Editor’s Note: This discussion was started by a discussion last week on our Facebook page, and we’d love it if you’d join us there too!
Beneath the Friday night lights is a stage that has showcased the best of football for generations of student athletes. Texas has fielded some of the most gifted and versatile in the sport, sacrificing their bodies for the chance to etch their names in a vast history entrenched deep within each painted yard line.
We tasked our staff with choosing their best Texas HS player of all time – an arbitrary opinion selected by combing through countless of exceptional students that strapped on a helmet and competed.
Here are our selections:
Cedric Benson, RB – Midland Lee
Kyle Spishock – I debated between UT alumni Vince Young and Benson deciding on the latter. Young was more heavily recruited post-high school, but Benson was a monster on the field, consuming yards like a man possessed. With Midland Lee high school, he finished his career with 8,423 rushing yards (most in 5A, fourth most in Texas) and ran his way to three consecutive championships, compiling a total 15 touchdowns in those games. The highlight was the final game of his high school career, besting Westlake with 255 yards and five scores in the DI 5A title game.
During his senior campaign, Benson was the only starter returning on the offense, carrying his team through the playoffs without a hitch besides a heavier rushing workload.
Other accomplishments include: 33 straight games with more than 100 yards rushing and 36 consecutive games with a touchdown.
Kenneth Hall, RB – Sugar Land
Jonathan Rodriguez – When you discuss the “The Greatest Texas High School Football Players of All Time”, it’s inevitable that the prolific Kenneth Hall will be mentioned in that debate. The renowned and fabled Sugar Land Express was the epitome of an epic playmaker and has a legacy that will endure and stand the test of time. The Sugar Land legend played from 1950-1954, where Hall rushed for a remarkable 11,232 yards and produce 38 100-yard rushing games during his prep career. His single game averages stand at 32.9 points per game, 4.8 touchdowns per game and 337.1 rushing yards per game.
Hall is enshrined at the National High School Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame – the summit of Texas High School Football. When you speak of the greatest of all time, there should be a sweet taste lingering in your mouth afterwards, because the Sugar Land Express was and will continue to be the greatest player to put on a pair of pads in Texas.
Hunter Cooke – If we’re talking in recent memory, there are a lot of players to choose from, and a lot of big names stand out. However, when we’re disccusing the best Texas HS player of all time, we have to dig deep into the history books for Ken Hall, the Sugar Land Express. Hall’s staggering 11,232 yards over a four year career is still in record books to this day.
His most memorable performance came in his senior year, where he ran for 520 yards before halftime. Many players were great, some excellent, but Ken Hall is downright legendary.
Adrian Peterson, RB – Palestine
Scott McDonald – I’ve covered high school football for 18 years, and I’ve never seen a buzz like Adrian Peterson with Palestine. He doesn’t have state championships nor those gaudy career stats (he was ineligible as a sophomore), but he was an absolute beast. Even after the game, the opposing teams would ask for his autograph.
As the top player in the country and by far the best I’ve seen in person, he finished his high school career with 5,011 rushing yards and 54 touchdowns in only two seasons.
Peterson’s recruitment was an event and garnered everyday coverage in the media. Every college in the country from Miami to UCLA and all across Texas wanted him, but he graduated Palestine in 2004 and took his talents to Oklahoma.
Kyler Murray, QB – Allen
Tony Venegas – There are a lot of great names to choose for the best high school football player in Texas. For me, Allen quarterback Kyler Murray is the one that stands out. From a 42-0 record as a starting quarterback to leading the Eagles to three state championships, Murray was a must-watch talent. The numbers were incredible (10,386 yards, 117 TDs passing, 4,139 yards and 69 TDs rushing) but every time he stepped out on the field, you were left wondering what he was going to do next. Whether it was making an incredible pass or improvising out of the pocket, it was simply electrifying to see what #1 could do on the field.
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