HOUSTON – Feb. 20, 2020 – On the heels of last fall’s state semifinal run, the powerhouse Mustang Football program at Spring ISD’s Westfield High School is making news again. On National Signing Day, three Westfield seniors announced their commitment to play football for the U.S. Navy and attend the U.S. Naval Academy after graduation. Nationwide, they are the only group of three seniors invited from the same high school to join this year’s Navy Football recruitment class.
“It’s a grand opportunity for the kids to have,” said retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Mark Clarke, an instructor with the Navy JROTC program at Spring High School. “You’re getting a million-dollar education playing for a major Division I university, and an opportunity to serve your country, all at the same time.”
Competition is fierce for those seeking appointments to attend the service academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Clarke said, and having three students sign there in the same year from the same school is a high honor, both for them and for Westfield High School. It’s an honor and an opportunity that isn’t lost on Leonard “Trey” Cummings III, Timothy Hardiman Jr. and Marcus Moore Jr., all of whom said they were excited to announce their commitment to play for Navy.
“I committed because I knew it was a great opportunity for me and my future and my family,” said Hardiman. “And then, when I knew these two guys had the offer, too, I was like, ‘Man, this could be something special, something amazing.’”
Moore will head directly to Annapolis after graduation, while Cummings and Hardiman will both spend a year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, before all three join up again at the Academy’s main campus. Becoming Naval Academy plebes after riding high as high school seniors will come with some challenges, and all three will miss having Westfield Head Coach Matt Meekins and their other coaches and teammates around, but they also said that Westfield had strengthened them, both individually and collectively.
“These years went by fast,” said Moore. “This is what I will say: they went by fast, but the coaches prepared us in every way possible. We’re ready for anything.”
Last fall, Cummings, Hardiman and Moore – together with fellow team captain Malachai Jones – helped lead the Mustangs to the state semifinals for only the fourth time in Westfield history. None of them were wanting for college scholarship offers or attention from recruiters, and all three admitted some early doubts about signing on to play for Navy. Their education will be fully paid for, but comes with a mandatory commitment of post-graduation military service as officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.
However, all three Westfield seniors were eventually won over after talking with Navy coaches, current Academy students, professors and alumni. It didn’t hurt that each had a grandfather who served in the military, along with other immediate and extended family members with military service in their backgrounds, a tradition they’re proud to continue.
“Yes, you’re serving,” Moore said, “but you’re serving for a purpose.”
The three also emphasized how their education at the Naval Academy will prepare them to be successful, not just as football players or military officers, but in life.
“We’ll already have a job when we get out of college,” Cummings said, adding, “I chose the Naval Academy because of what’s after football – life after football. I think the program, and just the whole atmosphere, will build me to be a man and to be a great father.”
The three have been playing football together for most of their lives. From little league to high school, they’ve put in countless hours training and competing, and they’ve built a bond that runs deep – a bond that all three say will only be strengthened after they graduate and head to the Navy.
“When you work out and you go so hard, every day, and you’re doing it with your brothers, your teammates, you just come so close together,” Moore said. “Blood couldn’t make you closer.”