The 2010 season was a good one for West Texas A&M. Ranked nationally all season, and 8-3 regular season record, and a return to the NCAA playoffs. The offense led the LSC in yardage (529 per game, second nationally) and was second in scoring (42 points, third nationally). The defense was 4th in yards allowed (360) and 4th in points allowed (26.2). The biggest negative to the season was the ending - a 55-35 loss in the first round of the playoffs, a game that was more lopsided than the score would indicate.
Six starters from last year's offense have moved on. QB Taylor Harris (HM LSC South, 4,806 yds, 38 TDs passing), RB Kelvin Thompson (1st LSC South, 729 yds rushing, 327 yds receiving), WRs Stephen Burton (1st LSC South, 70-1,021 11 TDs), Tyson Williams (1st LSC South, 96-1,321 8 TDs) and OLs Isaiah Lewis and Dan Sherwood (both HM LSC South) were all key components to last year's offense. Returning starters include WRs Brittan Golden (2nd LSC South, 53-893 11 TDs) and Nathan Slaughter (33-341) and OLs Hector Rodriguez (2nd LSC South) and Aaron Mullane. Tanner Marsh and Dustin Vaughn are the frontrunners for the QB spot, and Tommy Hampton is the top returning running back.
The losses on the defensive side weren't as numerous. DL Kyle Thomas (1st LSC South), LB Steve Smith, and DBs Shad Baichtal and Tae Evans (both 1st LSC South) will be missed. But the Buffs do return the bulk of the defense. On the line, Dishon Robertson (2nd LSC South), Rashad Sanders (HM LSC South), Simi Kuli and Aaron Wampler are slated to return. LBs Kyle Voss (2nd LSC South), Kevin McCluskey (HM LSC South), Zane Farris, Taylor McCuller, Drew Graham, DJ Ross, and Glen Stanley combined for 282 tackles, with 30.5 for losses. Anthony Scott missed virtually all of last year with an injury and his return would be a blessing. The secondary should be really good with Caleb Randolph, Curtis Jefferson (both 1st LSC South), Jordan Smith (2nd LSC South), Maurice Caldwell and Kendrick Geyen all expected back. That quintet had a combined 207 tackles, 8 interceptions and 27 passes broken up.
Special Teams -
Dan Sherwood, who was also the team's deep snapper (1st LSC South), punter Tim Cowdrey (33.7 avg on punts), and punt returner Stephen Burton (9.8 punt return avg) will have to be replaced. Tommy Hampton (HM LSC South) averaged 24.3 yards per kick return and had one TD. Sergio Castillo (1st LSC South) converted 56-57 PATs and 9-13 FGs, while Kevin VanVoris had a 38.7 punting average and 66.3 average on kickoffs with 11 touchbacks.
Top 5 signees
WR - Jimmy Goad - good size, 36 receptions for 614 yards and 6 TDs in two seasons at Glendale CC
WR - Joel Witwer - 56 receptions for 774 yards and 6 TDs, 2nd team All-State WR & DB as a Jr.
DE - Tyrell Higgins - transfer from UT, Dave Campbell Top Super Team (3rd) in 2006
LB - Jamen Sisk - Dave Campbell Top 300 player, two-time all district player
LB - Tyler Babb - two-time all-district despite team's 4-16 record
Other top signees
QB - Luke Halpin (returning from junior college)
RB - Julian Ward
WR - Brandon Broussard
WR - Dmitri Donald
OL - James Fuentez
DB - Jacob Garza
DB - Leland Young
A small high school class (39) compared to recent years, and very little in the way of transfers announced to date. But the Buffs look to have added more depth at the skill positions offensively and accross the board defensively. Grade A