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TAMUC – Sports

Japheth & Jeriah Cranfill sign with Lion Football on Team IMPACT Draft Day.

COMMERCE – The National Champion Texas A&M University-Commerce football team officially introduced the newest members of the program on Sunday as 14-year-old Japheth Cranfill and 12-year-old Jeriah Cranfill of Greenville joined the Lions on their Team IMPACT Draft Day.

Japheth and Jeriah came to campus on their official recruiting visit on Wednesday, visiting with the coaching staff and Leadership Council, taking photos with the National Championship trophy, getting fitted for team gear, and going through drills with team members. On Sunday, their draft day consisted of signing a National Letter of Intent (NLI) during a press conference with local media, meeting with newly installed University President Dr. Mark Rudin, taking photos with the Lion Cheer team, and joining in the annual team photo.

“I always say you’ve got to be recruiting every day,” said A&M-Commerce head football coach Colby Carthel. “We’ve got two great recruits here today. We’re tickled to death to have them join our team and they’re going to help take this program To The Top!”

As Lion athletes, these top recruits will become an official member of the Lion Football team. As team members, Japheth and Jeriah will attend Lions practices, games, team dinners, events, and more.

Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston, Mass., that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched nearly 1,600 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 48 states, reaching over 50,000 participating student-athletes. The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child’s support team. Throughout the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie, and support while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency, and perspective they can’t learn in a classroom.


Onuoha named Preseason All-American; Lions ranked No. 2 nationally by D2Football.com.

COMMERCE – Texas A&M University-Commerce defensive end Michael Onuoha has been named a First Team Preseason All-American and the Lions are ranked No. 2 nationally in the preseason poll by D2Football.com.

Onuoha (Edmond, Okla. – Santa Fe) is the fourth different Lion named as a preseason All-American in advance of the 2018 season. Tight end Vincent Hobbs (Mesquite – Horn) and kicker Kristov Martinez (Edinburg) were named preseason All-Americans by Lindy’s and linebacker Brucks Saathoff (San Antonio – Reagan) was named preseason All-American by the College Football America Yearbook.

Onuoha was named an honorable mention All-American by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette in 2017 and was a First Team All-Lone Star Conference selection as a junior. He ranked seventh in the LSC with 12 tackles for loss in 2017 and recorded 56 tackles overall. He had a tackle in every game of the season with a season-high seven tackles against Midwestern State.

The No. 2 ranking for the Lions is their fifth top 10 ranking of the preseason. A&M-Commerce is ranked No. 1 by the American Football Coaches Association, No. 5 by College Football America Yearbook, No. 6 by Street & Smith’s, and No. 7 by Lindy’s.

In the D2Football.com Poll, two Lion opponents for 2018 are in the top 25. MSU Texas is ranked No. 8 and Colorado State-Pueblo is ranked No. 13.

Season tickets are available for the Lions’ six-game home schedule, which kicks off on Thursday, August 30 against Texas A&M-Kingsville in the annual battle for the Chennault Cup and Student Appreciation Night. General admission seating is available for $60 for the season, with limited chairback season tickets available for $80. Season tickets are available online at WeAreLionsTix.com or by calling Lion Sales and Service at (903) 468-8756.

All chairback season ticket holders are encouraged to consider philanthropic support of our 424 talented student-athletes with a gift to the Lion Champions Fund. For information on the LCF, please contact Taylor Phelps at (903) 886-5554.

D2Football.com Top 25 Preseason Poll

Rk School 2017 Rec
1 Minnesota State 13-1
3 West Florida 11-4
4 Indiana (Pa.) 13-1
5 Northwest Missouri State 9-3
6 Central Washington 11-1
7 Ferris State 11-2
8 MSU Texas 10-1
9 Fort Hays State 11-1
10 Harding 11-4
11 West Alabama 10-3
12 Indianapolis 11-1
13 Colorado State-Pueblo 9-3
14 Grand Valley State 8-3
15 Shepherd 10-1
16 Ashland 11-2
17 Winona State 10-2
18 Sioux Falls 9-3
19 Central Missouri 9-3
20 Assumption 11-2
21 West Georgia 9-4
22 Findlay 10-3
23 Pittsburg State 8-4
24 Virginia State 10-1
25 Ouachita Baptist 9-3

2018 D2Football.com Preseason All-America Team


QB Amir Hall Bowie State
RB Marc Jones Gannon
RB Cameron Mayberry Colorado School of Mines
WR Weston Carr Azusa Pacific
WR Shane Zylstra Minnesota State
TE Seth Hebert Central Missouri
OL Devon Johnson Ferris State
OL Justin Gooseberry Ouachita Baptist
OL James Moore Central Washington
OL Derek Puni Central Missouri
OL Trey Pipkins Sioux Falls


DL James Prater Ashland
DL Markus Jones Angelo State
DL Adonis Davis Florida Tech
DL Michael Onouha A&M-COMMERCE
LB Brandon Payer Colorado State-Pueblo
LB Tyler Morrissey West Chester
LB Kirby Hora Augustana
DB Darius  Williams Colorado State-Pueblo
DB Doyin Jibowu Fort Hays
DB Cua Rose Arkansas Tech
DB Corey Ballentine Washburn


K Casey Bednarski Minnesota State
P Zach Davidson Central Missouri
AP Deonte Harris Assumption


QB Brook Bolles Central Missouri
RB Walter Fletcher Edinboro
RB Nate Gunn Minnesota State
WR Austin Ryan Bentley
WR Brody Oliver Colorado School of Mines
TE D.J. Cornish Shepherd
OL Colin McAllister Indiana (Pa.)
OL Brandon Anderson West Alabama
OL Phillip McDowell Carson-Newman
OL Nick Fish Grand Valley State
OL Evan Heim Minnesota State


DL John Cominsky Charleston
DL Davondrick Lison Southern Arkansas
DL Derrick Tate Bowie State
DL Tyrell Thompson Tarleton
LB Terry Samuel West Alabama
LB Justin Jackson Angelo State
LB Jalen Nelson Charleston
DB Sterling Hammond Virginia Union
DB Lamont McPhatter California (Pa.)
DB Tyler Hasty Central Washington
DB Gunner Olszewski Bemidji State


K Aaron Ball West Virginia State
P Brendan Paulison West Chester
AP Drew Harris Ouachita Baptist


School record 52 Lions earn D2ADA Academic Achievement Award.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Division 2 Athletics Directors Association’s Academic Achievement Award named a total of 52 student-athletes representing Texas A&M University-Commerce for their efforts in the 2017-18 academic year.

A&M-Commerce’s 52 honorees are the most for the Lions since the award was created in 2008, beating the previous school record of 51 set in 2016-17. Lion scholar-athletes have increased their record total in each of the last three academic years.

“Without success in the classroom, ‘Best in Class’ would be a very hollow intercollegiate athletics mission,” A&M-Commerce Director of Athletics Tim McMurray said. “Thanks to the commitment of our student-athletes, our Thrower Center leadership team, and our wonderful academic partners on campus, this is truly an institutional recognition that caps our 2017-18 comprehensive success perfectly.”

The 2017-18 Academic Achievement Awards recognized a total 10,116 student-athletes from 162 institutions. This year’s conference leader, the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10), with 1,122 student-athlete honorees. Following the NE10, was last year’s front-runner, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) with 931 honorees, followed by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) with 746 selections.

This year’s conference leader in the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10), with 1,122 student-athlete honorees. Following the NE10, was last year’s front-runner, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) with 931 honorees, followed by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) with 746 selections.

“As an Officer for the D2 ADA Board, it has pleased me to see the number of student-athletes recognized for their academic achievements continue to increase,” said current D2 ADA President Jim Johnson, director of athletics at Pittsburg State University. “This program is a point of pride for our current D2 ADA member institutions and a great way for their student-athletes’ achievements to be recognized nationally. On behalf of the D2 ADA, we congratulate and celebrate these academic distinctions and are proud of your accomplishments.”

In order for a student-athlete to receive an Academic Achievement Award, the athletics director of the Division II institution must be a current dues-paying member of the D2 ADA.

Also, the student-athlete must:
have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale
have attended a minimum of two years (four semesters) of college-level work have been an active member of an intercollegiate team during his/her last academic year,

Texas A&M University-Commerce student-athletes who earned the award are:

Garrett Blubaugh Football Sr.
Srdan Budimir Men’s Basketball Sr.
Shelley Chapron Volleyball Jr.
Chelsea Cheek Women’s Track & Field Jr.
Monica Cherry Softball Sr.
Jessika Coronado Soccer Sr.
Princess Davis Women ‘s Basketball Grad.
Katie Dean Softball Sr.
Caitlin Duty Soccer Sr.
Chase Graham Men’s Track & Field Grad.
Blake Hartford Men’s Golf Jr.
Sophie Haywood Women’s Soccer Sr.
Kinsie Hebler Softball Jr.
Dylan Henderson Men’s Track & Field Jr.
Baylea Higgs Softball Sr.
Sarah Hogan Women’s Track & Field Sr.
Mariah Jameyson Softball Sr.
Lacie Jessup Volleyball Sr.
Kayla Kilcrease Softball Sr.
Michelle Kotlik Soccer Jr.
Lauren Leslie Women’s Golf Sr.
Preston Lienemann Volleyball Sr.
Layne Little Volleyball Sr.
Chochy Luce Football Sr.
Sergio Marcuello Men’s Track & Field Grad.
Kristov Martinez Football Grad.
Jenna McLaughlin Women’s Track & Field Grad.
Trevor Montgomery Men’s Track & Field Sr.
Stephanie Morado Volleyball Jr.
Bina Njikam Volleyball Sr.
Ciera Nunez Softball Sr.
Florian Obst Men’s Track & Field Grad.
Ryan Peschka Football Sr.
Jenna Price Women ‘s Basketball Sr.
Dominique Ramsey Football Jr.
Melanie Ransom Women ‘s Basketball Grad.
Selena Rima Softball Sr.
Jasmine Roberts Women’s Track & Field Sr.
Steven Sanchez III Men’s Track & Field So.
Alex Shillow Football Jr.
Maddie Shubert Women’s Track & Field Jr.
Bri Sims Softball Sr.
Chealsea Slider Softball Jr.
Brandi Stalder Women’s Track & Field Jr.
Precious Thompson Softball Jr.
Karli Thornton Volleyball Sr.
Alex VanSickle Softball Sr.
Jaslyn Wacker Volleyball Sr.
Jaryn Wacker Volleyball Sr.
Maggie Waites Women’s Track & Field Sr.
Jessie Williams Men’s Track & Field Sr.
Austin Yaeger Men’s Track & Field Grad.