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willsJackson, Michigan –  It was about family and hard work. Those were the common themes at Lumen Christi High School Wednesday morning when a pair of Titan football players – RB Khari Willis and TE/DT Sam Girodat – signed Letters of Intent to play Division 1 college football.

Both student-athletes cited foundations built upon hard work, support from family, their faith and honoring their word to college recruiters as highlights of the special day.

“There are just so many people to thank for helping me get to this day,” Girodat said. “I definitely did not get here by myself and can’t wait to get started at the next level. I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I’m ready. This is definitely a dream come true.”

Willis echoed those sentiments.

“I’m just blessed to be in this position,” the future Spartan said. “Just having this opportunity is the culmination of a lot of hard work and support from my family, my coaches and my teammates. I’m ready to get to work.”

Girodat and Willis, in addition to acknowledging the support they’ve received during their high school careers, cited the importance of family in the next step in their journeys. In an era when high school athletes flip commitments and back out of promises right up to the last minute, both Titans stayed strong with their initial pledge.

“I made my decision in June last year,” Willis said. “I decided on Michigan State and then slept on it just to make sure. Once I made that decision to go with Coach Dantonio and the Spartans I felt obligated to honor that and I gave him my word. There’s such a sense of family at State that I felt very comfortable there. Whatever they need me to do, I’m ready to do it.”

Girodat felt the same way about Coach Chris Creighton at Eastern Michigan.

“I felt very comfortable visiting Eastern and getting to know some of the players and the coaching staff,” he said. “They treated me like one of the family and I think I can help them right away. I’m ready to play some football.”

On a day of excitement and anticipation, both Khari Willis and Sam Girodat took time to honor the foundation upon which that excitement and anticipation is built.

Michigan State and Eastern Michigan are getting two quality football players – but even more important: They’re getting two quality young men.

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