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Lamar adds 13 on National Signing Day

Cardinals recruiting class features a total of 29 after latest haul

BEAUMONT, Texas — Lamar University added 13 players on National Signing Day – nine signees and four transfers (including two FBS transfers). With the 13 additions Wednesday, it brings the Cardinals’ 2022 Signing Class to a total of 29.

The National Signing Day additions bring a balanced lineup to the Golden Triangle. The position breakdown includes six players on offense, six on defense and one specialist (a punter). The current crop of newcomers includes two quarterbacks, two receivers, a running back and an offensive line on the offensive side of the ball, and three linebackers, two defensive backs (both corner backs) and one defensive end. The lone specialist is a punter.

The LU coaching staff was able to remain fairly close to home with the newest crop of Cardinals hailing from three states – Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Eleven newcomers are from Texas with one each coming from the other two states.

With Wednesday’s additions, the Cardinals overall signing class stands at 29, with four of those coming via transfer. Among the 29 additions, 14 are on offense, 13 on defense, one athlete and one specialist.

“I think this is a balanced class in a number of difference areas,” said LU head coach Blane Morgan. “The first thing that jumps out is the local flavor with three guys from the 409. That is an increased number from last season. If you look at the group as a whole there are a few themes – we have a large contingent of small school players that we’ve added. We really like those guys and look forward to watching them develop over the next four years.

“We are a developmental program. We’ve placed an emphasis on building this program via the high school ranks. We’ve stated that since the beginning. We want to build relationships and recruit talented players coming out high school,” added Morgan.

The overall position breakdown for the class includes five offensive linemen, five linebackers, five defensive backs (three safeties and two corners), four receivers, three defensive linemen (one defensive end), two quarterbacks, two running backs, a tight end and a punter.

The Cardinals brought in two talented quarterbacks on National Signing Day which will bring added competition at the position. Both arrive in Beaumont after highly decorated prep careers but are making their way via very different routes. Jokolby Longino was a three-star prospect coming out of high school but spent his rookie season at UTEP, while Sharmon Rester guided El Dorado (Ark.) High School to a 6A state title in his senior season.

“We want to create healthy competition at every position,” said Morgan. “We want each kid at every position to earn what they get, with playing time on the field being the ultimate prize. We definitely want to solidify the quarterback position. We’re hoping to find not just one quarterback but as many as three who can help us win.”

“With all the changes that everyone has had to face due to the pandemic, this will be the first full cycle of recruiting the way we use to understand recruiting with a junior day, coaches getting on the road during the spring, getting on campuses and building those relationships. Spring practice will have a different flavor to it as well getting ready for a new season. Spring is where a lot of the development and team building takes place,” added Morgan.

The Cardinals will open spring camp Monday, Feb. 14th, and is slated to run through Mar. 10th.

2022 LU Signee Bios

 

Jayden Boyd – WR – 6-2 – 185 – Tatum, Texas/Tatum HS

 

High School: Listed as a three-star athlete according to 247Sports.com … 247Sports also lists Boyd as a top 250 prospect in the state … A three-star receiver according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football … A two-star prospect according to Rivals … Also received recruiting attention from Kansas and New Mexico … Wrapped up his career with 77 receptions for 1,344 yards (53.8 ypg) and 15 touchdown receptions … Had 34 catches for 640 yards and eight scores as a senior … A three-sport athlete also lettering in basketball and track and field … Named All-East Texas Player of the Year in basketball as a junior … District offensive MVP and a TABC All-State selection on the court.

 

Ryan Harris – OLB – 6-3 – 200 – Beckville, Texas/Beckville HS

 

High School: Honorable Mention All-State quarterback … Named District MVP as a senior after recording 3,000 yards of offense and more than 100 tackles on defense … Entered his senior season listed as one of the top quarterbacks in the state of Texas at the 1A-4A level according to SBLive.com … Led all 2A ball carries in the state as a junior compiling 2,127 yards and 31 touchdowns on 209 rushes … He also passed for 753 yards and five scores … As a sophomore led the team in tackles and yards rushing … Also lettered in basketball, baseball and track and field.

 

Aaron King – CB – 5-10 – 170 – Garland, Texas/Garland HS

 

High School: A three-star prospect according to 247Sports … He is rated as one of the top 300 players in the state of Texas and one of the top 200 corner backs in the country by 247Sports … An all-district athlete … One of a handful of defensive backs considered for SBLive’s Top 10 Defensive Backs in Texas 6A … Also received offers from Kansas, Illinois State, UIW and Prairie View A&M … Also a standout on the track and basketball court.

 

Sharmon Rester – QB – 5-10 – 190 – El Dorado, Ark./El Dorado HS

 

High School: Guided prep squad to an 11-2 record and a 6-1 mark in district play and an Arkansas Class 6A State Championship as a senior … Completed 179 passes (.639) for 3,537 yards and 41 touchdowns on his way to all-state honors … Averaged better than 270 passing yards per game … Was a finalist for Arkansas 7A/6A Offensive Player of the Year honors … Scored seven TDs in a game during his senior season … Also lettered in track and field.

Jayden Slater – WR – 6-5 – 195 – Keller, Texas/Boys Ranch HS

 

High School: A first-team all-district selection … Hauled in 69 passes for 955 yards (95.5 ypg) and 14 touchdowns during his senior season … Averaged nearly 14 yards per reception … Also lettered in basketball.

Blaise Tita – OLB – 6-1 – 210 – Houston, Texas/Alief Taylor HS

 

High School: Recorded 78 tackles, including 19.5 for losses and 2.5 sacks as a senior … Was also credited with five QB hurries, one forced fumble and an interception … Garnered First-Team All-District 23-6A honors at linebacker … Also received Defensive Player of the Week honors by Fox26 Houston … A standout in track and field.

 

2022 LU Football Transfer Bios

 

Alfonso Deleon – P – 5-11 – 190 – Shreveport, La./ Captain Shreve HS (Hutchinson CC)

 

Prior to LU: Played in 11 games for Southern Arkansas during the 2019 season where averaged 37.1 yards per punt on 47 attempts, including six punts of at least 50 yards … Landed 22 punts inside the opponent’s 20 … Was 4-of-9 (.444) on field goals and a near perfect 16-of-17 on extra points during his lone season at Hutchinson Community College.

 

High School: A three-year letterwinner … Garnered first-team all-area honors … Also named first-team all-county, first-team all-region and first-team all-conference as a senior … Closed his career by earning honorable mention all-state honors … Averaged better than 40 yards per punt during his senior season, which included a long of 74 yards.

 

Khalan Griffin – RB – 5-10 – 215 – Tyler, Texas/Chapel Hill HS (Rice)

 

Rice: Spent two seasons at Rice … Winner of the Joe F. Lipscomb Award as the Owls top freshman (in a vote by his teammates) … Made his starting debut vs. North Texas is 2020 where he rushed for 78 yards on 20 carries … Was third among C-USA freshmen with 49.8 yards per game …  Rushed for 629 yards and two touchdowns during his two seasons in Houston.

 

High School: Rushed for 366 yards and five touchdowns in two games as a senior before injuries put an early end to his season … A 2019 Preseason All-East Texas Dream selection … Member of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s Top 300 … Played quarterback at Bullard Brook Hill as a junior where he led the Guard to the TAPPS playoffs, passing for 1,030 yards and eight touchdowns and rushing for 1,495 yards and 23 scores … Named District Newcomer of the Year at Chapel Hill after a sophomore season that saw him throw for 1,514 yards and 23 touchdowns and rush for 1,018 yards and 11 TDs … Also a standout in baseball and on the track … Academic Honorable Mention All-State, who was named to the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society.

 

Personal: Son of James and Latoya Griffin … Born Jan. 21 in Greenwood, Miss. … Cousin, Randall Webster, played for the Oakland Raiders.

 

Jakolby Longino – QB – 6-3 – 195 – Missouri City, Texas/Hightower HS (UTEP)

 

UTEP: Utilized his redshirt season.

 

High School: A three-star prospect according to 247Sports.com … Set the school record for passing yards and touchdowns in a game and a season … Earned first-team all-district and academic all-district honors in 2020 … Surpassed 2,000 passing yards and threw 21 touchdowns as a senior … Also ran for over 500 yards and scored 10 rushing touchdowns during his final season … In 2019, Longino passed for 1,514 yards and 11 touchdowns.

 

Pius Njenge – DE – 6-4 – 250 – Stratford, Texas/Stratford HS (Southern Nazarene)

 

Southern Nazarene: Recorded one tackle against Henderson State during his rookie season at Southern Nazarene.

 

High School: Received honorable mention all-district honors … Also lettered in track and field.

 

 

LU December Signees Who Announced on National Signing Day

 

Donovan Jordan – OL – 6-3 – 290 – Flint, Texas/Tyler Legacy HS

 

High School: A first-team all-district lineman … Graded out at 96 percent blocking efficiency … Recorded 28 pancake blocks and 37 knockdowns … Also received attention from New Mexico, UTEP and Furman … Was also a standout in track and field.

 

Darion White – OLB – 6-1 – 202 – Waco, Texas/La Vega HS

 

High School: Registered 107 tackles, including 63 unassisted with seven for losses including four sacks as a junior … Was also credited with 31 QB hurries, six pass breakups, a fumble forced, and a fumble recovered that season … A standout in basketball where he earned honorable mention all-district honors as a junior.

 

Michael Thomas – CB – 5-11 – 175 – Texarkana, Texas/Texas HS

 

High School: Helped lead Texarkana to an 11-1 overall record and a perfect 7-0 district mark … Garnered honorable mention all-district honors … Made 11 catches for 248 yards and three touchdowns to be named First United Bank Male Athlete of the Week … Also lettered in track and field and basketball.

 

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