Bobcat Fans and followers! Let the countdown to the 2011 Texas State Football season begin! Kick-off from Lubbock is just a little more than six weeks away, and I know many of you can’t wait. It’s worth noting that the Bobcats, while playing predominantly a Southland Conference heavy schedule, are NOT an official member of the SLC this coming season (football only). The reason being is scholarships, Texas State received 11 more than the limit for FCS schools (therefore gaining an “unfair” advantage) and will receive 11 more again for the next recruiting class bringing the total amount of scholarships to the FBS number of 85. As a result, the Bobcats will not be eligible for the SLC Championship, any SLC awards nor the FCS post-season.
This got myself and my broadcast partner Bill Culhane thinking back to Texas State’s time spent as a member of the Southland Conference and all of the great players to wear the maroon & gold uniform during those 23 years from 1987-2010. So we thought: “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to come up with an All-Southland Conference Texas State team?” And while yes, it was fun to come up with this list it wasn’t easy. There have been a lot of great players to play for the Bobcats during that time so some didn’t make the cut but Bill and I feel like we put together a pretty strong list and if you were to put this team on the field it would win a lot of football games.
This will be a two part blog and we’ll start by giving you our All-Southland Texas State Offense, next we’ll “tackle” the defense. Without further ado, here we go…
WIDE RECEIVERS (years listed are years player lettered)
Cameron Luke (’06 – ’08)
Da’Marcus Griggs (’08-’10)
Honorable Mention: Markee White, Eric Tennessee
Bill: Cam had arguably the single best season ever for a Bobcat wideout. He received 1st team All-SLC honors in ’07 & ’08 with numerous All-American recognitions. His stats alone make him a no-brainer. There have only been two 1,000 receiving seasons ever by a Bobcat…both by Mr. Luke in ’07 & ’08. His 32 career touchdown catches are the most in a career in Southland history, and 13 more than the next closest Bobcat (Johnny Parker had 19 from ‘69-’71).
Brant: Yeah, and 17 of those scores came in that unreal ’08 season from Cam. Remember how we thought no one will top him? Da’Marcus came close the following season with a single season school record 80 catches in ’09. Griggs was 2nd team All-SLC that year and followed it up with 65 grabs in 2010 and 1st team All-SLC honors. 154 catches is 2nd most in school history behind Parker and fell just 10 yards short of 2,000 career receiving yards.
Bill: That was the one thing that separated those two from Markee, Cam and Da’Marcus had two great seasons. Markee, who was instrumental in the ’05 run, had that one stellar season during the national semi-final season.
Brian Forshee (’00 – ‘02)
Brant: This was a tough position to name a player for, simply because Texas State didn’t have many great pass-catching tight ends during the Southland years.
Bill: You may have thought differently had Forshee been able to play more. Despite an injury at Missouri early in the 2001 season, and a career cut short due to a coaching/offense philosophy change in 2003, Forshee was a legitimate downfield pass catching threat from the tight end position. Due to his blocking skills, was also an asset in the run game.
Ervin Thomas (’88 – ’91)
Jeff Novak (’87 – ’89)
DJ Hall (’08 – present)
Adam Means (’94 – ’97)
Spicer Sigman (’90 – ’93)
Honorable Mention: Thomas Keresztury, Luke Horder, Ken McKoy
Brant: In this group, there are a total of 10 1st or 2nd team All-SLC selections, four All-American nods, one team Offensive Player of the Year honor (Novak ’89) and five Texas State top offensive lineman awards (Sigman was the recipient of the first two John O’Hara Memorial Offensive Lineman of the Year awards in ’92 & ’93, Means got the award in ’96 & ’97, Hall in 2010).
Bill: And we’ll get to running backs in a moment, but some of the great ones in Texas State Southland history have these guys to thank in part. Without Sigman, Means and Hall, perhaps Donald Wilkerson, Claude Mathis and Karrington Bush don’t put up the numbers they did. Oh, and Novak went on to represent the ‘Cats in the NFL for 8 years with the Giants, Dolphins and Jaguars.
Barrick Nealy (’03 – ’05)
Honorable Mention: Bradley George, Spergon Wynn, David Williams, Gilbert Price
Brant: Most people would say this is a no-brainer and that Barrick is the best player the Bobcats had during the Southland era. One would have a hard-time arguing against that since Barrick was: so fun to watch (fast forward to the 2:21 mark), electric, a tremendous leader, likeable on/and off the field, and pretty much was the driving force behind the 2005 run. Here’s Barrick’s ’05 checklist: Finished 5th in Walter Payton FCS Player of the Year award, 1st team SLC and SLC Player of the Year…2nd team All-American and Hula Bowl invitee…Threw for 400 yards and ran for 126 in 1st Round Playoff win over Georgia Southern…School record 3,932 total yards…1,057 rushing yards in ’05 is most by any QB in a single season in Bobcat history (as well as his 13 rushing TDs). What…a…season.
Bill: Barrick’s ’05 was a season for the ages, but let’s not forget how Bradley George made this a tougher decision than we initially thought. Look up the numbers and you’ll see that Bradley’s passing numbers were better than Barrick’s, and he too led the Bobcats to the FCS playoffs, almost twice. Spergon Wynn was the Southland Newcomer of the Year in 1998 and, despite just two seasons in maroon and gold, his 3497 passing yards and 24 TD throws are each the sixth most in a Bobcat career. There’s a reason he got drafted by the Browns in the 6th round of the 2000 NFL Draft.
Claude Mathis (’94 – ’97)
Donald Wilkerson (’93 –’94)
Honorable Mention: Karrington Bush, Reggie Rivers, Lee Davis
Bill: Where to start when talking about Claude? If you let me, I could spend the next 1,000 words on the guy. Four-time All SLC selection - one of just five ever to be so honored in SLC history. Southland's Player of the Year in '96 and '97 - the only SLC player in history to be honored twice. Ended his career with the SLC's top two single game rushing records, top two single season rushing records, and the league's career rushing record with 4,691 yards. He reached the endzone 49 times, 17 of them in 1996!
Brant: The only thing I’m disappointed in when it comes to Claude is I personally didn’t get to see him play. The gap between him and 2nd place in the rushing record books at Texas State is insane. And those two single game rushing records you speak of? In the history of Bobcat football, there have only been two 300 yard rushing games, both belonging to Mathis (310 vs. SFA in ’96, 308 vs. Jacksonville State in ’97). Barrick may have had the best single season ever but Claude’s career is probably the best of any Bobcat in the Southland years and probably ever.
Bill: Speaking of single seasons, Donald Wilkerson’s ‘94: Named to three All American teams by rushing for an, at the time, SLC single season record 1,569 yards. Was First Team All SLC and Offensive Player of the Year in ’94. His 107.1 rushing yards per game in his career are the most ever by a Bobcat.
Blake Burton (‘05-‘08)
Bill: Two time All-SLC pick was a freight train as a lead blocker and could also catch the ball out of the backfield (30 career receptions). Remember his TD grab and run at A&M in 2005? (1:04 into the clip)
Brant: Another position that hasn’t had a lot of “greats” outside of Burton who was one of the few players to be on both of Texas State’s SLC title teams. He was no doubt the best fullback for the Bobcats I’ve ever seen.
Cory Elolf (’03 – ’05)
Honorable Mention: Chris MacDonald, Paul Alsbury
Brant: The ‘Cats have had some pretty good punters during the SLC years, but the curly haired kid from Judson was the best. 1st team All-SLC in 2003, 2004 and 2005 earning 1st team FCS All-American honors in ’04 and is 2nd in school history in average yards per punt (41.9).
Bill: Don’t forget, only one other Bobcat player had been named 1st team All-SLC three years in a row other than Elolf (Claude got the honor four times). Who could forget Elolf’s school record 86-yard punt vs. McNeese in ’03? Alsbury went onto the NFL and MacDonald was REALLY good in another tough call.
Brant: No doubt, and there will be more tough decisions to be made for the All-Southland Bobcat Defense coming up in the next blog a few days from now so let the debate continue! By the way, would this offense even need a punter?
Eat ‘Em Up!
- Brant & Bill (Questions or comments? Shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com)