LU class contains local flavor

Published 12:25 am Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Six football players, featuring three with Southeast Texas ties, make up Lamar University’s 2011 National Signing Day recruiting class.

    West Brook offensive lineman Justin Brock, Nederland quarterback Dionte Forney, and former Ozen standout John Prescott, a defensive lineman, will give additional local flavor to the Cardinal team that will represent Lamar during the 2011 season.

    “This is another exciting day for us,” said Ray Woodard, Lamar’s head coach, upon announcing his third Cardinal recruiting class. “Although it’s a small one, it’s a very solid recruiting class.

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    “We’ve filled some definite needs to go along with our December signees. This gives us some added depth in places where we certainly lacked depth.”

    Brock, a 6-foot-4, 245-pounder, was a two-time Port Arthur News Super Team selection as a senior for West Brook. Forney is a 6-5, 240-pound, highly-regarded athlete whose senior season at Nederland was cut short by injury problems.

    Prescott, a 6-0, 275-pounder, was in Woodard’s initial signing class out of Ozen in 2009 but opted to go to Cisco Junior College first and will enter Lamar as a junior in eligibility. Before converting to the defensive line at Cisco JC, he was a two-year second-team all-district performer in the offensive line for Ozen, and he was the 242-pound state champion in the Texas High School Power Lifting Association state meet.

    “Brock is a young man with good feet for his size,” said Woodard. “He will only get bigger and stronger, and I can see him being an excellent addition to our offensive line.

    “Forney is a big, strong kid coming out of a very solid high school program at Nederland .  He can throw with authority and run with authority, and he’s simply a great all-round athlete. He excelled at two sports in high school. He’ll compete at quarterback in the fall. I’m looking forward to seeing where he winds up in a couple of years.

    “We had Prescott in our signing class in 2009, but he wound up going to Cisco and played well up there. He also did good in the classroom, and we’re excited to finally have him as Cardinal.”

    The other members of the Cardinals’ spring signing class are offensive lineman Daniel Campbell (6-5, 345) of Navarro College and tight ends Payden McVey (6-2, 210) of Deer Park and Caleb Shelly (6-3, 260) of Coldspring.

    Campbell, who played his high school football at Aldine, starred for Navarro teams that combined for a two-season record of 22-2 and swept to the 2010 National Junior College Athletic Association national championship. He was a 2007 Class 5A All-State selection.

    McVey caught 43 passes for 497 yards and five touchdowns last season in earning first-team All-District 22-5A recognition. Shelly helped lead Coldspring to a 14-2 record last fall, and he caught a touchdown pass and threw a 36-yard TD pass in the Trojans’ Class 3A Division II state championship game against Carthage.

    “Getting Campbell was a late bonus for us,” said Woodard. “He originally signed with USC out of high school and was either the No. 2 or 3-rated lineman in the nation at that time. It’s kind of like the icing on the cake to get him.

    “McVey is an elusive player with good hands, good feet and a good head on his shoulders. Shelly reminds me of myself when I was in high school. He’s big and strong, and he has tons of potential. Add to that the fact that he’s coming from a very good program, and you know you’re getting a player who’s definitely going to be able to help you down the road.”

    The Cardinals signed five junior college players and picked up two major college transfers in December, now giving them the addition of six linemen, two tight ends, two quarterbacks, one running back, one defensive back and one kicker. More players could be added to the class in the future.

    Lamar will open its spring training on Monday, Feb. 7. The Cardinals will conclude spring training on Thursday, March 3 with the playing of their Red-White Spring Game at 6 p.m. in Provost Umphrey Stadium.