The Bobcats have taken a step forward in every FBS season. From 4-8 in 2012, to 6-6 and bowl eligibility in 2013 and then 7-5 in 2014, barely missing out on their first bowl game, Texas State took their next step forward with the signing of 25 athletes to the program, including former Cibolo Steele High School quarterback L.G. Williams.
“We looked at the Super Bowl, and of the Super Bowl starters, there were no five stars, I think there were eight four stars, like 20 3-stars and 10 players who played in the Super Bowl that weren’t even rated,” said coach Dennis Franchione. “Recruiting is obviously important, evaluating is critical and then developing after you get them is about as key of a component as all of that.
“One of the great things that happened in this class is we had a lot of them in camp. So we got to time them ourselves, we got to work with them and that gives you a plus because you know what they can do speedwise, you can watch them practice, you can work with them and see their personality.”
Williams was named a three-star recruit by ESPN, 247 Sports and Scout and rated a two-star recruit by Rivals. He threw for 1,976 yards and 23 touchdowns and ran for 838 yards and 10 TDs as a senior, leading Cibolo Steele to the 6A State semifinals, where the Knights lost a heartbreaker to Katy in overtime.
Justin Gamble, another three-star recruit, could give Tyler Jones and Williams down the line a major weapon in the passing game. Gamble, from Round Rock, had 863 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014 for Stony Point. He’s a speedster — at 5-11, 170, he’ll have to make a living off of it.
Transfer from Texas Easy Anyama, Teron Fitzgerald, Chris French, Jordan Mittie and Javonte O’Roy are currently participating in offseason workouts before spring practice begins Feb. 27.
Of the 25 signees, 18 are from Texas, 15 of which are finishing up their senior year of high school.
Franchione is excited about the potential from the crop of running backs that signed — three in total.
“We got some good, explosive skill guys in this class,” Franchione said. “We lose some running backs after next year. Rob (Lowe), Chris (Nutall) and Tim (Gay) are all seniors. With Anthony Taylor, Nick Bingham and Barlon Hutchinson and Tyler Siudzinski, we got some guys I think can be pretty explosive when they come along.”
Texas State signed five linebackers in the class after the Bobcats lost their two star backers — Michael Orakpo and David Mayo — from a season ago.
The biggest man of the class is Jacob Rowland — a 6-5, 305-pound offensive lineman from Willis Point High School. Rowland was named a two-star recruit and was named Class 4A All-State Honorable Mention.
While there wasn’t much area talent in the class, linebacker Bryan London was the small-school kid of the bunch. He comes from Randolph High School in Converse. He started all four years at linebacker from the 3A school on the grounds of Randolph Air Force Base and was also a two-year starter at running back. He was the District 14-3A MVP in 2014.
The Bobcats signed three recruits from California, two from Kansas and Mississippi and one from Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida.
247sports ranked the Bobcat signing class as the fifth best in the conference, down one slot from last season. Texas State was topped by Louisiana-Lafayette, South Alabama, Arkansas State (all bowl teams last year) and Georgia Southern.
Texas State will have their biggest challenge since joining the FBS ranks when they travel to take on Florida State in Tallahassee on Sept. 5. Other nonconference opponents include Prairie View A&M, Southern Miss and Houston.