Greetings, Lions Fans, Now that we’ve had some time to gather ourselves after a hectic National Signing Day, and sadness of the passing of The Legend, Coach Ernest Hawkins, let’s take an in depth look at the recruiting haul pulled off by Head Coach Colby Carthel and his staff.
First of all, what an outstanding job by all involved between playing for a National Championship, final exams, and everything else, the Lion athletic staff pulled off one big coup. There were a total of 52 players signed. They had some holes to fill, most notably at quarterback and along the offensive line. And boy, did they ever succeed at it.
The fruits of this class may not be seen this year. The majority of these names may not even take the field in a game this next season, in order gain maturity, strength, and adapt to a higher level of talent and the Carthel Way.
If there’s a common thread in this group, it can best be described in three words-Size, Strength, Speed. It’s there in abundance. Of the 52 signees, here are 10 that stood out.
Zion Burrell, 6’2″ 190, Safety, Houston Lamar-A natural fit at either safety, Burrell has great size and speed, a solid tackler, and a great team player that will fill in wherever needed.
Rafael Carbajal, 6’2″, 200, Fort Worth Northside-Athlete-Carbajal is just a football player. Great size and speed, played linebacker, defensive end, running back, and strong safety. He’s a very aggressive blocker, and always around the ball. He can make plays from any position; the kind of player coaches dream of having.
Nathan Shirley, 6’6″, 214, A, Huntsville-A tight end in the mold of Vincent Hobbs. Great size and speed, an aggressive and dominant blocker, with good hands.
Ryan McCoy, 6’0″, 275, DL, Frisco(Independence)-A flat out disruptive force on the inside. Great quickness for his size, he has great technique, and doesn’t just rely on his strength. He has the ability to come in and play right away.
Steven Neveraez, 6’4″, 305, OL, Magnolia(West)-Great size and technique, quick feet, very strong, can fit in at either tackle or guard.
T’Kai Lloyd, 5’11”, 180, DB, Allen-The gem of the 2018 recruiting class. Defensive Player of the Year in Allen’s district. Tremendous hitter, with good instincts and speed. Has the ability to fit in and make plays wherever he is. Possesses the ability to not only play, but start from Day One.
Jaelyn Nolan, 6’2″, 177, QB, Brownfield-Here’s one to keep an eye on, Lion fans. Has great mobility and speed, is very mobile in the pocket while maintaining a focus downfield. A strong arm, with the ability to make all the throws required. Cool in the pocket, and a good decision maker. A year in the Lion system, and this could be a real steal for Coach Carthel.
Jordan Johnson, 6’3″, 205, LB, Tomball(Memorial)-Great speed and size. Can play at either a rush end, linebacker, or safety. Big hitter, but also a solid tackler. Plays with a fast motor, always around the ball.
Jonathon Figueroa, 5’9″, 170, K, Pharr(Early College)-If not for the return of Kristov Martinez, this is your kicker, Lion fans. Consistently puts the ball in the end zone on kickoffs, has a very strong, but accurate leg. Good range out at least to 40 yards.
Gerard Franklin, 6’2″, 170, DB/Ath., Lakewood Prep(New Orleans)-It is difficult to project just how good he can be, as he was playing 6 man football. What can’t be argued, though, is his speed and athletic ability. He has the chance to be really special.
The cupboard of talent has been restocked, Lion fans. All that remains now is time until the 2018 season begins. As I’ve said before here, the hunter now becomes the hunted. From the looks of this class, the Lions have prepared themselves well for the trying road ahead.
Now, when does the season open?