LEWISVILLE — Wednesday afternoon was a moment years in the making for Lewisville senior Armani Winfield, who first began generating interest from colleges as an eighth-grader.
And the first school to offer, back in June 2018, was Baylor.
That wasn’t lost on Winfield, whose recruiting took a turn last month when he decommitted from Texas. Although the Longhorns remained in the mix leading up to the start of football’s early signing period on Wednesday, Winfield leaned on the relationships built throughout his recruiting process to steer the next chapter of his football career down to Waco.
With one zip of his pullover, Winfield revealed a Baylor Bears shirt amid cheers from the crowd on hand as one of the state’s top wide receivers committed to the newly minted Big 12 champions.
“Throughout my whole recruiting process, Baylor was recruiting me hard,” Winfield said. “They were my first offer when I was in eighth grade, and when they said they wanted me after I decommitted, it meant a lot. They had been there the whole time, I trust the coaches, I trust coach (Dave) Aranda and the guys in his program. It’s not too far from home, so I think it’s a perfect fit.”
Winfield, along with senior Damien Martinez (Oregon State), put pen to paper on Wednesday and signed letters of intent to content their football careers into college. Both have been instrumental in the Farmers’ resurgence under head coach Michael Odle — contributing to a stretch of four consecutive playoff appearances (the first time the program has done so since 1998-2001) and this year’s run to the regional quarterfinals.
“Just continuing to build of my leadership throughout the years,” Martinez said. “Since I was a freshman up to now, I’ve grown so much as a vocal leader and I want to take that to college and build on that to help change their program as well.”
Martinez was the anchor of Lewisville’s high-octane offense this season, rushing for 1,712 yards and scoring 27 total touchdowns in just 11 games played on his way District 6-6A MVP honors. All-district superlatives followed Martinez at every stop of his tenure with the Farmers, named newcomer of the year as a sophomore and co-offensive player of the year as a junior.
And if opposing defenses tried keying in on the run, Winfield made them pay on the outside. Earning All-American honors as a freshman in 2018, Winfield authored a record-setting career at Lewisville — concluding with 1,006 receiving yards on 66 catches and eight touchdowns as a senior.
A who’s who of colleges took notice with Winfield landing 40 scholarship offers, according to 247Sports.com. The Under Armour All-American verbally committed to Texas on Jan. 12 before changing course on Nov. 26. Texas, along with Michigan State, was firmly in the mix prior to Winfield’s decision to commit to Baylor — one where Winfield had his mind made up after an official visit to the Bears’ campus last weekend.
“They were the first people who saw my talent coming out of middle school, so they took a chance with me,” Winfield said. “I appreciate that and I owe everything to that program. Something like that really left a mark on me.”
Martinez, meanwhile, held firm on a pledge to Oregon State that was initially hatched on April 12. He cited the Beavers’ offensive scheme as a key component in his decision.
“They’re a very downhill offense,” Martinez said. “Running downhill, motioning the wide receiver and getting the running back downhill — it’s my style of running and exactly what I do.”
Evers finds new home in Norman
The past week has been a whirlwind for Flower Mound senior Nick Evers, who decommitted from Florida on Dec. 7 just a couple weeks after the Gators fired head coach Dan Mullen. The following day, Evers was offered by Oklahoma, a program going through its own change following former head coach Lincoln Riley’s abrupt move out west to USC.
Evers, tabbed a four-star recruit and the No. 10 quarterback in the Class of 2022 per 247Sports.com, verbally committed to the Sooners on Monday before signing with the program on Wednesday. The Flower Mound signal-caller was new OU head coach Brent Venables’ first commit.
Evers helped lead the Jaguars to their third playoff appearance in four years this past season. Named 6-6A offensive player of the year, the quarterback passed for 2,367 yards and 19 touchdowns, adding 648 rushing yards and 14 more scores.
Just a few miles north, Marcus senior Zach Morris finalized his commitment to play at the next level, signing with New Mexico. A 6-foot-1, 180-pound cornerback, Morris earned all-district first-team honors as a senior, logging 48 tackles and breaking up six passes for a Marauder squad that captured its third consecutive district championship this past season.
Creekview duo signs
The Creekview football team enjoyed a resurgent 2021 under first-year head coach Antonio Castillo, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2015 and posting a 6-5 record. Senior receiver Sean Sallis was a big reason why.
The 6-foot-4 receiver/tight end logged 861 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 48 catches as a senior, and afterwards secured the next chapter of his football career. On Wednesday, Sallis made a commitment to play for Marshall official.
Sallis was joined that day by Creekview senior Conrad Hendriksen, who will continue his decorated wrestling career into college with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Hendriksen is a two-time state champion with the Mustangs, including an undefeated junior season.
Both seasons, Creekview’s wrestling team finished in the top four at the Class 5A state meet.