STEPHENVILLE – With a Tarleton football team already loaded with young talent and a wide departing senior class, the Texans did something different on this year’s National Signing Day – they simply added transfers.
Tarleton announced on Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA Division I football regular signing date period, that seven players have joined the program, all of whom are transferring from other colleges.
“I think we have a really good group with such a small class. We’ve added seven transfers and we’ll look to add another three-to-five in the May-June cycle, again through the transfer portal and junior college transfers,” head coach Todd Whitten said. “When we decided to go Division I two years ago, we immediately signed 24 freshmen in our first class and 15 freshmen in our second class. So, that’s 39 freshmen. Due to the pandemic, the majority of those players are still here and are still freshmen. Some of them will be elevated to sophomore status for next fall. But we’ve got a really good nucleus of young talent.
“We thought it would be in our best interest to try to be as old as we could be in this football program and to utilize junior college recruiting and the transfer portal for this small class. So, that’s the reason it will be 10-to-12 people. Our super seniors have all graduated and moved on, and everybody else comes back. And to the credit of our program and to the credit of our coaching staff, we’ve had very little movement, so I think that’s a credit to our program. We answered some needs that we had and I think we’ve made ourselves better at several positions. I’m excited for spring ball, to get the guys out on the grass – that’s another thing about this class, we get to work with them right now. We don’t have to wait to see them until August camp.”
The seven players joining the Tarleton football program are running back Mashawn Buchanan, defensive lineman DeAndre Clifton, defensive back Halid Djibril, running back Ontario “Mookie” Douglas, defensive lineman Blaine Hoover, offensive lineman Malik Pete, and quarterback Marco Siderman.
Mashawn Buchanan — RB — 5-11, 180 — Redshirt Freshman — Previous School: Washington State
Buchanan joins Tarleton after spending the last two seasons at Washington State. He was a heavily recruited running back out of Adelanto High School in southern California, garnering interest from USC, Arizona, BYU, Oregon State, Boise State, UNLV, Nevada, Utah State, San Jose State, Florida Atlantic, and Northern Arizona, before ultimately joining the Cougars. He was a three-star prospect by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com and Rivals.com after producing a high school resume of 3,258 career rushing yards (9.8 yards per rush), 38 career rushing touchdowns and 41 career total touchdowns. Washington State switched him from running back to wide receiver in 2020, and he did not appear in a game for the Cougars.
“He’s a highly recruited running back out of California,” Whitten said. “Washington State moved him to receiver and I don’t think he was ever comfortable with that. He’s had three head coaches since he’s been there, so he felt it was in his best interest to transfer and get a fresh start. He was one of the top three or four fastest guys in the program at Washington State, so I think he’s a dynamic guy who’s going to bring some big play possibilities for us.”
DeAndre Clifton — DL – 6-3, 245 — Junior — Previous School: Monmouth
Clifton spent the last three seasons at Monmouth, appearing in 26 career games. Altogether, he recorded 52 tackles (21 solo), four sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. Last year alone, he had his best collegiate season with 23 tackles (12 solo), 3.5 sacks (tied-second on the team), and 5.5 tackles for loss. With Clifton as a major contributor, Monmouth had a 21-8 record since 2019.
“DeAndre Clifton is a guy we think can come in and give us some dynamic pass rush up front,” Whitten said. “He played in an FCS powerhouse program in Monmouth and he was a role player there, and basically had a lot of production for being a part-time player. The way we see it, he’s coming to our program, and even if he gave us that production, that’d be a big boost to our defense. We’re looking forward to him being able to do more just because I think he’s going to have a more vital role. He’s a guy that can really bend the edge, he’s got good length, he’s got good size, and he’s a guy that can play multiple positions up front.”
Halid Djibril — DB — 6-1, 203 — Junior — Previous School: Washington State
Djibril spent the last four seasons with Washington State. He played in 22 games, mostly on special teams, recording 12 tackles and a forced fumble. He was a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com, ESPN.com and Rivals.com out of Cathedral High School in Los Angeles. His senior year he was named Angelus League Most Valuable Defensive Player, recording 116 tackles with 15 for a loss including six sacks. He also had an interception, four forced fumbles and a blocked punt.
“We’re really excited about him,” Whitten said. “He started some games for Washington State, had some injuries, but he’s a guy that we thought could come in and be an impact. He’s aggressive, he can run, he’s a great open field tackler, he checks a lot of boxes for us. Something that we kind of lacked last year was a player that was a great open field, physical tackler. He’s played a high level of football – he played with Bryce Young, the starting quarterback for Alabama, and then he went to Washington State, where he got on the field early. He’s kind of a proven player we feel like.”
Ontario “Mookie” Douglas — RB — 5-11, 230 — Senior — Previous School: East Central
Douglas had been with East Central since 2017, rushing for 2,849 career yards and 33 career touchdowns. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2017 and 2019, earning several conference awards such as the Freshman of the Year and First-Team All-Conference. He was even a Don Hansen All-America Honorable Mention in 2019. East Central played just six games over the past two seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Against Tarleton on April 1, 2021, he rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns, also recording 41 receiving yards on six catches.
“We saw him up close during the COVID-19 season,” Whitten said. “He ran for a lot of yards on us that year when East Central came over and beat us. He’s a very accomplished Division II back. I’ve spent enough time coaching in the Division II ranks to know there’s a lot of good running backs at that level. I think Mookie will step in and be a real quality addition to our backfield immediately. We’ve had a lot of good running backs around here and Mookie reminds me of those same guys.”
Blaine Hoover — DL — 6-5, 265 — Senior — Previous School: Incarnate Word
Hoover has had two collegiate stops prior to Tarleton, first at Tyler Junior College, and most recently at Incarnate Word. At Tyler JC, he had five sacks. With Incarnate Word since 2020, Hoover played in eight games, recording 31 total tackles (10 solo), 3.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss. The Cardinals advanced to the second round of the 2021 FCS Playoffs where they narrowly lost to Sam Houston 49-42. They beat Stephen F. Austin 35-28 in the first round.
“Blaine Hoover is another guy up front that gives us some size and consistency,” Whitten said. “He was a really dynamic player in the Southland Conference – he’s as proven as you can get in the kind of football that we’re going to be playing at Tarleton. He’s got a big, long body, he’s strong, really disciplined, and he’s shown a knack for being able to make a lot of plays within a system. So, that’s something we’re really excited about.”
Malik Pete — OL — 6-4, 320 — Sophomore — Previous School: Southwestern Oklahoma State
Pete was with Southwestern Oklahoma State in 2019 and 2021, an anchor on their offensive line.
“Malik Pete is a young man who was a starting left tackle at Southwestern Oklahoma,” Whitten said. “He played 11 games for those guys over there, started all of them, so he’s a guy that has a lot of talent. We looked at him as a guy that’s just like a junior college transfer. He’s got three years to play.”
Marco Siderman — QB — 6-2, 212 — Sophomore — Previous School: Holy Cross
Siderman played in 13 games last season at Holy Cross at quarterback, completing 88-of-134 (.657) passes for 1,040 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions. He was with the Crusaders for the last two seasons, appearing in one game in their shortened 2020 spring campaign. Before Holy Cross, he played at Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, California. He was dubbed the most valuable player of the Marmonte League, in addition to being a first team all-conference selection, after setting a school single-season record for most total yards as a senior, throwing for 3,502 yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for 426 yards and 11 scores. Siderman set school single-game records with 509 passing yards and seven touchdown passes against Newbury Park in 2019.
“We wanted to add another quarterback. We have two seniors and the rest of the quarterbacks in our program our young guys,” Whitten said. “Marco split time as a redshirt freshman this year at Holy Cross and was productive, did a good job. He’s a guy with three years to play as well. It gives us another quality quarterback on campus. I think it also spreads our quarterback room out and gives us another player kind of in the middle of our roster. Otherwise we would have had seniors and freshmen. He’s a guy that has some good game experience. I think he’s a really talented thrower, and we’re going to be anxious to see him play in the spring.”