What a difference a year makes

As a freshman in 2006, Devin Guinn saw time in nine games for the Tarleton State football team, recording only six receptions for 87 yards. He was seventh on his team in receiving yards for the season.

Fast forward to the present, where as a sophomore Guinn has established himself as a major force in the Lone Star Conference, which is loaded at wide receiver with the likes of record-setting Jerale Badon at Abilene Christian and teammate Johnny Knox, Charley Martin at West Texas A&M and Jarrett Byers at Northeastern State.

With 26 receptions for 530 yards, Guinn is on pace to break the record for receiving yards in a season at Tarleton. Will Moody holds the current mark with his 1,140 yards in 12 games in 2003. Guinn is averaging 106 yards per contest, putting him on pace for 1,166 yards over the 11-game regular season schedule.

LSC statistics show Guinn to lead the conference in receiving yards per game. In second, Del Juan Lee of Midwestern State is 18 yards per contest behind at 88. Guinn's teammate Shamar Prentice, a junior for the Texans is fourth in this category at 84 yards per contest.

Guinn is also fifth in receptions per game at 5.20. East Central's Daniel Nichols leads with 6.75.

Guinn has been especially proficient in the vertical passing game, averaging 20.4 yards per catch, first among receivers in the LSC top 10 for receiving yards per game. Prentice is second at 20.

Guinn has made a major impact on the success of Tarleton freshman quarterback Scott Grantham, who is 79-121 passing for a completion percentage of 65.3-percent, is averaging 15.7 yards per completion. He currently stands third in the conference in passing yards per game at 248.4.

Grantham and Guinn began their fast start together in the season opener against East Central on Aug. 25. The pass-catch tandem thrilled a record home-opening crowd of 5,618

By connecting on five passes for 141 yards and three touchdowns.

The duo was just as electrifying last weekend when Grantham completed six passes to Guinn for 77 yards and two scores. The receiver also caught a 69-yard scoring pass from running backTravis Evans on the first play from scrimmage.

He finished with seven grabs for 146 yards and three touchdowns, earning his first South Division Offensive Player of the Week honor from conference officials. He split the honor with Badon of ACU.

Guinn and Prentice have teamed up with Grantham to balance an offensive effort that also features a platoon system at running back. Roderick Smith and Michael Sampson have split the ball carrying duties with Evans.

Tarleton is fourth in the LSC in total offense at 450.8 yards per game. The Texans average 267.2 yards per game through the air, and another 183.6 on the ground. They are also fourth in scoring at 35.8 points per contest.

At 5-0, the Tarleton is off to its best start since 1990, when the school still competed in the NAIA as a member of the Texas Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

Guinn and the Texans chase history next week, when they take their high-octane offense and the No. 2 defense in the LSC to far south Texas for a battle with Texas A&M-Kingsville at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Tarleton is the heavy favorite in match-up, despite having never won in Kingsville.

Brad Keith is the sports editor at the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at (254) 965-3124, ext. 241, or by e-mail at brad.keith@empiretribune.com.