Signing on the dotted line

Sam Houston State Universitys head football coach Ron Randleman spends countless hours preparing for a day that only comes around once a year. But that one day has nothing to do with xs and osit has to do with the future.Wednesday was a busy day for coaches and high school football players as recruits signed away their services to respective colleges. For Randleman, it was a busy day, but a good one indeed.Twenty-six blue-chip athletes signed a national letter of intent to play for Sam Houston State, a group that Randleman said hes very pleased with. One look at the breakdown of each player will tell you why. The list is filled with All-State and All-District players from numerous high schools. In fact, five of those signed played in a Texas state championship game a little over a month ago. You always prefer to recruit young men off of winning programs, Randleman said with a grin that signified his feeling of this years class. You always want to make sure the majority of them are. Youd take a guy off any program if he was a good player but you dont want to bring too many that have been unsuccessful.Theres a fine difference between winning and losing and a young man whose been there and been in highly successful programs understand that, Randleman added. I have always felt like that was an important consideration.If size were any consideration, this years offensive line group would definitely have the upper hand. The Bearkats received commitments from five offensive linemen. Combined a group that averages a whopping 295 pounds.Heading the list is 6-foot-4-inch, 320-pound Will Smith of nearby Willis, a Dave Campbell Texas Football Top 300 prospect. Smith turned down an early offer from Iowa State.When we first started recruiting Will, we did not think in any way, shape or form wed get him, Randleman said. I really thought thered be more (Division I-A) schools on him hard.Smith is joined by fellow lineman Abrahim Sameei, of Friendswood; Steve Izevbizua, of Cypress Falls and fellow Richland teammates Justin Coon and Josh Offield. Offield, a Fort Worth Star Telegram Top 75 recruit, is literally a giant at 6 feet 7 inches tall. Not only is he big, but hes smart. One look at his 1460 SAT score backs that up.This is a big human being, Randleman said of Offield. Hes got pretty good feet. He could really be something in a couple of years.Another position Sam Houston was keying on was at wide receiver, a spot that was hit hard due to graduation, especially with the loss of All-American wideout Matt Dominguez. Randleman got his man when Corey Roberts of Carthage decided to turn down attractive offers from bigger schools, mainly Oklahoma State who he was favored throughout most of the recruiting season, and join the Bearkats.Dave Campbells Texas Football rated Roberts, a 6-foot-5-inch, 197-pound speedster, as the eight best receivers in the state. He hauled in 44 catches for 601 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior last year.Hes got a great upside, Randleman said. He has got a lot of potential. Campbell had him listed the eight best wide receiver in the state. I dont know what those things are worth, but he was highly acclaimed, theres no doubt about it.The Bearkats also got commitments from three other receivers, Desmond Watson, of Marlin; Cory Crawford, of Jefferson Davis and Matt Ellis, of Gladewater. Randleman said its possible at least two of the receivers will see playing time next year.But perhaps the most highly touted player that signed with Sam Houston on Wednesday was John Tylers athlete Robert Garmon, a Texas Top 100 recruit. Garmon is listed as either a running back or defensive back, but Randleman said his coaching staff project him as a linebacker. We only recruited one running back, who committed to us early but switched to Kansas late and we didnt bring any other running backs on campus. But if we need a running back, we know that Robert Garmon is a great running back, Randleman said of the 5-foot-9-inch, 175-pound athlete, who was a 12-5A All-District selection on both sides of the ball last year. If we think he can play soon defensively, thats where well look at him first. Hes going to help this football team. A local standout, New Waverlys Paul Donelson, will look to give the Bearkat defense a spark in the future. Donelson was a standout at quarterback in high school, but at only 5 feet 11 inches tall (he does weight 210 pounds however) he doesnt fit the mold of a typical signal-caller. Donelson was the District 22-2A Most Valuable Player last season.The class is filled with names that werent on the list of bigger schools, but have a background of winning. A poster child would be Jack Lowe, an undersized defensive lineman from two-time Texas state champion Celina. Only the future will tell if this years class will be as good as anticipated. Right now, Randleman said hes pleased Sam Houston State for attracting not only good athletes, but also good people.Weve had a lot of great help from the faculty in the different departments that have shown interest and have really done a nice job talking to the young men. Randleman said. Huntsville and Sam Houston State do a good job of selling itself when a person visits the campus.

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