Two years ago, Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione and his coaching staff battled a short time frame and a freak power outage in order to sign their first recruiting class. Franchione only had 12 days to recruit after taking over in January and raced around town to find a working fax machine on the first Wednesday in February.
Last year — with a few more days, no electricity woes and a stadium blueprint at his side — Franchione delivered the Bobcats one of the best signing classes in program history.
And what happens when Franchione had the same amount of time, a completely-renovated stadium and a permanent home in the Football Bowl Subdivision? Texas State realizes that its future is pretty bright.
Franchione announced the signing of 23 athletes Wednesday morning on National Signing Day. Fourteen of those future Bobcats are Texans, including Hays lineman Will Trevillion.
“Today was the kind of day where we took another big step in the process with the signing of this class,” Franchione said. “I really feel as if this is the best class we’ve signed.
“This was really our first year to have a complete FBS presence. We weren’t selling vision and blue sky to recruits. We were selling the here and now.”
Other people liked Texas State’s recruiting class as well, as it ranked as high as 60th nationally (ESPN). According to Rivals, the Bobcats tied Louisiana-Lafayette for the best haul in the Sun Belt Conference.
“I don’t pay much attention to rankings — in fact, I pay almost zero attention to them — unless people tell me about them,” Franchione said. “People have been telling me about them the last 48 hours or so. Some of them like our class and got ranked reasonably high and that’s a nice perk.”
Texas State’s class was buoyed by the addition of eight, 3-star recruits. Three of those standouts are defensive backs (transfers Trey Garrett and Brandon Jones, Oak Ridge’s Germond Williams), two are wide receivers (Stephenville’s Brice Gunter and La Marque’s Demun Mercer) and two are heavily-recruited running backs (transfer C.J. Best and Cinco Ranch’s Jamel James).
Perhaps one of the better recruits in the Bobcats’ signing class was that of Stephenville quarterback Tyler Jones. Without prompt, Franchione said the 2012 Class 3A state champion could compete for a starting job right away.
“I don’t want to put the pressure on him, but there aren’t many freshman quarterbacks that you say that could come in and make a difference as a true freshman,” Franchione said. “I think Tyler can. It will be interesting to see how he does.”
Texas State also bolstered the defensive backfield and the tight-end position. The Bobcats signed seven defensive backs (four JUCO athletes) and four tight ends (three JUCOs, including 6-foot-7, 255-pound monster Lawrence White).
In total, Texas State inked 10 JUCO athletes to help immediately with its transition to the Sun Belt.
“I’d like for us to get to a point where it’s more 75-80 percent high school,” Franchione said. “I feel right now, with us needing to fill needs to be as competitive as possible — as soon as possible — in the Sun Belt, we needed to do this.”
• For bios of the 2013 Bobcat signing class, check out Tyler Mayforth’s blog at www.texasstatesports.com