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.”

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.

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.

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.

Ryan-ex Choplick assigned to Rangers’ Low-A Hickory

Former Ryan standout Adam Choplick, shown here pitching for Oklahoma in 2014, was assigned to Low-A Hickory by the Rangers on Tuesday.  (AP Photo)

Former Ryan standout Adam Choplick, shown here pitching for Oklahoma in 2014, was assigned to Low-A Hickory by the Rangers on Tuesday. (AP Photo)

Adam Choplick, a former Ryan two-sport star who went on to pitch for Oklahoma, was assigned by the Texas Rangers to Class Low-A Hickory on Tuesday afternoon as the Rangers wrap up their time in Arizona for spring training.

Choplick, who was drafted for the third time last year was assigned to the Rangers’ short-season affiliate in Spokane, Washington after being selected in June’s draft. He went 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA in 16 games with Spokane, finishing six games with three saves.

The 6-9 lefty appears to be slotted to be a reliever as a pro and will have a chance to begin his full-season professional career with the Crawdads. He’ll be joined in Hickory by the Rangers’ No. 1 pick in last summer’s draft, starting pitcher Dillon Tate.

Low-A was the logical starting point for Choplick and his expected destination out of his first spring training. The next step would be High-A High Desert in the California League, which is a pitcher’s worst nightmare due to overinflated offensive stats because of similar climate to that of Arizona. After that, would be Double-A Frisco, which would obviously be right back in Choplick’s backyard.

If you want to follow Choplick’s season, you can do so here and keep track of his appearances and statistics.

TAPPS set to move headquarters to Denton in July

Liberty Christian celebrate winning the TAPPS 5A girls basketball state championship game over Prestonwood Christian, 48-43, at Mansfield Timberview High School, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Brandon Wade/Special Contributor)

Liberty Christian celebrate winning the TAPPS 5A girls basketball state championship game over Prestonwood Christian, 48-43, at Mansfield Timberview High School, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Brandon Wade/Special Contributor)

Officials for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools want to move their headquarters to a more metropolitan area, and they have set their sights on Denton.

Bryan Bunselmeyer, the executive director for TAPPS, said the move is set for July, though they are still looking for office space. TAPPS creates rules and organizes athletic and academic contests for 232 private high schools —Calvary and Liberty Christian being two — across five classifications.

Its office has been in Salado, a small town about 17 miles southwest of Temple, for 15 years. Before that, TAPPS had stints in Austin and Forney. The organization was first chartered in 1978 with 20 member schools.

“Salado is a great location because it’s in the center of the state, however, it no longer meets the needs that our board of directors and leadership council desire,” Bunselmeyer said. “They want to be in a metropolitan area.

“Being in a place like Denton that wants to support small business is very important to us.”

Denton was chosen over Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. Though TAPPS has yet to sign a lease, the search has been narrowed to a couple of properties, including one near the Unicorn Lake development. An immediate benefit is proximity to its member schools. Bunselmeyer estimated there were just two or three member schools close to the Salado office.

He went on to say there are 65 member schools in the immediate Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Calvary, Liberty Christian, The Selwyn School, and Coram Deo Academy in Flower Mound.

But the biggest desire TAPPS had was to be down the street from a major college or university, which Denton has with North Texas and TWU. Bunselmeyer said TAPPS is already in talks with TWU to develop a partnership that can include internship opportunities for TWU students while partnering with college classes on specific projects.

“That was the biggest thing — to be in a metropolitan area and be in a location where there is a potential to have a partnership with a college or university,” Bunselmeyer said. “When we started to reach out, TWU immediately answered back.”

Bunselmeyer said there is also potential to hire TWU students to work in the TAPPS office and at various events. TAPPS currently has a staff of four working in its Salado office and would like to double that number to eight, Bunselmeyer said.

“As an organization serving educational institutions, it is a natural extension for TAPPS to look to students for our future planning,” he said. “The main thing is we don’t want to be just another business in a big town. We’d rather be somewhere that knows we are there.”

Football: Javaris Steward returns to Ryan

Javaris Steward tackles Justin Northwest quarterback Jesse Drummer in a game during the 2014 season. Steward is returning to Ryan after briefly living in California. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

Javaris Steward tackles Justin Northwest quarterback Jesse Drummer in a game during the 2014 season. Steward is returning to Ryan after briefly living in California. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

Steward

Steward

Javaris Steward, a playmaking defensive end who quickly made a name for himself at Ryan as a sophomore two seasons ago before moving to California for family reasons, is back in Texas and has enrolled at the school.

Ryan head coach Dave Henigan confirmed Steward, now a junior, attended classes Wednesday. He was seen taking part in offseason workouts that afternoon.

Steward was a varsity player at Ryan as a sophomore, but left the school before football practices began that next August. He played his junior season at Pomona High School. His mother, who was ill at the time of their move, has since passed away.

Steward will live with a family friend who was close with his mother, Henigan said.

“I think he decided, with his coaches out there, that he had an opportunity to be more successful here,” Henigan said. “He’s smart enough to recognize that for his future, he needs to get into a more stable environment. He knows there’s people here who care about him. If he’s here, we are going to love him, teach him, help him grow up, and hold him accountable … things we do with all our kids.”

Henigan did not speculate on where Steward, a UCLA commit, would factor in on a team that is not hurting for talent. Henigan has several starters back on both sides of the ball and the Raiders were already considered by many to be a favorite to win a state title in 2016 when they drop to Class 5A.

With that being said, the addition of Steward could bolster a defense that is losing key cogs like Ken McLaurin (SMU) and Nick Watts to graduation.

Steward caught the eye of college scouts with 10 1/2 sacks and 37 tackles as a sophomore at Ryan. Before he left the school, Steward was the 13th-ranked defensive end in his class according to 247Sports.

Steward is now listed as a weak-side defensive end and outside linebacker on that popular recruiting website, and as of Wednesday, he was the nation’s 20th-ranked outside linebacker in 247Sports’ composite rankings for the class of 2017.

According to a recruiting timeline on 247Sports, Steward committed to USC on October 19. That commitment didn’t last long and UCLA offered three days later.

Steward committed to the Bruins on February 25.

Ryan went 13-1 in the state’s largest classification last season. Henigan said given Steward’s athleticism, he could fit in anywhere on the field.

“That’s the type of player he is,” Henigan said. “If he takes care of his business, I have no doubt he can make us even better than we already are.”

Football: Ryan’s Earnest Brown IV commits to Northwestern

Ryan junior defensive end Earnest Brown IV (99) blitzes Hebron sophomore quarterback Clayton Tune (12), Thursday, September 3, 2015, in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Ryan junior defensive end Earnest Brown IV (99) blitzes Hebron sophomore quarterback Clayton Tune (12), Thursday, September 3, 2015, in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Ryan’s Earnest Brown IV isn’t used to letting anyone down. At least that’s how he felt when he decided to verbally commit to Northwestern on Tuesday night.

“It was stressful,” Brown said. “At the end of the day, I still had to choose just one college.”

Brown, a 6-5, 235-pound junior defensive end, had nearly 30 offers to scour through but said he was blown away by the Wildcats and wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger well before the start of his senior year.

He chose Northwestern over programs like Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, and Baylor.

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

“I didn’t want to waste a good opportunity at Northwestern,” Brown said. “All the coaches had a great attitude. I loved how they encouraged their players to do good every day, and they make sure [the players] focus on their academics more.

“Nobody told me not to go to Northwestern. I know I made the right decision.”

Brown is the 11th-ranked strong-side defensive end in the nation according to 247Sports’ composite rankings for the class of 2017 and he is one of a slew of returning starters for the Raiders. Ryan is dropping to Class 5A and is a favorite to win a state title.

Brown racked up 54 tackles, 21 for loss, and nine sacks as Ryan finished 13-1 last season in the state’s largest classification. He also had one forced fumble and five quarterback pressures.

Ryan coach Dave Henigan said Brown’s commitment is a coup for Northwestern given his size, athleticism, work ethic, and high character.

“Earnest has only scratched the potential of what he can do as a football player,” Henigan said. “He’s going to continue to get better.

“[Northwestern] is a great school in a great conference. It’s not like they aren’t winning over there at Northwestern. They win every year. It’s a prestigious academic school and I have no doubt that was a major factor in his decision. It’s great to be in a position where you have options. And he had a lot of great options.”

Brown said Northwestern and Texas A&M were on his short list of potential landing spots, but when it came down to it, Northwestern was too good to pass up.

“I just had to look out for what was best for my future,” Brown said. “I’m very excited.”

——————————————————————————–

Original post from Tuesday night:

Ryan junior defensive end Earnest Brown IV has verbally committed to Northwestern.

Brown confirmed the decision to the Denton Record-Chronicle via Twiter late Tuesday night, but could not be reached by phone for additional comment.

Northwestern was one of nearly 30 offers Brown entertained. He chose Northwestern over several other powerhouse programs, including Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas A&M.

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

“I always love Texas boys to stay in Texas, but we are 100 percent behind Earnest Brown,” Ryan defensive coordinator Shane Tolleson said. “Bottom line.”

Brown racked up 54 tackles in 2015, and 21 of them were behind the line of scrimmage. He also had nine sacks, one forced fumble and five quarterback pressures.

Brown is the 11th-ranked strong-side defensive end in the nation according to 247Sports’ composite rankings for the class of 2017 and is one of a slew of returning starters for the Raiders. Ryan is dropping down to Class 5A next season.

 

 

TABC all-state, all-region teams announced

Argyle's Kaylie King (23), Olivia Gray (34), Vivian Gray (12) and Gabby Standifer (33) celebrate their win over Liberty Hill during the UIL Girls State Basketball 4A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

Argyle’s Kaylie King (23), Olivia Gray (34), Vivian Gray (12) and Gabby Standifer (33) celebrate their win over Liberty Hill during the UIL Girls State Basketball 4A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

The Texas Association of Basketball Coaches has announced its 2015-2016 all-state and all-region boys and girls basketball teams, and there are a slew of Denton-area standouts who made the cut.

The list of what has been announced so far is below. The TABC has yet to announce its players of the year and all-state private school selections. Once we have those, we will update you. As for now, here is the list.

TABC ALL-STATE TABC ALL-REGION
Class 4A Class 6A Region I
Vivian Gray, Argyle; Madison Ralston, Argyle Zach Garza, Guyer; Lauren Heard, Guyer
Class 5A Region I
Class 3A Emerson Espinoza, Denton
Brady Anderson, Ponder Class 4A Region II
Drew Davis, Aubrey; Nathan Priddy, Argyle; Vivian Gray, Argyle; Madison Ralston, Argyle; Gabby Standifer, Argyle; Brooke Lewis, Sanger; Maci Turkoly, Sanger; Rhett Robinson, Krum
Class 3A Region II
Brady Anderson, Ponder; Chase Harris, Ponder