Tarleton Football announces addition of 28 players for 2023 on National Signing Day


STEPHENVILLE – Last year, with an already young team entering 2022, Tarleton went after veterans in the transfer portal and wanted just a few to complement the roster, announcing seven additions on National Signing Day. This year is a little different, multiplied by four.

On Wednesday, the 2023 season’s National Signing Day, Tarleton Football announced the addition of 28 players to their 2023 roster.

The Texans have added six defensive linemen, six offensive linemen, five linebackers, three defensive backs, three quarterbacks, two wide receivers, two tight ends and a running back. That’s an even split of 14 defensive players and 14 on offense.

Several players have plenty of Division I experience from the likes of Mississippi State, Washington State, Florida State, and even fellow WAC foe Utah Tech.

Of the 28 additions to the 2023 roster, 21 are transfers, with seven joining straight out of high school.

The full list of Tarleton’s 2023 National Signing Day class, in alphabetical order, is below:

Kariem Al Soufi (6-3, 335, OL, Junior, Previous: Ellsworth CC)
Al Soufi arrives in Stephenville after playing last season at Ellsworth CC following a three-year career at Virginia. Playing at the juco in 2022, he made First Team All-Conference on the offensive line.

Originally from Paderborn, Germany, Al Soufi played offensive line for the Paderborn Dolphins in his home country. He attended Friedrich-Spee Gesamtschule in Paderborn, and was ranked as a three-star recruit by ESPN.com and 247sports.com, two-star by Rivals.com.

Steve Albert (6-2, 215, LB, Freshman, Previous: Ellison HS)
Albert played three varsity years at Ellison High School, recording 160 tackles (122 solo) combined, averaging 7.6 per game. His last two seasons, Albert racked up 32 tackles for loss. He was First Team 12-6A All-District.

Luke Anderson (6-1, 215, LB, Freshman, Previous: Fort Worth Christian)
Anderson was highly coveted out of Forth Worth Christian, receiving 26 NCAA Division I football offers, including Rice, Navy, New Mexico State, Colorado State, Montana State, Montana, Villanova, and six Ivy League schools. He ultimately chose Tarleton.

The North Richland Hills, Texas, native, was a two-way varsity starter all four years at the prep level, playing both linebacker and running back. His senior and junior year, both played at Fort Worth Christian, he was All-State, named a Second Team All-State LB and Second Team All-State RB last season. His junior year he was First Team All-State LB. Both seasons, he had a combined 262 tackles (191 solo), 42 TFL, eight sacks, 25 QB pressures, six forced fumbles a fumble recovery for a TD, 174 carries for 1,444 yards, 18 rushing TD, two receiving TD, plus a punt return TD. Not to mention, both years he was Academic All-State, as well, and was team captain his final season. He was named the Built Ford Tough Player of the Week in Week 6 after recording 17 carries for 239 yards, three touchdowns, nine tackles and a PBU vs. Dallas Christian. He received a Blue Gray All-American invite.

Anderson played his first two prep years at Calvary Christian Academy, where he was a linebacker, running back and quarterback. There he had 115 total tackles (96 solo), averaged 8.8 yards per carry and seven TD.

The newest Texan was also a track star, placing third at state in the 100m with a time of 10.82.

Nathan Baker (6-5, 285, OL, Junior, Previous: West Virginia Wesleyan)
Baker played the last two years at West Virginia Wesleyan, appearing in 15 total games. He’s from King William, West Virginia, and he played his prep ball at King William High School.

Javian Bellamy (6-1, 185, WR, Senior, Previous: Glenville State)
Bellamy played last season at Glenville State and made an immediate impact, named First Team All-Conference in the MEC. He went for 854 receiving yards, posting a career day against Charleston, accounting for 177 yards on 12 receptions. Bellamy also had four games where he had 100-plus receiving yards and finished the season with nine touchdowns.

He began his collegiate career at Erskine College, where he played both football and basketball. He appeared in 16 games there between 2020 and 2021, totaling seven touchdowns, 54 catches and 662 yards.

The Irmo, South Carolina, native, played his prep career at Ben Lippen School in Columbia.

Kayvon Britten (5-7, 190, RB, Junior, Previous: Arkansas-Pine Bluff)
Britten starred the last two years at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, where he played in 19 combined games. Last year, he was a 1,000-yard rusher, racing for 1,063 yards on 199 carries, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and 96.6 yards per game. He also had 16 rushing touchdowns, which led the SWAC, boosting him to First Team All-Conference honors. Out of the backfield, Britten had 36 receptions last year for 149 yards. Across his 11 games last season, Britten had five multi-TD games, including 3 3+ TD performances and a four-touchdown game against Alabama A&M on Oct. 16, part of a 32-carry, 277-yard night. In the season opener, he tallied 277 yards from scrimmage, rushing for 237 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries, adding 60 yards on four catches. In his last game played on Nov. 24 in the season finale, Britten scored three more touchdowns on 28 carries, covering 160 yards, at Alabama State.

Britten is a Cincinnati, Ohio, native, who played his prep career at Western Hill High School. There he was First Team All-League and Third Team All-City.

Tramaine Chism (6-3, 300, DL, Junior, Previous: Hinds CC)
Chism played the last two years at Hinds CC in Mississippi, appearing in 13 total games. Last season he totaled 10 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, a sack and a pass breakup. He earned his sack at Southwest on Oct. 6. In 2021, he played in seven games, finishing with 11 tackles and a tackle for loss. Before Hinds CC, Chism attended Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Rikter Connally (6-5, 300, OL, Freshman, Previous: Seminole HS)
Connally was one of two players announced by Tarleton in December on the early period signing day, along with Jake Hall. Connally had 10 offers besides Tarleton’s, including ones from Tulsa, UNLV, Sam Houston, North Texas and SMU. He originally committed to SMU before later opening his commitment back up and choosing Tarleton.

The incoming freshman played four years at Seminole High School out of Seminole, Texas. This past season he was named the District 2-4A Division II Offensive Lineman of the Year, while also earning First Team honors at defensive tackle.

Connally is a three-star prospect, according to 247Sports.com.

Ahmir Crowder (6-3, 295, DL, Senior, Previous: Washington State)
Crowder joins the Texans after spending the last five years at Washington State. He played in 19 total games with the Cougars, including 12 games in 2021, starting three of those. He finished that season with 13 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.

The Los Angeles native was a three-star prospect by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com and Rivals.com out of Crenshaw High School. He was also rated the No. 11 defensive tackle prospect in California by 247Sports.com.

Victor Gabalis (6-3, 218, QB, Sophomore, Previous: Utah Tech)
Gabalis has played three seasons across two schools, Utah Tech and Washington State. Last year he played in all 11 games for the Trailblazers, starting five including the final four of the season. He led the team with 1,948 passing yards on 258 attempts throwing for 17 touchdowns. He also had three games with 300+ passing yards including 463 in the Trailblazers home game against Southern Utah, the fourth highest single-game total in program history.

At Washington State, he played in three games in 2021, even starting the second half in the 2021 Sun Bowl against Central Michigan.

The Bellevue, Washington native played four varsity years at Archbishop-Murphy High School, earning All-Northwest 2A second team honors during his senior season after he rushed for eight touchdowns and led AMHS to a state quarterfinal appearance. He played in seven games as a junior and completed 59-of-120 passes for 714 yards and nine TDs. He threw for 1,665 yards and 20 touchdowns during his sophomore campaign. 

Daniel Greek (6-4, 225, QB, Sophomore, Previous: Mississippi State)
Greek joins the Texans from Mississippi State, where he spent the last two seasons with the late head coach Mike Leach and new Tarleton offensive coordinator Mason Miller. Greek did not log any game action in his two seasons with the Bulldogs.

He comes back to Texas where he prepped at Liberty Christian School under his father, head coach Steven Greek. There he became a three-star prospect per ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports.com, as the latter also ranked him the No. 38 pro-style quarterback nationally. Over his junior and sophomore seasons, he completed 267-of-445 passes for 2,580 yards in 15 games played, adding 26 touchdowns. Greek is an Argyle, Texas, native.

Josh Griffis (6-4, 255, DL, Junior, Previous: Jackson State)
Griffis has had three collegiate stops on his way to Tarleton, playing at Jackson State, Garden City CC and Florida State. Last year he played in six games for the Tigers, totaling five tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a quarterback hurry. At Florida State in 2020, Griffis played in seven games and recorded four tackles, including 1.0 for lost, registered against No. 12 Miami.

The Starke, Florida, native, was a three-star recruit out of Clay High School, ranked No. 23 weak-side defensive end by 247Sports Composite and the No. 75 overall prospect from Florida. He made 29 tackles including 22 solo stops and 5.5 sacks in nine games as a senior. He contributed 16 tackles, one sack and three quarterback hurries in six games as a junior, plus 38 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a sophomore.

Jake Hall (6-3, 290, OL, Freshman, Previous: Southlake Carroll HS)
Hall hails from Southlake Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas. He had nine other offers besides Tarleton’s, including Sam Houston, Idaho State, Northwestern State, plus interest from the likes of Texas Tech and Army, before he signed with the Texans on Wednesday.

Hall was District 4-6A First Team All-District the last two years and also earned Second Team All-State honors.

Tarleton’s newest freshman helped the Southlake Carroll Dragons win the 6A Region I District 4 championship, leading them to a 13-1 overall record and three playoff victories.

Dabari Hawkins (6-4, 190, DB, Sophomore, Previous: Trinity Valley CC)
Hawkins played most recently at Trinity Valley CC following a one-year stint with Louisiana in 2020. This past season he was an NJCAA honorable mention, as the shutdown DB blanketed receivers and hardly allowed any action to even come his way. He earned an interception in his final game.

Attending Stafford High School from Missouri City, Texas, Hawkins was a two-time First Team All-District DB. He had 46 tackles during his senior season, along with 2.0 TFL, one interception and one forced fumble. He held offers from Air Force, New Mexico State, Tulane, Tulsa and Vanderbilt before signing with the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Dawson Hearne (6-3, 230, TE, Sophomore, Previous: Texas A&M-Commerce)
Hearne spent last season at Texas A&M-Commerce, playing in seven games as a true freshman. He largely played special teams in his lone year there, recording four total tackles.

The Cisco, Texas, native, helped Cisco High School advance to the Class 2A Division I Region I finals with an 11-3 record. He was named the District 4-2A Division I Defensive MVP by San Angelo Standard Times, shortly after a strong playoff performance of four touchdowns, 16 tackles, and eight pass breakups against Haskell. He was also named First Team All-District 4-2A Division I Tight End, tallying 12 receptions for 166 yards and six touchdowns during his senior season.

Markell Johnson (6-5, 190, LB, Freshman, Previous: Edmond Memorial HS)
Johnson did a little bit of everything for Edmond Memorial High School in Edmond, Oklahoma. He played five different positions; quarterback, wide receiver, running back, linebacker and safety. He racked up 1,428 total yards, 15 touchdowns, 102 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two interceptions.

Caimyn Layne (6-0, 235, LB, Junior, Previous: Navarro JC)
Layne has played three years of collegiate football, one for Navarro College and two for Lamar. Last year at Navarro, he played in 10 games, accumulating 62 tackles, nine sacks, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He had three multiple sack games, including a three-sack night at Blinn College on Oct. 1 that also featured a forced fumble and six total tackles. He had a season-high 11 tackles against Trinity Valley CC on Oct. 15.

Layne spent his first two years playing at Lamar, appearing in all 17 games for the Cardinals. In the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, he had two interceptions, 21 tackles, 3.5 TFL, a forced fumble and a sack in six games. In 20221, he totaled 28 tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and 3.0 TFL. He had a sack and a season-high seven tackles at Abilene Christian on Oct. 16, 2021.

The Waxahachie, Texas, native, played his last two prep years at All Saints Episcopal School. As a senior, he averaged more than 11 tackles per game, recording 114 tackles, including 90 solo stops. He also had 13 sacks and an interception that year. Coming out of high school, Layne had interest from Texas Tech, New Mexico, SMU and Furman before ultimately choosing Lamar.

Jordan Love (6-2, 290, OL, Redshirt Sophomore, Previous: Kennesaw State)
Love last played for Kennesaw State in 2021, appearing in four games for 53 snaps on the offensive line.

The Rockledge, Florida, native, played his prep career at Rockledge High School, where he was a 3-star prospect according to 247sports. He had offers from Charlotte, FAU, Kansas and Rhode Island before choosing Kennesaw State. He was named to the 2020 all-Florida Athletic Coaches Association Offensive Player of the Year Team and he was the 2020 Brevard Sports Network Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Amechi Ofili (6-3, 225, LB, Freshman, Previous: Sachse HS)
Ofili played three varsity years at Sachse High School in Sachse, Texas. He played both outside linebacker and defensive end.

Benjamin Omayebu (5-10, 200, WR, Junior, Previous: Idaho State)
Omayebu transfers to Tarleton from Idaho State, where he played the last two seasons. He played in 21 of a possible 22 games over those two years, combining for 38 receptions for 371 yards and four touchdowns. He ended his Bengals’ career with his best game as a receiver, recording a tied-career-high five receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown.

The special athlete wasn’t just a receiver at Idaho State, however, earning over twice as many carries as he got receptions this past season. Omayebu had 67 rushing attempts cover 293 yards (4.4 yards per rush), scoring three times. He was also prevalent in the return game, covering 268 yards on his 13 kickoff returns, topping out at 47 yards against Central Arkansas. During his freshman year, he went the distance in his second ever game, scoring a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown against Sacramento State.

Omayebu is from Sherman, Texas, where he attended Sherman High School. His senior year included 43 receptions for 856 yards and nine touchdowns, 659 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, plus two punt return touchdowns.

Dawson Otto (6-6, 245, TE, Sophomore, Previous: Garden City CC)
Otto joins the Texans after playing his first collegiate year at Garden City CC. He played in nine games there, going for 16 receptions, 156 yards and three touchdowns. He logged his best game on Oct. 29 at Ellsworth CC, where he caught two touchdowns, finishing with three catches for 37 yards total.

Otto played wide receiver in high school before transitioning to tight end in college. He’s from Fort Collins, Colorado, and is a Rocky Mountain High School product.

James Paige (6-0, 195, QB, Freshman, Previous: Newnan HS)
Paige played his varsity football at Newnan HS in Newnan, Georgia. As a senior, he completed 88 passes for 1,145 yards and nine touchdowns. Paige chose Tarleton over an offer from Air Force. He is a Newnan, Georgia, native.

Charles Perkins (6-3, 250, DL, Junior, Previous: Coffeyville CC)
Perkins played the last two years at Coffeyville CC. Last season he appeared in 11 games, totaling 2.5 sacks, six tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, three pass breakups and 29 total tackles. His freshman season, he tallied four sacks, 6.5 TFL, a forced fumble, two pass breakups and 26 total tackles.

The Westerville, Ohio, native, played prep ball for Westerville North HS. At Coffeyville CC, he was a dual sport athlete, playing basketball as well.

Ty Rawls (6-0, 215, DB, Junior, Previous: Jones College)
Rawls played the last three years at Jones College in Houston. Last year, he had the second most interceptions on the team with two, adding 45 tackles and four pass breakups in 10 games. In his first two seasons, he started all 15 games. In 2021, he went for 33 tackles, two interceptions, three breakups and two fumble recoveries, adding to his freshman totals of 22 tackles, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and six breakups in 2020.

The Wetumpka, Alabama, native, played quarterback and defensive back at Wetumpka HS. He was the Montgomery Advertiser 5A-7A All-Metro Football Player of the Year and was 6A First Team All-State. He was also named the Truuu Sports Talk 2019 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and was a 2018 ASWA Back of the Year finalist.

Dylan Reyes (6-3, 190, DB, Junior, Previous: Iowa Western CC)
Reyes played the last three seasons at Iowa Western CC, leading the team last year with four interceptions, adding five pass breakups, 22 tackles and 4.0 tackles for loss out of the secondary. Altogether at the junior college, Reyes played in 28 games, posting six interceptions, eight pass breakups and 52 tackles. In the COVID-19 2020 season, he returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown.

Reyes is from Waterloo, Iowa, where he played at Waterloo East High School.

A.J. Sargent (6-1, 285, DL, Sophomore, Previous: Coffeyville CC)
Sargent transfers in from Coffeyville CC, located in Coffeyville, Kansas. In nine games played in his one year on the team last year, he totaled 27 tackles, three tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.

In his collegiate debut, he had a career-high six tackles in his team’s 37-0 shutout win over Highland CC-Kansas. Against Hutchinson CC on Sept. 24, he finished with two fumble recoveries and a tackle for loss.

The Wichita Falls, Texas, native attended Rider High School. He had interest from Kansas State, Houston, North Texas, Louisiana Tech, Harvard, Pennsylvania and Columbia.

Senituli Teuhema (6-2, 300, OL, Junior, Previous: Fort Hays State)
Teuhema played at Fort Hays State in Kansas since 2019, logging three seasons of action, with a canceled 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two seasons, he played in 20 games, largely starting at center. In 2021, he started 10 of 11 games at center, helping the Tigers lead the MIAA in total offense at 460.3 yards per game, which ranked 10th in NCAA Division II.

Teuhema, an Arlington, Texas, native, played at Lamar High School.

Amadeu Vital (6-1, 270, DL, Senior, Previous, Norfolk State)
Vital most recently played at Norfolk State, spending the last two seasons with the Spartans. Last year he played in all 11 games, recording 30 tackles (14 solo), 5.5 tackles for loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries. To begin his Norfolk State tenure, he played in the first three games going for eight tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Vital began his collegiate career with three years at Glenville State, a four-year school in West Virginia. He played in 12 combined games there, having his best year as a freshman, where he tallied 21 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and a forced fumble in seven games.

From Silver Spring, Maryland, Vital played his senior year at Paint Branch High School, where he was a two-way starter as an offensive guard and outside linebacker/defensive end. The three-sport athlete also wrestled and participated on the track and field team.

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