Thursday, August 24, 2017

LSC Roundup 8-24

Brad Keith, The Flash Today

Todd Whitten continues to make a living reeling in big fish from a small pond of Texas junior colleges. Whitten, head football coach at Tarleton State, has found the Southwest Junior College Football Conference fertile recruiting ground with numerous transfers playing a key role in him becoming the winningest head coach in the senior college era at Tarleton.

He refers to it as the “Texas Junior College League,” and understandably so. Of the seven current members of SJCFC, six are in Texas – Navarro College in Corsicana, Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Kilgore College and Tyler Junior College in East Texas, Blinn College in Brenham and Cisco College. The other member and most recent addition to the league is New Mexico Military Institute. Ranger College, Texarkana College and others no longer have football.

The majority of the players Whitten recruits from the league come from that pocket of four East Texas junior colleges that together have accounted for seven of the league’s 17 national championships. Tyler Junior College won a co-championship in 1960, Kilgore was champ in 1966 and 1978, Navarro reigned supreme in 1989 and 2010, and Trinity Valley was king in 1994 and 1997.

Photo published for Thirteen years after signing Ross, Whitten still pulling talent out of Texas JUCOs

Donnie Palmer II, Times Record News

Midwestern State University will be looking to replace 2,381 yards of passing offense this season. Traditionally, at least in recent years, it won’t be just one guy replacing what primarily came from Quade Coward in 2016.

And the Mustangs began the fall camp with eight players getting a look at quarterback. Junior Layton Rabb is on top of the two-deep chart. Rabb was 17 of 26 last year in a backup role with three touchdowns and one interception. Senior Javin Kilgo was second on the depth chart in the spring and unofficially is still second.

Rabb’s best game last season was in mop up duty against UT-Permian Basin, where he completed 7 of 8 passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the Mustangs’ 78-21 rout of the Falcons. Rabb has been in the system for three years, so his knowledge of the offense gives him an advantage over the other quarterbacks in camp.

“He’s coming out and leading the way,” offensive coordinator Adam Austin said. “He’s been very consistent. You can tell that he put in the work this summer. His body has changed, his confidence has changed.”

Donnie Palmer II, Times Record News

The Midwestern State secondary may have been green in some areas last year. It led to giving up a little too much green to offenses at times. And not enough takeaways, either. But it was understandable, a lot of veteran playmakers had graduated the previous two seasons.

But the fruits of playing those youngsters and first-time starters means the MSU secondary is seasoned and ready to make a difference in 2017. The season opens Aug. 31 against Quincy University at Memorial Stadium.

Returning is All-LSC Safety and vocal leader Sir’Vell Ford, who led the team in tackles with 80 (42 solo, 38 assists) and tied for team lead in interceptions with two. That’s a number Ford and the team hope to see rise.

“My roles are to make everybody else right and then make sure everybody flies to the ball,” Ford said. “That’s what we’re known for.” Ford said a late loss to Eastern New Mexico, which led to a playoff game on the road, still “haunts and drives” him.

Sir'Vell Ford

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico