SMU First To Offer Alto’s Keenen Johnson
Keenen Johnson made a splash onto the East Texas football recruiting scene Friday.
The junior Alto athlete announced via Twitter that SMU became the first college program to award him a scholarship opportunity. With one offer in hand, he is the 13th player in the region's 2016 graduating class to have firm FBS interest.
Johnson, the 2014 ETSN.fm East Texas Football Offensive Newcomer of the Year, rushed for a staggering 2,438 yards on 199 attempts last season from the quarterback spot. If that's not enough, he completed 74 of 120 pass attempts for 1,607 yards, 18 touchdowns and only had four throws intercepted.
Alto won the District 11-2A Division I title as part of an undefeated regular season. It fell to Centerville in the regional quarterfinals.
SMU, by contrast, suffered a brutal 1-11 campaign last year. Former head coach June Jones resigned just two games into the season.
The school got its lone win in its finale at Connecticut.
But things could change quickly for the Mustangs program. Highly regarded former high school coach Chad Morris accepted the vacant job in late November after five successful seasons as a collegiate offensive coordinator.
SMU's new chief got his head coaching start in East Texas with Eustace and Elysian Fields. He amassed a 196-38 overall record as a high school coach with other stops at Bay City, Stephenville and Lake Travis.
Morris won back-to-back Class 4A state titles with Lake Travis in 2008 and 2009.
The coach spent the 2010 season with Tulsa and the past four years with Clemson as offensive coordinator.
If Johnson ultimately takes up SMU on its offer, he'll most likely get the chance to play in high-profile early season games outside of the solid American Athletic Conference. The Mustangs have historically entered long-term deals for games against Baylor, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
SMU also has a deal in place to play at Michigan in 2018, which would be Johnson's second year on campus.
The Mustangs have other standing offers out for Mineola offensive tackles Austin Anderson and Riley Anderson, Nacogdoches safety Brandon Jones and Frankston receiver Kendrick Rogers.
All of the above become eligible to sign with any school that offers on Feb. 3, 2016.
2016 East Texas Football Players With Division I FBS Offers
- Austin Anderson, OL, Mineola, 6-4, 289 – offers from Arizona State, Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Texas, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Vanderbilt (21)
- Riley Anderson, OL, Mineola, 6-5, 287 – offers from Arizona State, Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Texas, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Vanderbilt (20)
- Demarco Boyd, RB/LB, Gilmer, 6-0, 215 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Baylor, Florida State, Texas A&M (4)
- Zach Hall, ATH, Tyler Lee, 5-11, 170 – offer from Texas Tech (1)
- Travon Fuller, CB, Athens, 6-0, 160 — committed to Texas A&M (1)
- Keenen Johnson, ATH, Alto, 6-1, 190 -- offer from SMU (1)
- Brandon Jones, S, Nacogdoches, 6-0, 190 — offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Boise State, California, Florida State, Georgia, Houston, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, SMU, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UCLA, USC, Washington State (38)
- Braylon Jones, DT, John Tyler, 6-3, 285 – offers from Air Force, Army, Houston, Navy (4)
- Bronson Massie, DE/LB, Lufkin 6-3, 202 – offers from California, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, Texas State (4)
- Cody Mitchell, TE, Jasper, 6-5, 225 — offers from Missouri, Texas State (2)
- Kendrick Rogers, WR, Frankston, 6-4, 185 — offers from Louisiana Tech, North Texas, SMU (3)
- Aphonso Thomas, RB, Van, 6-0, 190 — offer from Kansas (1)
- Andre Wiley Jr., OLB, Liberty-Eylau, 5-10, 170 – offers from Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech (2)