Relatively light signing class set to ink letters


James Franklin (2010), left, Josh Stewart (2011) and Mario Edwards (2012) were top area recruits in previous years. This year, the number of top-level recruits has dropped.

Tomorrow is one of the bigger days every year around these parts as high school athletes from across the area will sign their national letters of intent to play college athletics.

In recent years, the Denton area has been rich in big-time talent in all sports, most specifically on the gridiron. It all started back in 2010 with what is still arguably the best class, top-to-bottom, to ever come out of this area. It included Ryan’s record-setting QB Scotty Young (Texas Tech, transferred to Louisiana Tech), Lake Dallas QB James Franklin (starting at Missouri) and Guyer defensive tackle Taylor Bible (no longer at Texas, playing JUCO). Young and Bible were both Parade All-Americans.

The following year featured guys like J.W. Walsh and Josh Stewart, who both signed with Oklahoma State and are now both playing significant roles in the Cowboys’ program. Then, of course, came 2012 when Ryan had the nation’s top recruit, according to ESPN, in defensive end Mario Edwards, who started as a true freshman for Florida State.

While this year’s class is very good, it could be said that it hasn’t quite lived up to the incredibly lofty standards set in recent years. There are only four Football Bowl Subdivision signings set to happen tomorrow in our area. Three are at Guyer: OL Patrick Morris (TCU), DB John Schilleci (UNT) and WR Ellis Jefferson (Arizona State). The other is at Lake Dallas, as defensive end Graysen Schantz will ink with Rice.

FBS signees are not the only ones that matter — not even close. There are plenty of good players in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) and Division II, but the number of FBS signees is significantly lighter than previous classes.

One reason for that is because of the abundance of good players returning for the 2013 season, most notably at Argyle, who doesn’t have an FBS signee for the first time in recent memory. Adding to that is the fact that Guyer has a kid who will likely be one of the top prospects in the country next year in junior quarterback Jerrod Heard, who committed to Texas prior to his junior season. Ryan has no FBS signees for the first time in head coach Joey Florence’s tenure at the school, and the first time at Ryan since the 2000 signing day (1999 season). There’s a solid chance the Raiders will have multiple FBS signees next year, including three returning defensive linemen.

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