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Charles Henderson quartet moves on to next level

Troy had its own representatives in the National Signing Day festivities Wednesday. Four Charles Henderson seniors signed a National Letter of Intent to play college football next year.

Lequintez Reynolds will take the northern trek up Interstate-65 to attend Jacksonville State University next year and Antonio Youngblood, Zay Pelton and Jacobian Upshaw will head northeast to The Apprentice School in Newport News, Va. next year.

“Obviously we are going to miss all of those guys,” CHHS head coach Hugh Fountain said. “They were all two-year starters and they all helped us a tremendous amount in their time here.”

The chance to continue their football careers was exciting for all four Trojans and it was a dream come true for Youngblood.

“I know that I am going to reach my dream next year when I get to play college football,” he said.

Youngblood said he thought the Apprentice School was just the right fit for him.

“I think it is great that I get to learn a trade and play football at the same time,” Youngblood said. “It is a long ride over there and I am just going to work real hard, play football and have fun.”

Youngblood was recruited to the Apprentice to play outside linebacker and when he is not on the football field he will be studying to be an electrical engineer.

Pelton could not stop smiling all day Wednesday.

“I can’t stop smiling because this has always been a dream for me,” Pelton said.

And Pelton is happy he will have two familiar faces when he is nearly 13 hours from Troy.

“To me, if I was going to pick two guys to go to college with there are not two better guys than Antonio and Jacobian,” Pelton said.

Pelton said he is glad for the opportunity to go to a school that will help him develop a great work ethic and not leave him without job at the end of his four years. He is going to study the art of ark welding while in college.

All three Trojans will have jobs associated with the school and have the opportunity for a promotion upon graduation from the school.

“Going to the Apprentice School is a blessing and a great opportunity,” Upshaw said. “With the economy in the shape it is in it is a blessing to know we have a job waiting when we graduate.”

Upshaw will study to become a pipe fitter while in school and he said signing a scholarship is bittersweet.

“I know that I have to leave all my friends here in high school, but I get to go start a new career out there,” he said.

Fountain said the Apprentice School will be a great opportunity for the trio of Trojans.

“It is a great way for them to go and get an education, do the work they want to do and play some football,” he said.

Reynolds may not be getting a job rolled into his college choice, but he will be playing for a coach that stresses academics. The graduation rate of JSU football players was a deciding factor for Reynolds when Signing Day rolled around.

“The percentage of football players that graduate from Jacksonville State is something like 92 percent,” Reynolds said. “The coaches stay on you about your grades. That is a great thing because I want to come out of college with a great education and I want to play a little football too.”

Reynolds plans to major in education and will line up at outside linebacker when he hits the field for the first time.

Reynolds said his time at CHHS has been good.

“Coach Fountain gave me a good foundation my freshman year and I think I am ready to step up to the next level,” he said. “But I am going to miss Charles Henderson and setting an example for the younger guys every day.”

And Fountain will miss having Reynolds as a role model for his younger players.

“He was outstanding for us all four years he was here,” Fountain said. “He wanted to go on and see what he was made out of and now he is doing just that. He did so much for us running the ball and playing on defense.”

But there is one quality in Reynolds the Trojans will miss the most, according to Fountain.

“Leadership is hard to replace,” Fountain said. “Replacing leadership is a big responsibility and we will need someone to step up and do that. But we are happy for Lequintez and all he has accomplished.”