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Texas State head coach G.J. Kinne ended signing day on a high note as the Bobcats signed 33 players to the roster. Above, Kinne speaks to a crowd at his introductory press conference on Dec. 7, 2022. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Texas State signs 33 in Kinne’s inaugural class

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Texas State head coach G.J. Kinne ended signing day on a high note as the Bobcats signed 33 players to the roster.

“I’m excited about the guys we signed,” Kinne said. “Our staff went to work as soon as they got the job. You can tell by the quality of the players we signed … we wanted to add length and speed. We had to get some impact guys that could play right away and we felt like we did that to go along with the current guys on the roster. Obviously, the focus was on the Texas high school kids whether it was coming out of high school now, Junior College, or the transfer portal. The focus on that will not change.”

Of the 33 players that were signed, 19 of the players came from the transfer portal, seven players came from junior colleges, and seven players came straight out of high school.

With the majority of Kinne’s staff coming over from Incarnate Word, seven of the players that come via the transfer portal hopped from UIW.

Those players include offensive linemen, Caleb Johnson, Nash Jones, Emeka Obigbo, Jimeto Obigbo and Dorion Strawn, and wide receiver Kole Wilson, and safety Caleb Kulp.

Perhaps one of the biggest gets for Kinne is acquiring the five offensive linemen.

“Some of those UIW guys are some of the best players that we signed,” Kinne said. “Once again, we know those guys and we know what we can get from them. They are very high character guys, great football players, and what we want this thing to look like. Starting with the offensive lineman, we signed five of those guys. Three of them had Power 5 offers that we were trying to fight off. Getting those guys allows me to sleep well at night because they are really talented and strong. That has shown so far since we got back and started working out with the strength program. Some of our strongest guys are the ones who we signed over from UIW.”

Along with Kulp and Wilson, the former Incarnate Word players also help Kinne in knowing what he is getting.

“We signed Kaleb Kulp at safety who is another all-conference guy that has a ton of production at that level and another really good person,” Kinne said. “Cole Wilson coming over from UIW is another guy we expect to come over and contribute. So getting those guys was huge and once again, we know those guys and what they are about. Anytime you sign somebody, sometimes you really don’t know what they are about but we know about those UIW guys and what they are made of.”

One of the biggest signees of this year’s class was Arkansas transfer quarterback Malik Hornsby.

Hornsby, who graduated from Fort Bend Marshall in Houston, was one of the most sought after transfer prospects coming out of the portal before finding a home in San Marcos.

“That was a wild ride,” Kinne said. “As soon as we identified him as a staff as someone who we would want to go after, we pursued him hard. Obviously, our pitch was about what we did with Lindsey Scott over at UIW the past year and what [Offensive Coordinator Mack] Leftwich did with Cam Ward the previous year.”

Though the similarities between Hornsby and Scott are noticeable, both players play with a different style.

“I think he fits our offense in what we want though he brings a different dynamic than Scott,” Kinne said. “Lindsey was a really good runner and led the Southland Conference in rushing. I think Malik might be the more dynamic runner than him but we signed because we think he can play quarterback. He has the arm talent, the high school production, and we’ve seen the film at Arkansas. He has the talent and we sold him on the development which was a huge piece.”

Seven high school recruits, offensive lineman Justin DeLeon, defensive lineman Jo’Laison Landry, wide receiver Chris Dawn Jr, offensive Bami Badusi, cornerback Amarion Atwood, tight end Jake Simpson, and quarterback PJ Hatter, represent a shift from the previous regime in recruiting that moved away from high school with Texas State only taking four high school recruits in the past two recruiting cycles.

“We want to get out to as many high schools as we can and develop those relationships,” Kinne said. “Part of that is signing high school kids, and it’s been very receptive. The high school coaches are pumped to see us back in the schools and offering their kids. There are so many alums at each school that I don’t think I’ve been to one school where they are like ‘Hey I’ve been to Texas State or Southwest Texas State, I’m so glad you are here.’ That part has been really fun.”

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