SEBRING - Sebring standout Devon Durham took the next step in his football career by signing with Lindenwood University on Wednesday morning.
Wednesday was national signing day for high school football players to select the colleges of their choice and Durham was glad the wait was over to find out where he would spend the next four years.
"This is a big day for me and I'm looking forward to playing college football," said Durham. "I sacrificed and worked really hard for this day and it all paid off."
Durham played a key role at defensive tackle for a stingy and physical Sebring defense that helped the team go 6-4 against some tough competition.
"I saw the potential in Devon when he was a freshman," said Sebring football coach LaVaar Scott. "He had a great work ethic, was disciplined and listened to his coaches. He worked hard and by his senior year was the strongest player on the team.
"It's great to see the hard work pay off for him and now he gets to play football and earn an education that will help him succeed in life."
Durham, who is 6-foot-2, 265 pounds, was a team captain and had 45 tackles, 11 for loss with 3 1/2 sacks during a stellar season. He was selected to the Highlands Today All-Highlands Defensive Football Team.
"Devon was a tough, hard-nosed defensive tackle," said Harris. "Every team we played knew they had to block him and he was a force and a leader for us."
Lindenwood University is a Division II school located in St. Charles, Mo., and the Lions football team went 3-6 last season.
Lindenwood is a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the quality of competition is quite high.
"The school is small and had a family atmosphere," Durham said. "I liked the coaches and the facilities and the classes are small. "The conference is really strong with a lot of talented players.
"I don't know if I'll be playing my first year or if I'll be redshirted, it just depends on how things go when I get there."
Seeing Devon fulfill his dream of being able to play college football was a proud moment for his parents.
"We're proud of Devon and we like his choice of Lindenwood University," said mother, Kim. "I think it's a good fit for him, but I'm not ready for him to leave home."
"I'm happy for Devon," said father, Mike. "He's been disciplined, worked hard and it's going to be a good experience for him to see a different part of the country and make his own decisions."
Harris has no doubt that Devon will be successful at the college level.
"He just needs to keep working hard to get bigger and stronger," the Blue Streak coach said. "It's great that we had a winning record, but I take the most satisfaction out of seeing these young men get a chance to play football in college and earn a college degree.
"Devon sewed the seeds with all of his hard work and now he gets to reap the reward with a scholarship."