10 Texas Panhandle football players sign to play college football


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Tavian Combs, University of New Mexico

High School: Randall

Position: Defensive back

About Combs: The 6-foot-2, 190 hard-hitting defensive back finished his senior season with 104 tackles and three interceptions for the Raiders. UNM was one of 10 scholarship offers for Combs.

Why UNM: “It’s not very far from home for me, and I really liked the brotherhood of the team. It was a tough decision because recruiting started picking up after the season ended, but I sat down with my family and my the choice to go to UNM. I’m just excited to get there and get it going”.

L.B. Moore, Texas Tech

High School: Tascosa

Position: Defensive end.

About Moore: The Red Raiders signee was an unstoppable force off the edge for the Rebels. The durable, speedy, 6-foot-4, 230 pound Moore ended his senior season making life miserable for quarterbacks making 11 sacks to go with 115 tackles, and a forced fumble.

Why Texas Tech: “Tech was a school that stayed with me. I had gotten hurt and some teams lost interest, but Tech stayed with me. I also like that coach (Matt) Wells and his staff look you as student as much as a player, and they want you to be the best you can be.”

Joseph Plunk, Texas Tech (Preferred walk-on)

High School: Tascosa

Position: Quarterback/ Defensive back

About Plunk: Led the Rebels Flexbone by rushing for over 2,500 yards with 33 touchdowns. The District 2-6A MVP and All-State selection finished his career going 21-8 for Tascosa.

Why Texas Tech: “It was a tough decision. There were some offers from some other schools, but I I want to play on the biggest stage possible. I know I can compete at that level. Plus, walk-ons mean a lot to Texas Tech, and I’m excited about that.”

Cayden Johnson, Eastern New Mexico

High School: Amarillo High

Position: Defensive back

About Johnson: Played in all 12 games for the District 3-5A champions, making 61 tackles with 30 solo stops. Johnson added three interceptions with seven pass breakups on the year.

Why ENMU: “I feel it’s a great place, and a place I can go in and make an impact in the secondary. They run the same type of defense we did at Amarillo High, and I think that will help me a lot.”

Evan Newkirk, Eastern New Mexico

High School: Amarillo High

Position: Defensive back

About Newkirk: Played a vital role in the secondary for the Sandies during his senior season. Newkirk ended his year with 48 tackles, three interceptions and three pass breakups.

Why ENMU: “I felt that they really wanted me there. They’d always call and check up on me, and make me feel wanted. When I took my visit I fell in love with the campus, and their stadium.”

Tucker Bridwell, Southern Nazarene

High School: Pampa

Position: Quarterback

About Bridwell: Finished the 2019 season as the Texas Panhandle’s leading passer going 249-of-417 for 3,684 yards with 34 touchdown passes.

Why SNU: “When I went on my visit I really liked the the coach, and how he believed football should be played. He wants to change the program and I want be the one to lead that change. I’ve also wanted to play college ball and win a national championship since I was little. It’s a huge blessing that I’ve been put in the position to compete.“

Grant McCook, Northwestern Oklahoma State

High School: Canadian

Position: Quarterback

About McCook: Helped lead Canadian (14-1 overall) to a fifth straight Class 3A Division II state semifinal appearance last fall. The QB ended his senior season throwing for 2,646 yards with 1,116 rushing yards, and a combined 48 touchdowns.

Why NWOSU: “I took a visit and I liked it. The coaches wanted me, and It felt like Canadian. It’s a small place, and not far from home. The coaches were great, and I like the quarterbacks I met. Their system fit what I’m looking for, and it was just the right place.”

Josiah Emmitt, Fort Hays State

High School: Tascosa

Position: Defensive lineman

About Emmit: The 6-foot-3, 245 pound physical lineman was a force inside for the Rebels making a total of 41 tackles, 17 solo stops, adding three tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.

Why Fort Hays: “Playing college football is something I’ve always wanted to do. I really liked Fort Hays also. The second I got on campus for my visit I knew it was a place I wanted to be. I loved coaches and the way they do things.”

David Pepper, Hardin-Simmons

High School: Amarillo High

Position: Defensive lineman

About Pepper: The 6-foot-5, 215 pound brought depth to the Amarillo High defensive line. Playing in 10 games, Pepper made 13 tackles with 1.5 sacks.

Why HSU: “It was a family atmosphere. I liked the student life and how everyone interacted with each other. It seems like a good fit for me. I liked how real the players on the team talked to us. They told us how it was, and didn’t sugar coat anything. They have a good tradition, and I’m ready to go.”

Jaden Combs, Hardin-Simmons

High School: Wellington

Position: Defensive back

About Combs: Was a two-way star for a Wellington team that went 12-2 with a state quarterfinal appearance last fall. Combs ended his senior season rushing for 1,016 yards with 12 touchdowns. He also made 55 tackles, adding four forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Why HSU: “I really liked the environment. Everything about the school made it feel like the place I wanted to be. They wanted to be there, and playing college football has a dream. I’m ready to make the most of it.”


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