LYMAN, MS (WLOX) - Cortland Gayton, surrounded by family, friends and teammates, signed on the line line, officially becoming a member of the Warner University football team, located in Lake Wales, Florida.
Gayton said, "I chose them because they're a great school in academics and athletics and I really like the coaches and some of the players. I really connected."
Gayton wasn't the biggest player on the football turf at 5-foot-6 inches, 148 pounds. Despite a lack of size, Gayton made his presence known. He also stood out in the classroom.
"My parents always made sure I had all A's, "Gayton said. "I really can't even get a B. I would be made at myself if I got a B."
Harrison Central head coach Casey Cain praised Gayton and pointed out three areas where Cortland excelled.
Coach Cain said, "Number one his education. Number two he's tough. For his sophomore and junior year, he had to put his shoulder back in place to be able to get out on the field every Friday night in order to play. And the other thing I admire about Cortland, he has a big heart."
Eight years ago I did a feature on 9-year-old Gayton who had trained for the Hershey National Track and Field Championships and finished third.
He also played quarterback in football.
In that 2010 interview Gayton said, "I really like football better because I've been playing football for a really long time. My goals are to still make honor roll and be in the Olympics or to be in the NFL."
On Wednesday, Gayton secured another goal, a football scholarship and free education.
"I always felt like I was going to go to college and I was going to succeed, "stated Gayton. "Everything just motivated me from my parents, my family, my friends. They just motivated me to strive to do better.
Gayton carries a 3.5 grade point average. He's a special young man who is an inspiration to other young people his age."