Fort Campbell Courier
Fort Campbell | February 16, 2018
For many high school student-athletes getting into college and playing on collegiate-level teams is their main focus.
Four Fort Campbell High School football team players attained that goal when they signed their letters of intent to attend and play for the Campbellsville University Tigers football program Feb. 7 – National Signing Day – in the FCHS cafeteria. The players are Abdel Howard, Dayton Keeling, Donnell Dunnings and Gabe Whitehead.
FCHS athletic director Charles Poole said it was a momentous occasion to see these student-athletes take the next step.
“This was a very big deal to all of these guys, getting to not only attend college on a scholarship but receive the opportunity to play collegiate sports,” Poole said. “This is a chance that very few get to have and it is important that these young men realize that and take it seriously.”
The FCHS football team had a rough season, finishing 2-8 overall, yet the players were still being recruited by quality colleges and universities.
The Falcons head football coach Josh Robins said the players were recruited because of their work ethic and abilities.
“These guys are very talented. They performed well this year on the field and they did what they had to do in the classroom,” Robins said. “They got to this point because they believed they could.”
Although Howard, Keeling, Dunning and Whitehead decided to attend the same school, they all had their own personal motivations for choosing Campbellsville.
“I like the program there. When I visited they made me feel like I was already a part of the team,” Howard said.
“I really like the campus and how much brotherhood they showed as a team, that was really important to me,” Whitehead said.
“Playing collegiate football has always been a goal of mine and now I have the opportunity to achieve it,” Keeling said.
Each player stepped up his game this season, making big plays for the Falcons. Keeling, who played running back and defensive end, rushed for 169 yards and a touchdown on offense, 83 total tackles and lead the team with six and a half sacks.
Howard began the year as the Falcons quarterback, throwing for 156 yards. He also rushed for 126 and two touchdowns and caught eight passes for 101 yards. On defense, he had 53 total tackles including two tackles for a loss of yards. Dunnings played guard and defensive end for the Falcons. He tied with Whitehead for the team lead in pancake blocks on offense. He had four tackles for a loss on defense to go with 20 tackles and a sack during the season.
Whitehead had 55 tackles with eight tackles for loss on defense. He also had one and a half sacks.
The players said they enjoyed their time playing in a Falcons uniform, but they are looking forward to the future.
“I will miss the brotherhood and friendships I made here,” Whitehead said. “My teammates here are like Family.”
Dunnings, Whitehead, Howard and Keeling are all excited to move forward into college as a group and are prepared for a new chapter in their lives.
“I’m glad to be going to college and play with some familiar people,” Whitehead said. “We all know each other so we will already have good chemistry.”
In addition to the four players who signed Feb. 7, two more Falcons will sign with colleges this semester. Robins said this is a goal current and future players should work toward.
“Having players sign to play collegiate football is awesome, and it is a reality for the underclassmen and upcoming seniors to strive for,” he said. “It is going to be a great experience for all six guys, the ones who have already signed and the others who will sign to play football and I am excited to see where it takes them.”