HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats took full advantage of the NCAA’s first-ever early signing day on Wednesday, as head coach K.C. Keeler announced the signing of four players to National Letters of Intent.
The Bearkats welcomed three Texas high school prepsters into the fold, along with junior college quarterback Mike Dare who will have two years of eligibility remaining after playing the 2017 season at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa.
“With us having the opportunity to play deep into the playoffs, it eliminated our opportunities to get on the road after the regular season was over,” Keeler said. “Still, we are extremely excited about the four guys we were able to sign today and about the commits we still have who will be making official visits next month.”
Along with Dare, Sam Houston also added a pair of skilled running backs in Alex Williams (Pasadena, Texas / Memorial HS) and Donovan Williams (Paris, Texas / Paris HS) to add to one of the deepest group of skill position players in the FCS. The Kats also brought in Immanuel Sutton (Fort Worth, Texas / Keller Fossil Ridge HS), a hard-hitting safety with great range, to help shore up the defensive ranks.
“We signed two high school running backs, which was a big concern of ours after graduating three guys at that position this year,” Keeler said. “Each of those guys will have the chance to come in and compete immediately, as will Mike (Dare). With him and the other two quarterback signees from last year’s class – Ty Brock and Eric Schmid – we feel really good about who we have at that spot going into next year.”
2017 SHSU Football Early Signees
Mike Dare • QB • 6-6 • 225 lbs
Elmwood, N.J. • Elmwood Park Memorial HS • Lackawanna College • Rutgers
Lackawanna College / Rutgers
Transferred to Lackawanna College after spending his true and redshirt freshman seasons at Rutgers … completed 124 of 215 passes for 1,970 yards and 15 TD while also rushing for three scores in 2017 … finished with a 150.2 efficiency rating for the year … was listed as the No. 7 Junior College quarterback in the country by GridironRR.com … did not see any action during the 2016 season at Rutgers after redshirting in 2015.
Prior to Rutgers
Coached by Tom Mulligan at Elmwood Park … four-year varsity starter at quarterback … totaled 7,826 passing yards and 107 passing touchdowns over four seasons in high school … a first team all-Colonial Conference selection and NJ.com second team all-Group pick as a senior … also named all-Bergen County first team in a vote of coaches … threw for 2,160 yards and 26 touchdowns in final scholastic season … led team to berth in the NJSIAA North I, Group II playoff for the third consecutive year to cap career … team went 7-3 … completed passes at a 61.2 percent clip (126-of-206) as a junior for 1,834 yards and 19 passing touchdowns as a junior … had two games with at least 300 yards passing … had one of the top passing performances in the state as a sophomore with 380 yards vs Rutherford in 2012 … a consensus three-star recruit … rated No. 12 player in New Jersey by Rivals and No. 18 pro-style quarterback nationally … ranked No. 19 player in the state by ESPN.com and No. 30 by Scout … part of NJ.com Top 50 … also played youth baseball and high school baseball
Keeler on Dare
“Mike is a special talent and should immediately add competition to our quarterback group. He is a pro-style guy who can also be used in the run game, and he is as polished of a quarterback as I’ve ever recruited. Mike has a strong arm, quick release and great leadership skills. Those are all things that helped him land some Big 12 offers as well, but he loved the fit here, as well as the offense and the chance to throw to two returning first team all-America wide receivers next year.”
Alex Williams • RB • 5-11 • 185 lbs
Pasadena, Texas • Memorial HS
A three-star recruit who rushed for 3,242 yards and 42 touchdowns in his high school career … also had a dozen receptions for 175 yards and six scores … was named the District 22-6A MVP in 2017 and had a game in which he scored seven touchdowns, including five on the ground, in a season-opening win over Aldine … led Mavs to state playoffs each of last two seasons … also named 2016 District 22-6A Offensive Player of the Year … averaged 8.4 yards per carry as a junior … racked up 1,408 yards rushing and 11 TDs in 2016 … also earned academic all-district honors and the leadership award at Memorial HS … played sophomore season at West-Orange Stark HS … also a standout in track, posting 21-1 in the long jump and running a 10.6 100-meter dash.
Keeler on Alex Williams
“Alex is an electric player that we can use both in the backfield or in the slot. He has amazing versatility and could also be used to help our return game. We saw him in camp and he runs a legit 4.4 40-yard dash, and he just continues to add to the amazing depth of speed and athleticism we have on the offensive side of the ball.”
Donovan Williams • RB • 6-0 • 185 lbs
Paris, Texas • Paris HS
A three-star recruit who rushed for over 4,000 yards and 47 touchdowns, while also catching 266 yards worth of receptions in his high school career … 2017 District 7-4A Offensive MVP … first team all-state … led PHS to state playoffs for second straight year in 2017 … Rushed for 1,491 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior … averaged 6.0 yards per carry … had eight games with at least 100 yards rushing, including a pair of 200-yard games … also had eight catches for 107 yards and a touchdown … led PHS to 2016 district championship … rushed for 1,637 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior … also caught a pair of touchdowns … 2016 all-Red River Valley … 2016 district co-Offensive MVP … honorable mention all-state selection … also a standout in track, posting a 10.8 100-meter dash.
Keeler on Donovan Williams
“Donovan is bigger than Alex and is more of a true running back. He is a very good in-the-box, physical runner with the opportunity to break big plays with 4.5 speed in the 40, but he can still come out of the backfield and use his hands very well.”
Immanuel Sutton • S • 6-1 • 175 lbs
Fort Worth, Texas • Keller Fossil Ridge HS
Two-time first team all-District 3-6A as a safety, including a unanimous choice as a senior in 2017 … lettered three years on varsity … averaged 7.2 tackles per game for his career … had 96 tackles, two interceptions, four TFLs, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a junior … also had 37 tackles, two pass breakups and two TFLs as a sophomore ... also runs track and has been clocked with a 4.49 40-yard dash … brother, Roy, will be a senior linebacker at Central Arkansas in 2018.
Keeler on Sutton
“Immanuel is a versatile safety that can run, hit and play man-to-man. Those are all of the things we try to ask out of our safeties. He is a very willing tackler in the box and does a great job in run-fit situations as well. He also has a great frame to work with and he will only get stronger as he gets into our program and continues to grow.”