Signing. Off.

By BROOKLYN VAUGHN and JHAZMINE LASSITER

On November 10 of last year, in the bitter cold, the football careers of many Goldsboro High School seniors came to an end when the Cougars lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Southwest Onslow. But for three members of the team, the game they love will continue to be a significant part of their lives.

Andrew “Jo Jo” McNeil, Zaire Edwards, and Emmanuel Scott-Persky are moving on to the next level. And they will be doing it together.

Each of the young men signed to play football for Elizabeth City State University next season in the GHS Media Center earlier this month. And like they were for so many games over the years, their teammates, family members, teachers, mentors, friends, and coaches were there beside them.

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“It’s amazing,” Andrew told the Pride.

Emmanuel is excited, too — but not just about continuing his football career.

“It’s been a dream of mine to go to college,” he said. “And … to be able to do what I love makes things even better.”

All three said the experience of being recruited and signed has been like “a dream.”

But Zaire has bigger dreams than college ball — and the signing put him one step closer to his fantasy of playing in the NFL.

“I started playing football when I was like 10, and at first, it was just to get in shape,” he told the Pride. “And then I fell in love with it.”

But excitement wasn’t the only emotion brought on by the event. Sure, for each of them, things are changing for the better. It’s their senior year and they’re getting ready to begin their lives as young men in society.

But at the end of the day, you still have to wonder how they feel about nearing the end of their respective high school journeys. None of them dwelled on that during their interviews with the Pride, though. This feeling was just too sweet.

“My senior year as a whole is amazing and it’s complete now,” Andrew said. “Seeing how I’ve now been signed for football while being able to do what I love, which is playing football and destroying my opponents.”

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