By BRAD KEITH
Tarleton State interim head football coach Cary Fowler, who is also the Texans’ recruiting coordinator, has announced the addition of five high school prospects to the program’s 2010 recruiting class.
Stephenville receiver Cole Stokes cemented his commitment to Tarleton, turning in his signed letter of intent late in the week.
Stokes reported he was signing with Tarleton on national signing day, Feb. 3, but delayed returning his paper work to the school when he learned of head coach Sam McElroy’s departure.
“I’m excited about Cole. He’s a long rangy athlete and a true play maker. He runs good routes and has good hands,” Fowler said. “He’s a kid we really wanted.”
Stokes stands 6-2, 195 and was the leading receiver for a Stephenville team that reached the area round of the 4A Division II playoffs before falling in overtime to eventual state champ Aledo.
Borger products Barry Brown and Trenton Kirklin are also Tarleton bound.
Brown, 6-2, 240, was first-team all-district as a defensive lineman, recording 11.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss last fall. He is also ranked No. 1 in his region in wrestling.
“Barry is one of the fastest kids off the ball I’ve ever seen,” Fowler said. “He’s an underdeveloped kid whose lower body doesn’t match his upper body right now, but we’ll get him in here and work on that.”
Fowler said Brown has dropped his weight to 215 for wrestling.
“He has a chance to win state in his weight class in wrestling, so he cut some weight,” Fowler said. “But He’ll put it back on pretty quick.”
Kirklin, 6-2, 190, is an all-district quarterback who was recruited as an athlete.
“Trenton is just a great athlete. He’s somebody who can play quarterback but could also be a dangerous receiver,” Fowler said. “He’ll be a weapon wherever we put him.”
Fowler and staff stumbled onto the Borger standouts while checking their e-mail.
“Nobody recruits much in Borger, but they sent out e-mails about those kids and we got highlight tapes on them and were impressed,” Fowler said. “As soon as we saw the tapes we knew we wanted them.”
Fowler said Brown’s tape was especially impressive.
“As soon as that tape went out he was getting looks from all over,” he said.
Brown chose Tarleton over traditional Division II power Pittsburgh State among other others.
Other late signees include Patrick Bettiol, a 6-2, 240-pound offensive lineman from A&M Consolidated in College Station, and Kenyin Thompson, a 5-9, 175-pound running back from Munday.
Fowler says Bettiol is a versatile lineman who could play either offense or defense and is also a proven deep snapper.
“Patrick came from a program with a lot of discipline and great coaching,” Fowler said. “We don’t know where we’ll put him yet. He’s a true triple-threat lineman because he can play offense, defense and he can deep snap in the kicking game.”
Thompson is another versatile athlete who could help in multiple ways, according to Fowler.
“He can do a lot of things. He’s good as a slot receiver, a running back or a quarterback, and he has great hips like a cornerback,” Fowler said.
Tarleton now has a total of 39 new players in its 2010 recruiting class. Fowler says he expects to add the 40th next week.
“Recruiting is a constant process,” Fowler said. “As long as we have room to add guys who can help our program, we’re going to do everything we can to get them here.”