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Lobos have big signing class

By Jimmy Carter jcarter@news-journal.com
Feb. 6, 2013 at 10:11 a.m.


Longview's turf room was pretty busy Wednesday morning.

A crowd of family, friends, classmates and coaches gathered to watch 14 Lobo seniors sign letters of intent to various colleges.

Of the signees, 11 were Longview football players, the second-largest signing class in coach John King's nine-year tenure, trailing only the 13-man class in 2006.

"It takes a lot to make this come about," King said. "To see them enroll as freshman, go through four years and then see their dreams come true, it makes it worth it."

Quarterback Bivins Caraway and tight end Colin Jeter were the lone FBS football signees. Caraway is nearly recovered from his season-ending ACL injury and signed with Louisiana-Monroe while Jeter inked with Air Force.

"I think both of them were under-recruited," King said. "I think the big reason was Bivins' injury. And I know some people were hesitant about his height, but the kid's got a strong arm, can make all the throws and is a heck of a football player. Who knows what he would have happened.

"With Colin, it was always a question about his weight. He's 6-6 and a lot of people are worried about how big he can get, but he's a tough football player. I think both of them are going to make a heck of a football player football at both of those universities."

Caraway committed to ULM over the summer after throwing for 2,424 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior. He had the Warhawks' coaching staff stick with him after the ACL injury.

"It's awesome," Caraway said. "I respect them so much for that. They could have easily taken my scholarship back and gotten someone else with two good knees. I'm very motivated."

Jeter signed with Air Force just three days after verbally committing to the school over offers from Texas State and Northwestern (La.) State. He caught eight passes for 115 yards and two scores as a senior.

"It's very exciting, but I'm glad it's all over," Jeter said. "It was stressful. It just came down to what was best for my future. I'm glad it's over and I'm excited to play on Saturdays."

Outside of Caraway and Jeter, two groups of Longview players will continue their playing careers together.

Free safety Corey Bartley, cornerback/punt returner Nakia Brown, receiver Justinn Spady and defensive tackle Cornelius Williams all signed with Texas A&M-Commerce. Brown and Williams double signed with Navarro Junior College.

Brown was the final player to make the decision, committing on Tuesday night after visiting over the weekend. He initially committed to West Texas A&M, but reconsidered when multiple coaches left for A&M-Commerce.

"Most of them were defensive coaches," Brown said. "And I just felt more comfortable at Commerce. Just the way I felt when I was getting the tour and going through the locker room."

Longview's linebacker duo for the last three years will also remain together. Torean Sheppard and DeMarkus Lathan both signed with Tarleton State after making recent verbal commitments.

They each finished with 138 tackles, tied for the team lead with Bartley. Lathan ended his high school career with 418 tackles, while Sheppard was a vocal leader as a senior.

"It's going to be a great experience playing with each other once again," Sheppard said. "Just to be able to work together for four or five more years will be a blessing. So we're excited. There was a lot of excitement in my body at the time I signed."

Running back Tory White signed with Lamar after he committed following a visit over the weekend. He ran for a team-high 1,253 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior.

Tre Allen signed with Tyler Junior College after committing Tuesday. He racked up 49 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in just eight games while playing defensive end as a senior, but will likely play another position at TJC.

"Their coaching staff told me I could come in and play because they don't have any linebackers on campus and Navarro has four," Allen said. "I'm going to summer school and starting up the weights as soon as I graduate. I'm ready to go now."

Defensive end Jalen Porter signed with Iowa Community College after finishing with 70 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and five sacks as a senior.

"They're looking at me as a linebacker and defensive end. I'm going to have a lot of playing time. I just have to come there and show up. They said if I do good there's a chance they can move me to a big D-1 school in January."

Lady Lobo soccer players Jennifer Boudreau and Keeley Bowles signed with Memphis and TJC, respectively. Amber Redic signed with Stephen F. Austin for track.

(Follow Jimmy Carter on Twitter: <a href="/news-journal.com/tncms/admin/action/twitter.com/jicartersports">@jicartersports</a>)

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