Coach Everett Withers's first recruiting class is in the books, and honestly was already set and done after this past weekend's slate of official visits. He and his staff have managed to put together a pretty solid class despite having only a month to work with.
Here we'll take a look at who put pen to paper and what it all means for Texas State. If you want some film breakdown of some of the more prominent commitments in Texas State's 2016 class, head over to my recruiting class preview from yesterday.
|Name||Position||City||High School/JUCO||Height/Weight||247Sports||Rivals||Scout||Other reported offers**|
|Tyler Tutt||RB||Keller, TX||Keller||5'10", 205 lbs||3*||2*||3*||Boise State, Iowa, UTSA, UTEP, Louisiana Tech, ULM, Nevada, UNT, Air Force, Army, SHSU|
|Elijah King||WR||Santa Barbara, CA||Santa Barbara CC||6'1", 285 lbs||
|Hal Vinson||OLB||Dallas, TX||South Oak Cliff||6'1", 217 lbs||3*||2*||3*||Louisville, Colorado State|
|Ramon Readus||DT||McKinney, TX||Boyd||6'2", 270 lbs||3*||2*||3*||Indiana|
|Jordan Eastling||CB||Decatur, GA||Southwest DeKalb||5'10", 180 lbs||3*||2*||2*||Iowa, Georgia Southern, Illinois, Indiana, Western Kentucky, North Texas|
|Devin Williams||QB/ATH||Mansfield, TX||Timberview||5'11", 180 lbs||2*||2*||3*||Army, Air Force, Navy, New Mexico, ULM|
|Gabe Loyd||ILB||St. Louis, MO||Fort Scott (KS) CC||6'2", 240 lbs||3*||2*||2*||Buffalo|
|Josiah Washington||OT||De Soto, TX||De Soto||6'6", 290 lbs||3*||2*||2*||Rice, Louisiana|
|Nikolas Daniels||LB/DE||League City, TX||Clear Creek||6'0", 235 lbs||2*||2*||2*||UTEP, ULM, McNeese State, Prairie View A&M|
|Robert Brown||RB||Houston, TX||Eisenhower||5'9", 175 lbs||2*||2*||2*||Nevada, New Mexico|
|John Lilly||NT||Houston, TX||Strake Jesuit||6'0", 278 lbs||2*||2*||2*||None|
|Brendon Rushing||TE||DeSoto, TX||DeSoto||6'4", 200 lbs||2*||2*||2*||Northern Colorado|
|Anthony Taylor||CB||Tyler, TX||Allen||5'8", 177 lbs||2*||2*||2*||None|
|Quinn Tiggs||CB||Tupelo, MS||Itawamba CC||6'0", 190 lbs||2*||2*||2*||Indiana, Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee, UNT, Arkansas State, Louisiana, South Alabama, ULM|
|Charlie Vatterott||G||Houston, TX||St. Thomas||6'4", 265 lbs.||2*||2*||2*||UNLV, Louisiana, McNeese State|
|Jason Waddy||CB||Angleton, TX||Angleton||5'11", 170 lbs.||2*||2*||2*||None|
|Levi Boyd||TE||Itasca, TX||Grossmont CC||6'5", 230 lbs||2*||2*||NR||None|
|Aaron Brewer||OL||Dallas, TX||Skyline||6'3", 295 lbs.||2*||2*||NR||Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas, Prairie View A&M, Southern|
|Markeveon Coleman||S||Dallas, TX||Skyline||6'2", 190 lbs.||2*||2*||NR||None|
|Kumonde Hines||S||Chesterfield, VA||Lloyd C. Bird||6'3", 208 lbs||2*||2*||NR||James Madison|
|Thurman Morbley||WR||Texarkana, TX||Liberty-Eylau||5'11", 166 lbs.||2*||2*||NR||Houston, SFA|
|Jaquel Pierce||G||Duncanville, TX||Duncanville||6'3", 255 lbs||2*||2*||NR||Nevada, Texas Southern|
|Dean Taylor||DE||Pearland, TX||Pearland||6'5", 230 lbs||NR||2*||NR||None|
|Braeden Kent+||QB||Buda, TX||Jack C. Hays||6'3", 185 lbs.||2*||2*||2*||None|
**Other offers are reported by Rivals and 247Sports
Biggest de-commits: CB Des Smith (Texas Tech), S Chase Napoleon (Tulane), S CJ Pickrom (Bowling Green)
So what trends and observations can we glean from this class?
1. There's a major recruiting shift towards DFW.
There are 20 players from the Dallas/Fort Worth area from Texas State's 2015 roster, good for about 19% of the team (scholarships + walk-ons). The 2016 recruiting class has 10 players from the area, accounting for 43% of the entire signing group. Dennis Franchione originally recruited a number of these players to start with like Tyler Tutt and Devin Williams, but Coach Withers added quite a few players from the area within the past month.
This is a positive trend, as all Texans know that DFW is one of the foremost regions in the country for high school football talent. Texas State hasn't had too much trouble making inroads in Houston or locally in central Texas, but DFW's always been a bit elusive.
2. Is the central Texas well going dry, or was this year an exception?
Speaking of central Texas, there is only one player from the Austin, Temple/Belton/Killeen, Waco, Hill Country, or San Antonio areas in this class in grayshirt QB Braeden Kent out of Buda Hays.
That is a dramatic departure from what Texas State fans are used to, as local talent was all over the roster during its FCS days and there were still 23 central Texas area players--and more if you really stretch the geographic definition of central Texas to include La Grange and College Station--on the roster as of last year.
That might be more of a statement on the amount of G5-level talent available in the region this year than anything, as even UTSA took only one player from Austin and nobody from San Antonio in their rather strange 2016 class. UNT, SMU, and Houston all only took 1-2 players at most from the region as well, although Rice did get three players out of Austin, and one player each out of Waco and San Antonio. However, the Owls' class is also considered one of the worst in Conference USA, so that might not be saying a lot.
There's certainly no lack of excellent teams and talent overall in the area; one need look no further than teams like Lake Travis, Westlake, Vista Ridge, Temple, Vandegrift, Converse Judson, and Cibolo Steele as evidence. Yet maybe the region is becoming a bit top heavy and by the time the Big 12 schools and A&M have taken their recruits from the area, there's little FBS talent left.
The main question at this point is whether this was a one year lull of G5-level talent in the area, if a bunch of good players got overlooked, or if this is the start of a larger trend. If it's the latter reason, perhaps that aforementioned shift to DFW was one borne out of necessity.
3. You will see a number of these signees on the field next year
If there was one thing Texas State could sell recruits on just about every single position except for quarterback, it's playing time. What was so incredibly confusing (and frustrating) about last year's 3-9 faceplant was that despite the losses of Craig Mager and David Mayo to the NFL, it was still a pretty experienced team. Now, consider the starters and key backups who saw playing time from last year's team that are graduating, as listed below:
- Robert Lowe, Chris Nutall, and Tim Gay, RB
- Brandon Smith, CJ Best, Jafus Gaines, Ryan Garrey, and Jack Rhoades, WR. Kwa Bowens also left the team.
- Lawrence White and Ryan Carden, TE
- Adrian Bellard, Brandon Sarabia, and Zach Crawford, OL. Kian Schoenborn and Jackson Hoskins are also rumored to have left the team.
- Rusmin Nikocevic and Marcus Dallas Jr., DE
- Mershad Dillon and Dondre Elvoid, DT
- Jerrid Jeter-Gilmon and Trey McGowan, LB
- Aaron Shaw, Demetrius Woodard, S
- David Mims II and Donta Clanton, CB
There will likely be other transfers and defections on top of that which we haven't heard of so far. The offensive line still has plenty of backups and redshirted players to step in, but every other position should be considered up for grabs at this point. Especially on defense, where there were hardly any non-senior leaders in the entire unit. So who will likely get playing time next year?
Tyler Tutt seems likely to take some snaps at backup RB unless Tyler Siudzinski or Stedman Mayberry turn into a monster, and Elijah King will almost certainly take snaps in a receiving corps that's completely up for grabs. On defense, Readus, Eastling, Vinson, Lilly, Tiggs, and Daniels all seem like good candidates to take some backup snaps or even push the starters.
4. Gone are the days of JUCO-laden classes at Texas State
Coach Withers came right out and said that the Bobcats would severely be limiting JUCO signings in the future, directly referencing Dennis Franchione's past classes of 5-8 JUCO players in the process. There were four (and initially five until TE Buddy Tuasamaga decided to transfer back home to Houston Baptist) JUCO player signings in this class, all very much in positions of need.
However, those players were all signed by Dennis Franchione just days before he retired. That's not to say that Withers will forego the junior college route altogether, as Texas State made an offer last week to a JUCO lineman out in California.
On the flip side, that means there might not be a ton of quick fixes at problem positions either. That could mean that the defense, for example, might be a year or two off from getting where it needs to be. That is unless last year's underachievement was so complete that there's actually a bunch of talent on the roster waiting to be properly utilized.
I give this class a (fairly meaningless) grade of B+. It may not be an elite class on paper compared to Georgia Southern's army of three star recruits and Arkansas State's insane transfer haul, but it's one of the better classes in the Sun Belt. That they were able to hold onto Franchione's best commits and bring in some excellent players of their own is a testament to the new staff's energy, recruiting ability, and social media presence.
If Texas State can kick it into an even higher gear in future classes, watch out.