February 7, 2019

He’s new to Texas Southern, but no stranger to Houston, Clarence McKinney delved into his H-Town connections of being a college and high school coach in the area to wrap up his first signing class as TSU’s head football coach.

Of the Tigers’ 20 announced signings Wednesday on national signing day, 10 are from the Houston area. The class, which assembled a little from every position, includes two Power 5 transfers — receiver Montel Parker (Texas A&M) and defensive lineman Michael Johnson (Baylor).

Coming out of Dickinson, Parker was rated a four-star recruit. A product of Hightower, Johnson recorded nine tackles in 15 games for Baylor.

The Tigers also signed DeAndre Johnson, a quarterback with a controversial history.

Johnson signed out of high school with Jimbo Fisher and Flordia State in 2015 but was dismissed from the team before the start of his freshman season because of an incident at a Tallahassee bar where he punched a woman.

Johnson then went to East Mississippi Community College for one season and then signed with Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic.

Johnson, who is featured in part of a Netflix series called “Last Chance U” didn’t start in two seasons at FAU. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Of the Houston-area players McKinney brought in include Hightower offensive linemen Marque Johnson and Trevyon Robinson, as well as Hastings cornerback Ja’Corey Benjamin and Manvel running back LaDarius Owens.

“For the most part, the guys in the city we wanted, we got them,” said McKinney, whose coaching stops include Houston, Texas A&M as well as being head coach at Yates High School. “Knowing a lot of the recruits in the area, having recruited the area for 10 years and coached in the area, helped.”

McKinney wasn’t limiting himself to Houston. The Tigers signed twin defensive backs Jacob and Joseph Anderson from East Mississippi Community College.

“It’s a good mix and we feel all these kids can help us,” McKinney said. “We spread it out. We got a couple quarterbacks, couple running backs, receivers, and couple of linemen on both sides of the ball, couple of linebackers and in the secondary. We tried to put a little in each area.

“I can’t wait to get on the field and get these guys going. I’m pleased that the guys we recruited, they wanted to be here. They wanted to build the program and be part of something special.”

HBU bulks up

with class of 23

Houston Baptist had a large class of 23 players, announcing 12 more signings on Wednesday, with an emphasis on offensive linemen and speed on defense.

“We’re getting closer to where our roster comprehensively looks like a Southland Conference roster,” said Huskies coach Vic Shealy, in an attempt to improve on last year’s 1-10 record.

Shealy brought in a number of ready-made players up front on offense, including junior college linemen Dan Wilkins (6-5, 310), Doro Omerhi (6-4, 300) and Nathan Beveridge (6-4, 295) among the six new offensive linemen.

Other players expected to make an impact in 2019 include linebacker James Thomas, a transfer from Bakersfield College, and freshman cornerback Delon Smith. Freshman quarterback Blaise Bentsen of Sherman had multiple FBS offers before choosing the Huskies. Jaelon Woods rushed for 1,106 yards and 12 touchdowns last year at Cy-Fair.

The additions consist of 16 freshmen and seven junior college transfers.

“It’s a big class that grows our numbers. It’s an athletic class,” Shealy said. “We’ve improved our explosive movement. With the big linemen we’ve signed, we’ve become bigger and more physical, and we’ve addressed our need to get more speed on the defensive side at linebacker and secondary.”

Ex-UT back leads

Bearkats’ class

Former Texas running back Toneil Carter headlines Sam Houston State’s 17-player class, in which every player is originally from the state of Texas. One of four mid-year transfers, Carter redshirted in 2018. In 2017 for the Longhorns, the Langham Creek product played in nine games, making two starts, while rushing for 252 yards on 53 carries.

The nine editions on offense and eight on defense include Oregon State transfer Dwayne Williams and Baylor transfer Ylijahh Hall (6-5, 295). Williams made 22 starts at cornerback for the Beavers. An offensive lineman, Hall sat out 2018 after not allowing a sack in his senior year at Bryan High School.

“It’s one of those classes I feel people are going to look back as though it’s one of the best classes in the country,” Bearkats coach K.C. Keeler said. “We have a couple of guys we feel like can play right away and some we feel should be able to develop into some great players at the FCS level.”

Among the 13 high school additions, quarterback Gunner Capps led Carthage to the 2017 Class 4A Division I state championship and Cypress Ranch safety Rance McInnis is a three-star recruit.

PV leaves state

for bulk of class

Prairie View A&M announced 19 additions to the six players who signed in the early period in December. The Panthers’ class of mostly out of state players consists of 14 on offensive and 11 on defense.

Eric Dooley, who will be beginning his second season as coach at Prairie View, stocked up on receivers and offensive linemen, signing five at both positions. Defensively, the front seven picked up numbers with four linemen and four linebackers.

A part of seven championship teams at three other SWAC schools, Dooley went heavily in this year’s class with a number of players from Louisiana (9) and Mississippi (3). Five newcomers are from Texas, none from the Houston area.

One of the signees is a Purdue transfer — defensive lineman Jalen Jackson.

Richard Dean

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