University of Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen announced the signing class of nine members Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA’s early signing period.
The group is comprised of three junior college transfers and six high school seniors. Members of Houston’s class hail from three states and alongside one international signee. The state of Texas is represented by six signees.
Three of Houston’s signees will join the program in January as early enrollees: defensive lineman Brian Merritt, defensive lineman Rafal Szymanski and safety Mark Wilson.
Wilson, a native of Clear Lake, Texas, was the first Cougar signee to send in his NLI to open the day at 7:05 a.m. CT.
The early signing period runs through the end of the day Friday with National Signing Day scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.
Antonio Brooks – S
Kilgore College (Missouri City, Texas)
5-10 / 200
Prior to Houston: Nation’s No. 58 overall JUCO player, No. 9 overall JUCO cornerback and No. 2 JUCO player in Texas according to 247Sports … in 10 games during 2019, produced 49 tackles, 3 ½ tackles for loss three interceptions and 2 ½ sacks … chose Houston over Arizona, Baylor and Louisiana, among others.
High School: Played at Missouri City’s Ford Bend Marshall … as a senior, produced 56 tackles and 15 tackles for loss in 11 games … added 88 tackles and 19 for loss as a junior … as a sophomore, rushed for 900 yards on 124 carries, producing five 100-yard performances and 12 touchdowns.
Almarion Crim – OL
Minor HS (Adamsville, Ala.)
6-3 / 285
High School: Three-star prospect by 247Sports … rated as the No. 189 offensive tackle nationally and the No. 92 player in Alabama … participated in annual Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game … chose Houston over Air Force, Army, Duke, ECU, Georgia Tech, Tulsa and USF, among others.
Jalen Emery – CB
Shadow Creek HS (Pearland, Texas)
5-11 / 168
High School: Three-star prospect by 247Sports … rated as the nation’s No. 117 overall cornerback and state of Texas’ No. 209 overall player by 247Sports … helped Shadow Creek to 16-0 record and Texas 5A D-I state title as a junior … played sophomore season at Houston Lamar … as a sophomore, provided two interceptions, seven passes defended and 35 tackles … chose Houston over Duke, Louisiana, Nevada, North Texas and Wake Forest, among others.
C.J. Guidry — WR
Shadow Creek HS (Pearland, Texas)
5-9 / 165
High School: Three-star prospect by 247Sports … rated as the nation’s No. 148 overall wide receiver and state of Texas’ No. 141 overall player by 247Sports …2019 Texas District 10-5A D-1 First Team … helped Shadow Creek to 16-0 record and Texas 5A D-I state championship in 2019 … as a junior, recorded 25 receptions for 612 yards and nine touchdowns across 15 games … as a sophomore, caught 28 passes for 604 yards with six touchdowns … averaged 26.0 yards per kickoff return as a junior including one kickoff return for a touchdown … also competed in track and field (100 meters, 200 meters, relays) … chose Houston over Arizona, Nebraska, Tennessee and Texas Tech, among others.
Maddox Kopp — QB
St. Thomas HS (Houston)
6-5 / 210
High School: Three-star prospect by 247Sports … rated as the No. 31 pro-style quarterback nationally and Texas’ No. 106 overall player by 247Sports … finished career with 6,000-plus passing yards and 59 touchdowns … nominated for Offensive Player of the Year through the Houston Touchdown Club and Vype … led St. Thomas to 9-4 record and state semifinal appearance in 2019 … threw for 3,089 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2019 … totaled 3,134 yards passing and 30 touchdowns to just four interceptions in 2020 … averaged 348.2 yards passing per game as a senior … named Ford Texas High School Player of the Week award for Week 8 performance … also lettered in basketball … brother, Braden plays offensive tackle at Vanderbilt … brother, Miller is a point guard at Northwestern … brother Anderson is a shooting guard at Lamar … chose Houston over Colorado, Cornell, Ole Miss and Tulane, among others.
Brian Merritt – DT
Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. (Moultrie, Ga.)
6-1 / 293
Prior to Houston: Played in 12 games with Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2019, recording 39 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and five sacks … added 34 tackles, including 21 solo tackles in 2020 … named NJCAA Defensive Player of the Week and MACJC Defensive Player of the Week after recording 11 total tackles, 4.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks in a 55-24 win over Southwest Mississippi …chose Houston over Liberty, Southern Miss, Troy and UTSA, among others.
High School: Played for head coach Rush Propst at Colquitt County in Moultrie, Georgia … as a senior, had 60 tackles, 18 assists, 36 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 19 quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery … named to Georgia Sports Writers Association Class 7A All-State Second Team and All-Region 1-7A Team as senior … as a junior, had 62 tackles, 25 assists, 17 ½ tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 46 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery … as a sophomore, had 53 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hurries while being named to the All-Region 1-7A Second Team … had more than a dozen offers out of high school including Georgia State, FAU, Middle Tennessee, West Virginia, Tulane and UAB, among others.
Rafal Szymanski — DE
New Mexico Military Institute (Olystzn, Poland)
6-4 / 230
Prior to Houston: Nation’s No. 5 ranked JUCO weak-side defensive end and No. 2 overall JUCO player from state of Georgia per 247Sports … chose Houston over, Arkansas State, Ball State, FAU and New Mexico State, among others.
High School: Played at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee in Rabun Gap, Ga. … as a senior, logged 62 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, four sacks and two interceptions in 10 games … also blocked two punts … as a junior, hauled in 12 catches for 218 yards and two scores while adding 11 tackles.
Carson Walker – OG
Heritage HS (Midlothian, Texas)
6-4 / 283
High School: Three-star prospect by 247Sports … rated as the nation’s No. 58 overall offensive guard and state of Texas’ No. 175 overall player by 247Sports … Class 4A Division 1 District 5 Offensive Lineman MVP … Class 4A Division I District 5 All-Academic Team … 2019 First Team 9-4A All-District selection … as a senior, helped Midlothian Heritage average 7.2 yards per carry and seven 100-yard rushing performances and 42 rushing touchdowns … also competed in track and field (shot put) … chose Houston over Army, Boise State, Kansas, Memphis and Tulsa, among others.
Mark Wilson – S
Clear Lake HS (Houston, Texas)
6-0 / 170
High School: Three-star prospect by 247Sports … rated as the nation’s No. 43 safety and state of Texas No. 79 overall player by 247Sports …First-Team All Vype … named to Whataburger Super Team … returned three punts for touchdowns and averaged 30.7 yards per return in 2019 … in seven games a senior, logged 31 tackles and an interception … added 54 tackles in nine games as a junior … logged 50 tackles and two interceptions in 11 contests as a sophomore … also competed in track and field (100 meters, high jump) … chose Houston over Arkansas, Baylor, Kansas, SMU and Vanderbilt among others.