orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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February 6, 2013

School-record six Stangs sign on dotted line

WEST ORANGE — There’s no doubt about it, national recruiters were certainly busy in “Shutout City” for National Signing Day Wednesday.

Six standout West Orange-Stark Mustangs signed on the dotted line Wednesday at the WO-S Fieldhouse, the most ever signings the school has ever had on National Signing Day.

All six players were key cogs for a Mustang defense that recorded a school-record nine shutouts that helped WO-S (13-1) reach the Class 3A Region III Division II Finals.

The Mustangs only allowed 145.6 yards a game and just 80 points through a 14-game campaign.

The Mustangs that signed Wednesday included safety Travon Blanchard, who will head to Waco to play for Baylor; Defensive back/receiver J’Marcus Rhodes, who inked with Southern Methodist University and will remain a Mustang; Defensive back/return man Quinton Tezeno, who signed with the University of Texas-El Paso; Defensive end Colin Janice, who inked with Arkansas State; and the dynamic linebacker combination of Joe Lynch and Daniel Woodson, who will both attend Kilgore Junior College.

“We couldn’t be prouder of the kids,” said Mustang head coach Cornel Thompson. “Those guys have worked hard to reach this point. Four of them have been three-year starters for us and the other two have started two. We’ve had a lot of fine young men sign over the years but this is awesome, it’s the most we’ve ever had.”

All six players received First Team All-District 21-3A honors.

“This is definitely one of my highlights of the year sitting behind this desk,” said Thompson. “It’s always fun to talk to all of the college head coaches and recruiters and you get to say so many positive things about your kids.”

Blanchard posted 70 tackles for the year, had four tackles for losses, two and a half sacks, three caused fumbles and a fumble recovery as he’ll move on to play for Art Briles and the Bears.

Rhodes was a tremendous two-way starter.

At receiver, Rhodes hauled in 52 receptions for 846 yards and 13 touchdowns.  At defensive back, he made 39 stops and tied for the team lead with six interceptions as he will look to help head coach June Jones and SMU continue to head in the right direction.

Tezeno made 35 tackles and had five interceptions and showed plenty of skills at returning kicks. He will join former WO-S teammate DeCarlos Renfro when he heads to UTEP and the Miners.

Janice will look to make the same impact at Arkansas State as he did with the Mustangs. Janice notched 119 tackles, had nine tackles for losses, caused two fumbles, recovered three fumbles and posted nine and a half sacks.

Lynch and Woodson were literally “Beasts” at linebacker for the last three years. Woodson was the 21-3A Defensive MVP in 2011 and Lynch earned that honor in 2012 so Kilgore will be receiving quite the 1-2 punch.

Lynch led the Mustangs with 152 tackles. He also had a team-high 16 tackles for losses, two caused fumbles, a fumble recovery, five sacks and a interception.

Woodson posted 117 tackles, 10 of them for losses. He also had two interceptions and had a fumble recovery.

All of the players will have excellent memories wearing the Mustang uniform but the next level should be full of excitement as well.

“I told each one of them that they’ll be proud Mustangs forever,” said Thompson. “However, I also told them that this is the start of a new beginning and that they will be in the back of the pecking order when they get to college and that they will have to prove themselves all over again. That’s means working their tails off and staying in shape in our offseason program. I wish them all well, college days can be the best days of your life and it’s also a great opportunity to improve your life. It’s a golden opportunity, for sure.”

Little Cypress-Mauriceville had a signee as well that represented Orange County.

Offensive lineman/defensive lineman Tyler Howlett will play for Texas Lutheran.

Howlett dominated the trenches for head coach Randy Crouch, making All-District 20-4A on both sides of the ball.

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