Twenty-eight high school seniors, including six from the San Antonio area, signed letters of intent Wednesday to play football at the University of the Incarnate Word.
The Cardinals, who started playing football in 2009, are making the transition this year from Division II to the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA. They will play in the Southland Conference.
"We have more numbers this year because we lost a lot of seniors to graduation," second-year UIW coach Larry Kennan said in a story posted on the university's website. "But we were still able to recruit a higher level of talent this year than in years past.
"We had 15 of 18 recruits commit to us on the first recruiting weekend of the year, and it just kept going from there. We feel really good about this class."
UIW has played in the Lone Star Conference each of the past two years after competing as a Division II independent in its inaugural season. The Cards finished 2-9 overall and 1-7 in the LSC last season.
Three of UIW's signees are from Steele, wide receiver Matthew Mayle, quarterback Breylann McCollum and offensive lineman Justin Roberts. The Knights reached the Class 5A Division II state semifinals last year, finishing 14-1.
"They came at me pretty early, earlier than other schools," McCollum said Wednesday, referring to his recruitment by UIW. "What impressed me the most was that they acted like a family, throughout the team, throughout the school, through the coaches. That's what really impressed me.
"I know coach Kennan is a real good coach and he's going to lead us in the right direction. We can only go up. I am really excited. We've got a great recruiting class this year."
McCollum was recruited as an "athlete," which means he could be moved to another position. The Cards signed one other quarterback, Kaleb Hardy, who played at Florence High School.
Michael Cameron (Churchill), Austin Jennings (Smithson Valley) and Blake Klumpp (Alamo Heights), all offensive linemen, are the three other area players who signed with UIW.
The Cards signed six linebackers, five running backs, four offensive linemen, four wide receivers, three defensive backs, three defensive linemen, two quarterbacks and one tight end. All 28 players are from Texas.
UIW also signed four transfers.
Incarnate Word Football 2013 Signing Day Class
Michael Allen, 6-0, 205, LB, Garland, (Garland Lakeview Centennial)
John Almaraz, 6-3, 317, OL, Houston (Cypress Lakes)
Jared Ambres, 6-0, 180, S, Manvel (Manvel)
Daryl Brooks, 6-3, 175, WR, Teague (Teague)
Michael Cameron, 6-1, 275, OL, San Antonio (Churchill)
Tyler Colbert, 6-1, 315, NG, Fort Worth (Southwest)
Taryn Davis, 6-6, 220, DE, Dallas (Carrollton Newman Smith)
Jamari Gilbert, 6-1, 178, S, Baytown (Baytown Lee)
Kaleb Hardy, 6-3, 230, QB, Round Rock (Florence)
Jordan Hicks, 5-8, 167, WR, Arlington (Juan Seguin)
Joel Higgins, 6-0, 195, LB, Austin (Sweeny)
Austin Jennings, 6-3, 275, OT, San Antonio (Smithson Valley)
Blake Klumpp, 6-3, 210, OL, San Antonio (Alamo Heights)
Corey Lee, 6-0, 260, DT, Humble (La Porte)
Greg Lemon, 6-2, 220, LB, Austin (Sweeny)
Keshon Leonard, 5-7, 160, RB, Rosenberg (Lamar Consolidated)
Matthew Mayle, 6-0, 170, WR, Schertz (Cibolo Steele)
Breylann McCollum, 6-1, 200, ATH, Cibolo (Cibolo Steele)
Adrian Norwood, Jr., 5-11, 185, S, Waco (Waco)
John Oglesby, 6-1, 200, RB, Katy (Seven Lakes)
Chase Ragusa, 5-8, 170, WR, Cypress (Cypress Woods)
Broderick Reeves, 5-9, 185, RB, Mexia (Mexia)
Justin Roberts, 6-4, 240, OL, Schertz (Cibolo Steele)
Johnny Session, 5-10, 218, RB, Mesquite (Mesquite)
Allen Smith, 6-2, 210, LB, Missouri City (Fort Bend Marshall)
Michael Thomas, 6-3, 220, TE, Angleton (Angleton)
Deion Williams, 5-10, 190, RB, Katy (Katy Morton Ranch)
Josh Zellars, 6-0, 195, LB, Baytown (Baytown Lee)
Jarrius James, 6-1, 175, CB, Galveston (Ball/College of the Siskiyous, Calif.)
Alex Jenkins, 6-5, 268, DL, Bath, England (Bristol Academy)
Casey Jennings, 6-0, 192, WR, Fremont, Calif. (Chabot College, Calif.)
Dallin Muti, 5-10, 277, DL, Laie, Hawaii (Chabot College, Calif.)