Three Football Players + One Softball Player Sign at Tatum’s Wednesday Ceremony
TATUM — Tatum football coach/athletic director Andy Evans is no stranger to large signing day groups. Wednesday marked another Tatum quartet to ink with colleges during his tenure.
Three Eagle football players and one softball player signed national letters of intent during Wednesday morning’s signing ceremony.
Offensive lineman Tristan Durden is headed to Grambling State, while linebacker Kiano Lucas is Southern Arkansas-bound. Cornerback C.J. Whitaker will play his college football at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kan. Tatum second baseman Morgan Dison is headed to Northeast Texas Community College.
Durden, who will major in electrical engineering, is a 6-foot-4, 295-pounder who chose Grambling State over multiple offers, including New Mexico and Prairie View A&M. Grambling State is a Division I FCS program.
“When I was growing up I had a cousin that went there and was on the drill team so I used to always be interested in the band,” Durden said. “From then on, I liked the school.”
Lucas led Tatum in tackles each of the past two seasons. The 5-foot-10, 210-pound middle linebacker will join 2012 Tatum graduates Nate Pickett, Daven Reese, and LaRance Hale in the Southern Arkansas football program, which competes in the Division II Great American Conference.
“Those are like my brothers, so I know I have family there that I can lean on if times get hard,” said Lucas, who plans to major in history.
Whitaker, who started on both sides of the ball for Tatum in 2012, will move to defense full-time at Ottawa, which is an NAIA program.
“I wound up choosing Ottawa because when I went up there it felt like home,” said Whitker, who plans to major in exercise science or mathematics. “It’s a great community and great program. They’re KCAC champions three years in a row, so I’m looking forward to getting a ring.”
Dison has been a varsity player for Tatum’s softball program since her freshman season. As a junior, Dison hit .533 with a .600 on-base percentage and .960 fielding percentage. Dison was a first-team all-district selection each of the past two seasons.
Northeast Texas Community College is a JUCO Division I program competing in the NJCAA’s Region XIV Conference.