Days like Wednesday morning have been a long time coming for Lake Dallas seniors Kobee Minor and Brandon Engel.
Two players that have carved out prominent roles on varsity ever since their sophomore years in 2017, Minor and Engel shared the stage Wednesday with a crowd of their peers watching on and celebrating the duo’s opportunity to realize their dreams of playing college football.
Minor and Engel were front and center that morning as part of Lake Dallas’ early national signing day ceremony, with Minor finalizing a commitment to play at Texas Tech and Engel doing the same with Air Force.
“It’s great for us and our program. These are two kids that do everything the right way and are great both in school and outside of school,” said Michael Young, Lake Dallas head coach. “They’re a great example to our younger kids coming up on how to do things and be good citizens, good students and good student-athletes.”
Both players entered the 2019 season verbally committed to their respective schools before being able to last put pen to paper on Wednesday, which culminated a process that had been in the works for quite some time.
Tech was among the first schools to offer Minor back in February, and as programs like Iowa State, California and Houston followed, the defensive back’s relationship with the Red Raiders’ coaching staff — particularly safeties coach Kerry Cooks — was instrumental in leading the Lake Dallas star to Lubbock for the next chapter of his football career.
“My position coach, he has experience. He comes from Oklahoma and was at Notre Dame before,” Minor said. “He preaches to me that he can help get me to the next level and playing on Sunday nights and Monday nights.”
With an eye toward majoring in sports management, Minor brings plenty of versatility to the table and said that he foresees being used as a cornerback and safety at the collegiate level. Not only was Minor instrumental in leading the Lake Dallas secondary as a senior, he impacted the Falcons’ offense and special teams as well en route to receiving District 7-5A Division II’s All-Purpose MVP award.
Minor garnered that accolade with 662 total all-purpose yards, including 347 rushing yards, 113 receiving yards and five touchdowns on offense. Defensively, Minor logged 72 tackles, five interceptions, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three defensive scores, including a 103-yard interception return for a touchdown in the team’s 34-29 win over Frisco Memorial.
“The coaches are great. They develop you here and they’ll make you into a man,” Minor said. “They preach to us that to make sure that when we graduate that we walk out with our heads held high.”
Engel can attest, emerging as a big-time threat at wide receiver for the Falcons since his sophomore year when he earned all-district first team.
It was after a banner junior season when Engel’s recruiting prospects began to ramp up, with Air Force entering the picture mid-May by offering the wideout. A couple months later, a visit to campus at Colorado Springs, Colo., was set up.
“I took a visit and the environment was really nice and you’re surrounded by great people. It’s going to set me up for life,” Engel said.
Planning to major in aviation, Engel had offers from the likes of Abilene Christian, Cornell and Holy Cross on the table and initially gave some thought to seeing if any others would come, but was plenty content in his decision to verbally commit to Air Force in late July.
“They play big-time ball and you’re surrounded by such a great group of people,” Engel said.
He’ll look to build off a successful career at Lake Dallas — one where Engel was molded into one of the top receivers in the area. As a junior, he caught 62 balls for 1,093 yards and 11 touchdowns — among the most productive years for any pass-catcher in the Metroplex.
Although he battled injuries as a senior, Engel still managed 202 yards and three touchdowns on 10 catches for the Falcons this season — including a memorable end to his high school career after catching a game-winning, 31-yard pass with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter to edge Frisco Lebanon Trail, 37-31.
That will be just one of several memories from his high school days that Engel takes with him to the next level in college.
“It was great to grow up with all the people that I played with. It was cool to end the game the way I did with a game-winning touchdown and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be around,” Engel said.