Atchison senior Xavier Cushinberry signs his letter of intent to continue his football career with Dodge City Community college.

Xavier Cushinberry did something he didn’t expect to do when he started High School and that’s to sign on to play football in college.

“I came into high school not expecting to go to college as a kid from a small town,” Cushinberry said. “I never really worked at playing sports until coach Smith told me I could get a scholarship for it if I could really work for it.”

The senior credited coach Jim Smith for his positive influence and for helping him grow as a football player.

“He really took me under his wing and allowed me to express myself on the field,” Cushinberry said. “He let me talk to him after games and helped keep my head straight.”

Smith was able to convince Cushinberry that he had the capability to play college football even though the senior had originally eyed potentially playing basketball at the next level.

“It was fun for me to watch him grow every year as he started to understand what it took to be a football player,” Smith said. “He got better every game in terms of understanding pad level and how he needed to run with his shoulders lower. I think he is going to do some good things.”

Cushinberry said he saw the Conquistadors as a program that could improve him as a player.”

The coaching staff and the facility drew me there,” Cushinberry said. “I feel like they could make me a better player there.”

Cushinberry also praised the role his family has played, specifically his mother.

“My mom has always been there and she’s been my rock,” Cushinberry said. “My whole family has been there for me.”

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