Christian Heritage Academy Head Coach John Merrell credits hard work and dedication as to why his two star players are attracting attention from colleges.
"Our kids at Christian Heritage Academy work real hard," Merrell said. "We have good skilled kids but not with a lot of size. We have had only one kid go on to play Division I football and his name was Chris Toney. Chris went to an NAIA school then walked-on his junior year at OU and started for them at fullback. Kids are going to come to our school not because of athletics, but because their parents want the Christian influence our school provides them."
Since Christian Heritage Academy is in Oklahoma's smallest 11-man football class, Merrell said that players need to attend summer camps in order to get recognized by colleges.
"In our class, most of the kids get noticed in summer camps. Division II or NAIA schools are more apt to look at our level but the camps also provide exposure with the Division I schools."
Both West and Sanders showcased their abilities in camps and have done well.
"Sanders has gone to some kicking camps and he has had college coaches showing interest in him and has received lots of letters from schools. Sanders really could be a Division I prospect this year", Merrell said. "This is my 36th year as a head coach going into my 27th at Christian Heritage, and he is the best kicker I have seen in all my years coaching. He kicked a 47 and 50-yard field last year and consistently kicked into the end zone on kickoffs. Ian said he has added 10 yards to his kickoffs for this year. I have seen kickers that can kick it just as far but not as accurate as Ian. He is 6-0, 150 and plays cornerback for us too. He likes the instate schools OU and OSU but Air Force is really showing interest in him. He is a 4.0 student."
"I might be a little biased, but Jordan has been at a passing camp with kids from a lot of the bigger schools and he looks as good as any other receiver there. He has some interest from smaller colleges at this point. Jordan has everything you want in a receiver except he isn't blessed with great speed. He is 5-11, 180 and runs a 4.65 in the 40. He made so much improvement from his sophomore to junior year that he was our leading receiver. He looks like he made that much improvement again so he really has a chance to do something this year. He likes OU but will probably accept a scholarship from a smaller school instead of walking on at a DI school. Jordan plays on the defensive side of the ball at cornerback but he definitely will be playing on offense at the next level."
Don't be surprised if Sanders and West garner more attention during the football season as both vie for that coveted Division I offer.
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