Six Cats commit on national Signing Day
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Feb. 6, 2004 -- When Sulphur Springs senior Trey Hall arrived at the Wildcat Room Wednesday morning for national Signing Day, he came equipped with a pocketful of pens. They were needed.

Six Wildcats committed to play football for colleges of various sizes on the first day allowed by the NCAA for high school players to sign letters of intent.

The Wildcats' top recruit, cornerback Jonathan Lindley, fulfilled his verbal commitment to Southern Methodist University and was one of three players to sign Division I scholarship offers. Defensive tackle Jordan Jones, another player rated in the top 100 recruits in the Metroplex, signed with Northwestern State University in Louisiana, and defensive end Kedaron Franklin inked a double offer from University of Texas-El Paso and Trinity Valley Community College in Athens.

Hall, a cornerback converted from wide receiver, signed on with Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, a Division II school; and the record-setting duo of quarterback Ryan Henry and wide receiver Kendall Wright also chose out-of-state colleges. Henry will go to Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss., while Wright chose Northwest Missouri University.

SSHS head coach Brad Turner recognized the uniqueness of having so many players coveted on Signing Day.

"These are the first kids I've ever had to actually sign on Signing Day. To have six is a pretty special deal," he said. "They're great kids.

"It's certainly an honor for these guys to sign scholarships to whatever institution they're going to, and I think we'll have a chance for four or five more to sign at some point and time. The more, the better. It looks good on our program, and it looks good on our kids."

Turner spent hours this school year making game tapes and talking to college scouts as they came through Sulphur Springs. It's paid off as up to a dozen may play in college off of this year's team, and it gives motivation to the younger players in the program.

"We've got a bunch of these young ones who are seeing these colleges come through and seeing these seniors sign full scholarships, and they understand what hard work and commitment does for you," Turner said. "You get the chance to have a free education and play on Saturdays and continue your career.

"These guys just proved that they can do it. They're good examples. Hopefully, all of our younger players are looking to these guys and want to do the same thing."

The six who signed all had stellar senior seasons for the Wildcats.

iLindley was a top 50 recruit in the Metroplex as a shut-down cornerback because of his size (6-0, 175) and speed (4.4 in the 40). After verbally committing to SMU in the summer, teams didn't throw his direction much, accounting for one interception and one fumble recovery for a touchdown. He also blocked two punts.

"Ever since this summer, SMU was where I wanted to go. I'm very happy to be signing today. I've been waiting for this for the longest," Lindley said. "What I like best is I get along with the players and I'll be able to play."

iJones (6-2, 262) was the type player that every opposing team had to game-plan for because of his presence at noseguard. He was the District 11-4A Defensive MVP after accounting for 51 tackles (nine for losses) and 3 sacks.

iFranklin was another reason coaches believed the defensive line was the team's strong point last season. Finally healthy for a full season, the 6-4, 220-pound end used his speed to lead the team with five sacks and 11 tackles for losses to go along with 42 overall stops.

iHall (6-0, 175), converted over from wide receiver to cornerback for his senior season, led the team in interceptions with three and also had two fumble recoveries, including one for a 96-yard TD return, to go along with 27 tackles.

iHenry (6-1, 175) set virtually every passing record in school annals as he threw for 2,417 yards on 181-of-287 passing with 19 TDs. Included in that total was a school-record 439-yard effort against Highland Park in his career finale.

iWright (5-11, 170) was Henry's favorite target, and why not? He used his speed and athleticism to gather in a school-record 72 passes for a school-record 1,010 yards and a school-record nine touchdowns. He also holds the single-game marks in each of those categories.

Turner said the signings generated excitement throughout the football program.

"I think their teammates are all excited to be able to watch them play on Saturdays and maybe see them on TV. I think it looks good for this program and for this community. We've had a lot of great players come through here who have played big-time football, and some are still playing in the NFL," Turner said.

"This kind of continues the tradition of Sulphur Springs having great football players. Hopefully that won't stop anytime soon."

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