MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) – On Monday, Ethan Whatley, a McAllen High senior centerfielder signed a letter of intent to play baseball for Richland College in Dallas.

Whatley is the latest student-athlete to earn a chance to compete at the next level.

“It’s a dream come true,” Whatley told McAllen ISD at his signing celebration. “Something I’ve worked for my whole life, it’s unreal.”

Richland College is a junior college and competes in the Dallas-area Metro Athletic Conference. The Thunderducks were 22-10 last season before the COVID-19 pandemic halted sports seasons.

At Whatley’s signing, McAllen High baseball head coach Eliseo Pompa emphasized the tremendous skill that Rio Grande Valley players possess.

“I think most teams now are starting to realize that,” said Pompa. “They’re starting to look down here in the Valley for players, and every school that you go to in the Valley they have one or two kids who are going to play at the next level.”

Whatley thanked his friends, family, coaches, and teammates for showing up to watch him put pen to paper. Whatley will finish his senior season with the McHi Bulldogs. They are currently 7-3 on the season overall and will play their first district game tonight at 7 p.m. against Nikki Rowe.