No Jalen Overstreet. No LaRance Hale. No L.J. Johnson. No Nate Pickett. No Jordan Noel.

No problem.

The quintet of stars who led Tatum to last year’s Class 2A Division I state semifinals has graduated, but the Eagles reload as well as anyone in East Texas and will do exactly that entering 2012.

Replacing Overstreet’s 3,528 total yards, 27 rushing touchdowns, and 18 TD passes won’t be easy, but Darian Brooks (6-2, 200) has the look of another great Tatum signal caller along the lines of Overstreet, Cashas Pollard and Stephen Hodge. Mammoth defensive tackle Tristan Durden (6-4, 292) joins fellow linemen Darius Whiting (6-0, 265) and Cambron Beall (6-3, 260) to give the Eagles a glut of heft in the trenches, which will complement Tatum’s typical wealth of speedy athletes on the edges. And don’t forget about Kiano Lucas (6-0, 210), who will be one of 2A’s best linebackers.

Tatum will be ready for District 9-2A Division I play and the postseason after its non-district schedule. Tatum’s season opener against Arp should be a great game for East Texas football fans. Then a trip to Winnsboro and three games against Class 3A opponents precede the Eagles’ league schedule.

If Tatum wins the 9-2A D-I championship as expected, the Eagles will be set on the path to the Region III final, which would likely pit them against fellow perennial power Newton, the No. 2 team in the 2A & Below Countdown. And as we said yesterday about Newton, if Tatum can win that game, don’t be surprised if it marches on to a state championship.

Recapping the 2A & Below Countdown

No. 2: Newton

No. 3: Daingerfield

No. 4: Arp

No. 5: Crockett

No. 6: Elysian Fields

No. 7: New Boston

No. 8: Hughes Springs

No. 9: San Augustine

No. 10: Tenaha