On the dotted line at Tonganoxie High
Teammates Brown, Graham sign with Baker for football
Jordan Brown and Devan Graham are best friends and teammates at Tonganoxie High School.
They’ll continue those relationships at Baker University.
The two THS seniors signed national letters of intent on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 1. It’s the first day high school seniors can sign letters of intent to play football at the collegiate level.
“Baker was the first school that offered me,” Brown said. “And I also know a lot of kids going to Baker.”
• The Mirror already has featured Emily Hummelgaard and Mykah Wingerter, who signed with Fort Scott CC for volleyball.
• Others to be featured are Taylor Lee (Dodge City basketball), Drew Cook (Baker cross country), Michael Mast (Benedictine football) and Keaton Rickard (Ottawa football).
Brown also was looking at Washburn, St. Mary and Benedictine.
For Graham, it was more of a last-minute decision to join Brown in Baldwin City.
He had scheduled a visit to William Jewel in Liberty, Mo., and had visited St. Mary, but Baker was his last visit.
The coaching staff and Baker’s recent success helped make the decision for Graham. He also liked the campus.
“The campus was just exceptional,” he said.
The teammates walk into a program in pretty good shape.
Baker finished 2016 with a 14-1 record and was the NAIA runner-up. The Wildcats fell to St. Francis (Ind.), 38-17, in the national championship Dec. 17 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Baker junior quarterback Logan Brettell was named NAIA National Player of the Year and will be at the helm for his senior campaign later this year.
Brown played quarterback, running back and strong safety at THS. He was second team all-jaw Valley League as a running back his senior year and also was honorable mention all-state as a running back.
He also plays middle infield for the THS baseball team.
Graham played middle linebacker and tight end for the Chieftains.
He was first-team all-KVL as a linebacker and was all-state honorable mention as a linebacker in the Wichita Eagle, Topeka Capital-Journal and the state’s coaches association.
He also was first-team all-area for the Lawrence Journal-World.
Graham also has done power lifting and baseball during his high school career.
THS went 19-20 during the teammates’ four years in the program, including a 9-2 record as freshmen. They helped lead the team to its first winning season since then this past fall when the Chieftains went 5-4 despite a slew of key injuries.
THS coach Al Troyer praised the two teammates during their signing ceremony at the Chieftain Room on the THS campus. He said he planned to get to Baker “for some Saturdays” and also said the players’ dedication with summer conditioning also paid dividends. It’s a program he said the entire team has been dedicated to during Troyer’s time in Tonganoxie.
“I don’t believe in luck,” Troyer said. “I believe in hard work and dedication.”
Both Graham and Brown plan to major in business at Baker. Both weren’t sure exactly what business path they had in mind for a career, but Brown said he wanted to eventually own his own business.
The best friends plans to room together at Baker, which Brown said put all the pieces in place for college. Now he doesn’t have to worry about that aspect.
“It’s a pretty sweet deal honestly,” Brown said, noting that he was excited to continue to compete alongside one of his best friends.
“It’s awesome,” Graham said. “He’s one of my best friends and there’s nobody I’d rather go down there with.”