After so many years as childhood friends and being on the same football teams, Ryan’s Tyreke Davis and Delano Robinson are taking different paths as recruits for rival programs North Texas and SMU.
And the playful jabs were thrown around early and often during national signing day on Wednesday.
“That’s what they want you to think,” said new North Texas signee Davis of the rumor he has talked the most trash of the two. “If [Delano] says it’s me, it’s false.
“Come Sept. 9 [when UNT and SMU play next], we may not be friends that day.”
“It isn’t just me talking — trust me,” Robinson said with a laugh. “I’m going to back up my school.”
The back-and-forth banter was a fun addition to a day when Ryan — which finished 14-1 in 2016 — had six of its athletes sign national letters of intent. Three signed with Football Bowl Subdivision programs, including Davis, Robinson and highly touted defensive lineman Earnest Brown IV (Northwestern). Of the six signees, five played defense.
“These are my brothers,” Brown said. “I signed with my brothers today, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Though Davis and Robinson are going to competing programs, they continue to share similarities. For one, both were early targets. North Texas was the first to make an offer to Davis, and Robinson verbally committed to SMU in May.
Davis, a linebacker who racked up more than 100 tackles in each of his three varsity seasons, is being looked at to play a hybrid linebacker/safety role for the Mean Green. Robinson, a defensive back, expects to play a similar position for the Mustangs.
It’s a perfect role for the versatile duo, who could blitz and be used in coverage situations. Davis started at linebacker and running back while rolling up more than 1,000 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He added three sacks on defense.
Robinson, a defensive back, led the Raiders with five interceptions while racking up 90 tackles.
“Growing up, you just want to get to that next level,” Robinson said. “I’m highly thankful.”
Rounding out the list of FBS signees was Brown, a 6-5, 240-pound brute who is versatile enough to play tackle or end. Brown played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January and finished his senior year with a team-leading 10 1/2 sacks to go with more than 80 tackles.
Brown was the sixth Denton-area athlete to be selected to play in the Army bowl, joining Ryan alum Jarvis Moss (2003), Denton alum Herman Johnson (2004), Liberty Christian’s Ben Habern (2008) and former Guyer quarterbacks J.W. Walsh (2011) and Jerrod Heard (2014).
Moss and Johnson ended up in the NFL.
The expectation is that Brown, who racked up nearly 30 college offers, will make an immediate impact.
“It’s mindboggling to think about,” Brown said of his latest opportunity. “No other coach was as loyal to me as Northwestern was. To know they have my back, it’s a great feeling.”
STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.