Football: Ryan class leaves mark on program

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Wednesday's processions at the Ryan High School fieldhouse cemented what the city, state and nation have known for the past two years.

It was a celebration for a heralded group of seniors that did everything but bring Ryan its third state championship, a ceremony commemorating a class that went undefeated in District 4-4A and earned a district title in 2011.

In front of a crowded room full of family, coaches and an array of media, seven Raiders signed their national letters of intent to play college football at 8:10 a.m., including four players headed to Football Bowl Subdivision programs.

Defensive ends Mario Edwards (Florida State) and Dominique Banks (Baylor), offensive lineman Jordan Williams (Missouri) and defensive back Trey Mohair (Texas-San Antonio) headlined the class of 2012.

Alex De La Torre (Texas) and Jordan Richmond (Texas A&M), two of the top linebackers in the state, were not present.

De La Torre has already enrolled at Texas, while Richmond played in the International Bowl on Wednesday.

Ryan head coach Joey Florence said he wanted to make the day special for the talented signing class. The Ryan head coach compared this year's group of kids to the class of 2002 that included James Battle and current NFL player Jarvis Moss.

That class helped Ryan win the first of the program's two state championships.

"It's mixed emotions obviously, because they're not going to play for me anymore, but it's such a big day," Florence said. "I'm really proud of them."

Joining the signing class was defensive back Cedric Harris (Colorado State-Pueblo), offensive guard Tevin McCray (Trinity Valley Community College) and wide receiver Sterling Fuggett (Evangel).

Harris, sporting a black suit, blue shirt and a blue tie, said his outfit mimicked the style of Ryan's coaching staff, a staff he compared to the one at CSU-Pueblo.

"I try to dress like my coaches because they pretty much got me here," Harris said as his eyes began to tear up. "They did good. I'm trying not to get too emotional."

Mohair couldn't help but smile as he posed for picture after picture while holding a bag of snickerdoodles, his favorite cookie. Mohair, a decorated two-sport athlete, led Ryan's basketball team in a thrilling victory over Denton on Tuesday night.

Looking down the table, Banks said it was the happiest he had seen Mohair since the duo won an AAU basketball championship in eighth grade. Banks, who left Ryan's basketball team to focus on his football career, was an integral part of Ryan's stifling defensive line and will play a similar role at Baylor next year.

Banks, a Mississippi native, said he didn't understand Texas' obsession with football until he arrived in the Lone Star State.

"I came from south Mississippi, and I wasn't always a football player," Banks said. "I was more of a basketball player. But when I came down here, things changed. Texas is a football state."

The senior said signing day was significant for this group of Raiders.

"We were more like a brotherhood than a football team," Banks said. "It means a lot to us."

Williams, who along with McCray solidified Ryan's offensive line, joins Dorial Green-Beckham - one of the top high school wide receivers in the nation - at Missouri.

Before the players signed their letters, Florence stressed the importance an education would be for this group of kids.

"It's our hope that you guys will go on and get those degrees," Florence said.

BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is bbaby@dentonrc.com .

 


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