HILLSBORO, Ore. – Five Northwest football student-athletes have been selected to JCGridiron.com's preseason position watch lists ahead of the rapidly approaching 2019 campaign.
Rising sophomores Braden Smith, Quay Mays, Justin Jackson, Robert Hentz II and redshirt sophomore Tyren Irby were all named in the online publication's Players to Watch lists, released weekly throughout the summer.
Smith, a Louisville commit, became the team's leading receiver last season, racking up 537 yards on 45 receptions with eight touchdowns. The Flowood native and former Mississippi State walk-on averaged 53.7 receiving yards per game and returned 18 punts for 144 yards, totaling 745 all-purpose yards. Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals and 247Sports.com, Smith has also garnered interest from Western Michigan, ULL, Nicholls and Austin Peay.
A 6-foot-1, 290-pound defensive tackle, Mays saw action in eight contests last season and is expected to be a major contributor on the Rangers' defensive front this year. The Bradenton, Fla. native totaled 15 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked kick. Mays holds a slew of Division I offers entering the upcoming season, most notably from West Virginia and Iowa State, along with additional interest from Arkansas State, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Houston, ULM, North Carolina, South Alabama, South Florida, Toledo, Troy and UCF.
Jackson, a three-star defensive end by Rivals, totaled 19 tackles, three tackles-for-loss and three sacks in seven games last season. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Center Hill HS product is currently committed to Colorado but also holds interest from Liberty, Memphis, Troy, UAB and ULM.
As one of Jackson's defensive end counterparts, Hentz II totaled 26 tackles, six tackles-for-loss, three hurries and two sacks last season. Standing at 6-foot-2 and 270 pounds, the Batesville native and South Panola alumnus has generated interest from Arkansas State, Memphis, Southern Miss, South Alabama, Troy, UAB, ULL and ULM so far.
Irby, a fellow defensive end, had eight tackles, a tackle-for-loss, a breakup and a quarterback hurry, before being sidelined with a season-ending injury during the 2017 season. The Walls native played in all 10 of the Rangers' contests as a redshirt freshman in 2018 and compiled 19 total tackles, six tackles-for-loss, six quarterback hurries, two breakups, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Irby holds offers from Liberty, South Alabma, Toledo, Troy, UAB and ULM.
By: Brian Lentz