By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
GRANBY, Mo. —
A signing ceremony for East Newton High School senior Clayton Harrell — a four-year starter in the offensive line for the Patriots — was held on Tuesday.
Harrell, a 6-foot-4, 270-pounder, is headed for Central Methodist University of Fayette, Mo.
The NAIA Eagles, coached by Jody Ford, compete in the 10-member Heart of America Athletic Conference.
Clayton, the son of Micki and Kevin Harrell, said the family found all positives in its visit to the Central Methodist campus.
“I liked the small-town feel,” Clayton Harrell said. “The coaching staff was great. They made me feel at home.”
Harrell indicated the Eagles recently have gone through difficult times.
“Coach Ford is trying to turn things around,” Harrell said. “They’ve named a new offensive coordinator.”
John Haines, the new offensive coordinator, also is the offensive line coach.
Student assistant/cornerbacks coach Brett Fitchpatrick, a secondary stalwart in recent years for the Eagles, prepped at Pierce City.
East Newton coach Seth Johnson said that Harrell started at right tackle as a freshman before moving to left tackle for three years.
“I know that Coach Ford is excited to have Clayton,” Johnson said. “We’re excited for Clayton. He’s going to have a good opportunity. He has the potential to be very successful at that level.
“He works very hard. He’s strong with good feet. He’s dependable,” Johnson said.
“Clayton is a super kid and has been an equally great teammate,” Johnson said. ”He’s one of the good ones during my eight years overall (as a coach) at East Newton.”
Harrell, unsure of a major, plans to compete in the weights for Mark VanSlyke in track.
Johnson said the Patriots will attend team camp at Central Methodist on May 31-June 2.