The United States Military Academy took a more active role Tuesday in the pursuit of East Texas senior football players.

Army jumped from one identified 2018 prospect to three in a matter of hours with Longview kicking specialist Chris Kessler becoming the latest target. The Black Knights' scholarship extension is Kessler's first from an NCAA Division I FBS school.

Hughes Springs senior defensive end Hunter Brabham also got a call from Army during the course of the day. Pleasant Grove linebacker Xavier Benson has been on the school's board since April.

Scholarships for kickers are fairly rare. Most schools accept kickers as walk-ons and then offer a scholarship if the specialist proves himself on campus.

Kessler (5-9, 150), however, scored a team second-best 73 points for Longview last year on the way to an 8-2 regular season and a shared District 11-6A championship with eight field goals and 49 extra point kicks. Longview fell in the opening round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs.

Only graduated running back Kendrevian White scored more points than Kessler.

The kicker visited multiple schools prior to being offered by Army. His unofficial visit list includes Houston, Indiana and Texas State.

Army turned in its best season in 19 years with an overtime victory against North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The final win elevated the 2016 Black Knights team to an 8-5 record.

The Blacks Knights and arch-rival Navy hold a very special place in the college football season.

The annual Army-Navy game is played one week after the conference championships weekend and officially closes the college football regular season regardless of division. It is usually attended by the sitting president of the United States, and it is broadcast nationally as well as to United States military installations across the globe.

Kessler's potential landing spot lost a four-point game to Navy this past season. That decision tied for its best finish in an Army-Navy game since last winning in 2001.

Army competes as an independent and has the majority of its future games mapped out through the 2022 season. In addition to annual games against Navy and Air Force, the kicker has the opportunity to complete against Michigan, Oklahoma and Tennessee in future seasons.

The United States Military Academy is a highly regarded institution in all spheres of American society.

Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower attended the university before becoming war heroes and subsequently presidents of the United States.

General George S. Patton briefly played football for the Black Knights in the early 1900s, but an arm injury persuaded him to try his hand in track and fencing. He competed in multiple events at the 1912 Olympics.

Far more recently, West Point graduate William P. Foley II established the Vegas Golden Knights franchise of the NHL. The hockey team will begin its first season in October while simultaneously breaking professional sports leagues’ hesitance for franchises in Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights’ presence helped the NFL come to terms with the Oakland Raiders’ planned move to Las Vegas.

Many other West Point graduates, after serving in the military, found their way to important jobs on Capitol Hill, inside the White House and at the Pentagon.

Kessler will become eligible to sign with any Division I school that offers him in December. A second signing period window opens in February.

2018 East Texas Football Players With Division I FBS Offers

  • Tre Allison, John Tyler, OLB, 6-2, 211 — committed to SMU; additional offers from Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Texas State, Tulane, ULL (7)
  • Chance Amie, Tyler Lee, QB, 6-3, 190 — committed to Houston; additional offers from Arkansas State, Bowling Green, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Florida Atlantic, Georgia State, Iowa State, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Texas, Rutgers, Southern Miss, Syracuse, Tulane, ULL, Virginia (18)
  • Xavier Benson, Pleasant Grove, LB, 6-0, 200 — offers from Arkansas State, Army, Memphis, North Texas, Rice, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulane, ULL, ULM, Wyoming (13)
  • Hunter Brabham, Hughes Springs, DE, 6-3, 235 — offer from Army (1)
  • Drake Centers, Tatum, OL, 6-3, 296 — committed to Texas State; additional offers from SMU, Southern Miss, ULM (4)
  • Kylar Cooks, Liberty-Eylau, OL, 6-5, 252 — committed to Texas State; additional offers from Arkansas State, North Texas, ULL (4)
  • Jeremiah Davis, Lufkin, CB, 5-10, 194 — committed to ULL (1)
  • Kris Dike, Van, OL, 6-6, 283 — committed to TCU; additional offers from Colorado, Houston, Memphis, North Texas, Oklahoma State, SMU, Tulane (8)
  • Dekalen Goodson, John Tyler, DE/OLB, 6-2, 209 — committed to Houston; additional offers from Mississippi State, SMU, Texas State, Tulane, ULL (6)
  • Trae Hall, Henderson, QB/ATH, 6-3, 185 — offers from Florida Atlantic, New Mexico State, Tulane, ULL, ULM (5)
  • Conner Henson, Harmony, OL, 6-3, 243 — offers from ULL, ULM (2)
  • Chasen Hines, Marshall, OL, 6-3, 353 — committed to LSU; additional offers from Arizona, Baylor, Louisiana Tech, Minnesota, North Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Rice, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas State, Texas Tech (16)
  • Tevailance Hunt, Texas High, WR, 6-2, 180 — committed to Kansas; additional offers from Arkansas State, Bowling Green, Colorado State, Florida Atlantic, Houston, Iowa State, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Memphis, Nevada, North Texas, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, Tulsa (15)
  • Dewaylon Ingram, Carthage, WR, 6-0, 160 — offer from Arkansas State (1)
  • Keaontay Ingram, Carthage, RB, 6-0, 198 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Florida State, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, LSU, Memphis, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon State, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, UTSA (27)
  • Malik Jackson, Lufkin, WR, 5-8, 163 — committed to Houston; additional offers from Arkansas State, Texas State (3)
  • Chris Kessler, Longview, K, 5-9, 150 — offer from Army (1)
  • Kameron King, Marshall, OL, 6-2, 275 — offers from Memphis, North Texas, Tulane, ULM, Southern Miss (5)
  • Trevor Lawrence, Whitehouse, DE, 6-4, 245 — offers from Texas State, ULM (2)
  • DeMarvion Overshown, Arp, S, 6-4, 196 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Stanford, TCU, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, UTSA (30)
  • Leonard Parks, Texas High, DE, 6-5, 230 — offer from ULM (1)
  • Michael Sanchez, Gladewater, TE/OL, 6-5, 327 — offer from Houston (1)
  • Jonathan Shepherd, Kilgore, WR, 6-3, 196 — committed to Oklahoma State; additional offers from Colorado State, Florida Atlantic, Houston, Kansas State, ULM, Missouri, New Mexico, Memphis, North Texas, Oregon State, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech (15)
  • Marje Smith, Marshall, DE, 6-6, 210 — committed to Baylor (1)
  • DaRyan Williams, Nacogdoches, S, 5-10,199 — offer from Texas State (1)
  • Tyree Wilson, West Rusk, LB, 6-5, 225 — committed to Texas A&M; additional offers from Houston, Kansas, Memphis, Mississippi State, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, SMU, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas State, Tulane, ULL, ULM, Washington State, Wyoming (16)




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