The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team added 19 high school prospects and three NCAA Division I Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) transfers on National Signing Day announced first-year head coach at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. The 2007 class adds a strong mix of talent on both sides of the ball with 14 on offense, seven defensive players and a kicker.
"I'm real happy with the work our coaching staff did during a time of transition and uncertainty," said Harper. "The work they did in east Texas is evident by the talent we signed. Keeping the local talent close to home was an emphasis for our staff, and I feel we have accomplished that. We are proud of SFA and to be in east Texas, and that is what we want to build our program on. We are real excited about the kids who have decided to come here and be a part of this program."
The incoming class is top-heavy on talent from the east Texas area. SFA added dual-threat quarterback Jeremy Claybon and a big-time kicker in Jaime Fernandez from talent rich Lufkin High School. The Lumberjacks also added offensive lineman William Granberry and wide receiver Roderick Warren from John Tyler High School in Tyler, Texas. The Lumberjacks also signed Longview's Gordon Booker II, Nacogdoches wide out Mervin Dudley and Blake Rowden from New Boston.
With senior quarterback entering his final year of eligibility, and being the only quarterback on campus with NCAA Division I experience, SFA answered a major need with the addition of four prep quarterbacks. Along with Claybon, the 'Jacks have added Baytown Lee's Jeremy Moses, Fort Worth's Garrett Milton and Rowden. Claybon comes to Nacogdoches listed as the eighth-best dual-threat quarterback in the state of Texas, according to TexasPrepXtra, a member of the Rivals.com recruiting service. Claybon was named the District 15-5A MVP after a career that saw him throw for more than 4,500 yards and 28 touchdowns, and rush for more than 400 yards with six touchdowns.
"When you only have one quarterback returning who has game experience at this level, we really needed to sign some talented individuals," said Harper. "I feel like we accomplished this with the guys we have signed. All of these guys are great athletes who will come in and give us a chance to win."
The SFA quarterbacks will have plenty of weapons in their arsenal over the next four seasons with a stable of talented wide outs joining the program. The SFA coaching staff has signed five receivers who bring a wide range of skills and athletic ability to the table. Four of the 'Jacks' five receiver signees are 6-1 or taller. Galveston's Marcus Taylor is the speedster of the group.
The Lumberjack coaching staff also addressed its major need in the secondary. With only one starter returning from the 2006 squad, the secondary became a primary focus heading into the recruiting process. The 'Jacks signed five defensive backs to fill that void. This group is headlined by two speedsters who can fly to the football. Shaheed Davis (Sugar Land, Texas) and Perron Sellers (LaMarque) both come from successful prep programs. Sellers led LaMarque to the 2006 state title, while Davis was a key figure in Lamar Consolidated's 2006 state semifinal run.
"The secondary was also a major need, especially at safety," said Harper. "We have brought in a good group of athletes that will help us in this area. I really feel that we did a good job of signing athletes who bring good size and a lot of speed to the position."
Attrition also took a toll on the 'Jacks' tight ends, leaving the team without an experienced player at the position. SFA answered this question with the addition of Florida International transfer Andy Anderson and Army transfer Joe Savoie. The Lumberjacks' third transfer is Greg Carlson, a 6-3, 225-pound linebacker from Baylor. Carlson, along with Garrison-native Jabara Williams are the only two linebacker signees in the 'Jacks' 2007 class.
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack Football 2007 Signee Bios
George Bias, 6-3, 270, OL, Houston, Texas/Dobie: A powerful lineman with a huge upside ... A second-team all-district selection ... Lists his best individual performance against Clear Brook where he recorded five pancake blocks ... Has recorded a bench press of 340 pounds.
Gordon Booker II, 6-0, 290, OL, Longview, Texas/Longview: A three-year letterwinner for coach John King ... Two-time all-district selection ... Named third-team all-state according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football ... Received first-team All-East Texas honors as a senior ... Received the ironman award for his dead lift of 600 pounds and a 300-pound bench press ... Guided his prep squad to three district titles ... Led Longview to a 2006 bi-district title and a 2004 regional final appearance.
Jeremy Claybon, 6-0, 190, QB, Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin: Listed as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the state of Texas, according to TexasPrepXtra ... A two-year letterwinner for head coach John Outlaw ... Threw for more than 4,500 yards and 28 touchdowns during his career ... Also recorded 405 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns for the Panthers ... Named District 15-5A MVP ... An honorable mention all-state selection, who was also named to the All-Greater Houston team ... Lists his best individual performance as a game where he completed 17-of-27 (.630) passes for 403 yards and three touchdowns ... He also recorded a rushing TD in the game ... Also lettered in basketball and track.
Brandon Davis, 5-9, 160, DB, Dallas, Texas/Skyline: A three-year letterwinner at Dallas Skyline ... A first-team all-district selection ... Recorded four interceptions and scored five touchdowns during his high school career ... Also lettered in baseball ... Cousin, Keith Davis, plays for the NFL's Dallas Cowboys.
Shaheed Davis, 6-3, 185, DB, Sugar Land, Texas/Lamar Consolidated: A three-year letterwinner for coach Lydell Wilson ... A first-team all-district selection ... Also garnered all-area recognition ... Guided his prep squad to a district and regional championship ... Led Lamar Consolidated to a state semifinal appearance in 2006 ... Lists his best individual performance as a game against Caney Creek where recorded six tackles and three pass deflections ... Also lettered in basketball and track.
Mervin Dudley, 6-3, 190, WR, Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches: A two-year letterwinner for coach Bill Harper ... Recorded 91 catches for 1,153 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior ... Lists his best individual game as an eight-catch performance for 152 yards against Henderson ... A two-time first-team all-district selection ... Received class 4A first-team all-state honors ... Also lettered in basketball and track.
Chris Elliott, 5-10, 185, DB, Arlington, Texas/Martin: A letterwinner at receiver and cornerback for coach Bob Wager ... Recorded 27 carries for 300 yards (11.1 ypc) ... Hauled in 25 passes for 250 yards (10.0 ypr) and seven touchdowns as a senior ... Also recorded 30 tackles and an interception during the 2006 season ... Lists his best individual performance as a five-touchdown effort where he recorded six carries for 101 yards and caught six passes for 55 yards ... The five TDs tied a single-game school record ... An all-district selection ... Also lettered in track.
Jaime Fernandez, 6-0, 230, K, Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin: A three-year letterwinner for head coach John Outlaw ... Scored 247 points during his career ... Was 32-of-45 on field goals, and 151-of-164 on PATs ... A two-time first-team all-district selection ... A second-team all-district honoree as a sophomore ... Holds school record with a 48-yard field goal.
William Granberry, 6-3, 275, OL, Tyler, Texas/John Tyler: An all-district selection on the offensive front ... Lists his best individual performance against Dallas Carter where he recorded four pancake blocks ... Helped guide John Tyler to the first round of the playoffs ... Also lettered in track and basketball.
Chad Haynes, 5-11, 185, DB, Lewisville, Texas/Lewisville: Named team and district defensive MVP ... Earned first-team all-area honors ... A first-team all-region selection ... Team captain ... Also received first-team all-region honors ... Lists his best individual performance against Carrollton Creekview where he recorded 11 tackles, one interception, forced a fumble and blocked a punt and a field goal ... Brother, Eddie Moten, plays in the Arena Football League for the Philadelphia Soul ... Also lettered in track.
Garrett Milton, 6-0, 185, QB, Fort Worth, Texas/Southwest Christian: A three-year letterwinner for coach Wade Whites ... Threw for 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns during his prep career ... A two-time all-district selection who earned all-state honors as a senior ... Was named the offensive MVP of the Tom Hillary East-West All-Star game ... Guided Southwest Christian to a regional and bi-district title ... Lists his best individual performance as a game where he threw for 256 yards and three scores ... Also lettered in baseball ... Father, Larry, is a former Lumberjack letterwinner.
Jeremy Moses, 6-0, 180, QB, Baytown, Texas/Lee: A three-year letterwinner at Baytown Lee for coach Dick Olin ... Received District 22-5A first-team honors ... Named 2004 district newcomer of the year ... Lists his best individual effort as a game against Northshore where he threw for 450 yards and three touchdowns, while playing on a broken leg ... Also lettered in baseball.
Trey Parker, 6-2, 190, WR, Sugar Land, Texas/Dulles: A three-year letterwinner for coach Jim Creech at Dulles High School ... Garnered second-team all-district honors as a junior ... Closed out his prep career by earning first-team all-district accolades ... Lists his best individual performance against Clements where he caught eight passes for 225 yards.
Blake Rowden, 6-1, 185, QB, New Boston, Texas/New Boston: Received district newcomer of the year honors as a junior ... Earned first-team all-district honors as a senior and was named district MVP ... Garnered All-Northeast Texas recognition from Texarkana Gazette ... Named team offensive MVP ... Was selected as a team captain by his teammates ... Guided New Boston to a district title ... Also lettered in track.
Perron Sellers, 5-11, 190, DB, LaMarque, Texas/LaMarque: A two-year letterwinner for coach Byran Erwin ... Named 2006 District 23-4A Defensive Player of the Year ... Also recognized as Galveston County Defensive Player of the Year as a senior ... Received all-district and all-county honors ... Guided LaMarque to the 2006 Class 4A Division II State Championship.
Marcus Taylor, 5-9, 170, WR, Galveston, Texas/Ball: A three-year letterwinner for coach Ron Holmes ... Hauled in 79 catches for 1,325 yards and 22 touchdowns during his prep career ... A two-time first-team all-district selection ... Also earned all-area and all-region accolades ... An all-city honoree who was named team MVP ... Selected by his teammates as a captain ... Lists his best individual performance as a game where he recorded 10 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns ... Also picked off a pass during that game ... Also lettered in track and field during his prep career.
Roderick Warren, 6-2, 200, WR, Tyler, Texas/John Tyler: Earned all-district honors for coach Thomas Brooks ... Helped guide John Tyler to the first round of the playoffs ... Lists his best individual performance against DeSoto where he recorded four catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Garret Williams, 6-1, 185, WR, Houston, Texas/Cy Falls: A three-year letterwinner at Cy Falls ... A key figure in the team's run to the 2005 Division II regional finals and the 2006 Division II State Championship game ... Father, Dee, played football at UTEP ... Cousin, Sunni, is a former member of the Ladyjack volleyball team.
Jabara Williams, 6-3, 205, LB, Garrison, Texas/Garrison: A three-year letterwinner at Garrison ... Was recognized as the 2005 District 19-2A Newcomer of the Year ... Earned all-district honors at running back as a senior ... A two-time first-team all-district selection ... Named team MVP as a senior ... Graduated second all-time in school history in terms of single-season rushing yards (1,491 yards in nine games) ... Rushed for 496 yards in a backup role during his junior season ... Lists his best individual performance against Arp where he carried the ball 21 times for 224 yards and three scores ... Guided Garrison to the 2005 area championship ... Also lettered in basketball and track.
Andy Anderson, 6-3, 235, TE, Dearfield Beach, Fla./Pope John Paul (Florida International): Lettered one season at Florida International for head coach Don Strock ... A three-year letterwinner at Pope John Paul in Boca Raton, Fla. ... Earned athlete of the year honors in both basketball and football as a senior ... Also earned all-county and all-conference honors on the gridiron ... Helped guide his prep squad to three district runner-up finishes ... Also lettered in basketball.
Greg Carlson, 6-3, 225, LB, Spring, Texas/Klein Oak (Baylor): Recorded 179 tackles during his senior season at Klein Oak ... Was also credited with 103 solo stops in 2005 ... Earned defensive team MVP honors and was named district MVP for his efforts ... Also received all-state recognition.