’s Class 4A Preseason Poll begins with Tatum in the No. 10 spot.

If the Eagles are picked to be the 10th-best team this season, man, who are the other nine schools that will round out the list?

This has been an East Texas standard bearer program for eons, and there are lots of reason to believe Andy Evans' squad will turn in another nice chapter in 2015. For starters, eight major contributors are back from last season's Class 4A Division II regional semifinal appearance.

Those guys know how to scrap. Tatum finished the regular season with a 5-5 overall record and went 3-2 in District 6-4A Division II.

Quarterback J.D. Taylor highlights the retuning players. He threw for 623 yards last season and rushed for another 233.

Denarius Earl also is back to lead Tatum's primarily running attack. He recorded 417 all-purpose yards last season and should get more of a load during his senior year. LeMarcus Harmon, Da'Calen Hicks, Josh Ivy and Tavion Ray are other athletes that will spend some time in the offensive backfield behind a big offensive line.

The Eagles also should be strong defensively, especially within the front seven. Braylon Roberts and Shay Rogers are athletic bodies along the defensive line while Harmon and Hicks help make up a deep rotation at linebacker.

Really, the only knock on Tatum is its size at the skill positions. They'll have to hope their athleticism makes up for it, as it has in the past.

Sharing a district with Atlanta and Gladewater isn't ideal. The bottom half of the league last season, Center, Pleasant Grove and Spring Hill, also appear to be improved.

Fortunately, Tatum will be battle hardened by the time it gets into league play.

2014 Class 3A Division II runner-up Newton, Class 4A Division II state champion Gilmer, Liberty-Eylau, Chapel Hill and Hardin-Jefferson make up the non-district competition. Each of those teams made a run in the postseason last year.

2015 Tatum Eagles Football Schedule

Aug. 28at NewtonL 37-28
Sept. 4OPEN
Sept. 11at GilmerL 23-0
Sept. 18Liberty-EylauL 50-33
Sept. 25Chapel HillL 42-21
Oct. 2at Hardin-JeffersonL 37-34
Oct. 9*GladewaterL 51-12
Oct. 16*at CenterL 42-7
Oct. 23*Spring HillL 30-27
Oct. 30*AtlantaL 49-13
Nov. 6*at Pleasant GroveL 42-21 Class 4A Preseason Poll

  • No. 10: Tatum