The Blitz: UIW makes a shocking announcement, Navarro names defensive coordinator, and more

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UIW shocked the college world last week by announcing they will remain in the Southland Conference. The Cardinals had accepted an invitation and were expected to join the WAC on July 1st. However, UIW informed the WAC they would not proceed with becoming a member.

"In the ever-changing landscape of Division I athletics, change can happen fast, but it has always been our goal to find stability, the best fit, and the best opportunities for our student-athletes," UIW President Dr. Thomas M. Evans said in a release. "Today's announcement is just another example of putting those interests first. Our decision to remain in the Southland Conference will optimize class time with competition time and time in our community and allow our students to once again excel in all those areas."

Rumors swirled over the last few months regarding which conference UIW would compete in 2022-2023 and beyond. After participating in the WAC annual meetings, the Cardinals appeared to be headed to the WAC. However, the question remained whether UIW could invest in its athletic facilities and programs at a level needed to compete with other schools in the WAC.

The decision means the Southland will have eight members that play football in 2022 and beyond. As a result, the Southland will be able to retain its automatic bid to the FCS playoffs, and its position could become more robust with the University of New Orleans potentially adding football.

Meanwhile, the WAC is left with only five member institutions that sponsor football this season. It will only have four members, with Sam Houston scheduled to depart for Conference USA following the upcoming academic year. The conference has a scheduling alliance with the ASUN for this season but will need to decide how to secure an automatic bid in future years.

Conference realignment has been a significant headline over the last couple of years, and it may be naive to believe this will be the final realignment news in the near future. But, as always, we will keep you updated with any information we receive.

Western Athletic Conference

Justin Berendzen interviewed Abilene Christian DB Mike Garrett Jr. as part of the NFLDraftDiamonds.com 2023 NFL Draft Prospect series. 

ACU announced the signing of Arizona State QB Ethan Long, Arkansas WR Kendall Catalon, Texas OL Rafiti Ghirmai, Houston DL Alexander Duke, Texas Tech TE Jed Castles, UCLA CB Patrick Jolly, Oklahoma State OL Trent Pullen, Cisco WR Blayne Taylor, New Mexico WR Zarak Scruggs, Texas Tech QB Maverick McIvor, Houston LB TJ Marshall, Kansas WR Tristan Golightly, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M LB Darius Moore, Tyler DB Kelekolio Linton, Liberty DB Marcus Haskins, and Texas Tech OL Tay Yanta to the Wildcats 2022 transfer class.

The Wildcats also received a commitment from SMU DB Jadarius Thursby. The Duncanville product was a three-star recruit and saw playing time in two games last season before redshirting.

Southland Conference

Former Texas A&M-Commerce QB Luis Perez led the New Jersey Generals of the USFL to the semifinals before losing to the Philadelphia Stars 19-14. Perez finished the regular season with 1,200 passing yards and nine touchdowns while completing 71.7 percent of his pass attempts.

UIW received a commitment from DB Devan Barrett. He is transferring to the Cardinals following four seasons with Auburn. The former 4-star recruit opted out of the 2020 season and did not play for the Tigers in 2021. Barrett played in seven games at defensive back in 2019 after beginning his career as a running back.

Southwestern Athletic Conference

Tyler DE Michael Noubissi committed to play at Prairie View A&M. The Manvel High School product had 2.5 sacks in 12 games last year for the Apaches.

The Panthers also received a commitment from Missouri DB Stacy Brown. The former three-star recruit saw action in 28 games during his three seasons with the Tigers.

It was a busy week for PVAMU with Texas Wesleyan WR Collier Ricks announcing his intention to transfer to the Panthers. Ricks was a first-team All-Sooner Athletic Conference selection last season after gaining 641 yards and seven touchdowns on 35 receptions.

Former Texas Southern DE Michael Badejo was invited by the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears for a workout, according to TheBlueBloods.com. Additionally, Badejo was recently invited to a workout by the Carolina Panthers and was invited to attend the XFL Showcase.

Lone Star Conference

Angelo State FB Cason Brown was named first-team Division II preseason All-American by The CFB Network, while West Texas A&M LB JT Cavender was selected as a third-team member.

American Southwest Conference

Mary Hardin-Baylor WR KJ Miller, OL Jeffrey Sims, and Hardin-Simmons OL Boomer Warren were named first-team Division III preseason All-Americans by The CFB Network.

UMHB OL Ethan Ruckman and LB Omari Frazier were named CFB Network second-team preseason All-American. UMHB QB Kyle King and East Texas Baptist LS Jordan Estes were named third-team preseason All-Americans.

The Crusaders unveiled a national championship ring that is stunning. Click on this link to view the ring.

UMHB received a commitment from WR Andre Mitchell, according to TrueToTheCru.com. The San Antonio native spent last season at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif.

The Cru also received a commitment from Southwest Legacy High School DB Ramon Renteria.

Former Hardin-Simmons TE Jonathan Castaneda signed with the Arkansas Attack of the Major League Football, a spring league set to begin in 2023.

McMurry announced Azle RB Brinson Sharp, Galena Park North Shore LB Joshua Garrett, Palestine DL Quan’Tae Gage, Kenedy DL Logan Salais, and Snyder K/P Jorge Olivares to the War Hawks 2022 recruiting class.

Southern Athletic Association

Trinity P Tyler Huettel was named first-team Division III preseason All-American by The CFB Network. QB Tucker Horn, OL Wyatt Bush, and LB Caleb Harmel garnered second-team honors.

Southwestern Junior College Football Conference

Navarro head coach Ryan Taylor announced Geoff Terry would be the Bulldogs' defensive coordinator. Terry spent the last three years as an assistant with NCAA Division II Delta State. Before coaching, Terry was an NJCAA All-American in 1998 with Alfred State College and played for the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League and the New York Jets.

The Bulldogs also named Mark Gibson defensive line coach. Gibson spent four seasons as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Cisco. 

Tyler DB Mory Bamba announced his commitment to BYU.

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