College signing

Liberty Hill senior Jack Philpott will attend the U.S. Naval Academy, where he will pursue a career in military aviation.

Jack Philpott already has a family history in the military.

So, it's certainly a natural fit for the Liberty Hill senior, who will attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in the fall.

“I already have two cousins there,” said Philpott. “I also visited the Air Force Academy, but Annapolis was where I felt like I belonged.”

Philpott played football and ran track during his time in Purple-and-Gold, but will aspire to something a bit more high-flying upon his arrival at the academy.

“I want to be a pilot,” he said. “Either F-16s or F-35s.”

Due to the military heritage in his family, Philpott said serving his country is in his blood, so to speak.

“I've personally always had a desire to serve something higher than myself,” he said. “My grandpa served in the Army in Vietnam.”

Attending a military academy presents even more culture shock to a newly-minted high-school graduate than a traditional college experience, but it's one Philpott feels he's ready to immerse himself in and embrace – although it's a venture into the unknown.

“Nobody is really completely ready for something like that,” said Philpott. “But, I think once I get set into a routine, I'll be fine.”

One thing that should help ease the transition from civilian to military life will by a 10-month stint Philpott will do at the Navy Preparatory Academy in Newport, Rhode Island, before he heads down the Atlantic Coast.

“A lot of athletes get sent there,” he said. “As long as you maintain your grades, you move on to the academy.”

Being a member of Liberty Hill's football program has provided Philpott with a preview of what military life will be like from a culture perspective – especially with what he and his teammates have endured over the past few years, he said.

“With all the adversity this class of football players has faced, that's something you can't teach,” said Philpott, of dealing with the passing of former Panthers head coach Jeff Walker. “I think the dynamic of our group and that of a military academy is similar, as far as the standard we hold ourselves to and the class we carry ourselves with.”

Philpott needed a nomination from Congressman John Carter in order to submit a successful application and it was a process that was a bit pressure-packed, he said.

“You have to write essays and answer different questions,” said Philpott. “It was a little nerve-wracking.”

Philpott said when he found out his application had been approved, it was the thrill of a lifetime.

“I just found out about two weeks ago,” he said. “I was checking my phone every day for the status and it finally changed to 'yes' – it was such a big weight lifted off my shoulders.”

One of the aspects of academy life Philpott is looking forward to most is all the positive influences he will be surrounded by as he begins his journey to being commissioned as an officer and beyond.

“I think just the people I'm going to be around,” he said. “Even once I have that rank, there are still others who have been in for a long time you can learn from.”

Moving to the East Coast will be a bit different than what a young man from Central Texas may be accustomed to, but Philpott has already developed a liking for a couple very important aspect of life on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

“I fell in love with the food,” he said. “I've also always loved the water.”