Five former Stephenville standouts will be on the Tarleton State roster Saturday when the Texans open their 2013 season in the Lone Star Football Festival.
Tarleton faces No. 13 Midwestern State at 4 p.m. at AT&T Stadium, formerly Cowboys Stadium.
There are nine Stephenville players currently in the Tarleton program, with four of them redshirting this fall.
But Alex Sanchez has made the team as a receiver, Fowler confirmed Monday, and he'll be joined on the trip to Arlington Saturday by redshirt sophomores Nic Perez and Kody Travis and Brayden Coverdale and true sophomore Blake Barnes.
Barnes, a kicker, and Perez, an offensive lineman, are returning freshman All-Americans, according to D2football.com. Barnes won an NCAA Division II statistical champion plaque for succeeding on the nation's highest percentage of combined field goal and extra point attempts.
Travis and Coverdale have each switched positions in college. Travis converted from offensive line to defensive line when he first began at Tarleton. Coverdale has moved from defensive back from tight end and will be the backup at the position Saturday.
Sanchez had to impress Fowler and staff to make the cut at receiver.
"We're planning to travel with eight receivers, and he made it," Fowler said. "He runs great routes, he's quick, his conditioning is great and he's just such a competitor. We have a lot of good receivers, so many we'll leave some good ones at home when we travel. Alex has been too good to leave behind."
Defensive end Chase Varnado, defensive backs Preston Brown and Tyler Pettit and linebacker Sam Macklin will all redshirt this fall after playing alongside Sanchez on Stephenville's 2012 3A Division I championship team.
"We looked long and hard at playing Chase because he can help us in a lot of ways. Besides giving us depth on the defensive line, he could be a great special teams player for us." Fowler said. "But Chase thought about it and wanted to redshirt, and I thought about it some and can't help but agree. As much as he could help us now, imagine how good he can be with another year of maturity. Imagine how good he could be as a fifth-year senior down the road."