Dillon Johnson and Trey Benson, two best friends who play football for the St. Joseph Catholic School football team, made it official Wednesday as they both signed college scholarships to play college football at the highest level.
In front of family, friends, teammates and supporters who packed the St. Joe gymnasium, Johnson signed his letter of intent first to attend Mississippi State University. Minutes later Benson signed his scholarship letter to attend the University of Oregon.
The two signings were no surprise to those in attendance as Johnson and Benson announced they would attend these schools in the summertime. Still, the day was filled with plenty of excitement given the historic nature of the event. It is not every day that a small school inside of the Delta has two players move on to such high heights on the same day.
Both Johnson and Benson made it clear that they did not achieve this on their own. Each thanked their family members, coaches, teammates and teachers for helping reach this moment.
Johnson’s mother, Gwendolyn Moore, and Benson’s mother, Christina Wright, said they were extremely proud.
“This is a culmination of a lifetime of hard work,” said Moore. “I am a strong cheerleader for Dillon, and now that he is a Bulldog. I am going to be the biggest Bulldog fan there is.”
Benson’s mother, meanwhile, said she was impressed with her son’s decision to play so far away from home.
“For him to make the decision to go to Oregon shows that he has the maturity level and courage to do something that not a lot of people his age would be willing to do,” Wright said.
Wright also said, despite its long distance from home, she plans on attending many games in Oregon.
“Oh, yes, I will be there watching,” she said.
St. Joseph head football coach John Baker said Johnson and Benson showed, through their hard work, that it is possible for the younger members of his team to reach their goals as well.
“They both deserve a lot of credit for what they accomplished,” Coach Baker said.
Johnson and Benson finished off their high school careers last November by helping St. Joseph win their third straight MAIS state championship. Both are highly skilled athletes, who over the last two years, overmatched their opponents every Friday night. Many St. Joe offensive drives were decided by which of these two players would run by or over the defense for a long touchdown first.
Johnson finished last season with 1,665 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns (13.9 yards per carry). Benson ended the season with 1,783 yards rushing and 28 total touchdowns (16.2 yards per carry).
Johnson is headed to Starkville to be a Bulldog.
Benson is headed to Oregon to be a Duck.
But, they will always be a member of the Fighting Irish.