They have been teammates on the football field since fourth grade and they aren't letting graduating from high school change that.
Isrrael De Santiago and Cole DelosSantos will continue their football careers together as teammates at Westminster College in Fulton, after both signed a letter of intent on April 23 at McDonald County High School.
De Santiago, a workhorse running back, topped the 1,000 mark this past season, while DelosSantos led the Mustangs in receiving.
"It feels great to finally find a team where I can play," De Santiago said. "I was looking at several colleges, but it turned out Westminster was the best fit for me. I have wanted to play football in college once I got in high school. It's awesome to be going to college with Cole. We are ready to go do our best and, hopefully, we can get to start early in our college careers."
DelosSantos was equally as glad to get his college plans finalized.
"It feels really great to sign," DelosSantos said. "I am so excited to play college football. I moved here after my third-grade year and started playing peewee football then. I really liked it, so I quit soccer and just wanted to play football."
DelosSantos said the coaching staff at Westminster heavily influenced his choice of colleges.
"I was talking to a lot of different coaches, but Westminster coaches were really into my talents and what I could do to help them," DelosSantos said. "I liked it as soon as I went and saw the campus. It's really nice to be going with "Izzy" because I know he is going to try his hardest and give all his effort. I think we will motivate each other."
De Santiago was a first team all-conference and all-district running back his senior season. He also earned second team all-conference honors as a linebacker.
DelosSantos earned second all-conference honors as a wide receiver and as a linebacker.
McDonald County head coach Kellen Hoover said the two were key reasons why the Mustangs went from 0-10 in 2016 to 5-5 this past season.
"Cole is a great possession receiver," Hoover said. "He was a great outside linebacker for us too, mostly because of his motor. He never quit. He never took a play off. He never got to go to the sideline. It seemed he was on every special team as well as offense and defense. He never missed a play most games. We will really miss his leadership more than anything else. He didn't mind teaching the guys behind me and helping the underclassmen."
"It's kind of the same thing about Izzy. He was on about everything we did. Both of these guys were big parts of what we did. It wasn't like they were just filling a spot. They were a pretty integral part of what we were doing offensively and defensively. Izzy is a guy you can turn around and hand it to 25 times a game or more if it is a really physical game. He loved it. He never once said he needed a play out. It took someone splitting his lip wide open for him to come out of a game. His willingness to put it in between the tackles each and every play and knowing he is going to have to get right back up and do it again on the next play is going to be hard to replace."
"We are going to miss them both. It's cool they get to go play together. I think that it is awesome just how high school teammates now get a chance to play together in college."
DelosSantos is the son of Fermin and Christy DelosSantos. De Santiago is the son of Rudy and Martha De Santiago.Sports on 05/03/2018
Print Headline: De Santiago And DelosSantos Sign Letters Of Intent