The University Interscholastic League (UIL) and Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) may have crowned its Lone Star State champions less than a month ago, but there are others using a collection of the state’s best talent and plotting to lay siege to the thrones.
From the Tiger den in Katy to the Cavalier regiment in Lake Travis to the Falcons’ nest in Dallas, 12 of the Lone Star State’s most dangerous weapons are pointed at the month of December and next season’s finale.
1. Deondrick Glass, RB, Katy (5-11, 190)
Glass, a four-star LSU offer that has Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Oregon, and Texas pining for his services, may be both the best and most prolific running back of the 2019 class — without being a focal point in the Tigers’ pass game.
Three years into his prep career at Katy High School, the former University Interscholastic League District 19-6A MVP has more than 4,000 yards and 70 touchdowns despite sharing carries with Joshua Oglesby — a near 1,000-yard back.
Glass ended his junior season with 1,690 yards and 26 TDs. At his current average of 1,410 and 23 per season respectively, he can become the best running back in Tiger history and end his career with 5,640 career yards and 93 career touchdowns.
Without Oglesby stealing carries and rifle-armed soon-to-be sophomore Bronson McClelland seemingly set to inherit Katy’s passing game and force opposing defenses away from run blitzes, Glass may be able to eclipse the 6,000-yard mark and score more than 100 touchdowns.
2. Kenyon Green, OT, Atascocia (6-5, 315)
Atascocita’s monster junior offensive lineman helped dual-threat quarterback Jack Roe, Decarlos Demmerritte, Dammion Green and the Eagles run for 2,763 yards and 48 TDs in 2017.
Behind Green, a five-star recruit, and a hulking offensive line, the Eagles 13 ballcarriers averaged 6.8 yards per game in 11 matchups. Roe was able to pass for 1,665 yards, 14 TDs and only 14 interceptions. Atascocita reached the UIL 6A Regional Quarterfinal Round but lost to Katy 44-0.
Green has offers from Alabama, Baylor, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas Christian University and 10 other Power 5 Conference teams.
3. Roschon Johnson, QB, Port Neches-Groves (6-1, 192)
Though Shane Buchele has Longhorns fans seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, first-year Head Coach Tom Herman and his staff attacked the positions future of the position with an aggressive recruiting attitude.
And came up with one of the best dual-threat QBs of the 2019 class — Roschon Johnson.
Johnson, who will be eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent near the end of next season, led the Indians three rounds deep in the playoffs and a loss to Marquez Perez and eventual state champion College Station High School. The four-star quarterback is a hard commit to Texas but has offers to Baylor, Ohio State, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas A&M, and others.
4. Garrett Wilson, WR, Lake Travis (6-0, 178)
Wilson may be the most dynamic receiver on this list despite being the smallest of the group.
The Lake Travis dual-sport athlete gained 1,675 yards and scored 26 TDs on 90 receptions through the air and added 440 yards and six TDs on the ground. Wilson, who has gained 2,399 yards and 38 touchdowns in the span of a two-year varsity career, shouldn’t be affected by the loss of Matthew Baldwin to Ohio State, either.
After the displayed chemistry between Wilson and sophomore Hudson Card during the a near-competed rally to a state championship win, the Cavaliers offense and touchdown prowess should be in good hands. It should also boost efforts from national championship hopefuls like Ohio State and Texas — which Wilson is 50/50 on currently — going into the 2018 offseason.
5. Brian Williams, S, Bishop Dunne (6-0, 185)
Williams, the younger brother of Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams, was a force in he secondary as well as the run game for Dallas area TAPPS powerhouse Bishop Dunne, racking up 40 total tackles (2 TFL), five interceptions and a fumble recovery.
He will enter his senior season with 118 tackles and 13 interceptions for a team that will return six of its top takeaway specialists and all of its top sack artists and tackle leaders.
With teams not able to key in on avoiding Williams and with a better group familiarity with the defensive scheme, the hard hitting safety may reach double digits in interceptions. He may also garner more attention and a revitalized effort from a top four that is comprised of Notre Dame, Texas, Texas A&M, and Stanford.
6. Theo Wease, WR, Allen (6-3, 195)
Wease, even without Oklahoma State signee Spencer Sanders tossing him laser beams on the high school stage, is on the opposite side of the size spectrum compared to Lake Travis’ Wilson and uses his height and catch radius to dominate smaller and average size defenders.
For those defensive backs that equal him in size there is the aspect of sub-4.4 speed to contend with.
Wease displayed that speed on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Grant Tisdale during a victory against Round Rock Cedar Ridge that sent Allen to the state title game. He also logged 87 yards and 14 TDs with only 57 receptions. His yardage was No. 11 in the DFW region but his touchdown total was fourth behind Keller Fossil Ridge’s Stefan Cobbs (23), North Crowley’s Julian Ortega-Jones (18), and Coppell’s Blake Jackson (15).
Of the three athletes ahead of Wease, only Jackson will return next year.
7. Arjei Henderson, WR, FB Travis (6-1, 179)
Fort Bend Travis’ Henderson isn’t just a speed demon with the ability to leap over defenders with a single bound. The five-star multi-Power 5 Conference offer is also the No. 3 athlete in the state and No. 3 wideout and No. 16 athlete nationally per 247Sports.
With 1,168 yards receiving and 14 TDs as senior quarterback Amryn Jeffrey’s second option, Henderson seems poised for a breakout senior season — even with a new quarterback stepping under center.
Though Henderson has yet to make a verbal decision about his collegiate landing spot, he decommitted from Oregon in November after a visit to Oklahoma. Not only was Henderson the Ducks’ highest-rated recruit, he was the team’s only five-star and one of only two in the class altogether.
That picture may become more clear after his senior season in Richmond.
8. Jordan Whittington, WR, Cuero (6-1, 198)
Not only was Whittington a change-of-pace back for Cuero after rushing for 227 yards and five TDs, he was the team’s leading receiver with 1,457 yards and 16 TDs. He will have to acquire a level of chemistry with fellow junior Matt Barta — or whomever Head Coach Travis Reeve replaces senior Drew Riemenschneider with — but will have leading rushers Keiran Grant (1,432 yards, 29 TDs) and Chance Albrecht (531 yards, 11 TDs) returning to the fold.
A stabilized run game should create soft spots in opposing defense and create the time needed for Whittington to create in space and turn short routes into long scores. Cuero’s five-star receiver is highly sought by a host of major conference teams.
The list included an Ohio State team expelled to haul in Lake Travis quarterback Matthew Baldwin, an Oklahoma team that already has former Allen legend Kyler Murray and is expected to nab Waco Midway signal caller Tanner Mordecai and a Texas team that will have to choose between Lone Star State products Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger by the time Whittington potentially lands in Austin.
9. Austin Stogner, TE, Prestonwood Christian (6-6, 230)
Don’t let any negative connotation associated with his TAPPS impact fool you, Stogner is a prospect with Rob Gronkowski-level measurables and talent.
At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds with a couple years of growth potential, he could be a monster trump card for any major conference team looking to push for a national title in 2019 and/or 2020 college football seasons. Stogner, despite gaining only 459 yards as senior quarterback Wiley Green’s third option, was third on the team in TDs with 10 — and became a major red zone threat.
His numbers may blossom in 2018 as seniors Ricky Baker and Jeremiah Lewis will graduate at the end of the school year. Stogner committed to Oklahoma in June, but has Texas programs Baylor, Houston, and TCU and out of state programs like Alabama, Oklahoma State, and Penn State hot on his trail.
10. Jalen Curry, WR, St. Pius X (6-3, 195)
Former Stafford High and current Houston St. Pius X wide receiver Jalen “Boobie” Curry, the third TAPPS player on this list, like Wease, is a physical specimen that uses a rare combination of size and speed to bully smaller and mid-sized defenders and out jump cornerbacks on 50/50 balls.
Having highly-touted 6-foot-6 and four-style pro-style quarterback Grant Gunnell feeding him the ball doesn’t hurt, either. En route a 10-2 record and a berth to the TAPPS Division I title game, Curry gained 1,576 and 18 TDs receiving in his first year as a varsity starter and as a one-two punch senior Jacob Jefferson (1,215 yards, 19 TDs).
Though not committed anywhere verbally, he is reported to be heavily leaned toward Texas A&M. Auburn, Baylor, LSU, and Arizona and Florida State are also on a long list of potential suitors. Like Fort Bend Travis’ Henderson, the ardor for Curry may intensify after a uptick in production during his senior season.
11. Marcus Stripling, SDE, Mayde Creek (6-2, 260)
Stripling may be a four-star defender entering his senior season but another year like 2017 could change that status.
He notched only 16 tackles (9 solo, 17 assisted, 5 TFL) but sacked opposing quarterbacks six times and added seven hurries and two forced fumbles. Stripling and the Ram defense had a down year, though, allowing 41.6 points per game and only fewer than 20 points once.
Mayde Creek, however, had arguably one of the most difficult regular seasons in high school football after facing Cinco Ranch, Katy High, Katy Taylor, and Strake Jesuit High Schools — playoff teams with a 34-11 combined record. Stripling isn’t the best player on a bad team, though. He’s a season-changing pass rusher on a defense on the verge of something special.
Texas A&M, Florida, LSU, and Oklahoma are tops of a short list of conference rivals looking to gain an advantage and four of 14 attempting to woo the explosive edge rusher to their shores.
12. Demani Richardson, S, Waxahachie (6-1, 190)
Despite the placement of his name, the 12th man on this list is not the least talented.
Waxahachie’s punishing hitter can not only play the run and lift opposing running backs’ off their feet with teeth rattling tackles, he has the agility to drop back in coverage and play the ball in the air like a seasoned cornerback. As a focal point in Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Jon Kitna’s defense, he had a handful of pressures as a pass rusher and three interceptions and a fumble recovery as a coverage defender.
Richardson, who has drawn interest from Baylor, Georgia, Missouri, TCU, and Texas, is the No. 5 safety in the nation and only one of three from the Lone Star State in the top 10. The four-star Indian dynamo also is the 16th best athlete in the state regardless of classification per 247Sports’ Composite Rankings.
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