NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team signed 22 high school standouts to National Letters of Intent, and added a junior college transfer SFA head football coach J.C. Harper announced at a press luncheon Wednesday afternoon. The 2013 class consists of 13 offensive players, nine defensive players and a specialist.
The Lumberjacks brought in talent on both sides of the ball to help fill needs in several key areas. The incoming class consists of five wide receivers, four linebackers, four defensive linemen (three tackles), four offensive linemen, two quarterbacks, two athletes, one defensive back and akicker.
The SFA coaching staff added five prospects from the East Texas area. The five East Texans include Patrick Brown (DB – Henderson), Aaron Doddy (Ath. – Hooks), Justice Liggins (WR – Tyler), Justin Reasons (OL – Groves) and Vedial Johnson (LB – Trinity Valley CC).
"I am very excited about our incoming class," said Harper. "From day one we targeted guys that would be a fit academically for SFA. Then we began looking for players who could fit into what we do both offensively and defensively. Our coaches did a great job of targeting these players, and welook forward to coaching them over the next four-to-five seasons.
"One of our biggest needs was at defensive tackle. We really needed to add some depth at the tackle position. I'm happy with our additions on the defensive front. We are bringing in some very strong, talented youngmen," added Harper.
With only two defensive tackles on the roster heading into the spring, the coaching staff addressed its need on the defensive line with the addition of Juvon Gales, Shane Roberson, Randy Timmons and Mitchell Zimmerle. The 'Jacks trio on incoming (Zimmerle is projected to play defensive end) tackles averages 6-1, 285 pounds led by Gales. A two-star athlete according to Rivals.com, and one of only two Louisianans in the signing class, Gales is rated as one of the state's top tackles.
Lumberjack fans have been fortunate to watch All-American receivers like Dominique Edison and Cordell Roberson in recent years, but with Roberson having exhausted his eligibility the coaching staff reloaded its talented stable with five receivers. This talented crop of receivers adds immediate size and depth to the roster.
"We entered the recruiting season knowing that we needed some impact guys at receiver," said Harper. "This group consists of good size and great speed. We have several guys who have the ability to stretch the field. The thing that really impressed me about this group was their ability to make something happen after the catch."
SFA graduated three all-conference players on the offensive line, but the coaching staff answered this need with the addition of four high school standouts. The 'Jacks' 2013 offensive linemen enter their collegiate career averaging 6-3, 284 pounds.
"It is hard to focus on just one guy," said Harper. "Each of the incoming (offensive) linemen are so talented. They are all hard workingplayers, but the most impressive thing about them is how strong and athletic they are. Each one has great footwork, and does a great job of pass blocking."
The newcomers on the offensive line will be using their talents to protect quarterbacks Colton Bretton (6-4, 190, Glen Rose) and Dru Smith (6-1, 195, Sherman) over the course of the next four years. Both signal callers enter college after highly touted prep careers. Bretton threw for 4,700 yards and 40 touchdowns during his prep career, while Smith is rated as one of the state's top 200 prospects.
2013 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack Signee Roster
Colton Bretton • 6-4 • 190 • QB • Glen Rose, Texas/Glen Rose HS
Patrick Brown • 5-11 • 170 • DB • Henderson, Texas/Henderson HS
Aaron Doddy • 6-4 • 190 • Ath • Hooks, Texas/Hooks HS
Juvon Gales • 6-3 • 280 • DT • Hahnville, La./Hahnville
Hunter Harwell • 6-2 • 205 • LB • Mesquite, Texas/Horn HS
Justice Liggins • 6-1 • 195 • WR • Tyler, Texas/John Tyler HS
Trey McGahan • 6-2 • 195 • LB • Kennedale, Texas/Kennedale HS
Andy McNew • 6-4 • 285 • OL • Waco, Texas/Robinson HS
Roman Mitchell • 5-11 • 200 • LB • Lake Dallas, Texas/Lake Dallas HS
Anthony Pullins • 6-1 • 290 • OL • Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS
Brett Rattan • 6-1 • 215 • K • Mesquite, Texas/Poteet HS
Justin Reasons • 6-3 • 280 • OL • Groves, Texas/Port Neches-Groves
Shane Roberson • 6-2 • 285 • DT • Little Elm, Texas/Frisco HS
De'Quann Ruffin • 6-2 • 185 • WR • Humble, Texas/Summer Creek HS
Dru Smith • 6-1 • 195 • QB • Sherman, Texas/Sherman HS
Robert Sylvester • 6-0 • 176 • Houston, Texas/Cypress Lake HS
Rodney Timmons • 6-0 • 295 • DT • Irving, Texas/Irving HS
Brian Walker • 5-10 • 170 • WR • Sulphur, La./Sulphur
Jalend Washom • 6-4 • 280 • OL • Houston, Texas/Eisenhower HS
Joshawa West • 5-10 • 170 • WR/Ath • Angleton, Texas/Angleton HS
Eugene Wright • 5-9 • 165 • Ath • Rosenberg, Texas/Terry HS
Mitchell Zimmerle • 6-3 • 210 • DE • Danbury, Texas/Danbury HS
Vedial Johnson • 6-2 • 225 • LB • Sugarland, Texas/Kempner HS (Trinity Valley CC)