Signed, Sealed, Delivered: JT Puts 13 In College Ranks


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John Tyler's Darion Flowers signs with Sam Houston State Wednesday. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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John Tyler seniors Tyus Bowser and Greg Ward both signed to play at the University of Houston on National Signing Day Wednesday.(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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John Tyler's Traven Johnson, a Texas A&M-Commerce signee, smiles during National Signing Day.(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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John Tyler High School football coach Ricklan Holmes talks about his players who are committing to play football at the collegiate level Wednesday during a signing ceremony.(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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John Tyler football signees pose for a photograph (from left to right):Tyus Bowser, Emmanuel Terrazas, Traven Johnson, Justice Liggins, DeQuante Woods. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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Greg Ward, Justice Liggins and Elliott Hart look over their letter-of-intent forms to play football for the University of Houston, Stephen F. Austin University and Tarleton State University, respectively, during the John Tyler High School signing day Wednesday morning. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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John Tyler's Richard Gipson, a Lamar signee, shows off his school sign on National Signing Day. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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John Tyler's Fred Ross speaks to the media Wednesday about his commitment to play football at Mississippi State. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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John Tyler football signees get ready to put their futures into writing on Wednesday. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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Family members of John Tyler High School senior football players who signed letters of intent to play football at the collegiate level take photographs of their loved ones Wednesday during a signing ceremony.(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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They signed and sealed their immediate futures, and delivered one of the largest signing days in John Tyler football history. 

More than a dozen John Tyler student-athletes autographed college paperwork Wednesday in front of a packed house in the 100s during National Signing Day at the Frank E. Melton Academic & Athletic Complex.

The all-state trio of Tyus Bowser, Fred Ross and Greg Ward highlighted the grandiose morning. Bowser and Ward wore red after agreeing to remain college teammates at the University of Houston and Ross represented Mississippi State with his maroon attire.

JT placed seven players in the Division I ranks, including four players to FBS schools: Darion Flowers (Sam Houston State, defensive back), LB Richard Gipson (Lamar, linebacker), Justice Liggins (Stephen F. Austin State, wide receiver), and Emmanuel Terrazas (Central Arkansas, offensive lineman).

A trio of Lions picked Division II universities in the Lone Star conference: defensive back Elliott Hart with Tarleton State, and the duo of Traven Johnson and DeQuante Woods with Texas A&M-Commerce.

Three more Lions secured college homes close to their high school, with running back Duan Brooks and defensive back Jamarcus Warren choosing Texas College and lineman Chris Mobley opting for Tyler Junior College.

Ross, a PARADE All-America selection, switched his longtime oral commitment from Oklahoma State on Monday, ending a whirlwind recruiting period. Ross joins two first cousins, Mississippi State assistant women’s basketball coach A’Quonesia Franklin, and Yasma Smith, a team manager.

“I fell in love with the school, coaches and program” Ross said. “I felt at home. When you feel comfortable, it’s easier to play.”

Mississippi State, a member of the prestigious SEC, went 8-5 last year and played in the Gator Bowl. The Bulldogs averaged 237 yards passing per game.

“The program is on the rise,” Ross said. “I just want to be a contributor and help the program go up. When I go to college, I have to prove myself like everyone else on the team. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get there. I’m going to chase my dream and get there.”

Bowser decided to join Ward at Houston after weighing several options. Bowser plans to play football fist, and join the basketball team after the gridiron season ends. He originally offered a verbal to Oklahoma State before pulling back and deciding to remain in the Lone Star State.

“I went on a visit this last Saturday and I liked it a lot,” said Bowser, who settled on the U of H on Tuesday, a school where he plans to study architecture. “It’s just great people (there).”

Ward stuck with Houston to continue his career at quarterback, where he produced more than 10,000 total yards the past two seasons. Several schools courted Ward’s service as an athlete. After throwing for close to 8,000 yards and 75 touchdowns on the varsity level, Ward wants to keep taking snaps.

“I had other options but I wanted to play quarterback,” Ward said. “They were giving me the best opportunity. I had to take advantage of it.”

The JT senior class constituted one of the winningest groups in school history after helping the Lions go 36-8 over the last three varsity seasons. JT finished the 2012 season 13-2 and reached the Class 4A Division I state semifinals for the second straight year. 

“They’ve accomplished a great amount of trophies, records, wins and moved on deep in the playoffs the last three years,” JT head coach Ricklan Holmes said. “These young men have grown up over the years. But that’s only the football side. Just to see them do the things they’ve done since their freshman year has been amazing.”

———

John Tyler 2013 Signing Class

Division I - FBS

Tyus Bowser, Houston

Position:  Defensive end

Size:  6-3, 215

Statline:  73 tackles (33 for loss), 22 sacks, 6 CFs, 3 FRs, 1 TD; 129 yards, 3 TDs, offense

Honors:  All-State (first team), All-16-4A Defensive MVP

Noteworthy:  Bowser scored four different ways for the Lions, rushing, passing, receiving and on defense while setting a school record for sacks in a single season. Bowser, one of the area’s top hoopsters, also plans to play basketball for the Cougars at the next level. 

Quoteworthy: “I finally got peace. Just knowing I have all the opportunities — playing football and basketball and academics — I’m just real happy right now.”—Tyus Bowser 

Fred Ross, Mississippi State

Position:  Wide Receiver

Size:  6-2, 200

Statline:  85 receptions, 1,580 yards, 22 TDs; 28 rushes, 166 yards, 3 TDs 

Honors:  PARADE All-American, All-District (first team)

Noteworthy:  Ross, a four-star recruit, is one of Mississippi State’s three highest grabs. Ross ranks as the country’s No. 23 receiver and nation’s No. 208 player according to Rivals.com.

Quoteworthy:  “All the stress is gone. Everything is out the way. Now we can just relax and focus on what we’ll be doing the next four years of our life. “—Fred Ross

Greg Ward, Houston

Position:  Quarterback

Size:  6-0, 170 

Statline: 5,053 yards, 56 TDs, total offense (279-400 passing, 70 percent, 4,190 yards, 43 TDs, 5INTs; 170-863 rushing, 13 TDs)

Honors: All-16-4A MVP

Noteworthy: Ward leaves JT as the school’s all-time career leader in total yards and touchdowns. Ward wrapped up a stellar career tying a state record with 48 completions against Denton Guyer, and finishing the state semifinal with 660 total yards and six TDs. 

Quoteworthy: “I’m not going to try; I’m going to make it happen. It’s all in the mind and heart. I have all the heart in the world.”—Greg Ward

Division I - FCS

Darion Flowers, Sam Houston State

Position: Defensive back

Size:  5-11, 180

Statline: 42 tackles, 3 INTs; 68 receptions, 1,143 yards, 9 TDs

Honors: All-District receiver (first team), All-district cornerback (first team)

Noteworthy: Flowers finished with 1,000-yards receiving as a junior and senior, and started both ways this past fall. He chose SHSU, national finalists the last two years, over Southland Conference rivals SFA and Lamar. 

Quoteworthy: “They’re known for DBs. They’ve got a great program, great facilities. What else more is there to look for? They’ve won back to back conference championships, played for back-to-back (championships). That weighed a lot on me.” —Darion Flowers

Richard Gipson, Lamar

Position: Linebacker

Size: 6-2, 213

Statline: 132 tackles (11 for los), 4 FRs, 2 CFs, 2 INTs

Honors: All-District (first team)

Noteworthy: Gipson made more than 250 tackles as a two-year starter at the “Mike” position. He chose Lamar over AM-Commerce.

Quoteworthy: “This is exciting. It just felt like it was my home. They really opened up their arms to me.” -—Richard Gipson

Justice Liggins, Stephen F. Austin State

Position: Wide Receiver

Size: 6-1, 195

Statline:  56 receptions, 689 yards, 7 TDs

Honors: All-District (second team)

Noteworthy: Liggins finished with a career-high nine receptions for 131 yards in JT’s final game. He also received Division I offers from Northwestern State and Wyoming.

Quoteworthy: “They’re doing the same thing we did on offense. It was the passing attack they had and they’ve had a receiver go to the (NFL) that inspired me.”—Justice Liggins

Emmanuel Terrazas, Central Arkansas

Position: Offensive lineman 

Size: 6-2, 240

Statline: Terrazas protected the QB’s blindside and helped passing game flourish with 4,254 yards and 44 TDs.  

Honors: All-District (first team)

Noteworthy: Terrazas was named JT homecoming king during the fall. He wants to major in optometry at the next level. 

Quoteworthy: “Every since I was in Pop Warner, my goal was to start in high school and earn a scholarship to college. This is one of the proudest days of my life.” - Emmanuel Terrazas 

Division II

Elliott Hart, Tarleton State

Position: Defensive back

Size: 5-11, 170

Statline: 72 tackles, 5 INTs

Honors: All-District (first team)

Noteworthy: Hart started two years on a pair of state semifinalists for JT. He picked Tarleton State over Angelo State. 

Quoteworthy: “I felt their program could offer a lot to me. I wanted to go to a program with a strong tradition. I’m just happy to be (going) there.”—Elliott Hart

Traven Johnson, Texas A&M-Commerce

Position: Defensive back 

Size:  6-1, 180

Statline: 52 tackles, 10 PBUs, 3 INTs, TD

Honors:  All-District (second team)

Noteworthy: Johnson played three varsity seasons, including 14 playoff games. He considered going to Arizona Wesleyan before choosing to go to Commerce. 

Quoteworthy: “I wanted this all along. Coming into high school, it’s the first thing you think about: playing college football.” — Traven Johnson

DeQuante Woods, Texas A&M-Commerce

Position: Running back

Size: 5-11, 175

Statline: 59 tackles, 5 PBUs, INT TD, 604 yards, 13 TDs rushing; 368 yards, 3 TDs receiving

Honors: All-District running back (first team), All-District returner (first team), All-District linebacker (second team)

Noteworthy: Woods scored three different ways for the Lions (rushing, receiving, defense) and totaled 1,128 yards and 17 TDs on offense while starting at LB. 

Quoteworthy: “I get to play with people I know. The decision was easy. … I chose to stick at running back. I like scoring.”—DeQuante Woods

NAIA

Duan Brooks, Texas College

Position: Running back

Size: 5-8, 165

Statline: 5 rushes, 73 yards

Quoteworthy: “I’m looking forward to it, trying to better my life. I’m proud to be going to Texas College.”- Duan Brooks

Jamarcus Warren, Texas College

Position: Defensive back

Size: 5-10, 175

Statline:  19 tackles, 1 caused fumble 

Noteworthy: Warren, one of JT’s top special teams tacklers, attended two signing ceremonies on Wednesday, along with Brooks, at John Tyler and Texas College.

NJCAA

Chris Mobley, Tyler Junior College

Position: Lineman

Size: 6-2, 235

Statline: 92 tackles (10 for loss) 

Honors: All-District (first team, DL)

Noteworthy: Mobley made the all-district first team as an offensive lineman as a junior before doing the same on the defensive line as a senior.