ASHLAND — Eli Sammons grew up a Marshall University football fan and dreamed of playing there.
With Greenup County’s 49-14 loss to Ashland in the Kentucky Class 3A, District 7 semifinals Friday at Putnam Stadium, the 6-foot-6, 205-pound quarterback will realize his dream when he officially signs his National Letter of Intent with Doc Holliday’s program when the December signing period begins on Dec. 2.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds,” said Sammons. “I’ll just take it day by day and take it year by year and just try to just improve my craft everyday.”
Sammons said he’s texted Marshall’s coaches to keep up with them and has been to many of Marshall’s games this season.
The Thundering Herd was Sammons’ first choice and has been his entire life.
“It’s just hometown,” Sammons said. “It’s real close. I was born with spinal meningitis so I was up in Huntington for months fighting for my life. I’ve been very blessed.”
Unfortunately for Sammons and the Musketeers, his high school career did not end as he wished it would have.
Greenup County was overwhelmed by a deeper and stronger Tomcats team Friday. Sammons finished the game having completed 8 of 15 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Much of that came in the second half against Ashland’s younger players.
Injuries this season on both sides of the ball prevented Greenup County from what would have been an unprecedented fourth consecutive winning season. Sammons was largely unaffected by those. For his senior season Sammons passed his way to the No. 4 passer in Class 3A having completed 134 of 259 passes for 1,858 yards and 19 touchdowns.
In a show of his leadership, Sammons elevated the performance of many of those around him. Senior wide receiver Austin Evans had 400 yards receiving each of his two years prior to this season. Then, in 2019, he broke 1,000 yards receiving and led Class 3A with a 108 yards per game average.
His 1,081-yard receiving total this season was 234 yards better than the next best player.
“He’s the best I’ve ever seen in this area,” Greenup head coach Scott Grizzle said. “I’ve been around quarterbacks in this area for a long time and I’ve seen a lot of good ones go through. There’s never been anybody like him.
“Just with the height, the mobility and the arm strength. He’s the total package.”
Other schools must have agreed. Western Kentucky, Cincinnati, Purdue and Duke were just some of the other schools that took an interest in the Greenup product.
In the end he chose to live out his dream and play for the program at his “hometown” school.”vw