Three Midlothian Heritage football seniors who were paramount in building the program into the perennial winner it has become signed their national letters of intent Wednesday.
Quarterback Landon Ledbetter, lineman Jon Sanders and placekicker Matt Stanton inked their commitments in front of friends, family and teammates inside the gymnasium at Heritage High School.
Landon Ledbetter concluded his stellar Midlothian Heritage football career by signing with Henderson State University, a Division II university in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
He helped comprise a 33-member class for the Reddies football program and was the lone quarterback of the group.
Shortly after signing, Ledbetter said he "loved every second" of helping build the Heritage football program. He also detailed the decision to sign with Henderson State, stating, "It was a big decision and a lot of time went into it and thinking about it and a lot of prayer went into it, but I am happy with the decision that I made and I am looking forward to the future."
Ledbetter tossed 126 career passing touchdowns over his Heritage career, which ranks 10th all-time in Texas regardless of the classification, according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football.
He trails only Travis Quintanilla (184, Refugio, 2011-13), Graham Harrell (167, Ennis, 2000-03), Hunter Lile (162, Booker, 2011-14), Michael Everett (159, Odem, 2013-16), Shelton Eppler (159, Navasota, 2013-15), Nick Gerber (157, Levelland, 2014-16), Garrett Gilbert (137, Lake Travis, 2006-08), GJ Kinne (132, Canton/Gilmer, 2006-08) and Scotty Young (129, Denton Ryan, 2008-09).
The touchdown total through the air surpassed the likes of Kyler Murray (117, Allen, 2011-14) and Colt McCoy (116, Tuscola Jim Ned, 2002-04). His 9,505 career passing yards is also just outside of the top 15 all-time.
Heritage head football coach Lee Wiginton said he was "extremely proud" of Ledbetter.
"He is a great ballplayer, a great leader and he has really worked himself into being a leader of our offense and a leader of our football team," Wiginton said. "He is a fierce competitor and seemed to get better in bigger moments and, the bigger the stage, he seemed to be at his best. It was always a joy to know that he was out there leading our offense and giving us a chance to score at any moment."
Cisco Junior College
Jon Sanders helped anchor the Heritage defensive line over his three-year varsity career and was rewarded with an opportunity to continue his career at Cisco Junior College.
Sanders tallied 148 total tackles over his career with 11.5 sacks and 34.5 tackles-for-loss.
He said playing for Heritage was "the best four-year experience ever."
"Through all of the ups and downs, all of the hard practices, all of the hard offseasons, every moment, it was worth it," Sanders said. "I wouldn't change any of it, other than to play with my teammates longer. Everything was perfect. Everything was great."
He explained the decision to sign with Cisco came down to the college being a "good stepping stone" that will help him prepare "to go play at that next level and be absolutely dominant in the classroom and on the field."
When asked what Sanders brought to the Jaguars, Wiginton said," Oh my gosh, he is unreal."
"With four years of being around him, we have never been able to block him in practice. He is absolutely impossible to block," Wiginton continued. "[...] He is a joy to be around as an athlete but, as much as that, he is a great human being and enjoyable in the locker room. We will miss him but we are really excited to see his time in Cisco and see where that leads him to the bigger stage after that."
Placekicker Matt Stanton is headed to the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma for his post-high school career.
Stanton connected on 127-of-137 extra-point attempts over his junior and senior seasons, as well as 7-of-12 field goals with a career-long of 48 yards. He tallied 148 total points over those two seasons.
Stanton noted it was an honor to play for Heritage and help build the program into a winner.
He also noted that UCO stuck out during the recruiting process because "they took special teams and kicking really important. I know some colleges just think of it as something that anyone can do but they really took their time to show me that they cared about me and that I was a really important asset to the team."
Wiginton added that Stanton has invested hours and days into honing his craft and very much deserves the opportunity to kick collegiately.
"He practices in season, playing in season and then going to do extra stuff on the weekends," Wiginton explained. "During the summer, he was nonstop working on his own, kicking on his own and going to camps; just everything that he could do to refine his craft and make him the best kicker he could be for his teammates."
The head coach added, "It was fun to see and fun to be around. He is a fierce competitor and has some nastiness about him as a kicker which gives you confidence that no stage is ever too big for him. He is going to be able to go out there and perform when it is needed most."
Fred Phipps/Daily Light contributed to this report.