents, my coaches and teammates for the support. And War Eagle,” Moseley said.
Hewitt-Trussville boys track and field coach David Dobbs was next at the podium to speak about Diggs.
“I’m really proud of Jake for putting in the effort this year and being a big part of our team,” he said. “Samford is getting a great one.
“He is the 82nd athlete that we have signed in track and field since 1990 when I got here, so I’m really proud of that. He’s going to do great things this year. We have a big plan for the spring. I’m proud of him, proud of everything he’s done and everything he’s going to do.”
“First of all I’d like to thank everyone for coming out here today,” said Diggs. “I know I have a lot of people supporting me that aren’t on the track team.
“I’d like to thank every one of you. It means a whole lot. I’d like to thank Jesus Christ, because he is really my legs and arms. I don’t do anything if not for him.
“I’d like to thank my family over here. They are my biggest fans. I know some of you like to come out and watch me, but I promise you they are my biggest fans, and I love them.
“I’d like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Dobbs (and others). They have poured so much into me. I had a little bit of potential when I started, and they have really made me up to what I am today, and I owe pretty much all I am to them.”