Almost every die hard football fan was glued to their television sets on Sunday, and fans from across Texoma watched as three local products helped the Indianapolis Colts win Super Bowl XLI. Now each of those players is getting a Super Bowl ring.
Colts defensive back and former Pauls Valley Panther T.J. Rushing teamed up with former Sherman Bearcats Hunter Smith and Charlie Johnson on Sunday to help the Colts to a 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears.
Rushing was a Pauls Valley Panther from 1998-2002. Most remember T.J. for his athletic plays on the football field, but he was also a standout in track, winning four gold medals in the 2001 State Track and Field Meet. He was also voted Player of the Year in basketball his junior year.
Off the field Rushing has been impressive as well. He set very high standards for himself in the classroom. Not only did he serve as class vice president, he also graduated in the top 5% of his class before going off to Stanford to play college football and graduate with a degree in political science.
However it was his leadership skills that his former coach and principal Peter Campbell talk about the most.
"He was a leader. The kids respected him. The teachers respected him, and he was the kind of guy that would get things done."
Another former coach, Chad Chronister, echoed those sentiments.
"Everyone looked to him and he could be vocal, but he showed a lot more with his work ethic. He was a rock."
T.J. still works out in the off season at the school field house, and they hope to have a celebration for him when he comes home.
No plans have been made as of yet.
School officials in Sherman have also made no plans on a homecoming celebration for Smith and Johnson as of yet.