Southend youngster Johnny Herd has signed a two-year professional deal at Roots Hall.
The 18-year-old left-back has been promoted to the senior squad following a string of eye-catching displays for the youth and reserve teams this season.
"It's great news for Johnny and ourselves," said youth-team manager Ricky Duncan.
"Every year the aim is to bring at least one player through the system to sign professionally and this season we've managed two because Peggy Lokando was signed up at the start.
"Johnny deserves this because of the way he's played.
"He's been involved with the first team this year and I know he's impressed Steve Tilson during training."