The UIW Cardinals have signed student-athletes on National Signing Day, the team announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The seven new additions join the 23 other signees from the early signing period back in December. The 30 new players will join the Cardinals fall camp later in August.
“I’m thrilled with this signing class,” said UIW Head Coach Eric Morris in a statement. “We are adding more depth to an already special team. I’m excited to see what each of these young men bring to the program.”
Matt Gaca – OLB – Franklin HS (Franklin, Tenn.)
Gaca played on both sides of the ball in high school, totaling 74 tackles and 1,991 rushing yards over 25 games. Junior year saw him make 58 tackles in 10 games and in his senior year, he rushed for 1,117 yards.
“Matt has all the intangibles we look for in a UIW player,” Morris said. “He is high academic, high character and a very tough, rangy player.”
CJ Hardy – WR – Cypress Ranch (Cypress, TX)
Hardy played a big role in helping his team to an 11-1 overall record with a perfect 8-0 record in district play. As a receiver, he totaled 652 yards and six touchdowns and had 67 yards and a touchdown as a running back. In his best game, he finished with six catches for 132 yards and three scores.
“CJ is an explosive slot receiver that will be a nightmare for opposing defenses,” said Morris. “We are excited to see what he can do in an explosive offense.”
Kamden Perry – WR – Longview HS (Longview, TX)
A two-year starter for Longview, he caught a total of 129 passes in 32 games. He helped lead his team to an undefeated record and winning the Class 6A, Division II State Championship. He would finish that game with eight catches for 218 yards.
“He had a very productive high school career and is a proven winner coming from a state championship team,” Morris said.
Jaylon Jimmerson – S – Pittsburg HS (Pittsburg, TX)
Another player who can be on both sides of the ball. As a quarterback, Jimmerson threw for 2,594 yards and 23 touchdowns and as a running back, he ran for 1,260 yards and 23 scores. On the defensive end, he made 101 tackles and eight interceptions in his senior season as a corner.
“Jaylon is one of the best athletes in the state,” said Morris. “His high school stats attest to that. His do-all ability will impact this team in several ways from day one.”
Jaden Smith – DB – Foster HS (Richmond, TX)
Smith will likely be a spark on special teams as he was in high school. He was a forceful punt and kick returner throughout his senior season.
Jaylen Stanford – DB – Westlake HS (Houston, TX)
A smart defensive player, Stanford had five interceptions in 15 games at the varsity level and had 56 return yards on those interceptions.
Markail Williams – DE – Kilgore CC (St. Louis, MO)
Playing a total of 11 games, Williams had 16 total tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. In high school, he was rated a two-star linebacker by 247sports and the 29th best linebacker in Missouri.
“He has an extremely high motor and a nose for the football, and he will be a major contributor to our defense,” Morris said.