Saturday, February 09, 2008

Another bumper crop


Six Buckeyes signed National Letters of Intent to play for universities Wednesday, Feb. 6, during National Signing Day. Two of the players, Justin Johnson and David Snow, were already in attendance at their respective schools, the University of Oklahoma in Norman and the University of Texas at Austin.
Gathering with their family members in Buckeye Field House were Lamar Harris, Daniel Jenkins, Ross Stevens and Houston Tuminello. All but Stevens were signing with NCAA Division I Football Subdivision Schools, meaning that they may be going to post-season bowl games like their former teammates Tay Bowser, Curtis Brown and Manuel Johnson did this past winter.
With the six, the number of players who have signed scholarships since Jeff Traylor became the Athletic Director is 45. Many of the early players signed with community colleges as Ross Stevens did Wednesday. Then, with the state championship run in 2004 and the signing of Manuel Johnson and some of his teammates, more and more players have had a chance to go to a D-I school, as the larger 4-year colleges are commonly called.
During the four years this year’s seniors have attended Gilmer, the Buckeyes never lost a home game or a district game. While their coach has amassed an 85-15 record, these players have gone 50-4 during that run.
“I am extremely excited for these young men and for their families,” said Traylor. “It lifts a huge financial burden for their parents.”
“When Buckeyes go off and are doing well, they help the younger kids in the program,” Traylor continued. “When they come to see our seniors, they see the other players in the program.”
“The success of these young men also gives hope to the younger kids, giving them a reason to think that they may have a chance,” Traylor said.
Lamar Harris appeared to enjoy the attention he received when the recruiting service announced he was changing his commitment from Texas A&M University to the Oklahoma University. He was coy as people would ask about his choice in the day leading up to the signing.
The shift in coaches at A&M had an influence as did the presence of Manuel Johnson and Justin Johnson at Norman.
Dondi and Katrina Harris stood beside their son at the signing.
“They were interested in me first, and I like the program,” Daniel Jenkins responded when asked about his choice of the University of Missouri at Columbia.
Dressed in a black shirt and suit and wearing a gold tie, Jenkins loyally brought a Missouri University ball cap to go with the pie which his mother brought, decorated with a tiger.
The entire clan of Jenkinses — Jacob, Jessa, Kim, Noah, Bobby, Sara and Nathan — stood behind Daniel as he signed.
With Chase Daniel, formerly the Southlake Carroll quarterback, leading the Tigers, Jenkins will have the advantage of having learned many of the same “run and shoot” plays in his three years starting as a Buckeye.
Houston Tuminello was another who had made a verbal commitment before the fall began. Tuminello will attend Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La.
“They are committed to the passing game, and I am excited to be part of their turning the program around,” Tuminello said after signing.
Standing with Houston were his parents, Gloria and Mike Tuminello, his sister, Natalie Tuminello Biggs, and her son, Colin.
The only Buckeye not to have made a verbal commitment in advance of Wednesday’s ceremony was Ross Stevens. It was his work as a linebacker during the run to the state finals against Liberty Hill which helped the Gilmer senior.
Michael and Jackie Stevens joined their son.
Snow participated in a ceremony with other early enrollees in Austin, explaining why he chose to be a Texas Longhorn as follows:
“I chose Texas because it’s like a big family down here, and the people here and the coaches are very honest and have good values. I’m here to get my business degree and this is one of the best business schools in the country. When you come here, you’re going to play on a team that has the chance to win the National Championship every year. It’s a great program. Coach Brown is a good Christian guy. He wants to make sure that you’re taken care of on and off the field. He’s always looking out for you. Coach (Mac) McWhorter is just like my high school coach; he gets up into you when you mess up, but he praises you when you do a good job. He’ll always be honest with you.”
In addition, Kendal Abron signed to attend Louisiana College in Pineville, La., the next two years. Abron finished his career at Kilgore College this year.
“What I really want to see is these young men to continue their education,” Traylor said in summation. “We tell them all the time that your playing football will end sometime but your being a man with responsibilities will not.”
“The more degrees you have tends to mean the more you will make in your life,” he concluded.

Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
ON NATIONAL LETTER of Intent signing day Wednesday, media representatives surround the family and their Gilmer Buckeye student-athletes as they sign committments to the schools of their choice. From left are Michael and Jackie Stevens with Ross Stevens, Tyler Junior College; Dondi and Katrina Harris, Lamar Harris to the University of Oklahoma; Jacob, Jessa, Kim, Noah, Bobby, Sara and Nathan Jenkins watching Daniel Jenkins sign with the University of Missouri; Gilmer Athletic Director Jeff Traylor; and Natalie Tuminello Biggs, Colin Biggs, Gloria and Mike Tuminello watching Houston Tuminello as he signs with Louisiana Tech. Justin Johnson (OU) and David Snow (UT) were early graduates who are already on campus at their Big 12 schools in Norman, Okla., and Austin respectively.

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:

4 Gilmer Buckeyes Accept Scholarships

From the Longview News-Journal:

Top college programs continue calling on Gilmer

David Snow, Justin Johnson already enrolled:

Signing Day at UT includes Snow

Johnson Ready to Run for OU

Monday, February 04, 2008

Buckeyes earn All-State honors


Six members of the Gilmer Buckeyes' football team have been named to All-State teams recently. “It reflects well on the program,” stated Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor. “I'm excited for our community and those kids.”
Senior receiver Houston Tuminello was selected to the first team of both the Texas Sports Writers Association and the Associated Press teams.
Tuminello set a team record with 15 touchdown receptions this past season, while catching 73 passes for 1,018 yards.
Running back Justin Johnson received the biggest post-season honor for the Buckeyes when he was named the Co-Offensive Player of the Year in Class 3A by the TSWA.
Johnson led Gilmer with 2,171 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns on only 203 carries. The senior was named to the TSWA first team, and the AP second team.
Two of the offensive linemen who cleared the path for Johnson were also selected to the TSWA team.
Senior guard David Snow, who recorded 120 pancake blocks while grading out at 82 percent, was named to the first team.
Senior tackle Daniel Jenkins, who had 95 pancake blocks and a grade of 79 percent, was named to the second team offense.
Senior receiver Lamar Harris received honorable mention recognition by the TSWA after catching 49 passes for 730 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Darian Godfrey received honorable mention recognition in both the TSWA and AP selections after passing for 2,727 yards and 38 touchdowns and running for another 617 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first season as the starting quarterback.
Gilmer went 14-1 in 2007 and made it to the Class 3A Division I state championship game.
All five seniors are expected to sign national letters of intent to attend Division One colleges on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
The players are pictured from top down: Justin Johnson, David Snow, Houston Tuminello, Daniel Jenkins, Lamar Harris and Darian Godfrey

Mirror Photos / Mary Laschinger Kirby

Buckeyes Garner TSWA Accolades

Johnson shares offensive player of year honor

TSWA Class 3A All-State Football list

All-East Texas Football: Offensive MVP Justin Johnson

UIL Realignment moves Buckeyes to Region III in District 17-3A

LOGOS of the six schools of District 17-3A.


The University Interscholastic League's bi-annual realignment produced its usual surprises when it was released yesterday morning in Austin. The big surprise for the Gilmer Buckeyes was a move from Region II to Region III as a member of District 17-3A.

Joining Gilmer in District 17-3A will be Bullard, Gladewater, Spring Hill, Tatum and Chapel Hill. The six schools combined for an impressive 50-23 record during the 2007 football season. Four of the six teams made the playoffs last season, including Gilmer and Tatum who were state finalists; Gilmer in 3A and Tatum in 2A.

“Somebody very good is not going to make the playoffs in our district,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, who will bring a 34-game district winning streak into the season. “It's going to be tough,” admitted Traylor.

The last district game that the Buckeyes lost was in 2000 to Tatum, who joins Gilmer in the same district for the first time since 2001. “We lost Mineola, White Oak and Sabine, and picked up Bullard, Chapel Hill and Tatum,” stated Traylor.

The Buckeyes' pre-district schedule is just as difficult, as all five teams made the playoffs last season. Gilmer will open the 2008 season against the Jasper Bulldogs in the Trinity Mother Frances East Texas Football Classic. The Buckeyes and Bulldogs last met in the 2004 Class 3A Division II State Championship game which Gilmer won 49-47. “I think that will be a real good test for us,” said Traylor. “We'll find out real quick what we're going to be like.”

The remaining pre-district schedule includes Rains, Liberty-Eylau, Kilgore and Daingerfield. The 10 teams on the Buckeyes' schedule posted a combined 84-47 record in 2007. In addition to Gilmer's district winning streak, the Buckeyes' streaks of 25 consecutive home wins, 24 straight regular season wins and seven undefeated district championships in a row, will be seriously challenged this fall.

The biggest change for the Buckeyes will come in the playoffs. After two years with the largest enrollment in their district, Gilmer's student population will be second to Chapel Hill's, and means that Gilmer could go to the small school bracket if the Bulldogs make the playoffs.

No matter which division the Buckeyes play in, Traylor says their first round opponent from District 18 will be difficult. “If you get Carthage or Jasper in the first round, that's just like playing Liberty-Eylau,” said Traylor.

Gilmer’s reported high school enrollment for purposes of this realignment of 698 places it almost exactly in the middle sizewise in terms of 3A schools.

The lower 3A cutoff number went up from 2006 to 2008 by 15 students from 415 to 430 and the higher number went up 30 students from 949 to 979.

Other interesting realignment developments included Big Sandy’s return to 1A back in the district with Union Hill and the inclusion of two of Gilmer’s previous district opponents, Sabine and White Oak, in the 2A district which has as its members all Upshur County 2A schools except Ore City.
2008-10 Reclassification and Realignment Information
Conference 5A: 2085 and above, 254 schools
Conference 4A: 980-2084,
243 schools
Conference 3A: 430-979,
180 schools
Conference 2A: 200-429,
225 schools
Conference 1A: 199 and below
163 (11-Man) schools
Conference 3A
The following districts have byes: 6, 15, 23, 30
Longview Spring Hill
Tyler Chapel Hill
Conference 2A
Hughes Springs
Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill *
Ore City
Queen City
* Basketball only
Big Sandy Harmony
Diana New Diana
Elysian Fields
Gladewater Sabine
Gladewater Union Grove
White Oak
Conference 1A 11-Man
Big Sandy
Gilmer Union Hill
Simms Bowie

UIL Web site