AUBREY — Aubrey was just about the last place any college coach would have looked for athletes with the ability to play Division I football when Gatlin Grisso and Jordan Redfearn first played for the Chaparrals a few years ago.
The pair of old friends helped change that perception over the course of a highly successful three years that reached another milestone Wednesday during a signing ceremony at the school.
Grisso made his commitment to Washington State official, while Redfearn confirmed his decision to play for North Texas in front of family and friends on the opening day of football's early signing period.
"It puts Aubrey on the map," Aubrey coach Keith Ivy said. "We only had one Division I recruit in the 46-year history of the program. To have two in one year is special. It's a testament to them, the work they have put in and our coaching staff."
Grisso was recruited as a safety by Washington State and will join the Cougars in January as a grayshirt. Putting off enrolling for a semester will allow Grisso to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in his right knee last season.
Grisso had surgery Oct. 2 and is well into the rehabilitation process. He expects to be physically ready by the time he gets to Washington State to play for Mike Leach.
The opportunity is one Grisso relishes.
"Not a lot of student-athletes get a chance to play past high school and have the opportunity to play in a league like Pac-12," Grisso said. "Coach Leach is a genuine guy who says what's on his mind and doesn't care what other people think."
Redfearn will stay closer to home to play for the Mean Green. He was a first-team all-district selection in each of the last two years.
Redfearn said UNT's coaches project him to play guard or center for the Mean Green, who have made back-to-back bowl appearances under Seth Littrell.
Redfearn attended UNT's game against Army this season and has been looking forward to playing for the Mean Green ever since. UNT drew a crowd of 26,392 and pulled off a 52-49 win on a last-second field goal.
"I can't wait to be in that atmosphere," Redfearn said. "It will be awesome and different than Aubrey."
Aubrey's program is different as well after Grisso and Redfearn helped transform it over the last three years. The Chaparrals struggled before the pair of friends burst onto the scene and led the team to 23 wins over three seasons. That total is a program record.
"It's an honor and a blessing to coach them," Ivy said. "They have been instrumental to our success. They have earned this moment."
Sharing the moment was a perfect ending to their high school football journey.
"To do it together with Gatlin was awesome," Redfearn said. "We are best friends. It was fun to go through it with him."
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.
FEATURED PHOTO: Aubrey seniors Jordan Redfearn, left, and Gatlin Grisso shake hands after making their decisions to play for Washington State and North Texas, respectively, official on Wednesday in Aubrey. (Jeff Woo/DRC)