A pair of players Longhorns Coach Don Simon called “cogs in our program” signed to move on to college and work to become special in those programs.
“These are guys we leaned on from the day we got here,” said Simon, who’s coached Harmony the last three seasons.
Thomas “T.J.” Schroeder, an anchor of Harmony’s offensive line for three years, will move on to Monmouth College, a highly-selective Division III program in Monmouth, Ill., a campus of just 1,100 students from 32 countries in 34 major tracks, according to its website.
Kenneth “K.J.” Torres, who played receiver, running back, defensive back and in special teams, and was a team leader in receiving, rushing, and tackling, will catch passes next season at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. In just their fourth year of existence, the Argonauts won the Division II national championship in their second title game appearance.
“K.J. was a leader in the season we had,” said Simon.
Torres rushed for 322 yards, caught 28 passes for 406 yards and four touchdowns (all led the team) and had 46 tackles and two sacks.
“It felt like a family when I visited there, and their receivers coach (Robinson) was straight and honest with me,” said Torres, who also had the University of New Hampshire in the mix of the process. “It’s a tough process. I have to thank the people who have helped me on this long road.”
Schroeder debated between Monmouth and Eastern Kentucky, where his brother Tucker is an offensive lineman.
“I loved family atmosphere at Monmouth and the place is amazing, so I’m happy to be a Scot,” he said. “Guess I gotta find myself a kilt now.
“I just followed God’s plan, I’m blessed to be able to play college football, which I didn’t think was possible at one point.”
Schroeder was a leader on an offensive line for an 9-2 team his junior season that won the Longhorns’ first district championship in 11 years.
“T.J. was one of the guys we built around,” Simon said. “Three years ago we saw this awkward-looking guy who could do something great. He did everything we thought and more.”
Simon said Schroeder and Torres are leaders who will be missed.
“Without these guys we wouldn’t be the program we are right now, including in the leadership roles with our young guys,” he said. “These guys are the epitome and standard we set. When you take care of the little things, good things come to you. We’re going to support them.”
Sitting with their families, the players and their parents beamed smiles, and even a couple tears of joy, with the process over, calling the emotions of the day nervous, excited, happy, and …
“Relieved,” Torres and Schroeder both chimed at the same time.