Lake Dallas’ Ijiyera plans to sign with Houston Baptist

Lake Dallas High School offensive lineman Segun Ijiyera (70), an area standout, follows a play during the first half as Prestonwood Christian Academy hosted Lake Dallas High School at Lions Stadium in Plano on Friday night, September 9, 2016.  (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Lake Dallas High School offensive lineman Segun Ijiyera (70), an area standout, follows a play during the first half as Prestonwood Christian Academy hosted Lake Dallas High School at Lions Stadium in Plano on Friday night, September 9, 2016. (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Lake Dallas lineman Segun Ijiyera was set to sign with Texas State just a few weeks ago.

Those plans changed in a hurry as national signing day approached.

Ijiyera was prepared to sign with Texas State as a member of its 2017 class. The school later asked Ijiyera to blue shirt, a practice that would involve joining the team as a preferred walk-on and being put on scholarship after the start of fall practice.

Following that path would allow Texas State to back date his scholarship to the 2018 class.

Ijiyera elected to follow another path, one that led to Houston Baptist. Ijiyera confirmed Sunday afternoon that he is planning to sign with the Southland Conference school on national signing day this week.

Ijiyera had five offers from Football Bowl Subdivision programs at one point or another during his recruiting process. He committed to Texas State over Tulane and Houston Baptist, which competes in the Southland Conference. The Southland is a Football Championship Subdivision conference.

“Texas State tried to give me a blue shirt offer after I committed,” Ijiyera said. “I didn’t want to go that route. Houston Baptist was my No.3 school and Tulane had already filled its spots.

“Houston Baptist made a lot of sense.”

The 6-2, 270-pound Ijiyera played mostly on Lake Dallas offensive line, but also played defense last season due to a series of injuries the Falcons suffered on their defensive line. He finished with 31 tackles, including nine behind the line of scrimmage, and a sack.

Ijiyera is a member of The Dallas Morning News’ Area Top 100 list.

“Houston Baptist is on the come-up,” Ijiyera said. “Playing time won’t be that hard to come by.”

— Brett Vito

Cain accepts Under Armour invite

Guyer sophomore running back Noah Cain (7) stiff-arms Plano West senior linebacker Titus Wall (8) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, November 4, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Guyer sophomore running back Noah Cain (7) stiff-arms Plano West senior linebacker Titus Wall (8) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, November 4, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Well, it’s been a busy couple of days for now-former Guyer running back Noah Cain.

On Thursday, the nation’s top-ranked sophomore running back announced he would be leaving Guyer to attend the polarizing IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, for his junior season after rushing for almost 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns as a sophomore at Guyer.

On Friday, Cain, who will begin his time at IMG on Jan. 16, announced his invitation to the Under Armour All-American Game and said he was committing to play in the game following his senior season (2019) so actually in January of 2020.


If Cain was still at Guyer, he’d be the second Guyer player to take part in the game, as former defensive lineman Taylor Bible played in the game in January 2010 before going on to Texas.

Cain has 15 major college offers from the likes of powerhouses like LSU and Oklahoma with two years of high school football still to play.

Guyer’s Cain gets coveted LSU offer

Denton Guyer sophomore running back Noah Cain (7) hurdles senior fullback Trevor Caples (22) as DeSoto senior linebacker Orion Smith (15) moves in for the tackle during the second half of a high school football game at Eagle Stadium in DeSoto, Texas, Friday, September 2, 2016. (Jeffrey McWhorter/Special Contributor)

Denton Guyer sophomore running back Noah Cain (7) hurdles senior fullback Trevor Caples (22) as DeSoto senior linebacker Orion Smith (15) moves in for the tackle during the second half of a high school football game at Eagle Stadium in DeSoto, Texas, Friday, September 2, 2016. (Jeffrey McWhorter/Special Contributor)

Guyer sophomore Noah Cain already has more than his fair share of big-time college offers, but on Monday evening he got the one he’s really been waiting for.

Cain, who had 11 offers from some of the most high profile programs in the country, picked up a 12th from the LSU Tigers, his head coach John Walsh confirmed Monday night.

Cain, a 5-11, 202-pound tailback, is the fourth-leading rusher among Class 6A backs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but his yardage total of 941 has come on far fewer carries than any of the other area backs with just 98 carries through six games. He has 12 rushing touchdowns.

Cain grew up in Baton Rouge and has long expressed an affinity for the Tigers, and you have to wonder if an LSU offer might just be the gold standard for him. I don’t think he’ll be committing any time soon with his sophomore season just about halfway over, but everyone else might be playing catching up Cain now.

Guyer’s Heard commits to TCU

Guyer senior guard Lauren Heard (20) takes off on a breakaway against Flower Mound in a playoff game last season at Lake Dallas High School in Corinth, Texas. David Minton/DRC

Guyer senior guard Lauren Heard (20) takes off on a breakaway against Flower Mound in a playoff game last season at Lake Dallas High School in Corinth, Texas. David Minton/DRC

At this time a year ago, the Guyer girls basketball program had never had a player commit to a Division I university.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Lady Wildcats have two.

Senior point guard Lauren Heard joined her former teammate Bre Wickware (Indiana) on Wednesday when she committed to play basketball at TCU. The first day a Class of 2017 player can sign a national letter of intent is when the fall early signing period begins on Nov. 9.

“TCU was a good fit for me because I love the coaches,” said Heard, who chose the Horned Frogs over a slew of offers from programs including Houston, SMU, Kansas State, Rice, Louisiana Tech and UNT among others. “Coach [Raegan] Pebley has a really good relationship with God. It’s really close to my home so my friends and family can come to the games, and I just love the girls and played AAU ball with a few of them. We have a lot of chemistry already.”

Pebley, the Horned Frogs’ third-year head coach, has started to build a potential power in Fort Worth with her recent run of recruits, including freshman guard Amber Ramirez, a McDonald’s All-American out of San Antonio Wagner.

“They’ll be a force to be reckoned with this coming year I think,” Heard said. “They have a lot of good, young girls with their freshmen they got. It’s a young team and when I get there I’ll be able to play with them most of my college years without many changes.”
Guyer’s first-year head coach Aimee Kilgore, who was an assistant under former coach Andrea Robinson beginning with Heard’s sophomore season, said the four-year starter has a chance to be a part of something special with TCU.

“The beautiful thing is, from my perspective, we can go watch her play,” Kilgore said. “She’s in the Big 12 — that’s huge and a great stage for her to play on. What she brings to the table is obvious and that’s why everyone wanted to recruit her — she has the ability to a game-changer and take their program where they want to be.”

Heard, the reigning co-MVP in District 5-6A, averaged 19.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game as a junior to go with an eye-popping 5.2 steals per game, and she said the fast-paced system Pebley runs was a big reason for her making the choice to stay in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex for her college career.

“Their style of play is lots transition and whoever gets the ball just goes, and that’s the way I like to play,” she said. “I like to play fast. I think I’ll fit well.”

Heard said she can now focus solely on her senior year at Guyer as the Lady Wildcats move to a loaded District 6-6A featuring annual powers like Plano West.
“When I made the commitment, I immediately felt better with just being able to focus on what’s here,” Heard said. “My teammates here deserve 100 percent of me, so I’m really happy about getting this out of the way.”

ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.

Guyer’s Cain named country’s top ’19 RB

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

If there’s one thing I have known about Guyer sophomore Noah Cain since, oh, about the Keller game last year, it’s that he is really good at running with a football in his hands.

See what I mean?

Well, all that hype and all those accolades were given some “oomph” on Wednesday afternoon when recruiting site 247 Sports released its initial rankings for the Class of 2019.

Cain, who’s 5-11 and now a hair over 200 pounds, missed the better part of four games last year with a broken hand, but still managed to rack up 1,058 yards on 112 carries (9.4 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns while adding another score through the air.

And now, he’s ranked as the nation’s top running back in his class and as the No. 5 player overall nationally. The sophomore-to-be is poised for a huge season as a part of what is sure to be a dynamic Guyer rushing attack with Cain, seniors Myron Mason and Christian Moore and junior quarterback Luke Stillwell.

Cain already has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Kansas, Miami, Oklahoma State, SMU, Texas A&M and Tulsa and is sure to get a lot more in the next few years.

 

 

Guyer’s Sutton commits to Illinois State

Guyer junior defensive end Jalen Sutton (17) and senior linebacker Michael Carillo (32) bring down Mansfield junior running back Kennedy Brooks (5), in a UIL Class 6A Division II state quarterfinal, Saturday, December 5, 2015, at Dragon Stadium in Southlake, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer junior defensive end Jalen Sutton (17) and senior linebacker Michael Carillo (32) bring down Mansfield junior running back Kennedy Brooks (5), in a UIL Class 6A Division II state quarterfinal, Saturday, December 5, 2015, at Dragon Stadium in Southlake, TX. David Minton/DRC

Just days after Guyer added another big-time college commitment to their list, a somewhat under-the-radar player made a commitment of his own on Tuesday when defensive end Jalen Sutton committed to Illinois State.

The Redbirds compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) in the Missouri Valley Conference along with known powerhouse North Dakota State, which just produced rookie NFL quarterback Carson Wentz.

In other words, there are plenty of big-time players in the FCS, as you can see when you look at the NFL Draft list on an annual basis. Now, Sutton appears to be lining himself up for that same chance after emerging late as a junior after his playing time increased due to some injuries on Guyer’s defensive line.

After entering a prominent spot in Guyer’s defensive line rotation late in the year, the rangy defensive end was in on 22 stops, including nine behind the line of scrimmage and two sacks. He also had a pass breakup and nine quarterback hurries.

 

Guyer’s Mwaniki set to continue pipeline to Stillwater

Guyer junior defensive back Thabo Mwaniki (1) sacks Byron Nelson senior quarterback Preston Haire (12), Friday, October 23, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer junior defensive back Thabo Mwaniki (1) sacks Byron Nelson senior quarterback Preston Haire (12), Friday, October 23, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

As a middle-schooler at Harpool, Thabo Mwaniki remembers watching from afar as a trio of Guyer football players excelled in the Big 12 at Oklahoma State.

Now that Guyer’s contingent of OSU players has all moved on, Mwaniki will start what he hopes is another pipeline from Guyer High School to Stillwater after committing to play college football for the Cowboys on Saturday.

Mwaniki visited Stillwater on Thursday and made his decision shortly thereafter, choosing OSU over 12 other Football Bowl Subdivision offers including Colorado, Kansas, Purdue and North Texas.

“It just feels like home to me,” said Mwaniki, who will play safety at the next level but will play mostly at strong-side linebacker and wide receiver during his upcoming senior year. “I love the staff. [Safeties] Coach [Dan] Hammerschmidt is great. The facilities are top of the line. The campus is beautiful. Just everything about it was great.”

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

Mwaniki moved up from junior varsity as a sophomore three games into the year to play safety for Guyer before moving to linebacker due to injury a handful of games into the 2015 season. He finished his junior year with 61 tackles, including 14 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He added two sacks and a fumble recovery. He was also Guyer’s second-leading receiver with 18 catches for 294 yards and a touchdown.

“His versatility speaks volumes,” Guyer coach John Walsh said. “I think that’s what caught the attention of a lot of people. They want him at safety, some want him at corner, but he could be a receiver at that level. He has some of the best ball skills and explosiveness that we’ve had come through. The different things he brings to the table makes him so attractive.”

Mwaniki had planned to commit at the beginning of the summer but was waiting for an offer that blew him away. On Thursday, he got it.

“We’ve been talking for about four weeks now,” Mwaniki said. “The biggest thing for me was that they’re losing five safeties by the time I get there, so early playing time was a big factor for me.”

And once again, Guyer fans seem poised to have a reason to follow OSU on Saturdays.

“I’m excited for Thabo,” said Walsh, whose son J.W. was a Cowboys quarterback who graduated in December. “Plus, I get to keep all that orange stuff in my closet.”

Guyer hoopsters offered by Sooners

Guyer sophomores-to-be De'Vion Harmon, left, and Jalen Wilson each picked up offers from the Oklahoma Sooners over the weekend. David Minton/DRC

Guyer sophomores-to-be De’Vion Harmon, left, and Jalen Wilson each picked up offers from the Oklahoma Sooners over the weekend. David Minton/DRC

In case you’ve been living under a rock, there are some pretty talented cats in the 2019 class at Guyer.

We saw it in two different sports this past school year. There was obviously running back Noah Cain on the gridiron, and he was joined by classmate De’Vion Harmon, who was a starting wide receiver for the Wildcats. The pair were the first freshmen Guyer coach John Walsh ever had suited up to start a season. And they both were integral in Guyer’s run to the regional final.

Then, we saw it on the hardwood with Harmon and fellow freshman Jalen Wilson, as they led Guyer to a 30-win season and a second-round playoff appearance before falling to powerhouse South Grand Prairie, and it was the two freshmen who often led the way.

Over the weekend, they made a splash on the recruiting scene when they picked up offers on the same night from the Oklahoma Sooners. Not bad for a first offer in the bag for Wilson and a second for Harmon after UT-Arlington made the initial one weeks ago. Harmon has also picked up serious interest from LSU.

Harmon, a Jack-of-all-trades point guard, averaged 13.3 points, 4.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game last season for the Wildcats. He announced earlier this summer his decision to give up football and focus exclusively on basketball. Wilson, a 6-5 guard/forward, averaged 14.7 points with a team-high 6.7 rebounds and three assists.

To think, the Wildcats have those two for three more seasons plus a crop of more young studs coming in. The move to the new District 6-6A with the big Plano ISD schools and Allen is going to be a really big challenge on the basketball court, but Guyer is shaping up to be able to compete for a district title.

 

Big-time offers keeping piling up for Cain

A quick look at the above highlight tape (yes, I’m a child of the 80s and I still use the word “tape”), lets you know pretty quickly that Noah Cain doesn’t mess around.

Last season as a freshman — one of two freshman starters on Guyer’s varsity team after John Walsh had gone nine years without ever beginning the season suiting up a freshman much less starting one — Cain burst on to the scene and proved to be one of the hardest runners in the Metroplex.

On Thursday, Cain added another big-time college offer to his list before ever taking a snap as a high school sophomore. It came from Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M, who joined other Power 5 schools like Arizona, Arizona State, Kansas, Miami and Oklahoma State as ones to jump on the Guyer freshman early.

“It’s a first for me,” Walsh said. “We’ve had these programs offer our kids before but never at 15 years old. It’s a testament to his preparation he’s done prior to this, in his early years. He’s ahead of his time physically. Today, he’s a solid 202 pounds at 15.”

Cain, who’s 5-11, missed the better part of four games last year with a broken hand, but still managed to rack up 1,058 yards on 112 carries (9.4 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns while adding another score through the air.

At this time last year I remember Walsh telling me about a freshman-to-be who was special, but he thought he might lack the home run threat. He quickly erased that doubt, and showed to be the complete package pretty quickly with a spatial awareness well beyond his years.

“He erased any downfield, home run threat doubts in Week 1 with a long run against Allen,” Walsh said. “What we know and what colleges see on tape is that, other than being physically gifted, he has natural vision and patience to set up blocks. That’s the last thing a good running back usually gets, but he has that already.”

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.