Neosho senior Tre Letts became the latest Wildcat football player to continue his academic and athletic career at the next level, when he signed Wednesday afternoon to play football at NCAA Division II Central Missouri.
During his senior campaign at Neosho, Letts enjoyed a season to remember with 116 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and two touchdowns — highlighted by a 96-yard fumble return for touchdown at Bob Anderson Stadium that will be filed in the history books alongside Adrian Hitchcock’s 91-yard blocked field goal return the previous season, a play also made at Bob Anderson.
“Tre received many honors this year,” Neosho head coach Leon Miller said. “All-conference, all-district, and all-state. He played a big part in helping us turn this year around. This is my second year here. We were 2-9 the first year and 8-4 this year. Tre was a big part in that defensively. Offensively, he had some big plays too. He was our leading tackler and he was also named defensive MVP by his teammates. Very proud of what Tre did this year … excited to see what the future holds. Central Missouri came in on him early, stayed on him, and their persistence paid off. They’re getting a great kid and a great football player.”
Central Missouri — based in Warrensburg — plays in the rough-and-tumble Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, one of the premier conferences in Division II, featuring renowned programs Northwest Missouri and Pittsburg State.
“I went there for a summer camp my junior year,” Letts said. “As soon as I showed up, I loved the field, I loved the stadium, the atmosphere. After the camp, Coach (Wes) Bell (Central Missouri defensive coordinator) came up to me and said he wanted to offer me. Then, he kept pursuing me. Senior year, he kept on me. Every week, I would hear something from someone at UCM and that just made it so much easier for me.”
Central Missouri plays home games at Audrey J. Walton Stadium (named for the wife of Walmart co-founder James “Bud” Walton), a venue with a capacity of 12,000 that of course can accommodate more fans, like the record attendance of 14,377 when Central Missouri took on Northwest Missouri in 2011. Letts had a chance to experience gameday at Walton Stadium.
“I went to a gameday visit and got to tour the campus,” Letts said. “That just made it so much better. I’m ready for it. They get a huge crowd every Saturday, every gameday.”
Central Missouri’s athletic program includes recent national championship winning teams in both men’s and women’s basketball.
The Mules finished 5-6 overall and MIAA last season, and half of their losses came by a touchdown or less including a season-opening 20-16 loss to nationally-ranked Fort Hays State.
Central Missouri announced 29 signees on Wednesday.
“This is an exceptional recruiting class,” Central Missouri head coach Jim Svoboda said in a media release. “It features some highly touted student athletes that chose UCM over many other offers and it also features a number of kids that were flying under the radar that we did our homework on that have a tremendous upside. I would say the strength and depth of the class lies among the offensive and defensive lines where we were able to sign players at the very top of our board. Overall, it’s a very athletic class with a majority of the kids being multiple-sport stars.
“Today is a great day for Mules football as it signifies both great optimism for the future and the culmination of endless hours of persistence and effort by our assistant coaches that essentially began last April. Therein lies the credit for finding and attracting this class. Once we get them on campus the village pitches in and UCM shines.”
Central Missouri opens its 2019 season September 5 at home against Fort Hays.