Emerson Haywood of Goose Creek Memorial celebrates his signing of a National Letter of Intent with Incarnate Word University’s football program Wednesday with his parents Tracy and Derek Haywood. (Submitted photo)

As area football players began signing National Letters of Intent to continue their careers at the collegiate level beginning in the fall, one Goose Creek Memorial Patriot is relieved the process is complete.

Emerson Haywood, who primarily played quarterback and wide receiver for the Patriots – who went 3-7 last season – made it official when he signed Wednesday at GCM with Incarnate Word after committing to play there last year.

“It feels great,” Haywood said. “I feel like this is home for me and i just feel like this school is the right place for me.”

Incarnate Word will be getting an all-around athlete that delivered a number of big plays last season and provided a big chunk of the Patriots offensive production.

Haywood gained 580 yards of offense rushing, scoring five touchdowns with an 8.84 yards-per-rush average. In split time at quarterback, Haywood threw nine touchdown passes with only four interceptions and 890 yards. He also had 200 yards receiving. 

“Emerson is an explosive athlete,” GCM head coach Shannon Carter said. “Incarnate Word is getting an even better young man than athlete.”

Committing early may have loosened the reins on Haywood as he compiled a noteworthy statistical season.

“I am very happy that I committed early,” he said. “The way Incarnate Word was recruiting me was with so much love and believing that I can help improve their program.”

Incarnate Word finished 5-7 in 2019 as a member of the Southland Conference under head coach Eric Morris. Regional opponents include Southeast Texas programs at Sam Houston State, Houston Baptist and Lamar. 

The Cardinals played Texas Southern this season.

“I’m so excited to get there and work for Coach Morris and the staff,” Haywood said. “I believe they will help me get where I need to be to become a better player and a better man. 

“I’m also looking forward and pursuing my education in Sports Management.”

Before Haywood moves on, he took time to remember his Patriot days.

“I most definitely will miss GCM,” he said. “GCM is such a family here. We all support each other and we want nothing but the best for each other. I will miss all my friends cheering me on in the stands.”

GCM teammate Holden Hill signed to play with NCAA Division II’s Southern Nazarene University.

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