By Reily Chestnut
There never seems to be an off switch to the manic love that Americans have for football. Preseasons, regular seasons, postseasons, bowl games and most importantly, in the realm of college football, offseason recruiting always keep football on our minds. In the hill country there was an air of uncertainty surrounding football head coach Jake Spavital’s first early signing period. In all honesty, there will continue to be uncertainty until the spring commences.
First off, this batch of future Bobcats took a serious hit before the Spav era got started due to Texas State’s decision to clean house and start with some fresh faces on the coaching staff. Naturally, the recruits that former Head Coach Everett Withers secured weren’t all expected to stick around when Withers and most of his recruiters were sent out the door. In total, the 2019 signing class for the Bobcats lost 10 commits, 7 of which abandoned ship after Withers was fired on Nov. 19th. This only illustrates how these kids are making commitments to the coaches who recruit them and not the schools themselves. However, that is an article for another day, so let’s get back to the kids who signed on today for Texas State football.
KEVIN ANDERSON – 6’1”, 190 SAFETY FROM LEWISVILLE, TX
The highest rated recruit for Bobcat football this year will give fans hope for many reasons. Especially after the emergence of cornerback Jarron Morris last season. Anderson can be an equally impactful freshman for new defensive coordinator Zac Spavital. Anderson’s sense to follow the QB and cut off passes show he’s got the “it” factor to play fast under a coach who helped Texas Tech become one of college football’s most disruptive turnover defenses in the last two years.
DYLAN JANTZ – 5’9”, 175 LB WIDE RECEIVER FROM GUNTER, TX
Jantz, after all the smoke cleared, came in as the highest graded offensive recruit for the program on this early signing day. Jantz, who graded out at 82 according to 247sports.com, possesses solid speed and lower body quickness that allows him to remain elusive cutting from sideline to sideline. One must expect that he could be the kind of receiver who adds more depth to the special teams return unit and will be groomed to fulfill part of or most of those responsibilities with senior punt returner Hutch White leaving after 2019.
DALTON COOPER – 6’6”, 280 LB O-LINEMAN FROM PRAGUE, OK
Only way you can describe this Oklahoman is that getting through him is like being overpowered by a juiced up tractor. Cooper has a nasty side to his blocking that can be implemented for a unit that has been struggling to build consistent blocking over the last two seasons. New offensive line coach Clayton McGuire will certainly have plenty to work with when Cooper makes his presence felt down here in San Marcos.
CALVIN HILL – 5’7”, 170 LB RUNNING BACK FROM BAYTOWN, TX
Out of Sterling High School, Hill is another small yet explosive weapon recruited by wide receivers coach Ron Antoine to help the Bobcats create their new offensive identity as a high flying offensive unit capable of out sprinting opponents down the field. Plus Hill’s experience running counter and sweep patterns will give him the opportunity he needs to be more than just a body on the depth chart under new offensive coordinator Bob Stitt.
GRESCH JENSEN – 6’2”, 225 LB QUARTERBACK FROM AUBURN, WA
Jensen comes with more college experience that any other recruit. He spent time last season at Fullerton College in California after starting for the Montana Grizzlies in 2017. Jensen has thrown 36 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions over the last two years while playing under Stitt, the former Grizz program head, during both their final seasons in Montana. Jensen’s familiarity with Stitt’s offensive scheme will create more buzz surrounding possible depth chart shifts at the QB position with 2018 starter’s Willie Jones III and Tyler Vitt coming back in 2019.
DEVIN HENDERSON – 6’1”, 280 LB DEFENSIVE TACKLE FROM LA PORTE, TX
Much like Cooper, Henderson carries himself out on the football field with a mean streak. On the one hand, he will have to adjust to more athletic players in the backfield and bigger assignments up front, but Henderson has some solid physical ability. He utilizes his size to get around interior guards while running quick enough to extend his arm and wrap up ball carriers. If he finds more time to work on his strengths already, the Bobcats will be able to pair nicely alongside junior DT Caeveon Patton inside the box.
CEDRIC CASE – 6’2”, 205 LB QUARTERBACK FROM LINCOLN, NE
The “case” for him is that he comes in as the only pro-style QB recruit for the Bobcats. Additionally, Case’s quick drop backs and powerful arm give him the kind of range that could leave defenses spaced out. It would certainly be interesting to see how well Case could contribute if the focus on ground sweeps opens up his ability to launch rockets downfield in typical Air Raid fashion.
EDDIE RIVAS – 6’4”, 300 LB GUARD FROM GLENDALE, AZ
Damn, this kid’s mean. Just watch his highlights and you can certainly see just how much he competes every down. Rivas not only wants to beat his attackers and protect his QB, he wants to let you know you just got pancaked. This kind of attitude will certainly help this Bobcat O-Line play with more attitude and territorial authority if Rivas doesn’t have trouble caging the monster when necessary. That being said, I like my offensive lineman more when they got a bone to pick with their opponents.
DEVIN MARTINEZ – 6’2”, 220 LB OUTSIDE LINEBACKER FROM BELTON, TX
Sporting the best hair out of these recruits, Martinez isn’t afraid to play either on the outside edge or inside as part of a four man rush. Fit him wherever you please Zac, odds are that he’s better suited to try and beat guys around the ends. But since he’s been recruited for the OLB spot, my opinion won’t matter on this. No guarantees that Martinez will get major playing time since Texas State has guys like Dean Taylor and Ishmael Davis coming back to blitz the outside lines while Mr. London and Mr. Daniels take control on the back line. But, Martinez certainly can develop until the time comes or if he has to play hero ball in the wake of an injury.
RONALD COPNEY – 6’3”, 270 LB GUARD FROM SPRING BRANCH, TX
Copney has the foundation body type that will allow him to jump up to D-I football if he just bulks up like all newcomers are expected to do. Copney’s strong “pick up” style of pass blocking already helps him since the name of the game is keeping your blocking focused on the lower body and digging deep into your attacker. Plus, Smithson Valley’s mix of sweep plays and shotgun passing allows Copney to come in well versed and diversified in how he can pull himself to aid in run blocking as well as protecting the QB.
That leaves just two more verbal commits to sign for Spavital. Who knows what names will be signing on board for Texas State when they reach National Signing Day in February?
In all, this recruiting signifies how the Bobcats program will implement their new offensive scheme as a quick tempo team with the goal of tiring out defenses out with a nice mix of counter runs and downfield passing. It’s still too early to tell whether the ‘Cats can start running away from the smashmouth identity that they tried to play with over the last couple seasons into a new and exciting era of Bobcat football.
Still, it seems the pieces are being assembled for Texas State to turn a tide despite losing some top notch recruits after the changes Bobcat football underwent.
Featured photo by Alexander Haynes.