Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Signing Day roundup: Top area recruit stays with A&M; DeSoto's White will have new position at TCU
Area’s No. 1 recruit stays with Texas A&M
Myles Garrett, the No. 1 area recruit and SportsDay’s defensive player of the year, never wavered in his decision to sign with Texas A&M.
“Texas came by and TCU called, but I was set on A&M since probably Junior Day last year,” the Arlington Martin senior said. “Great campus, great people and a great football program.”
The 6-4, 245-pound defensive end was among 60 Arlington ISD students from six high schools signing national letters of intent in a variety of sports.
Justin Hollins, who played end opposite Garrett, honored his October commitment and signed with Oregon.
Lincoln WR: My heart was always with TCU
Lincoln football coach Zarnell Fitch, a former TCU defensive linemen, said that even when wide receiver Emanuel Porter had flipped his pledge to Texas in June, he was telling everyone at Lincoln that he’d end up at TCU.
“He told me, ‘My heart was there the whole time,’” Fitch said. “‘It’s just that when any other school came in, I wanted to check them out, but my heart was with TCU the whole time.’”
Carter linebacker sticks with Texas
Carter’s Cameron Hampton strolled across the floor at the Dallas ISD signing ceremony in a burnt orange Texas track suit. His family, flanking him on both sides, followed suit.
Also along for the walk was a white dog, similarly dressed in Texas garb.
“It’s my auntie’s dog,” Hampton said. “She takes it everywhere.”
The 6-1, 201-pound senior linebacker committed to Texas in December and, unlike a number of former UT pledges, followed through by signing with the Longhorns.
South Oak Cliff tackle is a quick learner
South Oak Cliff left tackle Eonte’ Jenkins never thought he’d be walking across the floor of Dallas ISD’s signing ceremony. And when Jenkins says that, he means it.
Jenkins and his family fled New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and, years later, he was shot by a .22 caliber bullet that ripped through his living room wall.
As if that wasn’t enough, Jenkins played only one season of high school football before gaining the attention of college recruiters. He’s going to play at Navarro College.
“It feels good,” Jenkins said. “I never thought I’d do it, really. I just thank the coaches for getting me out there and playing football.”
Jenkins played basketball for the first three years of his high school career. He didn’t touch a football until the spring of his junior year. Coaches put him at left tackle and he remained there through the fall season, helping South Oak Cliff to an 11-2 season.
Like father, like son at Highland Park
Highland Park offensive lineman Tony Richards signed with SMU, just as his father David Richards did when his high school career with the Scots ended three decades ago. But dad stops short of saying Tony is following in his footsteps.
“He’s blazing his own path,” said the elder Richards, who went on to play nine years in the NFL. “Tony dedicated himself to be in the very best shape possible, and I’m very proud of what he has accomplished.”
As for Tony, he doesn’t feel any pressure with the inevitable comparisons to his dad. In fact, it works the other way.
“Dad always passes along tips that help me,” Tony said.
Trinity RB is surprise in record class
When 5-5, 147-pound Isaac Ellsworth signed with Georgetown, it set up a potential all-Trinity backfield for the Washington, D.C., school.
“Jo’el Kimpela signed with them two years ago, and he’s been my agent,” Ellsworth said. “I went into my senior year thinking it might be my last for football, but it has been a blessing, and I’m grateful to get to play at a college like that.”
Ellsworth was Trinity’s leading rusher with 1,722 yards and 14 touchdowns after bursting on the scene. He rushed for 264 yards on 24 carries as a junior. Kimpela rushed for 2,090 yards before signing with Georgetown in 2012. Ellsworth said Kimpela has told him Georgetown’s small-school atmosphere feels similar to Trinity’s close-knit community.
“Isaac coming from almost nowhere to sign with a school with a $55,000-a-year scholarship is the biggest surprise for this class by far,” Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver said.
Trinity set a school record with 18 football signees.
Cedar Hill falls just short of school record
Cedar Hill had 17 players sign from its Class 5A Division II state championship team, one short of the school record for national signing day set by the 2009 team. That team ended up having 22 players go on to play in college, and coach Joey McGuire thinks this season’s team could finish close to that number.
All-state defensive lineman Xavier Washington signed with Northwestern, which entered the recruiting picture just two weeks ago. Washington, who had a school-record 24 sacks just two years after moving from the offensive line to defense, had earlier offers, but he wants to become a mechanical engineer. So he waited to pick his college because “I was “looking for something more, with higher academic standards.”
Wide receiver Jaidron Hurd will play at Mary Hardin-Baylor, despite tearing his left ACL in the second game in 2012 and tearing his right ACL in the season opener this season.
Three Alabama offers, no takers at All Saints
Fort Worth All Saints coach Aaron Beck has always wanted to watch one of his players suit up for Alabama.
With three seniors holding offers to Nick Saban’s squad, Beck thought he would finally get his wish. But quarterback Foster Sawyer signed with TCU, offensive lineman Demetrius Knox signed with Ohio State and running back Daniel Gresham signed with SMU.
“Nick Saban called and said ‘Coach, this is the first time we’ve ever had three kids offered from one school,’” Beck said. “And I was looking forward to one kid going to Alabama, so it’s a bummer for me. But everybody fits where they fit.”
Gresham originally committed to Texas as a sophomore, then flipped to Louisville as a junior to be close to family. Coach Charlie Strong then left Louisville for Texas, and Bobby Petrino came in and had no use for Gresham. He revoked the senior’s offer last month.
Gresham still held offers to Colorado State and UT-San Antonio, but he hoped a bigger school would swoop in with a late opportunity. Kansas State and Miami offered him last week, but not before he took a visit to SMU and fell in love with the school.
All Saints won a second straight Southwest Preparatory Conference title and had a school-record seven players sign.
Lincoln DB starts and ends with football
At one point, Lincoln defensive back Derrick Neal pledged to Texas Tech. But he backed away from his commitment, instead choosing to play basketball with his twin brother, Erick, at UT-Arlington.
He reconsidered in November and finally wound up settling on playing football at Kansas.
“It was pretty hard,” Neal said, “but I had to make that choice that was going to take me farther in life.”
The concern for Neal and his head coach Zarnell Fitch was that offers would be scarce so late in the process. But Kansas was one of the first programs to show interest after he opted not to sign for basketball. Late suitors included TCU, Oregon State and North Texas.
“[Kansas coach] Charlie Weis told him, ‘I can’t help that you are too small,’” Fitch said. “‘I can’t help that I’m big. I’ve been big all my life.’ We want you — that’s it.”
Injury doesn’t keep Legacy QB out of FBS
Mansfield Legacy quarterback Terrance Ivery wasn’t receiving much recruiting interest as a senior, then he broke his fibula in a second-round playoff game. But Ivery will get a chance to play for an FBS program after signing with Tulsa, where he will be a wide receiver.
“They came in pretty late,” Ivery said. “I was pretty worried for a long time.”
Legacy had 10 football players sign, by far the biggest class of signees for a school that started playing varsity football in 2008. Defensive back Jared McGee had been committed to UT-San Antonio, but he signed with Northwestern after visiting the school over the weekend. He will get to play in the Big Ten against Legacy teammate Everett Williams, a linebacker who signed with Minnesota.
DeSoto’s White will have new spot at TCU
Even as DeSoto offensive coordinator Todd Peterman reviews video and records for this past season to see where quarterback Desmon White stands in state record books, the 5-7 White is waving goodbye to his days of playing quarterback after signing with TCU.
“I’ll play slot receiver and return kicks and punts,” White said. “I’ll miss being the guy who handles the ball every play, but I’m looking forward to being a receiver.”
White’s production and big-play ability created an opportunity at TCU as most colleges deemed him too small. White had a 31-2 record in little more than two years as DeSoto’s quarterback.
Area signees part of USA Football event
Four area players were among 49 from around the nation that took part in a USA Football signing day ceremony at AT&T Stadium.
Signing were Sachse wide receiver James Mayden (Rice), Mesquite defensive back Charles Grant (Arkansas State), Lovejoy wide receiver Justice “Chochy” Luce (Texas A&M-Commerce) and Coppell tight end Blake Mahon (Baylor).
All four are scheduled to play for the USA Football U19 team in an age group series against Canada set for 7 p.m. Friday at UT-Arlington’s Maverick Stadium.
Sunset soccer player stands alone
With Dallas ISD pooling its fall and spring signees together for one event, over 100 students took part in the district’s signing day ceremony — grouped together by high school.
Among the football and basketball players, diminutive Selena Montelongo stood out.
She was the only DISD soccer player to sign with a Division I program — signing with UT-Pan American — and the only athlete from Sunset.
Montelongo said it was a little lonely, “being all by myself.”
But the forward, who plays club soccer with FC Dallas Premier, was besieged by family and friends afterward.
“It’s the best, a dream come true,” she said.
Plano West has several sign for soccer
Plano West’s girls soccer program, which has won the last two 5A state titles, had four players sign. Jalynn Barron and Morgan Murphy signed with Texas, Rachel Grout signed with Texas State and Madeline Pruneau signed with Wesleyan.
Amanda Carlough, who attends Plano West but does not play for the school team, signed with Mary Hardin-Baylor.
HP distance runner chooses Princeton
Highland Park distance runner Natalie Rathjen didn’t have a letter of intent to sign because her college choice was Ivy League member Princeton, but still took her place on stage with the other Scots signees.
“It’s an exciting day and I’m so thankful friends and family were able to come,’’ Rathjen said.
How the area Class of 2013 fared as freshmen
THE TOP FIVE
1. Kent Perkins
Played in 6 games
2. A’Shawn Robinson
FW Arl. Heights
38 tackles, 5.5 sacks
3. Justin Manning
4. Robbie Rhodes
10 catches for 157 yards
5. Jake Raulerson
9. Dontre Wilson
Ran for 250 yards, scored 3 TDs
13. Daeshon Hall
29 tackles, 1 interception
30. Davis Webb
2nd in Big 12 in passing yards per game
88. Ben Grogan
Led team in scoring with 100 points
98. Teriyon Gipson
Ran for 220 yards, 5 TDs
Where SportsDay’s All-Area players signed
Offensive player of the year: Kyler Murray, Allen, QB, 2015 recruit
Defensive player of the year: Myles Garrett, Arlington Martin, DL, Texas A&M
South Oak Cliff
FW All Saints