Reeltown senior Eric Shaw said he and teammate Cameron Faison have dreamed of signing to play college football ever since they were kids. On Wednesday, Shaw and Faison shared the stage together as they both made it happen.

Shaw and Faison signed their letters of intent as part of the early signing period Wednesday. Shaw will play at South Carolina, while Faison will start his college football career at Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kansas.

“It’s a weight off my shoulders. I’ve been committed for a while so I’ve known where I was going, but to finally make it official (means a lot),” Shaw said. “Now it’s just time to work, get the playbook, get everything down and build to next year to get on that field early.”

Shaw, who is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound three-star tight end recruit, is considered the 17th overall player in the state of Alabama’s Class of 2020, per 247Sports’ composite ratings. Per the same metrics, he is the 16th overall athlete in the entire nation.

Shaw made plays on both sides of the ball for Reeltown in 2019. At year’s end, he had 132 tackles — 77 of which were solo — along with three fumble recoveries and three interceptions. On offense, he had 28 receptions for 464 yards and four touchdowns.

Shaw’s decision to sign comes after he originally committed to the Gamecocks on Aug. 15.

“Really, me and (tight ends coach Bobby) Bentley got really close. He was main recruiter. It was really just the campus and the love from the fans and everything else that drew me to South Carolina,” Shaw said. “I’m just excited. I’m ready to go down there to South Carolina and show what I’ve got. I’m ready to play on Saturdays.”

Faison, meanwhile, was Reeltown’s lead running back this season. He carried the rock time after time for the Rebels and ended the year with 152 carries for 1,487 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Faison and Shaw’s efforts helped Reeltown reach the state championship game for the first time since 2010.

Faison explained landing at Dodge City was a last-minute decision as he hopes to improve his grades and eventually become eligible to play at the next level. Faison picked up an offer from South Carolina last week, and he plans to use those dreams of playing at the highest level as motivation.

“It means a lot to me. I want to thank God first, my family, the Reeltown family who helped me get through this and my teachers. It’s a blessing just to be here,” Faison said. “I’m mostly looking forward to getting this work and getting done so I can qualify and be able to transfer to a D-I (school).”

Shaw and Faison both pointed to their time as Reeltown Rebels as something that has prepared them to take the next step. Faison said Reeltown head coach Matt Johnson has repeatedly preached facing adversity head on, and that mantra has made Faison a tougher person and football player.

As much as being Rebels meant to Shaw and Faison, Johnson made it evident they will forever be a part of the Reeltown family.

“I love them like my own, and they’ll tell you that. I told Cam three years ago — we were sitting in his locker, and I said, ‘Man, if you’ll buy in I promise you this day is coming.’ Here we are,” Johnson said. “It’s the same thing with Eric. I’m extremely proud of both of them.”

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