The United States Military Academy is making an impressive early season run with wins against Temple, Rice and UTEP on the heels of 2-10 campaign a year ago and four or less total wins since the 2010 season.

Suddenly, it's a good time to be a part of the Black Knights football program.

Head coach Jeff Monken and his staff hope recruits take notice of Army and have reached out to senior Lufkin receiver Dhailon Phillips to gauge his interest in the West Point experience.

Phillips announced he picked up an invitation to join Army on Monday. The Black Knights program is the third such interested in landing the receiver and follows Air Force and Texas State.

Lufkin finished non-district play Friday with a 35-7 home win against Prepa Tec from Monterrey, Mexico. That secured the team a 3-1 start to the season ahead of District 12-6A competition against schools from the northern portions of the Greater Houston Area.

Phillips has five touchdowns and has caught for more than 100 yards in three of Lufkin's first four games.

Army has been down in recent years, but the program claims national championships from 1944, 1945 and 1946 and has been the home to three Heisman Trophy winners as well as 37 consensus All-Americans. It also was awarded the 1914 and 1916 national championship as the No. 1 team in now-defunct polls.

West Point's decline in football coincided with the NFL's increasing salaries. At one point, it was more lucrative to be an army officer than a professional football player, but that obviously is not the case today.

Army cadets are expected to serve in the Armed Forces immediately after graduation. That takes away the best earning years from a professional football player, so high school players dreaming of a NFL career usually go elsewhere.

At the same time, West Point is regarded as an elite academic institution.

Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower became presidents of the United States years after graduation. Eisenhower played football for the Black Knights.

West Point claims many other congressmen, state governors and Fortune 500 executives as well as 75 Medal of Honor recipients.

Army, unaffiliated with any conference for football, will travel to Texas four times during Phillips' potential playing career for meetings against North Texas and Rice. Its rivalry game against Navy always is the final game of the regular season and attracts a massive TV audience.

Phillips can sign with any program that offers him in February.

2017 East Texas Football Players With Division I FBS Offers

  • Tristan Allen, Atlanta, LB, 6-3, 206 — offer from Louisiana Tech, UTEP (2)
  • Judah Bell, Tyler Bishop Gorman, WR, 6-3, 180 — committed to Navy; additional offers from Bowling Green, Coastal Carolina, Houston, Kansas, Memphis, New Mexico, North Texas, SMU, ULL, ULM, UTSA, Wyoming (13)
  • Noah Bush, Athens, LB, 6-1, 216 — offers from Air Force, Army (2)
  • Lagaryonn Carson, Liberty-Eylau, DE, 6-4, 261 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, North Texas, Oklahoma, TCU, Tennessee, Texas A&M (9)
  • Terrell Cooper, Lindale, DE, 6-3, 240 — offers from Arkansas State, Memphis, Texas State (3)
  • Trestan Ebner, Henderson, WR, 5-11, 180 — committed to TCU; additional offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Colorado State, Houston, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Texas, Ole Miss, SMU, Syracuse, UTSA, Texas A&M, Tulsa (18)
  • Montrell Estell, Hooks, WR/DB, 6-2, 180 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Kansas, Notre Dame, SMU, Texas A&M, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulane (12)
  • Octavius Evans, Center, WR, 6-2, 186 — offers from Indiana, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas State, ULL (7)
  • Ted Fuller, Harleton, RB, 5-11, 195 — offers from ULM, Wyoming (2)
  • Tre Gatlin, Carthage, DE, 6-6, 210 —offer from Wyoming (1)
  • Quan Hampton, Texas High, WR, 5-8, 165 —offer from Texas State (1)
  • Austin Hawley, Gladewater, DB, 6-1, 200 — offer from ULM (1)
  • Kollin Hurt, Gilmer, DB, 6-3, 175 — committed to Louisiana Tech; additional offers from ULM, UTSA (3)
  • Jordan Johnson, Hooks, ATH, 6-0, 195 — committed to Air Force (1)
  • Kayce Medlock, Arp, ATH, 5-10, 186 — committed to SMU; additional offers from Army, Colorado, Navy, Tulane, ULL, UTSA (7)
  • Damion Miller, John Tyler, WR, 6-1, 189 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Baylor, Houston, Kansas, Missouri, North Texas, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech (11)
  • LaMarcus Morton, Gilmer, WR, 6-2, 175 — committed to Oklahoma State; additional offers from Arkansas State, Colorado State, Houston, Indiana, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, New Mexico State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, ULL, ULM, UTSA (13)
  • Javonta Mosley, John Tyler, CB, 6-1, 170 — committed to UTSA; additional offers from Arkansas State, Houston, Memphis, North Texas, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas State, ULL, ULM (10)
  • Cade Pearson, Texas High, QB, 6-3, 193 — committed to North Texas; additional offer from Wyoming (2)
  • Dhailon Phillips, Lufkin, WR, 6-3, 195 — offers from Air Force, Army, Texas State (3)
  • Dez Robinson, Atlanta, LB, 6-3, 210 — offers from UTEP, Wyoming (2)  
  • Kordell Rodgers, Lufkin, QB/ATH, 5-10, 165 — committed to Texas State; additional offers from Arkansas State, ULM (3)
  • Makyle Sanders, Tyler Lee, S, 6-1, 177 — offers from Air Force, Memphis, Navy (3)
  • Bryson Smith, John Tyler, QB/ATH, 6-0, 170 — committed to Houston; additional offers from Air Force, Arkansas State, Bowling Green, Memphis, New Mexico, North Texas, Purdue, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas State, Tulane, Tulsa, ULL, ULM, UTSA (16)
  • D’Torian Smith, Tatum, DE/LB, 6-3, 225 — committed to Air Force; additional offers from ULM, UTEP (3)
  • Major Tennison, Bullard, TE, 6-6, 248 — offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Oregon, SMU, Texas, Texas Tech, UCLA (14)
  • Josh Thompson, Nacogdoches, CB, 6-0, 182 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Arkansas State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Houston, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Minnesota, Missouri, North Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulane, ULM, Utah, UTSA, Washington State, Wyoming (24)
  • Lakendrick VanZandt, Henderson, S, 6-1, 196 — committed to TCU; additional offers from Arkansas State, Houston, Memphis, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Tulane, Tulsa (8)
  • Traveion Webster, Longview, S, 6-0, 197 — offer from ULM (1)