Remember the name JoJo Earle.
Texas, Texas Tech, and Tulsa already know about the sophomore receiver for Aledo. They’ve each offered him a scholarship.
“We had a pretty good idea he would be good after spring ball,” Aledo head coach Steve Wood said. “He was a running back last year and we moved him to receiver and he was a natural. He had a good understanding of route running and he’s quick and fast.”
This season Earle’s recorded 54 catches for 960 yards, 15 touchdowns and five 100-yard games. He’s added 203 yards rushing with 3 TDs and also returns kicks. He’s averaging 112 all-purpose yards a game.
“We just try to find ways to get the ball in his hands,” Wood said. “You watch him and he doesn’t play like a sophomore. It doesn’t surprise me. He’s really matured the last few years.”
In limited action as a freshman, Earle rushed 15 times for 132 yards and one touchdown. He also plays cornerback and recorded his first-career interception during Aledo’s 26-16 quarterfinal win against Frisco Reedy last week.
“Sure glad he’s got a few more years here,” Wood said.
Earle knew big things were in store this season and worked in the offseason like a player that knew his number would be called quite a bit.
He immediately made an impact by piling up 106 yards receiving and 2 TDs on a season-high eight catches in Week 1. He had 185 yards and 3 TDs in Week 2 and 137 yards in Week 9.
“I had to step my game up,” Earle said. “I knew that I had to be a top target to help the team this year.”
He’s helped for sure as Aledo (14-0), which is ranked as the No. 1 Class 5A team in the state, is on yet another deep playoff run. The Bearcats take on Wichita Falls Rider (9-5) in the Division II semifinals at 8 p.m. on Friday at AT&T Stadium.
“This isn’t the same Rider team earlier in the season,” Wood said. “They start about a dozen sophomores so they’ve grown and gotten better. Their quarterback is big and fast, they’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
“Our energy is high and we’re hungry after that loss in last year’s state final,” Earle added.
Winning state is all Earle is focused on at the moment. Once the season is over he’ll focus in on improving his craft, which will hopefully lead to more offers.
“Just the thought of Tech offering first, being a big school that they are, it made emotional,” he said. “It’s been awesome though, to see how far and hard I’ve worked.”
Aledo hasn’t had a cake walk the past two rounds and Wood says Friday night will be no different. The Bearcats also knocked off undefeated South Oak Cliff, 28-14, in regional.
“It’s been physical. It’s the 15th game of a high school season,” he said. “But I’m proud of our fight. Reedy was the biggest team I’ve seen, but we went toe-to-toe with them.
“SOC was very explosive and very well-coached. We’ve had two tough battles.”
Aledo has 46 seniors this year, the most the program has ever had. Earle has stepped up and been a leader too.
“Working in the spring and summer definitely helped,” he said. “I’ve been able to play like I’m older.”
“This group is extremely close and everyone is unselfish,” Wood added. “They go out and like to practice and compete, and it makes my job so much fun.”