Recruiting Kansas has always been a priority for Fort Hays State University football coach Chris Brown, and the Tigers landed several of their top in-state targets for FHSU's 2019 recruiting class.
Kansans made up 19 of Fort Hays' 33 signees announced for National Signing Day on Wednesday, with Brown and the Tigers again hitting the western part of the state hard.
Area signees included Osborne’s Darnell Holloway, Phillipsburg’s Jonathan Hunnacutt, Victoria’s Jacob Schroeder, Colby’s Xavier Slaven, Norton’s Hayden Wiltfong and Hays High’s Logan Schulte.
“I think it’s always important (to recruit Kansas), especially out here in western Kansas,” Brown said. “I think any kid that’s Salina and West, we need to try and get those kids. We lost out on a few of them, either getting (FCS) offers or walking on to other schools. But to me, it’s huge (to recruit) this area, because I know they’re going to be hard-working and they’re going to do well in the classroom. Looking at this group, every one of these kids comes from a great family, and their families are hard-working as well.”
Holloway, Hunnacutt were Super 11 picks on The Hays Daily News All-Area team while Wiltfong was a first-team pick on the 11-man All-Area team.
Holloway, who is expected to play receiver for the Tigers, quarterbacked the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish in Eight-Man Division II. He originally committed to Emporia State before switching to Fort Hays last month.
Hunnacutt set the state’s high school record for kicking points with 263 and helped Phillipsburg go undefeated and win the Class 2A state championship last season. Wiltfong, 6-foot-6, 230 pounds. will play tight end for the Tigers. Schroeder is an offensive lineman while Schulte and Slaven will play on the defensive line.
The Tigers went 9-3 last year, repeating as conference champs and reaching the NCAA Division II playoffs for the second straight year.
“This group of young men, it’s one of the better classes we’ve signed, looking at paper. But you never know until they get here,” Brown said. “I think this group is going to come in and work hard and going to be committed. They wanted to be Tigers, which is important. You want kids that want to be at Fort Hays State University, not just for a scholarship or whatever it might be. These guys truly, truly want to be here and be part of this and hopefully continue this tradition of winning conference championships and hopefully win a national championship.”
Brown said bolstering the offensive and defensive lines was a priority, evidenced by the 16 linemen on the list.
“When you look across the board, your O-line, D-line guys seemed to get injured more than anybody else, so you’ve got to have that depth and have another guy fill,” Brown said. “I’m pretty pleased with it. I’m excited about it and I think it’s a group that’s really going to make us better in the long run.”
The Tigers also looked to the junior college ranks to add some beef to the line, picking up Frederick Davis (6-foot-3, 335 pounds) from Iowa Western and Ted Hessing (6-foot-6, 340 pounds) from Arizona Western.
“I keep looking at our playoff games,” Brown said. “Our conference has got some pretty big guys, but going against UIndy and the year before going against Ferris [State], just the size and the length they had across the board, I thought we lacked a little bit. I thought our athleticism was there, it was just our size that was hurting us a little bit.
“[Size] was something we were going for.”
Brown said the Tigers’ recent success continues to help his recruiting pitch.
“These kids that we’re recruiting now have seen the change and that we are winning championships and want to be part of it,” Brown said. “We we’re a little picky this year with what we were bringing in. I was a little nervous at the beginning of the recruiting season because we weren’t getting a lot kids in here, but everybody’s wanting those kids as well.
“But it’s just staying to the grind, staying on top of those kids and letting them know this was the best fit for them. It helped us.”
FHSU 2019 recruiting class
Brenden Akin, 6-5, 285, DL, Mesa, Ariz. (Skyline HS)
Skyline HS: Recorded 42 tackles, eight sacks, and two pass breakups as a senior...Earned Scholar Athlete award.
Mason Baalmann, 6-2, 190, WR, Wichita, Kan. (Bishop Carroll HS)
Bishop Carroll HS: All-state honorable mention selection...All-City first team selection...Named to Kansas Top 100 list as a senior.
Ty Cooper, 6-0, 175, DB, Wamego, Kan. (Wamego HS)
Wamego HS: Two-time all-state honorable mention selection at defensive back...Named to Sports in Kansas Top 100 list two years in a row.
Alex Cordova, 5-11, 240, OL, Mount Hope, Kan. (Garden Plain HS)
Garden Plain HS: All-state honorable mention selection...Unanimous all-league first team selection...Named to Kansas Top 100 list as a senior.
Kendrick Davis, 6-3, 335, OL, West Bend, Wisc. (Iowa Western CC)
Iowa Western CC: Second-team all-region selection on the offensive line as a sophomore.
Nic Devore, 6-1, 270, OL, Wichita, Kan. (Maize HS)
Benjamin Donald, 6-1, 190, P/K, Ferney Creek, Australia (St. Joseph's College (Australia))
St. Joseph's College: All-region first team selection as a punter...Team's Special Teams Player of the Year...All-conference selection at punter.
Bret Gilbert, 6-4, 225, DL, Amarillo, Texas (Amarillo HS)
Amarillo HS: All-District 2-5A Division I First Team selection on the defensive line as a senior...Academic all-district accolades...Served as team captain...As a senior, recorded 71 tackles, five sacks, and eight tackles for loss.
Trenton Harbur, 6-2, 225, RB, Gothenburg, Neb. (Gothenburg HS)
Gothenburg HS: Participated in the River Battle Bowl that features top high school prospects from Nebraska and Iowa...Recorded over 1,100 rushing yards his senior year...
Ted Hessing, 6-6, 340, OL, Stuart, Fla. (Arizona Western CC)
Arizona Western: Starter on the offensive line two years at Arizona Western, helping the team to a 9-1 record in 2017 and a 6-5 mark in 2018...Helped the team to a national runner-up finish in 2017 as the team went undefeated in the regular season before falling to East Mississippi Community College in the title game.
South Fork HS: All-state third team selection as a senior...Three-time all-area selection...Participated in Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Game...All-area selection in lacrosse.
Darnell Holloway, 6-3, 195, QB/WR, Russell, Kan. (Osborne HS)
Osborne HS: 8-Man Division II Offensive Player of the Year...All-state first team selection in 8-Man Division II as a senior by both the Wichita Eagle and Topeka Capital Journal…Helped team to 8-Man Division I state championship as a sophomore in 2016 and 8-Man Division II state runner-up finish as a senior in 2018…All-state honorable mention selection as a junior in 8-Man Division I…Participated in 8-Man All-Star Game...All-Area Top 11 selection...Played quarterback in high school but will likely transition to wide receiver in college.
Dawson Hornbeck, 6-0, 250, OL, Crescent, Okla. (Crescent HS)
Crescent HS: Three-time all-district selection as an offensive lineman…Member of the Daily Oklahoman Preseason All-State Team…Four-year starter…Team captain…On the defensive side of the ball as a senior, recorded 72 tackles, five sacks, and 12 tackles for loss…Helped team to a Class A state runner-up finish in 2017.
Jonathan Hunnacutt, 5-11, 190, K, Phillipsburg, Kan. (Phillipsburg HS)
Phillipsburg HS: All-time high school kick scoring record holder in the state of Kansas with 263 points (197 PATs, 22 field goals)…All-state first team selection in Kansas Class 2A as a specialist during his senior year of 2018…Topeka Capital Journal Top 33 All-Class selection...All-Area Top 11 by Hays Daily News...Three-time all-state selection...Three-time all-league selection...Member of Kansas Class 2A state championships in 2015 as a freshman and 2018 as a senior.
Hunter Igo, 6-1, 170, DB, Derby, Kan. (Derby HS)
Derby HS: Named to Topeka Capital Journal Top 11 Team for the entire state of Kansas…All-state first team selection at defensive back as a senior…All-Metro selection at defensive back...Accounted for nearly 2,000 total yards and 30 TDs as a quarterback during senior year…Helped Derby to state championships as a sophomore in 2016 and senior in 2018.
Corbin Ingrim, 5-11, 210, LB, Augusta, Kan. (Circle HS)
Circle HS: Two-time all-league selection...Served as team captain for two years...Two-time team MVP...Named to Kansas Top 100 list as a senior...Compiled 202 tackles, seven sacks, six forced fumbles, and one interception in his prep career.
Ryan Jarmer, 6-1, 225, LB, Garden City, Kan. (Garden City HS)
Garden City HS: Two-time all-state honorable mention selection...Two-time all-conference selection...Earned team's Golden Helmet Award and Chad Dew Spirit Award.
Blake Martin, 6-6, 230, DL, Hesston, Kan. (Hesston HS)
Hesston HS: All-district first team selection at tight end and second team selection at defensive end...All-league selection at both defensive lineman and tight end.
Myles Menges, 6-4, 210, QB/ATH, Bushton, Kan. (Central Plains HS)
Central Plains HS: All-state first team selection as a senior in Kansas Eight Man Division I…All-state honorable mention selection as a junior in 2017...Helped team to state championship in Eight Man Division I as a senior in 2018...All-league selection as a senior at both quarterback and defensive back...Named to the Top 100 seniors in Kansas list...Threw for over 1,200 yards and rushed for over 300 yards during senior year.
Tyquilo Moore, 6-4, 290, DL, Columbia, S.C. (Butler (Kan.) CC)
Butler (Kan.) CC: All-KJCCC Second Team selection at defensive tackle as a sophomore in 2018...Recorded 19 tackles, one sack, and three tackles for loss as a sophomore...Recorded 10 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss as a freshman.
White Knoll HS: All-state, all-region, and all-area selection...Team's Defensive MVP...Selected for North/South All-Star Game.
Jack Myers, 6-0, 220, LS, Joplin, Mo. (Joplin HS)
Joplin HS: Rated a 4.5 star long snapper by Kohl's Kicking Camps...Served as team's long snapper for three years...Helped team to a district title as a senior and a conference championship as a junior...State medalist in powerlifting.
Matthew Redick, 6-4, 305, OL, Wichita, Kan. (Bishop Carroll HS)
Bishop Carroll HS: Helped team to a Kansas Class 5A state quarterfinal appearance as a senior...Helped team to a Class 5A state championship as a junior.
Clay Robinson, 5-9, 175, RB, Cheney, Kan. (Cheney HS)
Cheney HS: All-league selection at running back.
Shaun Ross, 6-0, 170, DB, Raytown, Mo. (Van Horn HS)
Van Horn HS: All-state selection...All-district first team selection...Also served as team's quarterback, recording over 1,000 passing yards and 1,400 rushing yards.
Jacob Schroeder, 6-4, 290, OL, Victoria, Kan. (Victoria HS)
Logan Schulte, 6-4, 270, DL, Hays, Kan. (Hays HS)
Hays HS: All-state honorable mention selection by the Topeka Capital Journal and Wichita Eagle...All-league first team selection as a senior and second team selection as a junior...All-Area Second Team selection by the Hays Daily News...Recorded 71 tackles and 18 tackles for loss as a senior.
Xavier Slaven, 5-11, 205, DL, Colby, Kan. (Colby HS)
Colby HS: All-state honorable mention selection at defensive end as a senior...All-state honorable mention selection at offensive lineman as a junior...Two-time all-league first team selection...Named 2018 Colby High School Lifter of the Year and Thrower of the Year in Track and Field...State placer in the shot put as a junior.
Noah Stanton, 6-1, 215, DL, Maize, Kan. (Maize HS)
Landon Teel, 6-2, 265, DL, McKinney, Texas (McKinney North HS)
McKinney North HS: Two-time All-District 14 5A First Team selection at defensive tackle…Team's defensive MVP as a senior.
Senituli Teuhema, 6-2, 265, OL, Arlington, Texas (Lamar HS)
Lamar HS: Two-time all-district selection as an offensive lineman.
Voshon Waiters, 6-2, 220, QB, Miami, Fla. (ASA College Miami)
ASA Miami: As a freshman in 2016, threw for 1,380 yards and 18 touchdowns, while rushing for 118 yards...As a sophomore in 2017, threw for 472 yards and five touchdowns in just four games at quarterback.
Coral Gables HS: All-county selection...Participated in Dade vs. Broward All-Star Game.
Haden White, 6-2, 215, QB/TE, Mustang, Okla. (Mustang HS)
Mustang HS: All-state honorable mention selection at quarterback...Threw for over 1,000 yards with 11 touchdowns during senior year.
Hayden Wiltfong, 6-6, 230, TE, Edmond, Kan. (Norton Community HS)
Norton Community HS: All-state honorable mention selection as a senior by the Topeka Capital Journal and Wichita Eagle...Named to Hays Daily News All-Area First Team...All-state selection by the Kansas Football Coaches Association...All-league first team selection at both tight end and defensive end.
Brett Winsor, 6-3, 170, WR, Pratt, Kan. (Pratt HS)
Pratt HS: All-state honorable mention selection as both a wide receiver and defensive back...All-league first team selection...Had over 600 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns as a receiver, while recording 65 tackles and eight interceptions as a senior.