Trent Coots left a lasting impression on the Piedmont Academy football program.
The Jackson resident helped lead the Cougars to a GISA Class A runner-up season in 2019, had a team award named in his honor and will now represent his high school at the next level.
Coots signed to continue his academic and athletic careers for the Shorter University Hawks, a Division II program, in Rome. He was joined by his family members as well as his high school coaches, teammates and classmates during a ceremony last week.
Piedmont Academy football coach Will Johnson said Coots’ dedication, heart, toughness and attitude will be his lasting legacy. It was what led to the coaching staff naming what will be an annual honor in the player’s name.
Coots was already familiar with Shorter University. His former high school teammate J.T. Webb is currently in the football program. Coots went to some games this last season and had the chance to meet both players and coaches.
“I really liked the environment,” the senior said. “It really felt like a good fit in all ways.”
Another positive is the Shorter University coaches plan to utilize Coots’ skills in a variety of ways.
“They told some players are best used exclusively at running back or wide receiver or safety,” Coots said. “However, they are going to use me at wide receiver and defensive back as well as other places they believe I can help the team.”
Coots was an All-Region player for 2019, rushing for 304 yards and three touchdowns while also catching 12 passes for 137 yards and three more scores. He played in the state championship game in December despite suffering an arm injury.
It has already been a memorable senior year for Coots, who helped lead the football team to a successful season. The athlete also earned another state wrestling title. He is now preparing to compete for the track and tennis teams at Piedmont.
While Shorter is a slight trek from home, Coots said it is not too far away.
“It will give me somewhat of a cushion but it’s not so far that it will seem like half a world away,” he said.
Shorter University competes in the Gulf South Conference. Piedmont Academy football coach Will Johnson said the school competes in the toughest conference in Division II, which has produced the past two national champions.
“This will be a great opportunity for him,” Johnson said. “It is a good fit for him athletically and academically and it gives him the chance to keep playing the game he loves. College football is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
With his work ethic, Coots is likely to make an immediate impact on his college coaches.
“He is one who works hard and has no fear,” Johnson said. “He could very well start for Shorter next year on special teams. That is an area where it is all about effort.”
Johnson said Coots’ signing is also a positive for Piedmont Academy’s football program
“This is the second year in a row we’ve had an athlete sign,” Johnson said. “We are just very proud of everything Trent has accomplished and will accomplish.”