Javelinas pull players from area for '13 class
By BY WILL BROWN - WBROWN@VICAD.COM
Feb. 6, 2013 at 9:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 5, 2013 at 8:06 p.m.
When Jake Wallace woke up Wednesday morning, he "prayed a bunch."
The 17-year-old was going to make a decision that would impact the rest of his life, in front of a couple hundred of his closest friends. Wallace was so anxious to sign a national letter of intent to Texas A&M-Kingsville that he practiced his signature a few times before finally putting pen to paper just before noon.
"I'm just honored that I get this chance to be one of the few people who get to play college football," said Wallace, an offensive tackle from Victoria West. "I can't believe it's here. The years went by so fast. I never thought I would get to this point."
His parents, Cody and Patricia, certainly can.
When Wallace was 7 years old, he played football for the first time. Since then, he has not had too many other hobbies.
"He fell in love with football and that has pretty much been his life," Cody Wallace said. "He's not interested in much but football. That's what he does. Jake is a hard-worker and a go-getter. If he has something in his mind that he wants to do he's going to go do it."
Wallace's mother Patricia said her oldest son's priorities are God, grades, football and family. She and Cody laughed at the order, a laugh that was indicative of just how serious Jake takes that chronology.
Wallace, who said he plans to study wildlife management, thanked his parents, Victoria West coach Leonard McAngus and God for helping him meet his dreams.
"He deserves every bit of this and I think his football future is very bright," Patricia said.
A standing room only crowd filled the Victoria West gym to watch Wallace. McAngus said it was the first time in the three-year history of the school a Warriors football player faxed a National Letter of Intent on National Signing Day.
When the crowd dispersed Wallace and McAngus stood over a fax machine a the trainer's office ensuring everything made its way to Kingsville. At approximately 12:20 the process was complete.
Refugio running back Draigon Silvas still has to wait a day to become the newest Javelina.
A storm knocked out power in Refugio, meaning his National Letter of Intent could not be faxed on time. Bobcats coach Jason Herring told the Advocate things will be ironed out Thursday and the man who had 4,247 rushing yards and accounted for 86 offensive touchdowns in his career will play college football.
"It feels good," Silvas said. "I'm going to go to the next level and I'm going to go get an education."
Wallace and Silvas were among six Crossroads athletes who will attend the Division II school next year. Cuero's Caleb Harvey and Hudson Haas as well as East Bernard's Jordan Darr and Colin Dusek are among the 28 players in the Javelinas class of 2013.
Harvey plans to study physical therapy while Haas will aims to focus on agricultural mechanics.
"I think that's the point in them signing a bunch of us," Haas said when asked his potential for growth considering he is 17 years old. "We're a group of guys who can come together and stay for four years. They don't want a bunch of junior college guys to come in. They want us to make bonds so that our senior year, we're going to be dominant."
That the 6-foot-5-inch 320 pound Haas, the 6-foot-2-inch Harvey is 280 pounds and Wallace stands at 6-foot-3-inches and 255 pounds at 17 years old was an added bonus to Javelinas running backs coach Daniel Oelschlegel, the man responsible for recruiting the three linemen.
"There is always room for growth, whether size wise or mentally," Oelschlegel said Wednesday. "There is always room for growth. Size wise, Hudson is scary big already. I don't doubt that he'll grow with a college weight program. Jake has a huge frame and has room to put on weight."
Oelschlegel said he was looking for "high character guys first and foremost." The Calallen graduate has a network with coaches across the region and that has helped funnel talent to Kingsville.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor was among the schools that tried to land Wallace, Haas and Harvey. Angelo State and Midwestern State also expressed interest in Haas and Wallace, and Panhandle State (Okla.) extended an offer to Harvey.
Caleb's father, Clemon, as well as grandmothers Connie Hernandez and Gayle Harvey were among the nearly 100 teammates, coaches and family members inside the Cuero ISD board room. Haas' parents Chris and Kecia were also there snapping pictures.
"It kind of makes me feel like I'm famous," Harvey said with a big smile. "It's kind of a relief. Now I know I have my college paid for. Now all I have to do is go (down) there and make the grades."
Remaining eligible likely will not be too difficult for Harvey or Wallace, who sport a 3.2 and a 3.73 grade point average respectively.
Wednesday marked the beginning of the next chapter in their football lives. The one Wallace, Harvey, Haas and the two East Bernard signees recently completed had a lot of highlights.
"It's probably Friday nights, just that feeling inside the tunnel as you get with all your brothers," Wallace said. "That only comes once in a lifetime. You always remember that forever."