Jake Spavital stands on the field, looking towards the camera at the end zone complex with the Texas State Marching Band lines the field behind him.

Early Pickins for Spavital

By Garrett Martin
Sports Director

Now is the time. Bobcat fans and Bobcat football players alike should be very excited on a day like yesterday, because young, new players will join the division one football team here in San Marcos, Texas. At last year’s early signing period, Jake Spavital wanted to, “sign a smaller class right now so that we could take some time and evaluate the players on our current roster.” Now with a full season behind Spavital and time and recruiting capabilities firmly in his grasp, we can get our first glimpse at the pull Texas State football head coach Spavital has.

Before diving in, here’s some of the departing Bobcats that impacted games week in and week out in the 2019 season: CB Anthony J. Taylor, LB Bryan London II, WR Mason Hays, LB Clifton Lewis Jr., CB Jashon Waddy, LB Frankie Griffin, RB Anthony D. Taylor, LB Nikolas Daniels, OL Aaron Brewer, WR Hutch White, and OL Jacob Rowland.

Offense

Trenton Scott: Offensive Line, Luling High School, also recruited by Illinois State and Northern Colorado.

Scott is the first of two locally grown offensive line recruits coming to play for the Maroon and Gold in 2020. Out of Luling, Texas, Scott brings a 6’5”, 265 pound frame to the Bobcats offensive line. He’s tabbed as a three-star recruit by 247Sports.com and named All-District 14-3A as an offensive and defensive lineman.

Austin Markiewicz: Offensive line, McKinney North High School, also recruited by Abilene Christian, Houston Baptist and Liberty.

McKinney North had quite a season in 2019, with a District 7-5A championship victory and a dominating 70-point win in the first round of the playoffs. The offensive line was never a weakness with Markiewicz playing at center. Markiewicz was also named All-District center as a senior and All-District lineman as a junior.

Silas Robinson: Offensive lineman, Transfer from University of Arkansas, Yoakum High School.

Robinson was the second transfer to commit to Texas State. Robinson played three years of varsity football in high school and impressed scouts enough to end up at the University of Arkansas. He played on special teams primarily as a redshirt freshman, but played at center against Western Kentucky. Luckily for Bobcat fans, the redshirt sophomore has three years of eligibility remaining in college football.

Alex Costilla: Offensive lineman, Tyler Junior College, San Marcos High School, also recruited by Arkansas State, Grambling State and Louisiana-Lafayette.

Costilla is another Tyler Junior College product, but more than that…he’s a product of San Marcos. Costilla graduated from San Marcos in 2017 with a squad of Rattlers that won the district title and won a playoff game as well. On those teams, he was given all-district honors as the offensive newcomer of the year as a sophomore and all-district first team and All-Central Texas Third Team as a junior.

At Tyler Junior College he earned All-SWJCFC honors as a freshman and sophomore and was named a three-star recruit and a top 24 junior college recruit in Texas by Scout.com.

Russell Baker: Offensive Line, North Eastern Oklahoma A&M College, Owasso High School, also recruited by Idaho State, Tulsa, UTSA, Ohio, Jacksonville State, and Stephen F. Austin.

Baker is another junior college transfer that achieved hefty success in Oklahoma. For North Eastern Oklahoma A&M College, he helped pave the way for rushing attacks that averaged over 200 yards on the ground per game and tacked on 20 rushing touchdowns. He earned All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference Second-Team honors as a sophomore. Baker was also a member of the 6A state championship team at Owasso High School in Oklahoma.

Jahmyl Jeter: Running back, Transfer from Oklahoma State University, Brennan High School.

Jeter was the first name that excited Bobcat fans when there was chatter of his visit to campus about a month ago. Anytime a division one college football player picks a different program, it creates a lot of buzz. Since the transfer portal debuted in October 2018, athletes have started to gain a lot more traction and power with what happens with their football careers.

Jeter rushed for over 4,000 yards and 57 touchdowns in his high school career. His best season was his junior season in 2016 when he tallied 1,576 yards and nine rushing touchdowns. On Jeter’s back, Brennan High School went 22-1 during his time there and reached the state playoffs each year as well. In 2017, he was rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com and ESPN rated him as the No. 48 running back in the 2018 class.

Brock Sturges: Running back, Butler Community College, Allen High School, also recruited by Akron, Arkansas State, and Massachusetts.

If there’s one player that Bobcat fans should be most excited about, it’s Sturges. Spavital said he’s had his eyes on him since he signed Kyler Murray to the Texas A&M roster in 2014. The product out of prestigious Allen High School ran for over 1,000 yards on the ground on 5.2 yards per carry at Butler Community College last season, thus earning himself 1st team all-conference honors.

Sturges is ranked the No. 29 running back in the country by ESPN and tabbed him a top-100 prospect overall. In his senior season at Allen, he ran for 1,985 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Drue Jackson: Wide receiver, Tyler Junior College, Sachse High School, also recruited by Boise State, Louisiana-Monroe and Tulsa.

Jackson was the lone receiver in the 2020 class, but he’s the right guy. He has a big, athletic body that will balance out the receiving corps with his 6’1” 200 pound frame. Plus, Spavital says Jackson can play slot, which will be a big benefit in his offensive passing scheme.

Jackson was named All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference Honorable Mention last season. He originally signed with Washington State, but transferred back closer to home in Texas. After his senior season at Sachse, recording 41 catches for 625 yards and five touchdowns, he was rated a four-star prospect by ESPN and Rivals.

Defense

Grid Isidore: Safety, Tyler Junior College, Salmen High School, also recruited by Tulsa.

The athlete from Slidell, Louisiana, looks like a true ball hawk from his highlight tape. He looks capable of playing any safety position, or at the nickel spot as well.

Isidore was named All-SWJCFC Honorable Mention after recording 30 tackles as a sophomore, 26 solo tackles, three tackles for loss and three pass breakups.

At Salmen, he earned Second-Team All-District 8-4A honors and Salmen’s Defensive Player of the Year honor.

Tory Spears: Defensive Back, transfer from Iowa State University, Cypress Woods High School

The last signer of the day was a surprise for those who were following the recruiting process online. Spears is a defensive back returning to the state of Texas to play for Spavital’s roster in 2020. At 6’4”, Spears is very long for a defensive back and should fit Spavital’s vision for the secondary. Some fans will know Spear’s father Marcus, who played seven years in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans (1996-2004).

Maureese Wren: Outside Linebacker, Tyler Junior College, Horn High School, also recruited by Louisville, Missouri, Illinois State, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Oregon State.

The heavy hitter from Dallas, Texas, is highlighted rushing the quarterback and maneuvering through big offensive lines throughout his tape. He was named the No. 30 athlete prospect at the junior college level by 247Sports.com and the No. 37 JUCO athlete by ESPN. At Horn High School, he earned All-District 11-6A honors as a wide receiver.

Josh and John Emmanuel: Linebackers, Bishop Dunne High School.

Yes, they are brothers. Yes, they’re both coming to Texas State University. Josh was recruited by Air Force and Arkansas as well, but the only other team to recruit both brothers was Toledo. Spavital mentioned that the linebacker coach, Archie McDaniel did a great job recruiting them together.

John earned First-Team TAPPS All-State honors in 2018 and All-District 2 First-Team honors in 2018 and 2019. Josh earned Honorable Mention TAPPS All-State honors in 2018 and All-District 2 First-Team honors in 2018 and 2019. Both of them led Bishop Dunne to a state championship in 2018.

Isaiah Karriem: Linebacker, Mississippi Delta Community College, Columbus (Miss.) High School.

Traveling all the way from Mississippi, Karriem is joining a good linebacking group in the 2020 recruiting class. At Mississippi Delta College, he tallied 49 total tackles, 36 solo tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack.

Issiah Nixon: Linebacker, Elkins High School.

Nixon has been recruited to play linebacker, but he has experience playing running back in high school with All-District 20-6A First-Team honors as a running back in his senior season. Despite his position though, Spavital says this was one of his favorite kids to recruit. “[Nixon’s] a very team-player, selfless kid who wants to do anything for the team,” Spavital said. “He wants to be a team captain as a freshman.”

Nixon is a special football player, one that can play nearly any position, including tight end which he earned All-District 20-6A First-Team honors as in 2018. He helped lead Elkins to an 8-3 record this season and a playoff berth in 2019. Now, he’ll be aiming to lead a Bobcats team that hasn’t won more than three games in a season since 2014.

Overall

Spavital accomplished his goals: recruit experienced guys to play right away and to recruit the offensive line and linebacker positions. Spavital and his recruiters achieved a nice balance of youth and experience with five high school seniors, seven junior college transfers, and three division one transfers for 2020’s roster. So far, the make-up of recruits by position is five offensive linemen, five linebackers, two running backs, two defensive backs and one wide receiver.

According to 247sports.com, this recruiting class saw three of Texas State’s top ten all-time recruits in this recruiting class with Wren, Jackson and hard commit Aaron Reynolds (Reynolds has told those around him that he will sign in February. He graduates from Tyler Junior College in May). In the top 20 all-time recruits according to 247sports.com, five are in the 2020 class.

Spavital has many connections in the college football world, so it’s no surprise that he was able to snag three recruits from power five schools using the transfer portal. In his first full recruiting swing at Texas State University, he seemed to surpass modest expectations.

The next signing day comes on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. Follow us on Twitter, @KTSWSports for more updates on recruiting and tune in to Bobcat Radio next spring for Texas State football coverage!

Featured image by Nathan Rarangol.

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