Those mercurial properties last year probably justify other SWJCFC coaches to pick Chuck Lawrence's squad to finish anywhere between second and sixth in the 2006 race.
Where do they fit? Possibly very high -- and that could create a lot of lows elsewhere throughout the SWJCFC.
Lawrence, offensive coordinator Jeff Kilts and defensive coordinator Ray Woodard have had one full year together to implement their gameplan and better learn their personnel. Woodard, as recruiting coordiantor, strung together what Lawrence considers the best freshman class Navarro has signed during his tenure, and arguably, one of the SWJCFC's very best on paper. The Bulldogs return a wealth of experience in offensive skill positions, and also in an all-sophomore secondary where four potential D-I prospects patrol. They've also got speed in the defensive front seven, but talent and depth must gel. They've marketed new landmarks on their growing campus, as well as a new state-of-the-art homefield stadium that seats 10,500.
Piece it all together early, and Navarro's Bulldogs have the potential to transform all the questions into exclamatory answers.
Team-leading rushers from 2004 (Corsicana redshirt Clarence Robinson) and 2005 (Cedar Park's Ruppert Edwards) head the ground attack, but Tyler Lee sophomore Tyrone Ross is recovering from knee surgery and likely will sit out the season. Nevertheless, Spring freshman Ricky Hammond expects substantial playing time. All-conference receivers Curtis Mayfield and Jon Bauer rank 2-3 among returning SWJCFC passcatchers, but also count on freshmen like Jacksonville's Aaron Whitaker, Marlin's Benny Jones and University of Houston signee Marquis Lowe of Hitchcock to make big contributions.
Experience at offensive guard returns in the forms of defensive-tackle transplants Sosia Uhila and William Collins, and expect on some big interior battles among freshmen Chris Stewart and John Villareal at center, Fred Gaines and Robert Sagato at guard, and Louis Reed, Josh Duvall, Broderick Monroe, Robert Terry and Michael Mossmeyer at tackles.
Sophomore Jamal Pettiford likely will redshirt the 2006 campaign after spring surgery on a torn labrum, so freshman quarterback candidates Jeremy Sanders, Lucious Henderson, Adam Torrez and Jarrett Beal must develop quickly and emerge into a leadership role.
NC's 4-2-5 defensive strength is in the secondary with preseason All-America safety candidates Patrick Resby and Eric Robinson, cornerback Dustin Calhoun (5 interceptions), and team-leading tackler Ray Sims at rover. Adding to that strength are Teo Freeny, Leroy 'Spud' Thompson, Eric Harrison, Brandon Onu and Quinn Wright.
The defensive line returns only two lettermen in tackles John Olie and Willie Fitzgerald, so freshman talents Robert Taylor, Donald Booker, Appollos Daily, Sharod Basey, Mark Taylor, Broderick Davis and Gerald Harris must be ready for work in the rotation.
Here's a thumbnail preview of the 2006 Navarro Bulldogs, picked by SWJCFC coaches to finish in a fifth-place tie:
TEAM: Navarro Bulldogs
COLORS: Red and White
HOME FIELD: Corsicana ISD Tiger Stadium (10,500)
HEAD COACH: Chuck Lawrence (9th Year)
ASSISTANT COACHES: Jeff Kilts (OC / OL); Ray Woodard (DC /LB / RC); Andy Garza (RB); Corey Robinson (QB / WR); Will Cook (DL).
2005 SEASON RECORD: 4-5
2005 CONFERENCE RECORD: 2-4
POSITION IN STANDINGS: Tied for 5th
BOWL GAMES: None
NJCAA 2005 FINAL RANKING: None
MOVING ON: Damon Hurst (LB, SMU); Joe Holmes (C-G, SMU); Matt Pratt (PK, New Mexico State); Chris Johnson (QB-TE-H, Abilene Christian); Corey Struggs (NG, Abilene Christian); Will Clewis (LB, Central Oklahoma); Quanton Ware (CB, Central Oklahoma); Cornelius Burks (DB, Northeastern State Oklahoma); Andrew Cobbs (DB, Northeastern State Oklahoma); Stephen Collins (OL, East Central)
BASIC OFFENSE: Pro
BASIC DEFENSE: Multiple 4-2-5
RETURNING: Ray Sims (6-0, 200, SS, Corsicana); Jamaal Pettiford (6-1, 190, QB, Humble); Jon Bauer (5-9, 175, WR-KR, Corsicana); Curtis Mayfield (5-11, 165, WR, North Garland); Ruppert Edwards (5-11, 190, RB, Cedar Park); Tyrone Ross (5-8, 180, RB, Tyler Lee); Dustin Calhoun (5-11, 180, CB, A&M Consolidated); Rondal Wilson (6-1, 210, LB, Harleton); Josh Tackett (5-10, 230, DS, Corsicana); Patrick Resby (6-2, 190, S, Forest Brook); John Olie (6-2, 320, DT, Hurst L.D. Bell); Brannon Watson (6-4, 175, WR, Corsicana); Sosia Uhila (6-4, 330, DT-OG, Arlington Bowie); Clarence Robinson (5-11, 230, RB, Corsicana);
NJCAA PRE-SEASON ALL-AMERICANS: Clarence Robinson (RB); Jon Bauer (WR); Sosia Uhila (OL); John Olie (DT); Patrick Resby (DB); Eric Robinson (DB) -- All Honorable Mentions
TOP TRANSFER: Jarrett Beal (6-1, 180, QB, Duncanville)
TOP FRESHMAN SIGNEES: Andre Banks (6-4, 175, WR, Austin McCallum); Sharod Basey (6-1, 265, DE, Waco University); Donald Booker (6-0, 215, LB, Klein Forest); Jermaine Collins (6-0, 200, LB, Houston Madison); Fred Cumby (6-3, 195, WR, Kerens); Apollos Daily (6-2, 250, DE, A&M Consolidated); Kevin Diles (5-8, 175, CB, Marlin); Josh Duvall (6-3, 320, OT, Brookshire-Royal); Kenny Evans (5-9, 165, WR, Marlin); Tedero 'Teo' Freeney (6-0, 175, CB, Tatum); Fred Gaines (6-3, 320, G, Galena Park North Shore); Ricky Hammond (6-0, 180, RB, Spring); Eric Harrison (5-9, 175, CB, Galena Park North Shore); Lucious Henderson (6-0, 165, QB, Austin McCallum); Kareem Jackson (5-10, 175, WR, Spring); Jimmy Jefferson (5-10, 180, S, Groesbeck); Benny Jones (6-2, 160, WR, Marlin); A.J. Lane (5-11, 180, P,. Corsicana); Marquis Lowe (5-9, 170, RB-WR, Hitchcock); Johnny Matusik (6-1, 175, WR-DS, Plano); Josh McCullar (5-11, 185, CB-S, Grand Prairie); Chris Mitchell (6-1, 220, LB, Lancaster); Broderick Monroe (6-2, 295, South Grand Prairie); Jason Russell (6-0, 220, LB, Kerens); Jeremy Sanders (6-2, 195, QB, Marlin); Brian Sheffield (6-1, 220, PK, Plano); Chris Stewart (6-2, 280, C, Klein Forest); Mark Taylor (6-2, 260, DL, Austin McCallum); Robert Taylor (6-2, 225, DE, Lufkin); Mark Terry (6-4, 320, OL, Irving Nimitz); Jonathon 'Jazz' Thomas (5-10, 180, S, Marlin); Leroy ‘Spud' Thompson (5-10, 170, CB, A&M Consolidated); Aaron Whitaker (6-3, 200, WR, Jacksonville); Kevin Whitaker (6-3, 230, Clear Brook); Quinn Wright (6-1, 185, S, Sweeny); John Villarreal (6-0, 270, C, San Antonio Madison); Robert Sagato (6-3, 295, Fagaitua High School, American Samoa); Lewis Reed (6-7, 305, OT, Bridgeport); Michael Mossmeyer (6-4, 295, OT, Ingleside); Adam Torrez (6-3, 180, QB, Farmersville); Brandon Onu (6-1, 215, S, Lewisville Hebron); Gerald Harris (6-5, 265, DE, Terrell); Broderick Davis (6-2, 230, DL, Clear Brook); Frank Benavides (6-0, 220, LB, Waxahachie); Chaz Walker (DS, San Antonio Antonian); Chad McIntosh (5-11, 195, PK, South Grand Prairie); Spenser Daniel (6-2, 175, PK, Sulphur Springs); Blaine Christopher (6-2, 190, PK, Waxahachie).
DATE OPPONENT TIME
August 19 -- Scrimmage: at Kilgore TBA
August 26 -- v. Fort Scott CC at Ennis 7 p.m.
September 2 -- v. Georgia Military College at Ennis 1 p.m.
September 9 -- at New Mexico Military Institute 7 p.m. MST
September 16 -- Kilgore * 7 p.m.
September 23 -- at Tyler * 7 p.m.
September 30 -- Trinity Valley * 7 p.m.
October 7 -- at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M * 3 p.m.
October 14 -- Cisco * + 3 p.m.
October 21 -- Open Date
October 28 -- at Blinn * 3 p.m.
* Denotes SWJCFC Games