Mineral Wells Index
By TONY EIERDAM
Headed by the signing of all-district offensive lineman Jacoby Prestwood, the Mineral Wells Rams signed four players to junior college scholarships Wednesday on National Signing Day.
Three Rams – lineman Wyatt Egan, offensive lineman Jonathon Walker and quarterback Dan Reay Turk – signed letters to play football with Cisco College.
Prestwood was selected as the District 6-3A Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2012, signed with Tyler College.
He had offers from Division I schools, most recently Rice University, but chose Tyler College, a two-year institution, to possibly wait on an offer from Rice next year.
Tyler College has proved to be a program that sends its players to the next level. On Wednesday, 12 players from the 2012 Apaches’ team accepted scholarships to Division I schools.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play college football,” Prestwood said. “I have been looking forward to it since my sophomore year.
“I chose Tyler because they offered me a scholarship, and when I went to the campus on my visit I enjoyed the campus, the atmosphere and the head coach.
“I really like Coach (Danny) Palmer, and he is a fantastic guy. He only has two rules: do what is right; and be on time. I can do that. I also enjoyed his personality.”
Prestwood, who is in the top 10 percent of his class academically, is ready to take his athletic skills and academic abilities to the next level.
“I am so ready to go to college it is not even funny,” he said. “I have a countdown on my phone as to how many days left until high school graduation. I am looking forward to the academic side of college as well.”
Prestwood hopes his time at Tyler will result in a Division I offer in the near future.
“I feel like this is a step to a (four-year college),” Prestwood said. “Rice University has talked to me, and they said they were interested in me but do not have (a scholarship available) at this time. So I am looking to them next year.
“The Rice coaches know I am at Tyler, and they said they would keep their eyes on me.”
Rams head Chuck Lawrence is extremely familiar with both programs. He graduated from Tyler (Junior) College and coached 13 years at Cisco.
“Without a doubt it is exciting to have four players going to play in college,” Lawrence said. “Part of my job is to get my players recruited, and fortunately I know the head coaches at Tyler and Cisco extremely well.
“Both places are very special to me, and both are special places.”
Lawrence feels the junior college route is the best place for his four players to start.
“The junior college route is a great way to go,” Lawrence said. “A lot of people turn their noses up at junior colleges, but some great athletes come out of junior colleges.
“I coached literally thousands of them, sent many to Division I schools, and about 10-20 of them went on to the NFL.
“If you take care of business in the classroom and play well you have a chance to get re-recruited three semesters from now.”
“Jacoby had a couple of visits to some Division I schools, and some of those schools told Coach Palmer about him,” Lawrence continued. “Coach Palmer actually called me asking about Jacoby.”
Lawrence is pleased to see Egan, Walker and Turk get a chance to extend their respective football careers.
“I have a very good relationship with Coach (Scott) Taylor, and I recommended Wyatt, Jonathon and Dan Reay to him,” Lawrence said. “Dan Reay just had a heartbreak of a senior season with the foot injury early in the year and not getting to play quarterback, but he kept a great attitude, played receiver and defensive back for us and will get a chance to play quarterback at Cisco. He was a great kid to coach.
“Wyatt also got hurt this year when he broke his foot and didn’t get to play (in district) until the last quarter of the last game. But they like his size at Cisco.
“Jonathon also has great size, and like Jacoby has great footwork.
“I think both Jonathon and Jacoby will compete for a starting job immediately. I also think both of them have a great chance in the future of getting a greater offer.”