Tatum’s Chaston Brooks Picks Up Offer From Lamar
Make it two scholarship offers for Tatum athlete Chaston Brooks.
Brooks, who picked up an invitation to join New Mexico State on Nov. 25, reported an offer from Lamar on Wednesday.
The Cardinals program definitely has the close-to-home advantage. Its campus in Beaumont is about 180 miles from Brooks' doorstep in comparison to Las Cruces, N.M., which is 820 miles due west.
But New Mexico State offers Brooks the opportunity to play FBS ball in the Sun Belt Conference versus competing against smaller schools in the FCS.
Lamar finished its 2014 season with a 20-17 win against No. 17 McNeese State and an 8-4 overall record. It came in third in the final Southland Conference standings but was not one of the three league teams to advance to the FCS playoffs.
The Cardinals take on FBS college teams about once a year. They squared off with Texas A&M early this past season and are scheduled to play Baylor next year.
Lamar's primary in-state rivals are Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin.
Abilene Christian, Houston Baptist and Incarnate Word are other Texas teams in the Southland Conference. Central Arkansas, Nicholls State, McNeese State and Northwestern State round out the league.
Ray Woodard just completed his fifth season as the head of the Lamar program. A native of Corrigan, he kicked off his collegiate playing career and subsequent coaching career at Kilgore College. He earned a masters degree at UT-Tyler in 1991 after a brief NFL playing career ended.
Woodard served as a positional coach and defensive coordinator in NFL Europe and rose to the head coaching ranks at Navarro College in 2007 before being hired away by Lamar the next season.
The head coach played on the defensive line at Texas after transferring from Kilgore college from 1982 to 1983. He was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos organizations as a player in 1987.
Woodard finished the credits he needed for a bachelors degree at Sam Houston State in 1988 and earned a doctorate just this year from Lamar while serving as its head coach.
Brooks predominantly played quarterback for Tatum this season but will probably play defensive back or receiver in college. Tatum's year ended last week in the Class 4A Division II regional semifinals with a 55-21 loss to Atlanta.
The athlete will be allowed to sign with any program that offers him on Feb. 5, 2015.