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.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

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.

 

 

Guyer tight end commits to Miami

Guyer junior tight end Brian Polendey (83) celebrates with running back Christian Moore (21) after a touchdown against Keller Fossil Ridge on Oct. 8 in Keller. David Minton/DRC

Guyer junior tight end Brian Polendey (83) celebrates with running back Christian Moore (21) after a touchdown against Keller Fossil Ridge on Oct. 8 in Keller. David Minton/DRC

Guyer tight end Brian Polendey took a visit to Florida over spring break to visit his father, whose job was recently transferred to the Tampa area.

In the midst of the visit, he worked in a business trip to the University of Miami and quickly decided he wanted to spend his collegiate years there. He committed to the Hurricanes on Monday night.

“The location, obviously, was a huge selling point,” Polendey said. “It’s a really nice place. It’s a small private school, too, so I’ll get a great education and have fun doing it, and that’s what life’s all about.”

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

Continue reading

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