2002 Texas / SWJCFC Media Day Summary

BEDFORD, Texas — Tyler was the favorite to win the Southwest Junior College Football Conference in a poll of league coaches released on Thursday at the annual SWJCFC Media Day.

Tyler received three first place votes from the other conference coaches. Kilgore, which finished 12-0 last season and downed Tyler in the Red River Bowl, was picked second by league coaches, followed by Navarro, Northeastern Oklahoma, Trinity Valley, Blinn and Cisco. Kilgore picked up two first-place votes and Trinity Valley earned one.

Here's a brief synopsis of what the league coaches said about their teams:

TYLER — Coach Dale Carr has one of the top offensive linemen in the country returning in 6-4, 340-pound tackle Michael Erokwu. "He's really something special," Carr said. "There's no one bigger and no one meaner on our team. I wish I had four more like him."

The Apaches also have a fine receiving corps, which will feature 6-1, 200-pound Paris Hamilton. The defensive backfield will be led by 6-1, 185-pound cornerback, Nino Williams, who is getting lots of D1 attention.

KILGORE — The Rangers lost 34 sophomores from their undefeated team, including their entire linebacking corps (Demorrio Williams to Nebraska) and most of their offensive firepower.

"We still feel like we're going to have a real good team, but a lot depends on how quickly our freshmen grow up," said Coach Jimmy Rieves.

Kilgore has one of the top tight ends in the country returning in 6-5, 245-pound Kevin Everitt, an All-American in 2001. He is being pursued by the Miami Hurricanes.

NAVARRO — The Bulldogs came on strong in recruiting in the last three weeks, inking two of Texas' top 15 recruits. Receiver Broderic Jones caught 96 passes (30 TDs) for state champion Ennis last year. He originally signed with West Virginia. The other top recruit is 6-4, 270-pound defensive tackle Earl Anderson, a TCU signee.

Navarro averaged nearly 30 points per game last season, but its defense was often lacking. Seven returning starters could resolve those ills. One of those returnees is 6-7, 275-pound defensive end Michael Montgomery, who is being courted by several high Division I teams.

"We proved the last few years we could move the ball and score points, but our defense has been lacking," said Coach Chuck Lawrence. "That is going to be the key to how well we do this season."

NEO — The Golden Norsemen will be buoyed this season with much depth on the offensive and defensive fronts. However, NEO does not have a quarterback who has thrown a college pass and lost its entire backfield.

"Going into the preseason, the area I feel the best about is our offensive line because we have so much depth at each position," said Coach Dale Patterson.

"We don't have a whole lot of time to do our teaching because we only have 10 days before we open with Coffeyville, whereas they will have been working for 21 days."

One player to keep an eye on is 6-7, 245-pound, Willie Roberts, who was a SuperPrep All-American in high school. The Miami Hurricanes have the lead on Roberts.

TRINITY VALLEY — The Cardinals have nine starters back on offense and defense. Offensively, TVCC has running back Jarrod Manoy (852 yards, 8 TDs) and receiver Drew Coleman (5-8, 200) as its stalwarts.

"We have a really solid foundation set," said third-year coach Chuck Langston. "We have a lot of a tradition and a lot of wins. I look at myself and I haven't accomplished much yet. But the kids have responded well during the offseason and I believe we're going to have a good season."

BLINN — New Coach Scott Maxfield has Blinn turning to the air this season. His Pearl River (Miss.) team led the NJCAA with 460.5 yards per game last season, including 316 through the air.

"One of the reasons I took this job is because I firmly believe that Blinn has the chance to win a national championship year in and out," Maxfield said. "There are only about four junior colleges in the country that can stake that claim."

Maxfield has little veteran leadership to bank on in 2002. Only three players on defense and one on defense played much last season.

Quarterback Eric Hafner is back, but look for Jordan Armsey of West Palm Beach, Fla. to have a major impact in Blinn's air attack.

CISCO — Veteran Wrangler coach Kurt Nichols is ready for Cisco to get a break after three wins in two years.

"I've been coaching my rear end off the last two years; I need some luck to happen to me,"  Nichols said.

The Wranglers received a break when John Rogers joined the team in the spring after two years in the Atlanta Braves organization. The former high school quarterback who handed the ball off to Texas star Cedric Benson, Rogers has a Division 1 arm, according to Nichols. Rogers will have a fine receiver to throw to in 6-4 Brian Fry, who was one of the conference leaders in catches in 2001 despite playing only five games due to injury.


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