Feb. 6, 2013
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team signed 22 high school standouts to National Letters of Intent, and added a junior college transfer SFA head football coach J.C. Harper announced at a press luncheon Wednesday afternoon. The 2013 class consists of 13 offensive players, nine defensive players and a specialist.
The Lumberjacks brought in talent on both sides of the ball to help fill needs in several key areas. The incoming class consists of five wide receivers, four linebackers, four defensive linemen (three tackles), four offensive linemen, two quarterbacks, two athletes, one defensive back and a kicker.
The SFA coaching staff added five prospects from the East Texas area. The five East Texans include Patrick Brown (DB - Henderson), Aaron Doddy (Ath. - Hooks), Justice Liggins (WR - Tyler), Justin Reasons (OL - Groves) and Vedial Johnson (LB - Trinity Valley CC).
"I am very excited about our incoming class," said Harper. "From day one we targeted guys that would be a fit academically for SFA. Then we began looking for players who could fit into what we do both offensively and defensively. Our coaches did a great job of targeting these players, and we look forward to coaching them over the next four-to-five seasons.
"One of our biggest needs was at defensive tackle. We really needed to add some depth at the tackle position. I'm happy with our additions on the defensive front. We are bringing in some very strong, talented young men," added Harper.
With only two defensive tackles on the roster heading into the spring, the coaching staff addressed its need on the defensive line with the addition of Juvon Gales, Shane Roberson, Randy Timmons and Mitchell Zimmerle. The 'Jacks trio on incoming (Zimmerle is projected to play defensive end) tackles averages 6-1, 285 pounds led by Gales. A two-star athlete according to Rivals.com, and one of only two Louisianans in the signing class, Gales is rated as one of the state's top tackles.
Lumberjack fans have been fortunate to watch All-American receivers like Dominique Edison and Cordell Roberson in recent years, but with Roberson having exhausted his eligibility the coaching staff reloaded its talented stable with five receivers. This talented crop of receivers adds immediate size and depth to the roster.
"We entered the recruiting season knowing that we needed some impact guys at receiver," said Harper. "This group consists of good size and great speed. We have several guys who have the ability to stretch the field. The thing that really impressed me about this group was their ability to make something happen after the catch."
SFA graduated three all-conference players on the offensive line, but the coaching staff answered this need with the addition of four high school standouts. The 'Jacks' 2013 offensive linemen enter their collegiate career averaging 6-3, 284 pounds.
"It is hard to focus on just one guy," said Harper. "Each of the incoming (offensive) linemen are so talented. They are all hard working players, but the most impressive thing about them is how strong and athletic they are. Each one has great footwork, and does a great job of pass blocking."
The newcomers on the offensive line will be using their talents to protect quarterbacks Colton Bretton (6-4, 190, Glen Rose) and Dru Smith (6-1, 195, Sherman) over the course of the next four years. Both signal callers enter college after highly touted prep careers. Bretton threw for 4,700 yards and 40 touchdowns during his prep career, while Smith is rated as one of the state's top 200 prospects.
2013 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack Signee Bios
Colton Bretton 6-4 190 QB Glen Rose, Texas/Glen Rose HS
High School: Completed 150-of-247 (.601) passes for 2,699 yards and 28 touchdowns during his senior season ... A unanimous first-team all-district selection in 2012 ... Also received first-team all-district honors on the basketball court ... Passed for more than 4,700 yards and 40 touchdowns during his career ... Owns school records for touchdowns in a single game (five) and single season (29) ... True definition of a student-athlete earning academic all-state honors during the football and basketball seasons ... Personal: Son of William Bretton ... Born Nov. 14, 1994, in Arlington, Texas.
Patrick Brown 5-11 170 DB Henderson, Texas/Henderson HS
High School: A two-star athlete according to Rivals.com ... Ranked as the No. 98 player in the in the state of Texas according to TexasHSFootball.com ... Recognized as the No. 16 player in east Texas according to ETSN.fm ... Named 2012 District 16-3A Offensive MVP.
Aaron Doddy 6-4 190 Ath Hooks, Texas/Hooks HS
High School: A two-star prospect according to Rivals.com ... A 2012 APSE Class 2A Honorable Mention All-State pick ... A second-team all-district selection as a quarterback and a first-team all-district pick at punter during his senior year ... A first-team all-district selection at safety and an honorable mention all-district selection at quarterback as a junior ... Also earned all-region honors in basketball ... Has received recruiting attention from Texas State, Wyoming, North Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana Tech.
Juvon Gales 6-3 280 DL Hahnville, La./Hahnville HS
High School: Listed as a two-star athlete according to Rivals.com ... A two-star athlete according to 247sports.com ... Ranked as the No. 142 defensive tackle in the state of Louisiana according to 247sports.com ... Recorded 55 total tackles, including 6.5 sacks as a senior ... Also received attention from Minnesota, Arizona State and Georgia Tech.
Hunter Harwell 6-2 205 LB Mesquite, Texas/Horn HS
High School: Listed as a two-star prospect according to Rivals.com ... Earned second-team All-District 12-5A honors ... Recorded 91 tackles, including 58 solo stops on the season ... Averaged 7.6 tackles per contest ... An Academic All-State selection ... Chose SFA over Air Force, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan ... Personal: Son of Troy Harwell and Tina Cline ... Born Nov. 30, 1994, in Mesquite, Texas.
Justice Liggins 6-1 195 WR Tyler, Texas/John Tyler HS
High School: A two-star prospect according to Rivals.com ... Ranked as the 16th best player in East Texas according to ETSN.fm ... Hauled in 83 passes for 964 yards and eight touchdowns during his senior year ... Earned all-district and all-region honors ... Helped guide John Tyler to a 13-2 record and a Class 4A Division I state semifinal appearance ... Also had offers from Wyoming ... Personal: Son of Jerry Liggins and Evelyn Florence ... Born Dec. 14, 1994, in Tyler, Texas.
Trey McGahan 6-2 195 LB Kennedale, Texas/Kennedale HS
High School: Named 2012 NUC Combine Linebacker MVP ... 2012 All-Combine Nike Sparq Team ... Recorded 122 tackles, including 95 solo stops, during his career ... Was also credited with four tackles for losses, two sacks and a fumble recovery ... 2012 First-Team All-District 6-3A ... Received Forth Worth Star Telegram Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording 17 tackles, including four for losses, and two sacks in a win over Castleberry ... As a junior finished 22nd second in the district with 63 total tackles ... Academic All-State selection in football and powerlifting ... Ranked No. 1 in the region and fourth in the state in powerlifting ... Was also being recruited by TCU, North Texas and Sam Houston State ... Personal: Son of Doyle and Michelle McGahan ... Born Aug. 12, 1994, in Dallas, Texas.
Andy McNew 6-4 285 OL Waco, Texas/Robinson HS
High School: A first-team All-Centex selection as a senior ... A two-time First-Team All-District 17-3A selection ... A 2011 TXPrepsFootball.com first-team selection ... A two-time all-super centex selection ... Graded out at 96 percent during his junior season, surrendering no sacks despite protecting for an offense that put the ball in the air 400 times ... Was selected to play in the FCA All-Star game ... A three-time academic all-district selection, and a two-time Academic All-State pick ... Also received interest from Oklahoma State, SMU and Texas Tech ... Personal: Son of Jeffrey and Cheryl McNew ... Born Sept. 6, 1994, in Waco, Texas.
Roman Mitchell 5-11 200 LB Lake Dallas, Texas/Lake Dallas HS
High School: Ranked second in his district in interceptions (4) ... Ranked seventh in the league, and among the state's top 200 in tackles during his junior season (6.2 tpg) ... Recorded 141 tackles and picked off six passes during his career ... Named MaxPreps Player of the Week (Oct. 24, 2011) after picking off two passes and returning them for scores in a win over Wichita Falls ... A two-time first-team all-district safety ... Earned team defensive player of the year honors ... Guided Lake Dallas to a 10-2 record as a senior, and the second round of the playoffs ... Also lettered in track and field ... Received interest from Louisiana-Monroe and North Texas ... Personal: Son of Presley and Heather Maloy ... Born Jan. 21, 1995, in Dallas, Texas.
Anthony Pullins 6-1 290 OL Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS
High School: Invited to participate in the 2012 United States Army National Combine ... Leader of an offensive line that blocked for three backs who rushed for at least 875 yards, and protected quarterbacks that passed for more than 1,500 yards in 2011 ... Did not allow a sack during his prep career ... A four-time all-district selection ... Also received first-team Academic All-State honors ... Personal: Son of Anthony and Raquel Pullins ... Born Sept. 14, 1994, in Baton Rouge, La.
Brett Rattan 6-1 215 K Mesquite, Texas/Poteet HS
High School: Rated as the No. 65 kicker in the nation according to Chris Sailer's National Kicker Rankings ... A 2012 First-Team All-District 10-4A selection as a senior ... Also received second-team all-region honors in 2012 ... Booted 14-of-18 (.778) field goal attempts, and 74-of-76 (.974) extra point attempts ... Recorded 48 touchbacks during his prep career ... Provided one of the season's most exciting moments when he connected on a 31-yard field goal to defeat Wylie East in the regional semifinal ... Holds school record for longest field goal ... Personal: Son of Clint of and Sarah Rattan ... Born Mar. 9, 1995, in Dallas, Texas.
Justin Reasons 6-3 280 OL Groves, Texas/Port Neches-Groves HS
High School: Garnered Port Arthur News Super Team honors as a senior ... A two-time all-district selection, Reasons earned first-team honors in 2012 ... A member of the Beaumont Enterprise Super Gold team ... Selected 2012 team offensive lineman of the year ... Was a three-year letterwinner for Coach Brandon Faircloth ... Also earned THSCA Honorable Mention Academic All-State recognition ... Personal: Son of T.J. and Olga Reasons ... Born Mar. 7, 1994.
Shane Roberson 6-2 285 DT Little Elm, Texas/Frisco HS
High School: A second-team All-Collin County selection ... Received honorable mention all-state honors as a senior ... Recorded 39 tackles during his senior season, including 26 solo stops ... Was credited with 14 tackles for losses, including 4.5 sacks in 2012 ... Garnered first-team all-district honors for his efforts ... Also named first-team All-District 9-4A following his junior season ... Helped guide the Frisco wrestling team to three district titles ... Personal: Son of Lloyd and Melanie Roberson ... Born Aug. 23, 1995, in New Orleans, La. ... Grandfather, Sidney, was a fullback at Army.
De'Quann Ruffin 6-2 185 WR Humble, Texas/Summer Creek HS
High School: Listed as a two-star receiver according to Rivals.com ... Received second-team all-district honors in 2012 ... Caught 25 passes for 431 yards (17.2 ypc) and four touchdowns during his junior season ... Earned first-team all-district honors as a sophomore ... Also had offers from Colorado State and McNeese State.
Dru Smith 6-1 195 QB Sherman, Texas/Sherman HS
High School: Ranked No. 155 in the state of Texas according to texashsfootball.com ... Completed 350-of-607 passes (.577) for 6,002 yards and 61 touchdowns during his career ... Also rushed for four more TDs ... Completed 51 percent of his passes for 1,762 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore while guiding Parish High School to the state title ... Named 2013 QB MVP of the Top Prospect Elite Camp by National Underclassmen ... 2012 Class 4A APSE Honorable Mention All-State selection ... Three-time all-district selection ... Earned district offensive MVP honors as a senior ... First-team all-region selection in 2012 ... Two-time honorable mention all-state ... Named MaxPreps Player of the Game for his performance against Denison where he completed 21 passes for 411 yards and three scores ... Holds school records for most pass attempts and completions in a season, most passing yards in a season, and most TD passes in a game and season ... Also lettered in baseball and track ... Had interest from Air Force, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico, North Texas and Tulsa ... Personal: Son of Curtis and Patricia Smith ... Born May 8, 1994, in Dallas, Texas ... Father played football at North Texas.
Robert Sylvester 6-0 176 WR Houston, Texas/Cypress Lake HS
High School: Caught 49 passes for 825 yards (16.6 ypc) and seven touchdowns in 2012 ... Hauled in 40 passes for 614 yards (15.4 ypc) and eight touchdowns as a junior ... Ranked third in the district, and 54th in the state in receiving yards per game in 2011 ... Also received interest from Kansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Minnesota, TCU, Texas Tech and UTSA.
Rodney Timmons 6-0 295 DT Irving, Texas/Irving HS
High School: Recorded 75 total tackles during his senior season, including 37 solo stops ... Was also credited for 10 TFLs and two sacks ... A two-time all-district selection who earned first-team honors as a senior ... Also received interest from Baylor and Louisiana Tech ... Personal: Son of Rodney and Valarie Timmons ... Was born Jan. 10, 1995, in Marshall, Texas ... Mother played volleyball at Henderson State.
Brian Walker 5-10 170 WR Sulphur, La./Sulphur HS
High School: Although he played running back in high school, is projected to receiver in college ... Considered one of the top offensive sleeper in the state of Louisiana according to Scout.com ... Named MVP of the NUC 5-Star Showcase in Louisiana ... Jay Novacek Football Camp Top 30 Club ... Rushed for more than 1,000 yards and recorded 419 receiving yards during his junior season ... Ranked the No. 3 running back at the Five-Star Showcase ... Also received recruiting interest from Mississippi State, Oregon, Texas A&M and Tulane.
Jalend Washom 6-4 280 OL Houston, Texas/Eisenhower HS
High School: Named as one of SportsForce 50 Top Underclassmen ... Also Lettered on the Eisenhower track and field team ... Received interest from Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Houston, Texas Tech and Rice.
Joshawa West 5-10 170 WR/Ath Angleton, Texas/Angleton HS
High School: 2012 AP Honorable Mention All-State selection ... Named District 23-4A MVP as a senior ... Carried the ball 165 times for 1,525 yards (9.2 ypc) and 22 TDs as a senior ... Also hauled in 27 passes for 431 yards and four scores in 2012 ... Posted eight multiple touchdown games in his final season, including six against Bay City ... Lists his best individual performance as a game where he recorded 19 carries for 209 yards and two scores against Friendswood ... Earned second-team all-district honors at running back as a junior ... Also received an offer from Montana State ... Personal: Son of Vance and Elise Fairchild ... Born Aug. 28, 1994, Angleton, Texas.
Eugene Wright 5-9 165 Ath Rosenberg, Texas/Terry HS
High School: Garnered all-state honors as a returner ... A first-team all-district selection at running back ... Was named Houston Chronicle Boys' Athlete of the Week after recording five touchdowns in one game (four rushing and one returning) ... Also lettered in basketball ... Earned all-district honors on the court ... Also received interested from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
Mitchell Zimmerle 6-3 210 DE Danbury, Texas/Danbury HS
High School: Two-time first-team all-district selection at running back and linebacker ... Led Danbury with 111 total tackles as a junior ... Was credited with 70 solo stops and two interceptions, including one returned for a score ... Helped guide the Panthers to the playoffs for the first time since 1984 ... Named 2010 District 29-2A Newcomer of the Year on the baseball diamond ... Earned all-district honors in basketball and baseball ... Personal: Son of Jeff and Sharon Zimmerle ... Born Nov. 28, 1994, in Danbury, Texas.
Vedial Johnson 6-2 225 LB Sugarland, Texas/Kempner (Trinity Valley CC)
Junior College: Played running back and linebacker at Trinity Valley ... Carried the ball 129 times for 760 and seven TDs during his freshman season ... A two-time all-conference selection who garnered second-team honors as a freshman and honorable mention honors as a sophomore ... High School: Was invited to compete in the 2011 Under Armour Combine ... A two-star athlete, who was ranked as the No. 162nd running back in the country according to ESPN.com ... Chose SFA over Utah.