Tatum High School has produced a long line of college football players, some of whom have enjoyed time in the National Football League, such as current Oakland Raiders receiver Denarius Moore and past pros Larry Centers and Travian Smith.
Unsurprisingly, Tatum has a few players in the 2015 and 2016 classes who are FBS-caliber prospects, despite flying under the radar so far during the recruiting process. Perhaps that will end with Tuesday's news of Houston and Memphis offers for 2015 linebacker/safety Kyshaun Smith.
"It feels great. A little bit of a relief," Smith said of breaking the offer ice. "But I'm not relaxed. This is only the beginning. Work still needs to be done."
After making his varsity debut as a sophomore, Smith had a breakout junior campaign making an impact for the 11-1 Eagles on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Smith carried 19 times for 199 yards and one touchdown, averaging 10.5 yards per carry. He also caught one touchdown pass.
But defense, which is where he play at the next level, is where he made his name. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder recorded 155 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery.
Smith told Scout.com late Tuesday afternoon that Houston and Memphis are both looking at him as an "outside linebacker or safety," he said. While his weight may seem to be too low for an outside linebacker prospect, Smith has a big, long, athletic frame that has plenty of room to add positive weight. His athleticism makes him a viable candidate as a safety.
Smith is the son of the aforementioned Travian Smith, who played at Oklahoma before spending seven seasons with the Oakland Raiders from 1998-2004. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder had five sacks in 2002 before finishing with a career-high 60 tackles in 2003 despite playing only 10 games, seven of which he started.
Houston is no stranger to Tatum. The Cougars have mined the high school in the past.
Running back Bryce Beall, defensive tackle Isaiah Thompson, receiver Chance Blackmon, and safety Carson Blackmon played together at Tatum before playing for Houston. They were high school teammates of Moore, former Tennessee and Louisiana Tech running back Lennon Creer, former TCU defensive end Clarence Leatch, former Louisiana-Lafayette safety Daylon McCoy, and former Northwestern State defensive back Cashas Pollard, who played quarterback at Tatum.
That loaded group led Tatum to the 2005 Class 3A Division II state title before Creer, Moore, Pollard, and Beall helped the Eagles to back-to-back titles the next season.
Kyshaun Smith is one of several players Tatum has who could play at the next level. Deyanta Roberson (2015 receiver), Chaston Brooks (2015 safety), and J.D. Taylor (2016 athlete) are all FBS offer-worthy prospects.
An East Texas high school with a strong history of producing Division I FBS prospects saw its first 2015 recruit pull in not only one offer Tuesday afternoon, but two.