On Friday, March 2, he began spring training as Tyler's new head football coach.
Palmer commandeered the podium Thursday at SWJCFC Media Day and then delivered his own history lesson, naming specific players, teams and games from the old Texas Junior College Football Federation, and later, the Texas Junior College Football Conference.
"I grew up really lucky to be around this conference," the 57-year-old Tyler native said. "I got to recruit the conference, I got to watch it when I was a kid. I'm very fortunate that (athletic director) Tim Drain and Dr. (William) Crowe have allowed me to be the head coach in my hometown."
Palmer coached Division I football for eight years as an assistant at The University of Houston and recruited East Texas nine years. During that span, he signed 27 players from the SWJCFC. Texas high school head coaching assignments -- from Texarkana Texas High to Waco to Pampa to Bonham and to Houston Chavez -- spanned 17 years and created more connections.
Now, he knows he must get an Apache program fast-tracked on a playoff course after a two-year absence. TJC, replacing six offensive and six defensive starters, was voted to finish fifth by SWJCFC media this year and seventh by conference coaches.
TJC, with a 5-4 record last year, led the conference in total offense behind SWJCFC Player of the Year and Offensive MVP John David Weed, but allowed the most rushing yards and ranked last overall defensively.
"Our season is going to probably depend on how well our quarterback (redshirt freshman Steven Schwark of Mesquite Horn) plays," he said. "He's got good size, good speed; a strong guy."
The loss of All-American receiver Johnny Knox will be felt, but returning starter Michael Ridge gives TJC experienced hands, with great potential in freshmen Alonzo Adams of Houston Westside, Desmond Marrs of Jersey Village and Jimmy Kennedy of Whitehouse. TJC had hoped another returner Justin Robertson (22-282-2) would make an impact, but apparently he's no longer on the team.
Adams, the second-leading receiver in the Houston area with 71-1,286-10, was a finalist for the Houston Touchdown Club's Offensive Player of the Year. The All-Greater Houston receiver played in the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game. The 6-2, 185-pound Marrs caught 59 passes in two varsity seasons for Jersey Village. Kennedy, a dual-purpose threat, rushed 153-810-7 and caught a team-high 22 passes at Whitehouse last season.
Tyler tried a number of running backs last year, but finally found success when it removed the redshirt from Italy's Jeremy Brown. He responded by gaining more than 300 yards in his final two games. Kieodrick 'KeKe' Gant and 6-1, 215-pound Houston Sterling freshman Ira Duckworth also figure to get work.
An offensive line with returning all-SWJCFC performers Ryan Roget and Drew Chasney is one of the strongest positions for the Apaches. Redshirt freshman Ryan Riggins and Jessie Green will get opportunities to replace departed all-conference tackle Kevaughn Brown.
Palmer will run a 4-2-5 defense with an emphasis on speed and athleticism and creating turnovers.
Sophomore Cammeron Hackney (Jacksonville) and Broderick Marshall (Austin McCallum) form an experienced interior tackle tandem, while freshmen Ed Iglehart (Spring Westfield) and Jabari Williams (Fort Myers, Fla.) may get consideration on the end slots.
The linebacking corps features returning starter Josh Zamora, converted first-team all-SWJCFC fullback Kyle Roget, plus redshirts Cordero Mumphrey and Ricky Poe.
Even with the loss of cornerback Anquanius Frazier, the Apaches are confident in their secondary personnel. Returning starter Charlie Glenn of Seagoville heads the cast with redshirt freshman Jason Teague and Baylor transfer Calvin Reubles vying for the other corner. TJC also signed Jersey Village's Jacolby Reed, Longview's Chris Lacey and Spring Westfield's Tommy Gates.
Punter George Pierson and placekicker Jake King again provide TJC a solid kicking game.
HEAD COACH: Danny Palmer (1st Year)
ASSISTANT COACHES: Ryan Mahon (QB); George Cumby (OL), Stephen Cucci (DL), Jason Lumpkin (DB),
2006 SEASON RECORD: 5-4
2006 SWJCFC RECORD: 2-4
POSITION IN STANDINGS: Three-way tie for 5th
2006 BOWL APPEARANCE: None
KEY SOPHOMORES: WR Michael Ridge, WR Anthony Swain, RB Jeremy Brown, QB Ryan Crouch, LB Josh Zamora, DB Curtis Sanders, P George Pierson, DB Charlie Glenn, DS Justin Urquiga, DB Jerrod Lewis, LB K.P. Tatum, PK Jake King, LB Kyle Roget, OL Ryan Roget, OL Drew Chasney, DB Zentez Eleby, OL Daniel Seahorn, WR Justin Robertson, TE Nick Peoples, TE Chris Koehler, WR Wayne Lee, HB Cammeron Hackney, DL Broderick Marshall.
FRESHMAN RECRUITS: Aaron Bargas (6-2, 190, QB, Houston Chavez); Justin Bell (6-1, 195, WR, Houston Chavez); Devin Brown (6-2, 220, RB, Houston Chavez); Erik Martin (6-4, 190, WR, Houston Chavez); Jackie Coleman (5-11, 175, DB, Malakoff); DeMarcus Cummings (6-3, 245, Ath., Euless Trinity); Chris Davis (5-9, 230, RB, Troup); Jarel Hasley (6-0, 175, HB, Troup); Nick Harrison (6-2, 180, Ath., Troup); Jeremy Gunnells (6-4, 290, DL, South Garland); Torian Rogers (5-10, 210, HB, Kilgore); Dijon Tillman (6-5, 230, TE, Deer Park); Lance Shepard (6-3, 195, Ath., Houston Sterling); Ira Duckworth (6-4, 225, RB, Houston Sterling); Kenneth Charles (6-3, 240, DL, Fort Bend Hightower); John Flanagan (6-1, 230, OL, Tyler Lee); Alonzo Adams (6-0, 190, WR, Houston Westside); Marcus James (6-4, 250, DL, Houston Lamar); Caleb Amis (6-3, 175, Ath., Cleburne); Lawrence Minor (6-3, 220, Ath., Houston Westbury); Derrick Zapata (6-5, 290, OL, Houston Westbury); Tommy Gates (5-10, 190, LB, Spring Westfield); Ed Iglehart (6-3, 230, DL, Spring Westfield); Jacory McGhee (6-2, 190, WR, Spring Westfield); Josh Williams (6-1, 250, DL, Spring Westfield); Michael Cook (6-1, 215, QB, Eustace); Gordon Booker (6-1, 290, OL, Longview); Antijuan Guinn (6-1, 220, LB, Longview); Demarcus Miles (6-0, 175, Ath., Longview); Chris Lacey (5-9, 170, DB, Longview); Jimmy Kennedy (5-9, 175, WR, Whitehouse); Oran Lewis (6-0, 290, OL, Brownsboro); Isiah Pettigrew (5-9, 160, Ath., John Tyler); Julian Willis (6-2, 190, Ath., Alto); Brandon Cleveland (5-10, 180, Ath., Big Sandy); Bryan Cleveland (5-10, 180, Ath., Big Sandy); Frederick Suell (6-1, 215, LB, Lufkin); Mike Hunter (5-11, 170, DB, Chapel Hill); Randall Murphy (6-1, 275, DL, Lufkin); Joe Jackson (6-0, 185, DB, Lufkin); Isiah Yandell (6-5, 290, DL, Euless Trinity); Adriash Jackson (5-10, 190, Ath., Houston Madison); Courtney Johnson (5-10, 175, Ath., Houston Madison); Donald Moore (6-0, 270, Ath., Houston Madison); Corey Taylor (6-1, 185, Ath., Houston Madison); Jacolby Reed (6-1, 190, DB, Jersey Village); Ervin Jefferson (6-2, 180, Ath., Houston Furr); Atarhe Clark (6-3, 270, OL, Houston Sharpstown); Rodrick Brown (6-1, 225, DE, Tyler Lee); Ryan Jinright (6-2, 250, OL, Tyler T.K. Gorman): Nathan Smith (RB, Fort Worth Saginaw Boswell)
KEY TRANSFERS: Calvin Reubles (6-2, 205, DB, Richardson Berkner / Tr-Baylor)
2006 APACHES SCHEDULE
Date, Opponent, Time
Aug 25 - Hutchinson CC, Ks., 7 p.m.
Sept 1 - Kilgore, 7 p.m.
Sept 8 - OPEN
Sept 15 - Cisco*, 7 p.m.
Sept 22 - at Navarro *, 7 p.m.
Sept 29 - Blinn *, 3 p.m.
Oct 6 - at Kilgore *, 3 p.m.
Oct 13 - Arkansas Baptist College, 3 p.m.
Oct 19 - Trinity Valley *, 3 p.m.
Oct 27 - at NE Oklahoma A&M*, 2 p.m.