, Port Arthur, Texas

February 6, 2014

Big day for Titans

Gabriel Pruett
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Lamar University Coach Ray Woodard knows exactly what Incarnate Word Coach Larry Kennan was going through on Wednesday, and even got a bit of a reminder about not counting your chickens until they hatch.

Last year Port Arthur Memorial quarterback Ricky Fisk was all set to become the first Titans player to ink with Lamar. It turns out Fisk jilted the Cardinals right before National Signing Day and instead decided to head to Morgan State.

Woodard, however, landed his first Titan when Melbrodrick Matthews stayed the course Wednesday and signed with the Cardinals.

Nederland’s Caleb Malveaux and Central’s Garrison Mitchell, meanwhile, were two locals who changed their minds in the 11th hour.

Malveaux decided against Kennan’s Incarnate Word Cardinals and signed with Houston Baptist. Mitchell flopped from Lamar to New Mexico.

“That is just part of it,” Woodard said. “You really can’t worry too much about it because it happens all over the country. Every now and then we get players who change their minds in the 11th hour.”

Matthews signed his letter of intent, along with nine other players from Memorial’s 8-4 team from this past season.

There had been talk over the past few years that perhaps Lamar did not recruit Titans football players with enough resolve.

“We recruit Memorial just as hard as every other high school we recruit,” Woodard said. “If someone is recruiting Memorial any harder than we are, they are cheating. For whatever reason, we simply had not had the process finish out the way it did today with Melbrodrick. We are thrilled to have him on our football team.”

Matthews called his signing a blessing and a relief to have out the way.

“I am just happy today,” Matthews said. “I feel a huge honor to become the first Titans player to sign with Lamar. I am going to do everything I can to prove myself to those guys.”

Melbrodrick shared the day with a very familiar teammate, his twin brother Meldrick.

Meldrick Matthews signed with Blinn Junior College.

“That is a great experience to be on that stage with him,” Melbrodrick said. “I know he will go on and do great things at Blinn. We will be split up for the first time in a very long time but we will stay in contact and I expect great things from him.”

Memorial Coach Kenny Harrison advised that Melbrodrick leaves the Titans program with the most starts in team history.

“Melbrodrick is going to be a great player  for the Lamar Cardinals,” Woodard said. “He is fast enough to come off the edge and is a very versatile player. He even has great coverage skills. We will use him in a variety of ways.”

Memorial receivers Albert Jacobs and Roderic Rucker made it three Titans players headed to Blinn Junior College.

Both DeKovin Antoine and Selah Fontenot signed with Bethel College in Kansas City, Ransom Howard inked with Avila College and Tayylor Labrie and Dante Lovilotte each signed with Kilgore Junior College.

Another first in Titans history was Trenton Swinton’s signing with the U.S. Naval Academy.

Swinton spent only one season with the Titans after moving to Port Arthur from Little Rock, Ark. He attended a small private school in Arkansas and knew if wanted to play college football he needed to find a new home.

“Academics has always been a big part of my life,” Swinton said. “I got in touch with the Naval Academy through my dad and it all started to fall into place. I play running back and that is almost perfect with Navy who runs that option. It was never easy. I always saw the bigger picture and now all the struggles are behind me.”

Swinton also pointed to a quote by Jim Rohn who said, “You can either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.”

“I ask people to choose one,” Swinton said.

Harrison called Swinton the perfect model of a student athlete.

“He is one heck of a football player but is also that great in the classroom,” Harrison said. “His athletic ability takes care of itself. His work away from the field takes a lot of effort and he puts in the time and dedication. I am very proud of that young man, just like I am proud of all these guys. It is a great day to be a Titan.”