Chris Thurston knows he will be playing football next season after graduating from Charlottesville High School. He's just not sure where yet.
Thurston was one of four senior football players recognized at CHS on Thursday afternoon for their plans to continue their careers. He was joined by wide receiver Leon Straus, who plans to play a post-grad year at Garden City Community College in Kansas; and linemen Jeremiah Jordan and Will White, who will be teammates at UVa-Wise next season.
Thurston was the all-purpose player on the All-Jefferson District first team in 2013, after throwing for 400 yards and seven touchdowns for the Black Knights, and rushing for 717 yards and 10 scores.
In 2012, when he was the primary running back at CHS, Thurston put up 1,229 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.
Thurston says he has offers to walk on from Virginia Union, Virginia State, and Norfolk State. But Thurston says he's holding out for an opportunity to play for the post-grad team at Fork Union next fall.
"My academics were okay, but they're not where I want them to be," he explained. "And the offers that I have, I would have taken. But I feel that, for my potential, I can go above that. I'm fighting for more."
"And hopefully Coach Shuman would find a place for me, and establish the next step for me."
Straus arrived at CHS last year from Blue Ridge School, and ended up rushing for 193 yards and a pair of scores, and catching 11 passes for 257 yards and six touchdowns.
Straus says he'll play wide receiver and return kicks at Garden City.
"It's just another big step ahead of me. I'm still working out for college, and getting my grades and stuff done like I'm supposed to," he said. "It's very special, because I never thought I could be in this predicament. And I always had a lot of doubters. So me being here, and proving them wrong, and making my family happy, is a big accomplishment."
Jordan and White were both part of the offensive line that helped the Thurston and Straus put up those big stats, and helped Black Knights make back-to-back playoff appearances.
Jordan says he picked the Cavaliers over ODAC schools Hampden-Sydney and Emory and Henry, while White -- an All-JD second team pick in 2013 -- was looking at the Tigers before picking UVa-Wise.
And both players say they're looking forward to playing together again at the college level.
"Oh, it's just awesome. It's a dream come true. It's been a dream my whole life to play college football, and I'm just really looking forward to it," said White. "I'm super-pumped to play with Jeremiah. He's a great friend of mine, and it's just going to be awesome to play together with him."
"He thought he was going to Hampden-Sydney first, and I was like, "I'll probably go to Wise." And he ended up signing at Wise before I did," said Jordan. "Then I just, we just signed together. And it'll probably work out great, hopefully work out great."