By Rob Ludwig
Special to the Daily Sun
Navarro’s football program had a big, quality haul on the first day high school student-athletes can sign National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.
In need of offensive linemen, the Bulldogs landed 11 players to man the trenches, including a pair of high-quality brothers.
Among the mid-term enrollees are former Longview quarterback Bivins Caraway (6-0, 200), who transferred from Louisiana-Monroe. Also checking in this January are massive offensive linemen Wilford Beard (6-6, 270) and Tristan Nicholson (6-8, 285), wide receiver Del’Michael High (6-2, 180), running back Jamel James (5-11, 220) and University of Tulsa transfer Ray Crockett, son of longtime NFL player Ray Crockett.
“We had a really, really good day,” said Navarro Coach Brian Mayper. “We had no big surprises. I thought it went about how we planned it.”
Navarro lost several of its offensive linemen after the 2013 season and was in need to restock the two-deep roster. It did so in a big way, literally. The Bulldogs signed four players 6-5 or bigger and eight of the newcomers top the 300-pound mark. Among those is Beard’s brother, Stefan, a double-signee with Baylor who attended Austin Westlake in the fall after transferring from Chicago.
(Wilford) Beard has got to get back in shape because he hasn’t played in a couple of years, but he’s going to be a quality player,” Mayper said. “All of the linemen we signed were of high quality.”
Navarro also signed three big safeties, including Jyren McCain (6-2, 160) of Fort Bend Bush, Khalil McCathern (6-4, 200) of Smithville. They’ll be matched with Texarkana High’s Kevin Harris, who Mayper said is the fastest player in the state.
“We’re going to be a big secondary for the first time in a long time,” Mayper said.
James could be a productive back immediately for the Bulldogs after signing with Texas State last winter. James originally committed to Notre Dame before settling on Texas State.
“He’s a big back who can really run,” Mayper said. “He had a great sophomore year in high school and two very good years after that. We’re going to get him back to the way he was as a sophomore.”
Three Bulldogs signed LOI’s with FBS schools. Quarterback Josh Greer landed with North Texas, his favorite target Devin Lauderdale went to Texas Tech and offensive lineman Carter Wall is already on the University of Houston campus.
Greer has a chance to start in his first year at North Texas after missing several games with a broken collarbone in his only season at Navarro.
“He was (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Canales’ guy,” Mayper said. “(Canales) really wanted him. I expected him to compete for the starting job up there. He’s a special kid. If he had been healthy all of last fall, I think the writing was on the wall with what we could have done.”
Lauderdale originally signed with Texas Tech, but an NCAA Clearinghouse issue left him in Corsicana for his freshmen season. That issue was resolved late in the fall and now he’ll be stretching defenses for the Red Raiders.
Wall’s versatility will enable him to potentially grab a starting job at Houston. Wall played all three line positions for Navarro and will be a favorite for extended playing time this spring for the Cougars.
Former Corsicana High School star Cameron Washington, the second-leading rusher for the Bulldogs in 2013, signed with Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday.
Here's a list of Navarro's signees:
INCOMING FRESHMAN SIGNEES: (34, As of 1:00 PM)
KENNY ARTHUR II, 6-1, 185, QB, Dallas South Oak Cliff
DOMINIQUE BARNETT, 6-2, 175, CB, Alief Elsik
STEFAN BEARD, 6-4, 310, OL, Austin Westlake
CHRISTIAN BRITT, 6-3, 215,LB, Ingleside
CHRIS BROOKS, 5-11, 195, OLB, Beaumont Central
DeKENDREA COLE, 6-2, 315, NG, Beaumont Central
DEXTER COLLINS, 6-1, 298, NG, Langham Creek
XAVIER CONLEY, 6-4, 200, QB, Pflugerville Hendrickson
SHAQUILLE CRANE, 6-0, 215, OLB, Converse Judson
JAMES DAVID, 6-3, 225, LB, Rockdale
SEAN EDDINGTON, 5-10, 160, CB, San Antonio Warren
AARON FOY, 5-9, 160, WR, Kilgore
KOLTON GATSON, 6-3, 300, OL, Fairfield
BRANDON GLENN, 6-4, 254, DE, Carrollton Ranchview
DOMINIQUE HARRIS, 5-8, 165, WR, Langham Creek
KEVIN HARRIS, 6-2, 180, WR-DB, Texarkana Texas High
EONTE JENKINS, 6-4, 260, OL, Dallas South Oak Cliff
JOHN JOHNSON, 6-1, 230, LB, Aldine Eisenhower
DARIUS JOINER, 6-5, 280, OL, Temple
CALVIN JONES, Jr., 6-0, 181, WR, Richardson Berkner
JAMES JUDIE, 6-4, 241, DE, Temple
KARL KALUBI, 6-5, 305, OL, Fort Bend Dulles
MICHAEL KELLOUGH, Jr., 6-6, 330, OL, Brazoswood
JYREN McCAIN, 6-2, 160, S, Fort Bend Bush
KHALIL McCATHERN, 6-4, 200, S, Smithville
WALTER MILLER, 6-1, 210, LB, Mesquite Horn
DaSHANE MOORE, 6-5, 360, OL, Plano
JOSH MORRIS, 5-10, 175, OLB, Fort Bend Bush
BRANDON NICCUM, 6-4, 320, OL, Justin Northwest
GEWHITE STALLWORTH, 6-8, 355, OL, Houston Reagan
HARRIS TAFAH, 6-3, 253, DL, Mansfield Legacy
LaDARIUS THOMAS, 6-0, 165, DB, Temple
XAVIER TURNER, 5-10, 205, RB, Birdville/North Richland Hills
DONOVAN WHEATON, 6-3, 310, OL, Prime Prep Academy
MID-TERM ENROLLED HERE:
WILFORD BEARD, 6-6, 370, OL, Chicago, Ill., (Marshall)
TRISTAN NICHOLSON, 6-8, 285, OL, League City (Clear Falls) / Tr-Fork Union Academy
BIVINS CARAWAY, 6-0, 200, QB, Longview / Tr-University of Louisiana Monroe
DEL’MICHAEL HIGH, 6-2, 180, WR, Mesquite Horn
JAMEL JAMES, 5-11, 220, RB, Katy (Cinco Ranch)
RAY CROCKETT, 6-0, 170, CB, Southlake Carroll / Tr-University of Tulsa
JOSH GREER, 6-5, 22, QB, University of North Texas
DEVIN LAUDERDALE, 5-11, 170, WR, Texas Tech
CARTER WALL, 6-4, 304, OL, University of Houston
CAMERON WASHINGTON, 5-11, 190, RB, Stephen F. Austin