Demons add nine on Early Signing Day

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 7:41 PM CST
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NATCHITOCHES, La. (NSU) - The Northwestern State football team took the first steps toward solidifying its 2023 roster Wednesday.

The Demons added five high school signees and landed four transfers from four-year institutions as the early signing period opened.

“It’s the start of what is the 2023 roster going to look like,” said head coach Brad Laird, who begins his sixth season at the helm of his alma mater. “This is the first step in the process. I’m excited about today. It’s always an exciting time when you have the opportunity to better your roster. We were in the first step in the process of bettering our 2023 roster.”

The Demons added a pair of quarterbacks on opposite ends of the experience spectrum.

NSU picked up Idaho State transfer Tyler Vander Waal, who began his career at Wyoming, and was named the spring 2021 Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year.

Vander Waal arrives in Natchitoches having started nine games for Wyoming before transferring to Idaho State.

Joining Vander Waal in the quarterback room is JT Fayard from Foster High School in Richmond, Texas. Fayard threw for more than 3,500 yards and added 36 touchdown passes while playing in a challenging 5A district in suburban Houston.

Fayard will be an early enrollee, joining the Demons in the spring.

“You’re always excited to see a young man join your roster, especially one who will go through spring practice,” Laird said. “You don’t always get that, especially at the quarterback position. I’m excited to see what he brings.”

The Demons mined their geographic backyard for a pair of high school offensive lineman, adding Captain Shreve’s Chris Allen and Nacogdoches High School’s Ryan Larson. That pair will be joined by Mississippi Valley State transfer Tyler McMillan as new NSU offensive linemen.

“Any time you can get in North Louisiana, Shreveport-Bossier and the East Texas area, that’s good,” Laird said. “There are a lot of good players from there who have come through Northwestern.”

The Demons added one skill position transfer with Shreveport ties Wednesday as ULM’s Colton Derrick signed with the Demons. Derrick played his high school football and baseball at Shreveport’s Calvary Baptist Academy.

Derrick’s most productive ULM season came in 2021 when he caught 25 passes for 353 yards and a touchdown. He added a 3-yard touchdown pass at Texas State this season.

Northwestern State picked up a pair of defensive linemen – one each from Texas and Louisiana.

The Demons’ mined northeast Louisiana to find Richwood’s Keshawn Reed, who had 57 tackles, including 23 for loss this season. In the past two seasons, Reed has tallied 127 stops for the Rams.

SMU transfer Trevion Sneed, a two-star at Mineola (Texas) High School, signed with the Demons on Wednesday after seeing action in nine games for the Mustangs across the past two seasons.

Nolan Catholic cornerback Antonio Hall was a first-team TAPPS all-state selection as a receiver and a second-team all-state cornerback whose 6-foot-1 frame and athletic ability made him an intriguing fit for the Demon secondary.

“As we go through the recruiting process, the two most important areas defensively are up front and in the back end,” Laird said. “I’m excited to get Keshawn Reed and what he brings. Antonio Hall is a young man who could play on either side of the ball. He’s a guy who’s done a lot of different things, but because of his length, we think he can do a lot of things on the back end of our defense.”

2022 Northwestern State Early Signing Class

Chris Allen, OL, 6-3, 265, Shreveport, Louisiana-Captain Shreve High School

Will Derrick, WR, 6-0, 170, Shreveport, Louisiana-Calvary Baptist Academy (ULM)

JT Fayard, QB, 6-5, 220, Richmond, Texas-Foster HS

Antonio Hall, CB, 6-1, 160, Fort Worth, Texas-Nolan Catholic HS

Ryan Larson, OL, 6-4, 290, Nacogdoches, Texas-Nacogdoches HS

Tyler McMillan, OL, 6-6, 315, Detroit, Michigan-River Rouge HS (Mississippi Valley State)

Keshawn Reed, DL, 6-3, 271, Monroe, Louisiana-Richwood HS

Trevion Sneed, DL, 6-2, 242, Mineola, Texas-Mineola HS (SMU)

Tyler Vander Waal, QB, 6-4, 220, Sacramento, California-Christian Brothers HS (Idaho State)

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