Straight-A student Cameron Batson didn’t have any classes Tuesday, because wintry weather forced Millwood High School in Oklahoma City to close for the day. Classes might be called off again Wednesday, but one way or another, Batson will take part in national signing day.
Batson, a high school quarterback who will play receiver in college, has been looking forward to signing with Texas Tech ever since he committed to the Red Raiders nearly 10 months ago.
“Hopefully we have school,” Batson said, “but if we don’t have school or if we do have school, I’ll sign the paperwork and get everything faxed as soon as possible so the coaches don’t have anything to worry about.”
The national signing period begins at 7 a.m. Wednesday. The Red Raiders are expected to sign 22 or 23 players to go along with the four junior-college prospects they signed in December.
Defensive tackle LaDarrius Kidd from Gulfport, Miss., was reconsidering going into signing day.
Batson, on the other hand, never wavered. He’s close family friends with former Tech wide receiver Tramain Swindall, but said his fascination with the Red Raiders pre-dates Swindall’s career (2008-11).
“I’ve been paying attention to Tech since coach Kingsbury and Wes Welker were there,” Batson said. “Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, Michael Crabtree, I looked at all those big receivers. They all were producing.
“Hopefully, I can do the same and make it to the next level and coach (Eric) Morris and coach Kingsbury and the Texas Tech staff will make all of us better players and bring the winning style back to Texas Tech.”
A position switch awaits Batson when he arrives at Tech, where he’s projected to play receiver. He had a banner senior season at Millwood, playing quarterback and cornerback on a 14-1 Class 2A state finalist. Batson was named the Gatorade player of the year in Oklahoma after passing for 2,137 yards and 30 touchdowns, rushing for 1,338 yards and 19 TDs and intercepting 10 passes.
He was just as strong in the classroom: a 4.0 student, ranked No. 1 in his class and senior class president.
“I’m really looking forward to (Wednesday),” he said, “and spending time with friends, people in the community and talking to people I haven’t talked to — encouraging little kids that they can do the same thing I’ve done growing up.”
Tech has commitments from nine members of the Avalanche-Journal state Top 100 recruits list, two of whom are part of the A-J Fabulous 44.
As is often the case, Tech’s most impressive talent on paper is at the offensive skill positions. The Red Raiders’ Fab 44 pledges are Whitehouse quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who threw 96 touchdown passes the last two years, and Cibolo Steele running back Justin Stockton, who rushed for 5,734 yards in three seasons.
Batson’s part of a receivers group that includes three state Top 100 choices — Argyle’s Ian Sadler, San Antonio Madison’s Byron Daniels and Princeton’s Jakari Dillard — and Devin Lauderdale, who was on the Fab 44 last year. Lauderdale spent the fall semester at Navarro College, but re-signed with Tech at mid-term.
The Red Raiders also have pledges from three state Top 100 defensive backs.
Tech dipped heavily into the junior-college ranks to address shortages in the offensive and defensive lines. Between the December signees and the current commitments, the Red Raiders’ class includes nine linemen, six from junior colleges.
Around the area
As usual, the area high schools will have several players expected to sign national letters of intent Wednesday, with a couple heading for current and future Division I schools.
Shallowater tight end Cameron Knight is expected to sign early in the morning with Texas State, but will not be doing so at the school. Instead, he will sign before competing at the Fort Worth Livestock Show. Knight was an Avalanche-Journal All-City and All-South Plains Class 3A selection after catching 26 passes for 387 yards and five touchdowns and was a key blocker in the Mustangs’ offense, which averaged 368 yards per game. He committed to Texas State prior to the season.
Also from Shallowater, standout running back Jarek Black is expected to make his decision. The All-City and All-South Plains 3A Offensive Player of the Year capped a stellar season career at Shallowater by breaking into the top 25 of the state’s all-time leading rushers with 7,078 yards. He finished his senior season with 3,034 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns.
Coronado senior defensive end Devondric Meadows is expected to sign with Abilene Christian University, which is in the middle of its provisional period to become a Division I athletic program. Meadows was a force along the Mustangs’ front seven for the first part of the year but missed most of the second half with a knee injury.
Also signing from Coronado will be defensive back Dalexae Johnson (Eastern New Mexico), track/cross country standout Macey Beazley (UT-Arlington) and soccer standout Claudia Sanchez (LCU).
Frenship is expected to have five players sign on Wednesday: Matthew Robinson (West Texas A&M), Travis Rasberry (West Texas A&M) and Tyler Kreger (Cisco Junior College) in football, Morgan Hartsell (Oklahoma Baptist) in track and Kaitlyn Judge (St. Mary’s) in soccer.
Cooper will have three athletes sign in football players Stetson Smitherman (West Texas A&M) and Matt Williams (Tarleton State) and soccer player Mica Cerda (Eastern New Mexico).
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The following players have signed with Texas Tech at mid-term or made oral commitments to the Red Raiders for the class of 2014. An asterisk (*) denotes a member of the A-J Fabulous 44. A grid (#) indicates a member of the A-J state Top 100. The national signing period for spring-semester graduates begins Feb. 5. Oral commitments are non-binding.
Signed at mid-term: Devin Lauderdale, 5-10, 175, WR, Navarro College/Houston Bellaire HS; Keland McElrath, 6-4, 290, DT, Coahoma (Miss.) Community College/Ripley (Tenn.) HS; Marcus Smith, 6-3, 315, DT, Highland (Kan.) Community College/Wadesboro (N.C.) HS; Josh Keys, 6-2, 191, DB, Gulf Coast (Miss.) Community College/Seminary (Miss.) HS.
Oral commitments: *Patrick Mahomes, 6-3, 180, QB, Whitehouse; Demarcus Felton, 5-7, 175, RB, Spring Dekaney; *Justin Stockton, 5-9, 165, RB, Cibolo Steele; Cameron Batson, 5-8, 165, WR, Oklahoma City Millwood; #Byron Daniels, 6-1, 168, WR, San Antonio Madison; #Jakari Dillard, 6-4, 190, WR, Princeton; #Ian Sadler, 5-11, 190, IR, Argyle; Shaquille Davis, 6-4, 320, OT, Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) College/Pomona (Calif.) Claremont HS; Justin Murphy, 6-6, 275, OT, Belton; Dominique Robertson, 6-5, 300, OT, Riverside (Calif.) City College/Redlands (Calif.) East Valley HS; Robert Castaneda, 6-4, 315, OG, Round Rock; Brandon Thorpe, 6-5, 270, DE, Highland (Kan.) Community College/Tucker (Ga.) HS; Rika Levi, 6-2, 350, DT, College of San Mateo (Calif.)/South San Francisco HS; LaDarrius Kidd, 6-4, 315, DT, Gulfport (Miss.) Harrison; #Dakota Allen, 6-0, 220, LB, Humble Summer Creek; Nigel Bethel, 5-9, 173, CB, Miami (Fla.) Washington; Jamarcus Howard, 5-11, 190, CB, Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College/Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Northridge HS; Tevin Madison, 5-11, 165, CB, Fayette County, Ala.; Joseph Clark, 5-9, 180, S, Tyler Chapel Hill; #Derrick Dixon, 5-8, 186, S, Dallas Skyline; #Jah’Shawn Johnson, 5-10, 172, S, Ennis; #Payton Hendrix, 6-3, 190, S, Dallas Bishop Dunne; Connor Wilson, 6-1, 200, S, Argyle.