Seven Gilmer Buckeyes signed Letters of Intent on Wednesday, committing them to attend the colleges of their choice for the next four years as scholar-athletes.
As many as three more Buckeyes may also receive scholarships, making this one of the most productive classes of Athletic Director Jeff Traylor’s career.
The group was led as they were on the football field by the decision of Darian ‘Stump” Godfrey, their quarterback who was named Friday the Offensive Player of the Year in Class 3A on the Collin Street Bakery/Texas Sports Writer Association All State Team.
Most of the other players signing scholarships were also listed on the team, which reflects playoff accomplishments as well as regular season play.
The weekend before the signings, Godfrey traveled to Albuquerque, N.M. to visit the University of New Mexico. The week before his trip to the Mountain West Conference member, he went to see the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Those two schools visited the quarterback in his home, and he returned the favor by visiting their campuses before making his choice.
“Never turn down a great player,” said Coach Mike Locksley of the University of New Mexico Lobos. “Once Stump decided to join us, you don’t turn down a great player. We will open up the competition and try to decide which one gives us the best chance to win.”
New Mexico also got a commitment from a highly rated quarterback from Florida.
The Buckeye signal caller felt very comfortable at the campus just north of the famed Route 66 and also with his decision.
A teammate of his, Vance Green, is headed for a Mountain West competitor, Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Green is quite aware that his winters there will be snowier than he has known, but he believes he can adapt.
Two Buckeyes, cousins Tristen Holt and Braylon Webb, are headed for the Big 12 member University of Missouri in Columbia, where they will join Daniel Jenkins. Both players are planning to play in the defensive backfield for the Tigers. Outside of the night they won the state championship over Abilene Wylie, Braylon Webb said he found Wednesday one of the best days of his life.
Holt and Webb also were selected to the first team All State by the TSWA announced Friday, with Holt on offense as a wide receiver and as a kick returner; Webb on defense.
Jacob Jenkins leaned toward Missouri at first, but instead of joining his brother, he decided to stick with the colors Orange and Black.
Jenkins selected the Oklahoma State University where he will join four other players from East Texas as one of 20 Texans who are traveling north of the Red River to join the Cowboys of the Big-12 Conference.
Jenkins, along with fellow lineman Beau Blair, made first team All State for the Buckeyes.
While many were surprised that the Buckeyes had three players sign with NCAA Division-I A schools in 2004, this year five of Traylor’s seniors are signing with Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rated schools.
In addition, Kedon Franklin will be going to Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA.
The seventh signee, Mikey Wilson, will be going to Louisiana College in Pineville, where Chaz Kuikia played linebacker after he finished Tyler Junior College.
Even as the first wave of Buckeye signees from 2004 are graduating from their colleges and starting their careers, a new bunch joins the long line of scholarship winners. At this point, Jeff Traylor confesses he has lost count, but he believes that more than 70 student-athletes have signed in his 10 years at Gilmer.
The accomplishments of the Buckeyes, as reflected on the web pages of the schools with which the signed are as follows:
• Stump Godfrey: Speedy, dual threat quarterback who finished his career as one of the most prolific signal callers in Texas high school history... chose UNM over scholarship offers from Kansas State and Tulsa...
3,581 yards passing with 42 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions as a senior...also had 848 yards and 22 TDs on the ground...posted a 41-3 record as a three-year starter, piling up 11,694 yards of total offense (9,344 passing, 2,350 rushing) and was responsible for 165 TDs (116 passing, 49 rushing)...finished his career tied with Colt McCoy for 4th on the Texas all-time TD pass list and 10th in career passing yardage...
2,883 yards passing with 34 TDs and 9 INTs, along with 885 and 19 TDs on the ground as a junior (12-2 record)...led Gilmer to a 14-1 record and state runner-up finish as a sophomore when he passed for 2,727 yards and 38 TDs (4 INTs), and had 617 yards and 8 TDs rushing...plays basketball as well.
Personal: Born Aug. 23, 1991 in Mt. Pleasant, Texas...age is 18...first name is Darian...would like to major in Business Administration at UNM.
Coach Locksley on Darian Godfrey:
“Stump was the Player of the Year in the state of Texas. He has a strong arm. He’s also a strong runner and a winner. He maybe has lost six games in his whole life. He’s just a big-time athlete. He’s a big-time quarterback and a big play threat, from a great program. He makes a lot of plays with his feet, but he also can hurt you with his arm. He’s high on Texas’ all-time list in touchdown passes.”
• Kedon Franklin, Wide Receiver, 5-9, 180, Standout on the 15-0 Gilmer state championship team in his senior season ... 763 yards receiving, 250 rushing, scored 5 touchdowns ... Gilmer had a 3-year record of 41-3, including 14-1 in his sophomore year when he had 300 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns. 380 total yards in his junior season with six TDs for a 12-2 team ... playing for the freshman team, he scored 25 touchdowns.
The son of Margie Aldridge, Kedon’s relative LaMarcus Aldridge plays for the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers after starring at Texas. nickname is “Frank” ... born 5/6/91.
• Vance Green, Linebacker, 6-0, 211; A breakneck running back and linebacker, ran the 100 meters in 10.6 seconds at Gilmer (Texas) High School in a town of less than 6,000 on the East Texas plains…Lettered four years and started three for a powerhouse program that went 15-0 in 2009, 12-2 in 2008 and 14-1 in 2007, advancing to two state title game.
As a senior, filled a key void in the offensive backfield over the season’s final eight games, replacing the team’s injured starting tailback…Averaged 12.4 yards per carry in 2009 (63 attempts, 780 yards), with six TDs, for a team that scored 35 or more points in all 15 contests…
Also had 15 receptions for 170 yards and another TD, as well as 29 tackles and a fumble recovery as a linebacker in the 3-4…Played primarily on defense as a junior in 2008, helping GHS to a state semifinal finish, with a team-leading 141 tackles, one interception and two fumble recoveries to earn second on his team in MVP voting…
Also had better than 100 tackles as a sophomore linebacker in 2007, earning all-state honors as the Buckeyes advanced to the Texas 3A championship. As a freshman, lettered as a reserve linebacker for a 10-1 team in 2006…
Played for a program that has produced two NFL players, Kenny Pettway and Manuel Johnson, and dozens of current and former Division I players…Was one of five Division I signees from his senior class alone…Has 4.48-second speed in the 40-yard dash…
A letterman in track, also earned all-district honors and qualified for regionals as a sprinter. Personal: Given name Vance Cortez Green…Nicknamed Tez…Born July 10, 1992, in Tyler, Texas…Son of Devlyn and Keith Harris…Interested in computer technology as a major at Colorado State.
• Tristen Holt: Highly-touted athlete who was a standout defensive back with outstanding size, speed and instincts … Played both corner and wide receiver for his school, and was a 2-time All-State performer for a very successful prep program …
Gilmer won the state championship in 2009, going a perfect 15-0, and finished as runners-up during his sophomore season of 2007 … Ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 49 overall prospect at any position in the state of Texas, and also by Rivals as the nation’s No. 24 cornerback prospect …
Caught 39 passes for 806 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior, while adding 34 tackles, 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles … As a junior in 2008, registered over 40 tackles and broke up 8 passes …
Also participated in basketball and track and field for his school. Parents – Cedric Holt & Teameka Webb. Chose Mizzou over Arkansas, Texas Tech, Baylor and Houston, among others.
• Jacob Jenkins is an offensive lineman, a key member of Gilmer’s 3A state championship team. Associated Press 3A All-State selection in Texas, also an all-East Texas and all-district pick. Rated by Scout as the nation’s 43rd best prospect at guard. Also an all-district selection as a junior … Recruited by Houston and TCU and a former Missouri commitment …
Has a brother that plays for the Tigers. Comes from a Texas football powerhouse in Gilmer
• Braylon Webb: An explosive athlete who was a standout on both sides of the ball … Comes from one of the most successful programs in Texas prep football, as Gilmer won the state championship in 2009, going a perfect 15-0, and finished as runners-up during his sophomore season of 2007 … Ranked by Rivals.com as the nation’s No. 66 safety prospect …
Named the Defensive Most Valuable Player of his district as a senior in 2009, and was an all-state pick by various outlets each of his final two years … Had 122 tackles as a senior, and added 7 pass break ups, 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception and a fumble recovery … Scored a rushing touchdown in his team’s state championship win … As a junior in 2008, recorded 68 tackles, 5 quarterback sacks, and added 4 interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries …Hails from the same high school as fellow 2010 Mizzou signee Tristen Holt (they are cousins), and as 2008 MU signee Daniel Jenkins … Parents: Renardo Webb & Phyllis Jones … Chose Mizzou over Houston, Texas Tech and Baylor, among others.
• Mikey Wilson: 3-year starter at linebacker, All district and 2nd team All East Texas on Smoaky.com. 167 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 7 quaterback pressures, 4-PBU, 1 fumble recovery Made Second team All State on the Collin Street Bakery/Texas Sports Writers Association team..Parents: Mike and Darleen Wilson.
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
BUCKEYES SIGN National Letters of Intent for football scholarships Wednesday. From left are Darian “Stump” Godfrey, Tristen Holt, Braylon Webb, Mikey Wilson, Jacob Jenkins, Kedon Franklin and Vance Green. Standing behind the players are family members, from left, Jeanesha and Tamica Godfrey, Nehemiah Steele, Debra and Iyanna Godfrey, Preston and Bobbie Youman, Connie and Teaneki Webb with Tristen Holt, Phyllis Jones, Mike and Darleen Wilson, Athletic Director Jeff Traylor; Kim and Bobby Jenkins; Magie Aldridge and Kerry Smith with Kedon Franklin, and Keith and Darlyn Harris. On the table between Wilson and Jenkins is the state championship trophy the 2009 Buckeyes won.
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
TWO MEMBERS of the 2009 State Champion Gilmer Buckeyes have signed letters of intent to play football at Texas College. They are Luis Castro, left, and Marlon Granville. Gilmer Head Coach and Athletic Director Jeff Traylor stands behind them.
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
BECOMING a Lion, Tevin Godfrey signs a Letter of Intent to attend Texas A & M Univerity-Commerce. Watching him are members of his family, standing, from left, Jaylyn Wilkerson, Taryne Godfrey, Tamica Godfrey, Athletic Director Jeff Traylor, and Coach Ryan Pate. Seated with Godfrey are mother Shelia Godfrey, left, and grandmother Bobbie Youman.
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
SIGNING with Lon Morris College is Jeremy Jackson, seated, center, who is flanked by his parents, Sherry Jackson Johnson, left, and Chris Johnson, right. Standing are Athletic Director Jeff Traylor, Jamel Jackson, and his grandparents Willie Jones and Mary Jones.