Volleyball: Argyle’s Van Poppel commits to Division I Belmont

Argyle junior Halee Van Poppel (9) tips the ball over the net against Decatur junior Autumn Fuller (11), Tuesday, September 22, 2015, in Argyle, TX. David Minton/DRC

Argyle junior Halee Van Poppel (9) tips the ball over the net against Decatur junior Autumn Fuller (11), Tuesday, September 22, 2015, in Argyle, TX. David Minton/DRC

Halee Van Poppel knew she didn’t have to go out of state to play college volleyball, but there was always a part of her that was intrigued by the idea.

Argyle’s junior outside hitter orally committed to Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. on Tuesday, giving the Lady Eagles — the defending Class 4A state champs — four players who have signed with or committed to a Division I program this school year.

“I’m excited for all of us,” Van Poppel said. “Playing Division I volleyball is not too big [a stage] for me. I knew God had a plan, and this is the best place for me.

“I always imagined myself doing something different by going out of state.”

Oral commitments are nonbinding. The first day a class of 2017 recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Nov. 9.

Argyle has been an active recruiting target this year. Beyond Van Poppel, seniors Eighmy Dobbins (Texas Tech) and Alexa Bass (Oral Roberts) have already signed. Junior Allison White committed to Texas Tech on Feb. 10.

Dobbins, who originally committed to Division I Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before switching to the Red Raiders, and Bass were two of four Lady Eagles who took part in the early signing period in November.

Seniors Strealy Sizelove (Dallas Baptist) and Melanie Carlisle (Henderson State) were two Division II signees in November. Senior Emma Malone committed last week to Division II West Texas A&M, bringing the total number of signings and commitments to seven.

Head coach Clark Oberle said there are likely more to come.

“It brings a lot of credibility to 4A volleyball, that’s for sure,” Oberle said. “I’m excited because I know how much all these girls love to play.”

Oberle said he is excited to have Van Poppel back, and her role is expected to expand after two standout seasons on varsity. In 2015, Van Poppel racked up 182 kills and a .353 hitting percentage despite being injured early in the season.

“[Halee] is super athletic, she has a great vertical jump and I will definitely use her in all six rotations for us next season,” Oberle said. “I expect big things from her.”

Belmont competes in the Ohio Valley Conference, and Van Poppel said she is being looked at for back row and as an outside hitter.

“I play six rotations for my club team Texas Image,” Van Poppel said. “That’s where Belmont was able to see me play the most, and they said I have the potential to play in several spots on the floor.

“It’s not a huge school, but I really liked it. They are also big into academics, which is extremely important to me. I also know I don’t have to deal with the stress of having to make a college decision during my senior year. I’m good now.”

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

Argyle’s Boyzuick will be preferred walk-on at Alabama

Argyle's Tanner Boyzuick stands with his first place medal after his team won the UIL State Baseball 4A championship in Austin Thursday, June 11, 2015. Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

Argyle’s Tanner Boyzuick stands with his first place medal after his team won the UIL State Baseball 4A championship in Austin Thursday, June 11, 2015. Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

Argyle third baseman Tanner Boyzuick tweeted Monday evening that he has committed to Alabama. Boyzuick will be a preferred walk-on and will also receive a full academic scholarship. He added that the combo was too good to pass up.

“This was the perfect situation,” Boyzuick said. “I had been talking to the coach for a while now. He offered me a preferred walk-on, and I accepted today.”

Boyzuick, now a senior, was a key cog in Argyle’s run to its first Class 4A state championship last season as a junior. The Eagles are mere days away from wrapping up the regular season and are looking to defend that title. Boyzuick played shortstop last year, but made the move to third base this season.

Head coach Ricky Griffin said Boyzuick is hitting .400 heading into the playoffs.

Boyzuick said in addition to Alabama, he had been looking at Villanova and Abilene Christian University.

“Honestly, I’m more relieved than anything,” he said. “This landed in my lap, and it’s all I could ask for. I’m very happy with this decision.”

Guyer freshman gets first college offer

Guyer freshman running back Noah Cain (22) evades a tackle by Southlake Carroll junior defensive back Jake Murphy (18), Friday, November 20, 2015, at Eagle Stadium in Allen, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer freshman running back Noah Cain (22) evades a tackle by Southlake Carroll junior defensive back Jake Murphy (18), Friday, November 20, 2015, at Eagle Stadium in Allen, TX. David Minton/DRC

Not to downgrade any Division I athletic offer, but to make a big deal out of a Tulsa offer might be a bit weird on the surface.

But in my 11 years of doing this at two different daily papers (the last nine here in Denton), I saw something today that I’ve never seen, as Tulsa made a scholarship offer to Guyer freshman — yes, FRESHMAN — Noah Cain.

Is this unheard of? No, but again, it’s something I’ve never seen with a school(s) I cover. Lane Kiffin has famously, or infamously, offered an eighth-grader, so stuff like this happens, but it’s not common.

Of course, as we all know, Cain is a really special talent. As a freshman, yes a 14-year-old, he ran for 1,058 on 112 carries (9.4 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns, and that was after he missed a few games with a broken hand. To put that in layman’s terms, that’s basically a first down every time he touched the ball. The one thing Cain seemed to lack at times was home run speed, but he made up for it with an insane ability to bounce off tacklers and run with some serious force and aggression. It’s rare enough to see a freshman running back excel for a high-level varsity program, but to do it by mixing it up in between the tackles was even more impressive. Oh, and that speed? It will come with an offseason or two in Guyer’s renowned strength and conditioning program. Hell, it might already be there for all we know, and I’ll find out when spring football begins on Monday.

Bottom line, Cain is going to be special, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Tulsa just started a flood of offers for him. Again, nothing at all against Tulsa, but don’t be shocked when the big boys of college football start throwing offers his way even though he won’t graduate high school until 2019.

Football: Ryan’s Tyreke Davis commits to North Texas

Ryan junior running back Tyreke Davis (21) breaks through the Keller Central defense for a Raider touchdown, Friday, September 25, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Ryan junior running back Tyreke Davis (21) breaks through the Keller Central defense for a Raider touchdown, Friday, September 25, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Ryan’s Tyreke Davis didn’t need his arm twisted much at all when he stepped foot in North Texas football coach Seth Littrell’s office earlier today.

“I had already made up my mind,” he said.

Davis, a junior who rose to prominence as a versatile linebacker and running back during Ryan’s 13-1 run in 2015, confirmed by phone on Saturday that he has orally committed to Littrell and the Mean Green — putting an end to a rather short recruiting process.

“I’m excited. Coach Littrell and the players made me feel comfortable and at home,” Davis said. “I already planned to commit today.”

Oral commitments are nonbinding. The first day a class of 2017 recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 1.

Davis was one of about 75 high school juniors who were on campus today for the Mean Green’s junior day. He is a three-star prospect, according to 247Sports.

Davis has only received the one Division I offer from North Texas so far and is regarded as a solid pickup for the Mean Green because of his versatility. The 5-10, 190-pound standout should fit in nicely in UNT’s 3-4 defensive scheme, where Davis said he could play as a nickle linebacker/safety.

“I’m excited for him and North Texas,” Ryan defensive coordinator Shane Tolleson said. “Tyreke is phenomenal in space, and kudos to North Texas for recognizing that ability. They aren’t going to miss because you can’t teach instinct.”

Davis was in on 117 tackles last season — 17 behind the line of scrimmage — and scored twice off interceptions. He added two sacks, one forced fumble, and one pass breakup. He was able to juggle that workload with being the Raiders’ go-to running back.

He led the team with 877 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.

Ryan is dropping to Class 5A next season and is regarded as a heavy favorite to win a state title.

“It’s going to be straight defense for me [at UNT],” Davis said. “The other thing now is I can just play, have fun, and enjoy my senior year with my teammates.”

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

Guyer loses quarterback, girls hoops coach

Guyer sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson (3) holds the ball out as he runs out of bounds against Southlake Carroll, Sunday, November 23, 2014, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson (3) holds the ball out as he runs out of bounds against Southlake Carroll, Sunday, November 23, 2014, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. David Minton/DRC

The popular phrase two years ago when Shawn Robinson arrived on campus at Guyer was that the rich were simply getting richer.

Coming off six straight seasons of having a future Football Bowl Subdivision quarterback under center, another one fell in Guyer’s lap.

Now, the Wildcats are on the wrong end of the same story, as Robinson will transfer to fellow state power DeSoto for his senior season. He’s once again following his coaching parents.

Robinson’s mother, Andrea, is leaving the same job at Guyer to become the head girls basketball coach at DeSoto after two years with the Lady Wildcats, pending school board approval. His father, Othell, confirmed he has an offer to join DeSoto’s football staff.

Andrea Robinson said she hopes to start her new job on Monday, pending release from her Denton ISD contract.

“It’s tough and unfair for Shawn,” Andrea Robinson said. “He can’t help the fact he has two coaches for parents. If there’s a move for advancement, he gets the backlash. He doesn’t wake up and say, ‘It’s my senior year. I want to move now.’ I hate he gets penalized for that. He loves where he is. Guyer’s been good to Shawn, and Shawn loves Guyer.”

Guyer travels to DeSoto in Week 2 of the 2016 season on Sept. 2.

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Possible Robinson move could mean shakeup at Guyer

Guyer girls basketball coach Andrea Robinson is in talks with DeSoto about becoming its new girls basketball coach. (The Dallas Morning News file photo)

Guyer girls basketball coach Andrea Robinson is in talks with DeSoto about becoming its new girls basketball coach. (The Dallas Morning News file photo)

Word came down on Friday afternoon that Guyer girls basketball coach Andrea Robinson was recommended by DeSoto administrators for the school’s vacant girls hoops job.

That, in itself, is significant given the fact she led Guyer to a District 5-6A championship this past season and made the Lady Wildcats a competitor at the state’s largest class after just one previous playoff appearance at that level prior to her arrival a year ago, when Guyer finished second in the district.

In her two seasons at Guyer, she’s put the Lady Wildcats on the map as a perennial contender. She’s not finished at Guyer yet, at least not officially, as she said earlier today that nothing “was even close to official” with DeSoto. She added that more would be known next week and that she has a meeting with human resources on Monday, but not before making it clear nothing was official on Monday afternoon.

“This job has been offered to me but it’s pending final details still,” Andrea Robinson said. “Nothing is official yet.”

But that’s not the end of the story, and be honest, it’s already in your mind: What might Robinson’s departure — if it happens — mean for Guyer football and star quarterback Shawn Robinson, who happens to be Andrea’s son and one of the top high school quarterbacks in the country entering his senior year.

Denton Guyer High School quarterback Shawn Robinson (3) throws a pass as he is pressured by San Angelo Central High School defensive tackle Jordan Schellhase (41) during the second quarter as Denton Guyer High School hosted San Angelo Central High School at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Friday, November 27, 2015.  (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Denton Guyer High School quarterback Shawn Robinson (3) throws a pass as he is pressured by San Angelo Central High School defensive tackle Jordan Schellhase (41) during the second quarter as Denton Guyer High School hosted San Angelo Central High School at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Friday, November 27, 2015. (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

We’d be lying if we said the fact that DeSoto, like Guyer, is a perennial football power didn’t make it interesting as an enticing move for the entire family, as her husband, Othell, is a coach on Guyer’s football staff. But again, nothing is official with Andrea, or Shawn and Othell, and the two aren’t a packaged deal if history tells us anything. However, sources indicate talks involving a family move are on the table and it is indeed a possibility.

Shawn Robinson is committed to TCU and is the No. 1 dual threat quarterback in the country. Just because Andrea Robinson leaves Guyer (if she does), doesn’t mean Shawn Robinson will leave Guyer. It’d be no different than when Shawn was a freshman at Saginaw Chisholm Trail when his dad was on staff there and his mom was the head coach at Cedar Hill.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out, and with spring football on the horizon, you’d think John Walsh would want to know whether he’ll have his senior quarterback for 2017. If not, he’d be fine rolling with junior Luke Stillwell, who started one game last year and rushed for more than 100 yards in a win over Trophy Club Nelson. Also, to make matters juicier, Guyer and DeSoto are set to play in Week 2.

Guyer safety chooses Northwestern over Ivy

Guyer junior defensive back Bryce Jackson (29) and senior defensive end Cameron Wax (9) squeeze Mansfield junior running back Kennedy Brooks (5), in a UIL Class 6A Division 2 state quarterfinal, Saturday, December 5, 2015, at Dragon Stadium in Southlake, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer junior defensive back Bryce Jackson (29) and senior defensive end Cameron Wax (9) squeeze Mansfield junior running back Kennedy Brooks (5), in a UIL Class 6A Division 2 state quarterfinal, Saturday, December 5, 2015, at Dragon Stadium in Southlake, TX. David Minton/DRC

Bryce Jackson makes it very clear academics are important to him and his future, and that’s evident from a quick glance at the Guyer safety’s football scholarship offer list.

It reads as a who’s who of the best academic institutions in the country, including Harvard and Cornell, but Jackson wanted something else those two programs can’t provide – big-time college football.

So when Northwestern stepped forward and offered the 6-1, 185-pound Jackson on Wednesday afternoon while he was visiting the school in Evanston, Ill., he quickly pulled the trigger and committed.

“I was just looking for a combination of big college football and great academics, and the Ivy League schools were missing the football,” Jackson said. “My top three was between them, Wake Forest and Duke, but Duke never offered me and I thought Northwestern felt like a better fit for me.”

Oral commitments are non-binding. The first day a Class of 2017 recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 1.

Jackson tied for the team lead with 120 tackles in helping lead Guyer to the Class 6A Region I final in December. He had 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage, nine pass breakups and tied for the team lead with four interceptions.

“With the offers he has it says a lot about his GPA, and his GPA on the field is just as good,” Guyer coach John Walsh said. “When you can pass defend and make tackles 2 yards past the line of scrimmage, it shows you can read your keys and that you’re very intelligent. That shows up from Bryce on the field.”

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Falcons’ Boyce commits to Texas

Lake Dallas defensive back Kobe Boyce (3) signals an incomplete pass after breaking up a third-down pass intended for Everman's Chase Hall (1) during the Lake Dallas High School Falcons vs. the Everman High School Bulldogs playoff football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, December 5, 2015. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

Lake Dallas defensive back Kobe Boyce (3) signals an incomplete pass after breaking up a third-down pass intended for Everman’s Chase Hall (1) during the Lake Dallas High School Falcons vs. the Everman High School Bulldogs playoff football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, December 5, 2015. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

Kobe Boyce has lived in Corinth his entire life, but Lake Dallas football coach Michael Young just recently got to know him.

Boyce made a big impression on the football field last season for the Falcons after spending the first two years of his high school career at a small private school. His performance in Lake Dallas’ deep playoff run paid dividends when he committed to Texas on Sunday morning after a weekend visit to Austin.

Oral commitments are non-binding. The first day a Class of 2017 recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 1.

“I feel like that was a huge reason why I got noticed was how deep we went and how I played in the playoffs,” the junior cornerback said. “I felt like coming to Lake Dallas put me more on the map, too, and then I just showed out.”

Boyce, a 6-0, 170-pound corner, participated in Nike’s The Opening in March and caught the attention of several large programs, garnering offers from the likes of Arkansas, Baylor, Texas A&M, Mississippi, Mississippi State, among others.

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UT: Heard’s shoulder injury not serious

 

Former Guyer standout Jerrod Heard of the Texas Longhorns celebrates with fans after beating the Oklahoma Sooners 24-17 during the AT&T Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl on October 10, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Former Guyer standout Jerrod Heard of the Texas Longhorns celebrates with fans after beating the Oklahoma Sooners 24-17 during the AT&T Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl on October 10, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

News broke on Wednesday that former Guyer standout Jerrod Heard, who was the starting quarterback for the Texas Longhorns last year, suffered a shoulder injury on Tuesday in spring practice and the severity was unknown.

The abrupt, short release by the Texas program did have a bit of an ominous ring to it though, and it had people wondering just how bad Heard’s shoulder injury was and what it meant for his future standing in the program after a redshirt season of ups (Cal and Oklahoma) and downs.

Well, good news for Heard came down on Thursday as it was announced that injury wasn’t so serious, after all.

In his 10 starts last year, Heard threw for 1,214 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions while rushing for 556 yards and three touchdowns. He was second on the team in rushing. The fact Heard isn’t seriously injured bodes well for the two-time Texas high school state champion at Guyer as new Texas offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert has said the quarterback competition is “wide open” this spring.

Guyer-ex, UT QB Heard injures shoulder in practice

 

Former Guyer and current Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard (13) breaks through the California defense on a 45-yard touchdown run with just over a minute to play during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game at Royal Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Austin. Texas failed to convert the tying extra point and California won the game 45-44. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

Former Guyer and current Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard (13) breaks through the California defense on a 45-yard touchdown run with just over a minute to play during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game at Royal Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Austin. Texas failed to convert the tying extra point and California won the game 45-44. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

Jerrod Heard was thrown into the fire, perhaps a little sooner than Texas wanted, last season but kept his head above water and helped lead Texas to bit of an improvement in head coach Charlie Strong’s second season in Austin. Improvement in the sense they had a signature win over Oklahoma but not in the sense of W/L record. Against OU, he rushed for 115 yards.

Heard became the Longhorns’ starter under center after their first game and had a monster effort in a crushing loss to Cal when he threw for 364 yards, rushed for another 163 and ran for three touchdowns. But that was the high point for Heard from an individual standpoint.

Now, the former Guyer standout who led the Wildcats to consecutive Class 4A state championships in 2012 and 2013, might be in danger of losing his weak grasp of the starting job after news broke on Wednesday that he suffered a shoulder injury in practice on Tuesday.

Of course, that’s all the Longhorns would say as no further information was given in a short release to media.

In his 10 starts last year, Heard threw for 1,214 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions while rushing for 556 yards and three touchdowns. He was second on the team in rushing.

According to the folks at Burnt Orange Nation, Heard has been working as the backup to senior Tyrone Swoopes, who Heard supplanted as the starter a year ago.

A significant injury will obviously hurt Heard’s case to be the starter, and could even hurt his chances of being the team’s backup with early enrollee Shane Buechele in camp fresh off his senior year at Arlington Lamar. With new offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert in place, the word on the street is that the quarterback competition is truly a wide-open one.