Elks’ Schuman, Nelson sign to play football
After watching two of his players sign letters of intent to play football in college, Burleson football coach Gary McElroy became a bit nostalgic last Wednesday morning.
“It’s been promoting these guys to coaches,” McElroy said. “And it’s been fun putting all those pieces together and seeing where it all falls.”
For both defensive lineman Trey Schuman and linebacker Isaiah Nelson the end result was they will both play for private schools in Texas.
Schuman extended McElroy’s streak of having a player sign with a Division I school to four years when he inked a letter of intent to play at Rice University. Nelson will continue his education at The University of the Incarnate Word.
“They are both top-notch kids,” McElroy said. “They are great in the classroom, good in the community and good football players. They both fell in love with both schools and they are going to do very well.”
McElroy, who played football at Tarleton State, said it is always fun and exciting to see some of his players get this opportunity.
“The next four or five years of their life is pretty well mapped out for them,” McElroy said. “This will be a great opportunity for them to both get a great education plus get to play a sport that they really love. It’s just neat. It’s neat for the school, neat for them and for the community. I couldn’t be more proud and excited for these families. They are going to make memories that they will have all the rest of their lives because of athletics. I’m very proud of them.”
Schuman plans to study chemistry at Rice with the ultimate goal of becoming an anesthesiologist. He said that he fell in love with the coaching staff, the facilities, Rice Village and Houston during his recruiting visit.
“It just seemed right to me,” Schuman said.
According to Schuman, playing for coach McElroy and his staff was the only football experience he’d ever had. He said the coaches raised him as a football player and taught him many lessons beyond how to play football.
“I learned that you have to stick to your stuff,” Schuman said. “You can’t be leaning towards one thing and go the other way. If you are going to do something you have to do it all the way. That’s what coach McElroy has taught me the most. Make up your own mind, don’t let people sway you into what you are going to do.”
Nelson also immediately fell in love with the Incarnate Word campus in San Antonio.
“When I went on my visit it was amazing,” Nelson said. “The coaching staff was amazing and I loved the campus. The campus is smaller and I like that because it feels like I can get to know people faster. It was like home.”
Nelson said the most important thing he learned from the Elks’ coaching staff was that football is more than just a sport.
“It creates another family for you,” Nelson said. “You can go to your other teammates for all of your problems. It feels like someone is always there for you no matter what.”
McElroy said the possibility exists that other players could sign letters of intent in the next few weeks.