Smith, Valdez sign to play college football


Last Wednesday, two Yoemen football players decided to continue their education and football careers.  Yoe receiver Sicory Smith signed with Blinn College while defensive lineman Jesse Valdez signed with Howard Payne University. 


“It’s huge for these two young men and their families,” said Yoe athletic director Tommy Brashear.  “It’s huge for our community.  We have a lot of tradition in Cameron, and a lot of our kids have a dream of going on and playing on the next level, and these two are getting to fulfill those dreams.  These two guys have taken care of business to be able to play at the next level.”


Smith will join a Buccaneers program that has seen plenty of Yoemen come through in recent years, including Edgar Luna, Tralund Webber and Dede Westbrook.  Blinn finished 5-4 last season and was 3-4 in the Southwest Junior College football conference. 


The speedy receiver finished 2016 with 70 catches, 1,339 yards and 20 touchdowns.  In total, Smith had 4,192 yards in his three years as a Yoemen.  The total is good enough for seventh all-time for all classifications according to


“Sicory has been a huge part of our program for several years now,” said Brashear.  “Anytime he touched the ball he was a big play threat.  Other teams had to gameplan for him.  During the season we saw one thing on film but we saw another thing in the game because they were game planning for him.  He was a difference maker.  He has great hands, runs great routes, and has tremendous speed.”


Valdez joins a Howard Payne program, which struggled to an 0-10 finish last season.  The disruptive force up front should help improve a defense that gave up 44.3 points per game in 2016.  The Buzzsaws are a division III school that plays in the American Southwest Conference. 


Valdez garnered many double team looks in his senior season, but still managed 93 tackles and a team-high 18 tackles for loss.  Valdez rounded out his four-year career as a Yoemen with 290 tackles, 59 tackles for loss, and 21 sacks. 


“As the defensive coordinator before becoming head coach, Jesse had always been one of those staples since he was a freshman in the playoffs,” said Brashear.  “He has played in 52 games for us and that is amazing.  Most kids are lucky to play 20 games in their high school career of varsity football.  That is something to be proud.  He has a huge heart and is a very coachable young man.  He definitely is going to be very missed for us on the defensive line.”



Question and answer with the two signees. 




What will you miss most about playing for the Yoemen?

Playing under the lights and the speed of varsity football. 


Do you have a most memorable moment from your time in Cameron?

When I made a catch against Rockdale between two people.  It was the best catch and that has to be the most memorable.


Did the community of Cameron impact the way you played the game?

Yes, because this town loves Cameron football a lot.  When I do score a touchdown, to see the fans going crazy motivated me.  I just hoped to score more and more.


When did you first know you wanted to pursue college football?

Growing up as a kid, I always knew that I wanted to play football.  At the end of my junior year I was undecided and I needed to get my head right.  When Blinn gave me the chance, I felt like I needed to take it.


Edgar Luna, Tralund Webber and Dede Westbrook all went to Blinn.  How did their experience help you in your decision?

I talked to them three guys and they told me that was the best route.  They told me the professors and the coaches are great, and knowing that, I wanted to be there.  I want to get the best education and I want to play football for the best JUCO School.


How has Dede Westbrook, your cousin, inspired you in your game?

Dede is a great role model.   He always wanted to play football and when we played against each other on opposite teams he would try to make me better.  That is kind of how we grew up.


What type of work ethic does it take to become a good receiver?

To be a good receiver, you have to be able to run a route, throw the DB (defensive back) by you, and know when to sit and go.  Anybody can catch a football, but it takes a special person to run a great route and lose that defender.


Sicory will major in criminal justice.  How important is the education aspect of college for you?

Playing football is great, but the most important thing is the education.  I want to pursue my career in football, but I want to get a good education.


How special was this day to you personally?

It’s very exciting just knowing that my football career is not over and that I get to put smiles on people’s face again. 




You have played a lot of games in Cameron.  What does it mean to you to have played for this community?

It was just wonderful.  There is nothing like.  There is no other school that has the support for the football team. 


What are you going to miss most about the Friday night lights?

Everything.  Looking into the stands and seeing them full and everybody excited to see the Yoemen. 


Do you have a memorable moment of two from your career?

I have two.  The first was my freshmen year at state.  It was fourth down and we really needed a stop, and I made it.  The second was this year against the Teague Lions.  It was fourth and 15 and we really needed that stop too, and I got it.  It felt great hearing the crowd roar.  It gave my goose bumps. 


You played 52 games as a Yoemen.  Talk about the first time you got called up as a freshman?

At first I was real nervous because I was not sure if I was ready.  I started to settle in and calmed myself down and went to work from there.


How do you believe all of that experience benefited you?

I took a lot with me from my freshmen and sophomore into this year. 


When did you first decide to pursue college football?

It was when grandpa Rico passed away.  I knew he would have loved to see me play and go to the next level.  When he died, it just motivated me.


How did you first discover Howard Payne may be interested in you?

They sent an email and I called them afterwards.  It felt like home when I went there and it felt great.


Is that what led you to sign with the Buzzsaws?

They have great facilities and I just all around liked it. 


What does it take for someone to be a successful defensive lineman?

It does not take much.  It takes someone with a big heart that is willing to sacrifice their body.


Jesse will major in marketing.  How important is the education aspect of college to you?

It’s very important.  Without my education, I would not be signing with them.  It’s very important.