Lumberjacks Sign 21 on National Signing Day
Feb. 1, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team signed 21 high school standouts to National Letters of Intent two-time Southland Conference Coach of the Year J.C. Harperannounced Wednesday afternoon. The 2012 class consists of 10 players on the defensive side of the ball, 10 offensive players and a specialist.
The SFA defense was hit the hardest by attrition with the loss of five starters from the 2011 campaign, including all-conference corner Ben Wells, two of the top producing linebackers in program history in Derek Choice and Devin Ducote, and defensive linemen Jacob Fincher and Weekendfer Saurit. The 10 defensive signees fill needs at every position with three on the defensive line, two linebackers and five in the secondary (three corners and two safeties).
SFA signed 10 players to the offensive side of the football. The offensive signees include four offensive linemen, two receivers, two quarterbacks, a running back and an athlete.
"I am very excited about this incoming class," said Harper. "Our staff did an excellent job of evaluating talent, and establishing relationships with these guys throughout the year. I'm pleased with the balance of the class on both sides of the ball. As a coaching staff, we are excited to be able to work with these young men over the next four to five years.
"In addition to their ability on the football field, they are also quality students. That is the thing that I am most proud of with this class, they are a great fit on the field and in the classroom," added Harper.
A continuing focus of Harper and his staff has been bringing East Texas talent to Nacogdoches. SFA is the Southland Conference's winningest team over the past three seasons, and the foundation of that success, including the two conference titles during that stretch, has been built on the East Texas talent that has made its way to Nacogdoches. The 'Jacks added 11 East Texans to the roster including Lamarcus Brown (Henderson), Jordan Burton (Longview), Corey Clark (Lufkin), Kedrick Harrison (Coldspring), Avery Henderson (Tyler), Trevor Holmes (Newton), Anthony Kincade (Tyler), Samuel Schomp (Lindale), Hunter Taylor (Whitehouse), Terran Vaughn (Beaumont) and Jamarcus Walker(Lufkin).
"We are the `University of East Texas,'" said Harper. "That is what we tell kids when we go to their homes. There is a sense of pride about playing football in East Texas, and these guys want to show that pride by playing their college football in East Texas. We want them to stay close to home, and play for Stephen F. Austin, and SFA is where they want to be."
SFA's strength on the defensive line has been the catalyst for the team finishing among the nation's top 20 in sacks each of the past four years, among the top six in the last three, including the sack and tackles for loss national champion this past season. But SFA has faced heavy losses on the line graduating five starters at end and two on the interior in the past three years. The signing of ends Artrez Price(Killeen, Harrison and defensive tackle Clark fills a need, and they will have an opportunity for early playing time.
While the Lumberjacks only lost one starter on the offensive line, 2011 All-American George Bias, SFA will lose two more starters following the 2012 season, and a third after 2013. The Lumberjack coaching staff filled this need with the additions of Schomp, Byron Williams(Dickinson), Trevor Wiggins (Grand Prairie) and Vaughn.
"We really felt like we needed to add some quality offensive linemen to what we already have on roster," said Harper. "I really feel like we succeeded with the four guys we got coming in. They are all great kids who are big, strong and athletic. We went into the process wanting three, and we came away with four that met the standards we set. I believe they will go down as one of the best offensive linemen groups since I've been here."
Although starting quarterback Brady Attaway still has two years of eligibility remaining, the depth at quarterback was an issue with only 2011 signee Joe Minden as the only other quarterback on scholarship. The 'Jacks answered this need with two of the state's top signal callers, Marshall Williams(Flower Mound) and Taylor.
"Both Marshall (Williams) and Hunter (Taylor) put up impressive numbers in high school," said Harper. "They both finished among the nation's top seniors in passing yards, and we are very excited to have them. Marshall graduated mid-year and has already enrolled and will be able to go through spring drills. He is a real athletic guy who played receiver before moving to quarterback.
"I've always liked Hunter. We've wanted him to be a member of this football team, but you just never know how those things are going to work out during the recruiting process. Whitehouse runs a similar offense to us, and we are excited to have him on the roster," added Harper.
2012 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack Signing Class
Lamarcus Brown - WR 5-10 170 Henderson, Texas (Henderson HS) Nick Bruno - K/P 5-10 185 Garland, Texas (Rowlett HS) Jordan Burton - LB 6-3 200 Longview, Texas (Longview HS) Corey Clark - DT 6-2 250 Lufkin, Texas (Lufkin HS) J.C. Franklin - S 5-11 160 Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill HS) Demundre Freeman - CB 5-11 175 Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill HS) Kedrick Harrison - DE 6-2 220 Coldspring, Texas (Coldspring-Oakhurst HS) Avery Henderson - S 5-11 190 Tyler, Texas (Chapel Hill HS) Trevor Holmes - LB 6-1 215 Newton, Texas (Newton HS) Anthony Kincade - CB 5-11 160 Tyler, Texas (Chapel Hill HS) De'Vante Lacy - WR 5-10 180 Grand Prairie, Texas (Grand Prairie HS) Patrick Martin - CB 5-10 170 Spring, Texas (Dekaney) Garrett Muehlstein - Ath 6-3 215 Decatur, Texas (Decatur) Artrez Price - DE 6-3 225 Killeen, Texas (Killeen HS) Sam Schomp - OL 6-4 295 Lindale, Texas (Lindale HS) Hunter Taylor - QB 6-1 180 Whitehouse, Texas (Whitehouse HS) Terran Vaughn - OL 6-3 290 Beaumont, Texas (Ozen HS) Jamarcus Walker - RB 5-8 170 Lufkin, Texas (Lufkin HS) Travis Wiggins - OL 6-3 280 Grand Prairie, Texas (S. Grand Prairie HS) Byron Williams - OL 6-3 285 Dickinson, Texas (Dickinson HS) Marshall Williams- QB 6-5 195 Flower Mound, Texas (Flower Mound HS)
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 2012 FOOTBALL SIGNING CLASS
Lamarcus Brown - WR 5-10 170 Henderson, Texas (Henderson HS)
Nick Bruno- K/P 5-10 185 Garland, Texas (Rowlett HS)
Jordan Burton- LB 6-3 200 Longview, Texas (Longview HS)
Corey Clark - DT 6-2 250 Lufkin, Texas (Lufkin HS)
J.C. Franklin - S 5-11 160 Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill HS)
Demundre Freeman - CB 5-11 175 Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill HS)
Kedrick Harrison- DE 6-2 220 Coldspring, Texas (Coldspring-Oakhurst HS)
Avery Henderson- S 5-11 190 Tyler, Texas (Chapel Hill HS)
Trevor Holmes- LB 6-1 215 Newton, Texas (Newton HS)
Anthony Kincade - CB 5-11 160 Tyler, Texas (Chapel Hill HS)
Terran Vaughn- OL 6-3 290 Beaumont, Texas (Ozen HS)
Jamarcus Walker - RB 5-8 170 Lufkin, Texas (Lufkin HS)
Travis Wiggins- OL 6-3 280 Grand Prairie, Texas (S. Grand Prairie HS)
Byron Williams- OL 6-3 285 Dickinson, Texas (Dickinson HS)
Marshall Williams - QB 6-5 195 Flower Mound, Texas (Flower Mound HS)