TYLER — Rev. Jerome Milton and his wife Charlene Milton have adopted 11 kids throughout the years.
On Thursday, the final three of the bunch all signed to play college football at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall during a ceremony at Tyler’s Grace Community School.
Jeremiah, Isaiah and Emmanuel Milton will all be joining the Tigers in the fall.
“They all came to me one day and said they had decided to go to the same school and make it easy on me and their mom to go see them play,” Rev. Milton said.
“I’m so excited,” Charlene said. “It’s a blessing. They’ve worked hard. And it’s even better that I’ll be able to watch all three of them at the same time.”
Rev. Milton was in 14 foster homes while growing up, and he said one of his foster mothers told him to do what she had done for 44 kids. The Miltons adopted Jeremiah, Isaiah and Emmanuel when they were babies, so they have been together for most of their lives.
The trio previously played at Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Catholic School, but finished their high school career at Grace.
“For most people, I think it would be hard to transfer for your last year of high school, but I think Grace made it very easy because they were very accepting and supported us a lot,” Emmanuel said.
While at Gorman, Rev. Milton was the athletic scholarship coordinator and saw 205 athletes sign in 30 years. On Thursday, he was able to watch his three sons get their opportunity to compete at the next level.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Rev. Milton said. “It brings deep joy to all of our hearts.”
Rev. Milton said when he called Grace head football coach Norm Thompson to tell him that the three brothers were coming to play for him, “I think he was shopping at Brookshires, and you could hear can drop down the aisle when I told him.”
“God blesses you sometimes,” Thompson said. “It was a great opportunity for us. It made us a lot better, and they really contributed to the team. What liked best is how quickly the team took them in and made them part of our own.”
Jeremiah will play running back for the Tigers. He rushed for 1,594 yards with 20 touchdowns this season.
“He honestly doesn’t believe one guy can bring him down,” Thompson said.
Isaiah said he doesn’t know what position he will play in college, but he did record 92 tackles as a senior for the Cougars.
“Isaiah is the same way in that he doesn’t believe there’s anybody he can’t tackle,” Thompson said.
Thompson said he sees Isaiah playing the “rover” position on defense.
“I can play both sides of the ball, just wherever they need me,” Isaiah said.
Emmanuel will play slot receiver.
“He’s going to be a good receiver for them and also return some punts and kickoffs,” Thompson said.
During a victory over Redwater this season, the brothers all scored a touchdown in the first quarter.
They’ll look to take their dynamic playmaking abilities to Marshall.
“They’re getting something special,” Emmanuel said. “It’s going to be a fun ride.”
“It’s a dream come true,” Jeremiah said. “We’ve been saying that we wanted to go to college together since we were little, and it’s finally happening.”
Emmanuel wants to major in business. Isaiah plans to major in forensic science, and Jeremiah said he’s thinking of majoring in philosophy.