Two Midlothian Heritage student-athletes signed commitments to further their athletic and academic careers at the collegiate level.

Softball standout Rachel Richard and early football graduate Torrey Bell inked their national letters of intent in front of friends, family and teammates inside the gymnasium at Midlothian Heritage High School on Wednesday, March 6.

RACHEL RICHARD

Just after signing her national letter of intent with Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota, Rachel Richard was advised by Heritage head softball coach Lindsay Fallen to pack a “big ol’ heavy jacket because it is going to be cold.”

“I have been lucky enough to be around Rachel since she was a freshman,” Fallen continued, “and something that has definitely never changed is who she is as a person. She is very true to herself and, I know for a fact, that if you have been around her long enough that she is always going to make you laugh and she is always going to make you smile.”

Richard began the season with a grand slam in the Jaguars opener. The senior has since helped the Jaguars to a 5-8 record.

“They are super lucky to have her and I feel super lucky and super blessed to have had her for these past four years,” added Fallen, who also played four years of collegiate softball. “This next journey of your life is going to be amazing.”

Richard, when asked about her time at Heritage, tipped her cap to the rest of the Jaguars and noted that they’ve “been getting the job done” so far this season. She added, “I don’t know what I would do without the girls on our team.”

Richard noted she chose Crown College because the program “gave me the best offer and they also have the best program for exercise science.”

TORREY BELL

Torrey Bell has not taken a traditional path to the collegiate football gridiron. He isn’t even taking the typical four years to graduate high school.

Bell signed his NLI with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on Wednesday after just two varsity football seasons — his sophomore and junior years — and after playing three positions this past year.

When introducing Bell, Heritage head football coach Lee Wiginton joked that he hoped the quickly rising defensive end prospect would “sign and then come back and play for us one more year.”

Bell played wide receiver, offensive line and defensive line over the course of a couple weeks this past season; however, Wiginton noted that where Bell will likely be “most effective at rushing the quarterback from the defensive end position.”

“He is very dynamic and very exciting there,” Wiginton added. “But more than that, he is a great kid with a great attitude and is always, always pleasant. He is always smiling and making those around him feel better about themselves.”

After finally settling into a role on the defensive line, Bell recorded 11 total tackles (8 solos) and five tackles for loss over eight games. He also finished second on the team with three sacks, trailing only senior Jon Sanders (5), and accounted for one forced and recovered fumble.

Torrey said his tenure at Heritage was “very nice and I liked everybody around the team. They all treated me well and it felt like a family.”

He added that his decision to sign with UMHB came down to the “great facilities and the great coaches and I think [the campus] is very nice.”