Sophomore cornerback Jedrick Williams had to leave his hometown of Houston and his 2-year-old daughter, Hayden, to attend TJC and play football.
Other community colleges in Texas such as Blinn, Navarro, and Trinity Valley also recruited Williams but he felt like TJC reached out to him the most.
“The hardest thing about being away from my child is I only get to see her on the hol- idays, after the season and sometimes maybe on a long weekend,” said Wil- liams. “My child stays in Houston, so that is what makes it harder to be around her as often as I would like to be.”
Closer to home, another young father juggles his re- sponsibilities as a father while going to college and being a star player on the TJC football team.
Maurice Hood was just a junior at Robert E. Lee High School when his son was born. Still looking to graduate from high school, Hood was looking at a new and important chapter in his young, teenage life.
“When my son first ot here, I was excited but nervous at the same time,” Hood said. “It was just an unbelievable feeling that I was fixing to be a father.”
One of the true blessings Hood has is being able to live and go to school in Tyler which
mother of his child lives. On the other hand, it is a real challenge with both parents attending college and doing activities outside of school, such as working and playing football. “Football and school takes quite a bit of time away from Maurice and his son spending time together,” said Rokeela Miller, Hood’s girlfriend and
mother of Hood’s son. “He is either at practice, football meetings, school and on Saturdays he has games so he really doesn’t get to see our son as much, but we all know it’s for all the right reasons because he isn’t out there in the streets living a negative lifestyle.”
Being involved with family is a very im portant aspect also. Kids start to learn things at very young ages and one way a child gets to know their parents better is interaction with the parent or getting involved with different family activities.
“When I’m not busy with school or foot- ball, I really like to take my son swimming if it’s hot outside and I like taking him to Chuck E. Cheese,” Hood said. “If it’s a pretty day outside, going to the park is always a favorite activity I like to do with my son.”
Aside from players, coaches also under- stand that the time their players spend away from their families and the sacrifices they make to better their lives.
“It’s very important to any father, let alone a football player and a father to handle responsibility,” TJC assistant coach Robert Mahon said. “At a young age, kids tend to look up to their parents, so the father has to set a good ex- ample for their children.”
College students sacrifice a lot when they leave home to attend the college of their choice.They’re away from their family and friends so it makes it hard to maintain a constant relationship.
“The hardest thing about being away from my child is I will not get to see her learn new things at a very young age,” said TJC wide receiver Stephen Alfred. Alfred is from Newton, Texas, which is bout 3 hours from Tyler and has a 2 –year-old daughter back home.
“I just want to be there to watch my daughter grow and be the father that she deserves because I will do what it takes to provide for her,” Alfred added.
Furthermore, being away from home and families, players most likely are prone to developing a close relationship with their coaches on and off the field.
Outside of football, some players might need guidance at times towards personal issues
“Maurice is a wonderful father and our son loves him so much,” Miller said. “He is always asking about him when he is gone dealing with school and football and in the future I feel Maurice will be an even better father because he will be older and understand life more.