STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton State University signed six standout student-athletes to their ranks during the National Early Signing Day Wednesday. The five high school signees will join the Texans next fall while Tarleton inked one junior college transfer who will be immediately eligible for competition.
“This is a small class, sure, but we have a large senior class that we are very proud of that will be getting another year of eligibility because of this national pandemic. So, we expected to have a small signing class,” said head coach Todd Whitten. “We’ll continue to do our due diligence as we search for young men to represent our great university and we will add some more before February, but I couldn’t be more excited for this early signing class.
“We added six guys today with great size, skill and upside that will fit in our program very well – both on the field and in the classroom,” he added.
The six signees are as follows:
Les Odimara • Defensive Back • Arlington HS
Odimara comes to Tarleton after a standout career at Arlington High School. Standing at 6-0 and weighing 170 lbs, Odimara has played on both sides of the ball as a receiver and a cornerback. He is a dual-sport athlete, also competing in basketball.
“Les is a long, athletic defensive back with really good speed that played on both sides of the ball. He has shown to be a dynamic playmaker,” said defensive coordinator Marcus Patton.
Maleek Jones • Defensive Back • Port Arthur Memorial HS
Jones comes to Tarleton after a tremendous football career for Port Arthur Memorial High School as a two-way player on offense and defense. With Jones leading the way, PA Memorial went 9-1 last season with a 7-0 league mark.
“Maleek ‘The Freak’ Jones is a tremendous athlete with all of the tools to be a big-time cornerback at the FCS level. He played all over the field for a 9-1, district championship team,” said Patton.
Myles Aldridge • Linebacker • Bryant (AR) HS
Aldridge comes to Tarleton after a dominant showing in the highest level of high school football in the state of Arkansas. Aldridge played multiple positions while leading the team to back-to-back state championships. A two-way player standing at 6-2, 225 lbs, Aldridge was clocked with 4.47 speed while playing offense.
“Myles is a high-level football player with the ability to become the next special linebacker here at Tarleton State University. He played multiple positions for his Arkansas high school, leading the program to back-to-back state championships in Arkansas’ highest class,” said linebacker coach Marc Martinez.
Randy Clemons • Tight End • College of the Canyons (CA)
Coming in as the only player of this early class eligible to play right away, Clemons joins the Texans after leading his junior college program to a 9-3 record last fall. Clemons played in seven games and caught eight passes for 69 yards while also helping the offense rush for over 2,000 yards on the ground. Clemons is a native of Quartz Hill, California.
“Randy is a big, athletic tight end who can be extremely versatile and help improve our offense. He has great size that will help in the run game, as well as the athletic ability to be a playmaker in the passing game,” said co-offensive coordinator Jonathan Beasley.
Gabe Tatum • Defensive Line • Burleson Centennial HS
Tatum comes to Tarleton following a standout defensive career for Burleson Centennial High School.
“Gabe is a big guy and very strong. He’s very physical at the point of attack and can easily reset the line of scrimmage. As he develops, he will continue to grow and become even more explosive,” said defensive line coach Eddie Jones.
Chris Haywood • Defensive Line • Foreman (AR) High School
Another Arkansas product, Chris Haywood will join the Tarleton defense next fall. As a senior last year, Haywood totaled 74 tackles and 13 sacks with five forced fumbles.
“Chris is a long, explosive, big-bodied defensive lineman with a great upside. We’re very excited about the potential he brings to the interior of our defensive line,” said defensive line coach Eddie Jones.