BY TJ GARCIA
As expected, after the big National Signing Day on February 1 and the recruiting dust settled, several Rio Grande Valley athletes signed on with smaller universities around Texas.
The new group of signees includes two D1 athletes that inked with Texas Southern, a Division 1 school in Houston – most famous for its law school which seemingly graduated half the Valley’s attorneys. The University of the Incarnate Word, also a D1 school, was able to snag another.
Harlingen’s Jeriel Cervantes, a proto-typical tight end listed at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, signed with UIW in San Antonio. The Division I Cardinals play in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (think little D1) in the Southland Conference with schools such as Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State.
There at the private Catholic university, Cervantes will join Mission Veterans quarterback Diego Hernandez, who signed with UIW recently. Cervantes averaged 11 yards per reception in his senior year with three touchdowns.
Also in D1, Mercedes’ Felicia Garza and Sharyland Pioneer’s Mariah Youngblood signed to play softball at Texas Southern. The Tigers play in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) with historically black schools such as Prairie View, Grambling and Southern.
Last season as a junior, the first baseman Garza led the Lady Tigers with batting average (.533), hits (56), RBI (32) and doubles (14). Youngblood, who plays second base and pitches, helped Pioneer get into the second round of playoffs last year where Lady Dbacks lost a heartbreaking series to Corpus Christi Calallen.
There were several other signings including a pair of Weslaco East football players getting their chance with respectable programs on the D3 and NAIA level. See the chart below.