MA’s Pritchett signs to play football at Faulkner

Shade Pritchett along with his parents, Pam and Chuck, and his brother, Wyatt.

Shade Pritchett along with his parents, Pam and Chuck, and his brother, Wyatt.

Shade Pritchett and MA defensive coordinator Webb Tutt.

Shade Pritchett and MA defensive coordinator Webb Tutt.

LINDEN — Marengo Academy’s Shade Pritchett will don the pads again after the senior standout signed with Faulkner University Friday.

“It feels amazing knowing I’ll get to do it again. I was kind of thinking I wouldn’t maybe for a second,” Pritchett, who will serve as a slot receiver for Faulkner, said of knowing he will play football again. “I had an idea I may have to go off to play football and then when Faulkner called, it made me extremely excited.”

“They’re getting just a class individual. Shade was a pleasure to coach. Not only being an outstanding ball player, he’s just a better person. Everything we asked him to do, he did,” Marengo Academy defensive coordinator Webb Tutt said. “We’d send in somebody to get him and he’d just send them back. He played hurt. He played tired. He played both ways. He was on every specialty team. He’s going to be hard to replace. He’s just an outstanding young man that’s going to be sorely missed here.”

Pritchett, who served as a safety, wing back and special teams player for the Longhorns during his tenure, found himself with an appealing opportunity through the Montgomery-based NAIA Eagles.

“I got in touch with some coaches and I sent some film out. The next thing I know, Faulkner’s coaches called me and they wanted me to come up there. I went on a visit and they offered me,” Pritchett said. “It took me about a week to think about it and I decided it was the right thing to do.”

Shade Pritchett with the Marengo Academy seniors.

Shade Pritchett with the Marengo Academy seniors.

“He’s going to be good in the slot for them. I anticipate him making the travel squad for them and maybe playing some this year,” Tutt said. “To me, Faulkner is getting a jewel. I think Shade was a sleeper. I think some schools around here missed out on the opportunity that, in three or four years, Shade could have been a star for them. They’ve got a sleeper in Shade.”

Pritchett was an All-State, ESPN 104.9 Super 11 and West Alabama Watchman All-County performer as a junior and made both the West Alabama Watchman All-County team and AISA All-Star Team as a senior.

As he readies to transition to college life, Pritchett indicated the move will be made easier by the smaller, more intimate setting of Faulkner.

“What I really liked is the campus was kind of close together. They mean business with their football program,” Pritchett said. “They’ve been ranked Top 10 for a few years now. It was just kind of a family environment. Everybody knew everybody.”

In the meantime, Tutt and the Marengo Academy faithful are hopeful the signing can help open doors for other players still to come down the MA pipeline.

“It means a lot for our program. Hopefully it’ll bring some Faulkners and some Huntingdons and some other programs around here to look at some of our athletes,” Tutt said.

Shade Pritchett with the MA cheerleaders and water girls.

Shade Pritchett with the MA cheerleaders and water girls.

Shade Pritchett with the Marengo Academy Longhorn football team.

Shade Pritchett with the Marengo Academy Longhorn football team.