Teen commits on National Signing Day despite winter weather to honor his brother

Teen commits on National Signing Day despite winter weather to honor his brother (WKEF/WRGT)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF) -- Wednesday is National Signing Day for high school athletes committing to play their sport in college. With the wintery weather that hit the Miami Valley Tuesday night, many schools delayed signing day until Thursday. Springfield High School was closed, but one of their athletes had to make his commitment on February 7.

Life may change, but dates remain the same. For TJ King, it's June 10, 2015; the day he lost his brother Tyree.

“It's just a horrible day,” his mother said, “I got him to start working out with me every day,” TJ added, “On his way home a drunk driver came in the yard and hit him,” she continued, “A lot of kids come up banging on the door after it happened,” said TJ’s father Todd, “Usually when I have a nightmare it's just him face down bleeding,” TJ finished.

In 2015, TJ transferred to Shawnee High School to play with Tyree.

“I thought I was going to play the rest of my years with my brother,” TJ said.

He played at Shawnee for two years in his brother’s honor.

“TJ goes to the cemetery every Friday,” his father told us back then, “Every Friday before the games that's where he’s at.”

“It gives me the will to keep going, and to never stop,” TJ said.

His spirit transferring with TJ to Springfield High for his senior year, and pushing him in a new way. He began powerlifting.

“I just try and take every workout like it's my last because you never know when the day will come,” TJ said.

TJ speaks to his brother before every lift. The spiritual energy becoming artificial protein. It fueled TJ to a state powerlifting title, which caught the eye of his coach, local weight lifting legend Larry Pacifico.

“He won the state title last year without any formal instruction,” Pacifico said.

On January 13th of this year, the teen set three world records for his age. A 165 lbs. senior squatting 475 lbs.

“Because someone is watching over him and watching what he does. and he knows they're watching,” Pacifico said, speaking about where his power comes from.

What makes February 7th so special, and why he had to sign on Wednesday, is that National Signing Day is also Tyree's birthday.

“I told him that we made it, and today was the day,” TJ said in a room filled with friends, family, and teammates.

TJ is committing to lift and play football for Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. The school is a 13-time Division III National Champion, and they have sent players to the NFL. A handful have had successful careers.

“We weren't going to have it no other day, but today,” his father said.

“He's not here physically, but I know he's with us today,” TJ said.

During his signing, TJ wore a necklace with a pendant of the number 14. It was Tyree’s football number. Mount Union will let TJ wear the number next season. They had it ready for him during his last visit.

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