By Elizabeth Evans and Cathy Faulkner
It was a proud week for Trinity High School as two senior members of the Trinity Tigers football team signed letters of intent and commitment to play college football, the first Trinity players to do so in a decade.
Team captain Michael Lewis signed his national letter of intent on Wednesday, February 4 to attend and play for the University of Texas-El Paso, where he projects to play defensive back and major in kinesiology.
Lewis also received a full-ride athletic scholarship from UTEP.
UTEP Miners head coach Sean Kugler said Lewis is a good-sized defensive back and is very productive and multi-positional.
"He played quarterback, running back, and defensive back, and was also a four-year basketball player," Kugler said. "He came on a visit early on in the season and committed to us."
Michael's coach Jarrod Smith came during Michael's freshman year and has had the chance to watch him grow as a player over the years.
"I'm very proud of Michael," Smith said. "From the day I arrived, I knew he was capable of great things. This is a great opportunity to prosper and continue his education."
Michael was a four-year letter winner for the Tigers, and part of three consecutive playoff appearances. The Tigers also earned a district championship in 2014.
During the 2014 season, Michael had 39 receptions for 513 years and 4 touchdowns receiving, and 73 carries for 471 yards and 9 touchdowns rushing. Defensively, Michael had 53 tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, and 1 interception.
Michael's family attended the press conference as well, showing their support.
Michael's mother Gayla Lewis said she's watched her son grow as a player from when he was very young.
"I knew he was able to prosper when he began in pee-wee football," Lewis said. "It was just giving him the encouragement he needed."
Lewis comes from a long line of college football players. His father Michael Lewis Sr played for Blinn College, and Michael's brother Demontrai is currently playing for Kilgore College.
Linebacker Manuel Soria signed his letter of commitment on Thursday, February 5 to attend and play linebacker for McMurry University, a private university in Abilene.
Manuel will receive an academic scholarship, athletic scholarship and Dean's Merit scholarship. He plans to major in physics with a minor in kinesiology.
"Manuel is an outstanding young man," Smith said. "When I first got here, he was a freshman, and he's really blossomed and grown up as a player."
Smith said Manuel has been a tremendous leader for the Tigers as well.
"We've had him play a lot of different positions, and he's done everything we've asked him to do and more," Smith said.
Manuel is a three-year letter winner for the Tigers. As a senior linebacker in 2014, he compiled 63 tackles, 3 sacks, and 5 tackles for a loss.
During his years as a Tiger, Manuel has player offensive line, receiver, outside linebacker and inside linebacker.
Manuel's mother Kim Soria currently serves as TISD PTA president and said she and her family are ecstatic for Manuel.
"This has been his dream since pee-wee football," Soria said. "He and Michael Lewis were in pee-wee together and when they were five years old and running out of that tunnel, they said one day we're going to play college football."
The day Manuel signed his letter happened to be Soria's birthday, and she said this was the best birthday present she could have gotten.
"It's every parent's dream to get to watch their kid's dream come true," Soria said.
Manuel has been on the phone with the coaches of McMurry University and will be leaving for Abilene soon after graduation in June.
"I couldn't be prouder of him," Soria said. "We're still without words."