NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team signed 21 high school standouts, and four transfers to National Letters of Intent 2009 SLC Coach of the Year J.C. Harper announced at a media luncheon Wednesday afternoon. The 2010 class consists of 13 players on the offensive side, 11 defensive players and a kicker.
"I am very excited about our incoming signing class," said Harper. "The quality of talent in this class is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our assistant coaches. We're adding quality student-athletes who I believe will succeed both on the field and in the classroom at SFA. Overall, I felt that we addressed our needs, and we look to build upon our success of this past season."
After losing three of the program's best receivers due to attrition, the Lumberjacks' latest class is top heavy in talent at wideout. The SFA coaching staff also added bulk to its front line with 13 of the signees playing either offensive or defensive line. The 2010 class consists of seven receivers, seven defensive linemen, five offensive linemen, four defensive backs, a running back and a kicker.
Harper remains committed to his goal of building the Lumberjack program around the talent of East Texas. SFA added nine high school standouts, and three transfers from the East Texas area. The 12 East Texas additions include Darren Beavers (Jasper, Texas), Dimitric Brown (Jasper, Texas), Jeremy Chappelle (Bullard, Texas), R.C. "Cutter" Clinton (Carthage, Texas), Jerome Davis (Center, Texas), Tyler Francis (Trinity Valley CC), Calib Hadnot (Woodville, Texas), Broderick Jackson (Kirbyville, Texas), Sha'Keal Jenkins (Cayuga, Texas), Malcolm Mattox (Newton, Texas), Caleb Summerville (Cayuga, Texas) and Houston Tuminello (Gilmer, Texas).
"East Texas has been a primary target for our recruiting since I took over at SFA," said Harper. "We went after the guys that we felt best fit our system, and we feel good about the 12 additions to our roster from the East Texas area."
Despite the loss of three very talented receivers, All-American quarterback Jeremy Moses will have plenty of weapons to throw the ball to with the addition of six prep receivers and Louisiana Tech transfer Tuminello. The incoming crop of receivers will add size and speed to the roster. Five of the seven signees are six-feet or taller.
"We've signed a very talented class of receivers that will add size and speed to the position," added Harper. "The fact that we led the nation in passing, and return the SLC Co-Player of the Year in quarterback Jeremy Moses played a big role in us being able to sign a quality group of receivers."
Another area of need was on the offensive and defensive lines. The Lumberjacks graduated four seniors on the offensive front, including all-conference selections Karl Glimp and Max Holmes, while the defense graduated both starters at defensive end, including two-time All-American Tim Knicky.
SFA solidified these two positions with the addition of seven signees on defense and five offensive linemen. The incoming offensive linemen average 6-5, 302 pounds, and all come from very successful high school programs, including Clinton, who helped guide Carthage to back-to-back state titles.
The SFA coaching staff added seven defensive linemen, including three slotted to play on the end, which was a significant need for SFA with the loss of Knicky. One of those who will be expected to come in and push for early playing time is Francis, a 6-4, 265-pound transfer from TVCC. Named defensive lineman of the year in high school, Francis earned all-conference honors during his junior college career.
"Knicky and Andre (Hicks) have done a great job for us for the past four seasons," said Harper. "Everyone knows about Knicky's All-American honors, and Hicks really has been one of the more underrated players in our league. We knew it was going to be very important to get talented players in these areas. I'm very pleased with the talent we've signed on the defensive line."