SAN ANTONIO – Anytime you get as deep into the playoffs as we are now, you’re going to find every team with plenty of talent. Take a look at the field and you’ll find most starters could probably play at the next level, whether that be Division I, NAIA or whatever that may mean.
That was exactly the case last week at the Alamodome, where four regional finals took place over the weekend.
One of the headliners came from the final game on Saturday in Nakia Watson. The Austin Westlake running back has built himself into quite the back, rushing for more than 1,800 rushing yards and 7.5 yards a carry this season.
However, he was not the only talent on the field. There were two other highly-touted recruits playing for Westlake’s opponent: four-star safety Caden Sterns (Texas commit) and three-star cornerback JayVeon Cardwell (Oklahoma State commit) of Cibolo Steele.
Despite their team coming up short, both defensive backs had great games and added to the intrigue of three future Divison I players going head-to-head.
“It feels good knowing we got a lot of prospects in Texas,” Watson said of playing against the two Steele defenders. “Knowing that I’m a Division I player going against another Division I player, let’s see who comes out on top. Let’s see who folds first pretty much.”
Fans got to see that happen in the first quarter, when Watson took a dive play up the middle. After getting past the first level, he found Sterns waiting for him.
Sterns was able to stick to him, but Watson still fell forward for an extra yard or two. As football goes, there was trash talk afterward but not too much, according to Watson.
“Yah I did, I didn’t want to be a bad sportsman or anything,” Watson said. “I was just fooling around with him the whole game.”
Watson’s opponents had good games themselves. Sterns had plenty of big hits and chances at interceptions. However, Cardwell did intercept Westlake quarterback Taylor Anderson. He returned it for six yards before the half as the Chaparrals attempted a fourth down conversion.
Sterns did have a huge kickoff return of 57 yards as well, showing off his speed.
O’Connor had plenty of great games and plenty of talented on the offensive side of the ball. However, when it took the field against Lake Travis, it looked unfair.
Lake Travis had a quarterback in Matthew Baldwin who recently committed to Ohio State. His No. 1 receiver, Garrett Wilson, will also be playing at the next level soon enough. Although the four-star receiver, is just a junior, he gives opposing coaches nightmares.
Recently, Wilson picked up an offer from Texas, who he was extremely elated about.
“That was awesome,” Wilson said of the offer. “I mean, that’s where I’m from, grew up watching them play, so that means everything.”
Wilson had a great game, reeling in eight Baldwin passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns. He added another touchdown on the ground in the fourth quarter. The star also plays defensive back, but says he hopes to play receiver at the next level.
The decision at which school gets his talent won’t come any time soon, though.
“I plan on making that decision sometime during my senior year,” Wilson said. “After seeing some of the new teams, new coaches play, I [don’t yet] feel like making that decision.”
His quarterback will be attending Ohio State, as mentioned before. He says he loves throwing the ball to Wilson so much, he hopes to recruit him to the Buckeyes himself.
“I will be, he’s from Dublin [Ohio], right outside of Columbus,” Baldwin said. “I will be strongly recruiting Garrett. I’m biased of course, but he’s the best receiver in the country.”
As it turns out, Wilson didn’t have to wait long. The star receiver added another offer from Ohio State on Tuesday.
— Garrett Wilson (@GarrettWilson_V) December 12, 2017
Baldwin himself completed 22 of his 28 passes for 221 yards Saturday.
Gerald Tracy is an assistant editor of Texas football for TexasHSFootball, covering prep football in the San Antonio region. Follow Gerald on Twitter, @GTracySports, and read more of his content here.
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