(Note: This story originally appeared in the Jan. 17, 2019 print edition of The Pioneer)
Despite not being able to play after tearing his ACL during a football playoff game, Fort Stockton High School’s Cole Daggett made the trek to Houston for the Jan. 12-14 Blue-Grey All-American Bowl at NRG Stadium.
Daggett, who earned 4A-2 District 1 MVP honors and was named the MVP of The Pioneer’s All-Pecos County Football team, was among the high school players from Texas picked to play in the bowl game against a team of top players from the other 49 states.
The game gives student-athletes a chance to be mentored by a staff of NFL veterans and coaches. Former professional quarterback and commentator Sean Salisbury was the coach for the Texas team.
“He said he saw my film and was sorry I was hurt,” Daggett said. “He said “I wished you could’ve played. You would’ve helped and it would’ve been fun for all of us.’”
The Lone Star team rallied from a 10-0 deficit for a 29-10 win.
The trip gave Daggett his first experience standing on an NFL field – NRG Stadium is home to the Houston Texans.
“I’ve been to a couple of college games, but that was my first time walking into a professional stadium,” Daggett said. “It was crazy to be on the field. Sitting is a stadium is nothing like being on the field – especially since it is a dome. You’re walking in and it is like ‘Wow.’”
The trip also gave Daggett a chance to see some of the state’s top talent, many of which will be playing college football next season.
Daggett said his recovery from knee surgery went well and that he is on track to resume normal activity in September. However, he said it is likely he will redshirt his first year in college in order to be sure he is fully recovered and to build strength.