Taking a day trip in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex means likely running into some elite football talent.
Malik Jefferson was All-State as a sophomore and has two BCS conference offers.
As in every year, the area will be home to some of the top 2015 recruits in the country. An afternoon drive through the eastern portions of Dallas scratched the surface on some of the elite talent coming down the pike.
Jefferson setting the bar at Poteet
Randy Jackson has done a remarkable job in his time as the head coach at Mesquite Poteet. Jackson's first season saw the Pirates go from a 1-9 also-ran to a 12-3 squad that suffered a two-point state semifinal loss to an Aledo team led by current Texas running back Johnathan Gray.
The on-field results have been impressive, and thanks to Malik Jefferson the recruiting attention the school is going to receive over the next 23 months will be just as eye-opening.
“Between his talent and his grades he's the complete package,” Jackson said. “He's a playmaker for us but he's also one of our captains. He's going to be the first Big 12 or SEC-level recruit we've had and wherever he goes is getting a great player and a great person.”
Jefferson, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker, is one of the top defensive prospects in the region for the class of 2015. He earned first team All-State honors as a sophomore after recording 105 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, seven sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 2012.
He's already been offered by Ole Miss and Oklahoma with Texas coming on strong as of late. Jefferson called Longhorns' defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on Monday afternoon and Texas is one of many programs wanting Jefferson to stay in touch.
Diaz and the rest of the coaches recruiting him will likely be on him for a while if Jefferson's able to stick to his timetable.
Chris Warren is an impressive physical specimen who is having a great spring on the track.
“I'm going to take it easy with recruiting,” Jefferson said. “I want to announce my senior year. On signing day. I don't want anybody to know until then.”
Joining Jefferson in a 2015 class at Poteet that has a chance to be a good one for Jackson and the Pirates is athlete Deandre McNeil. The 6-foot-3, 210 pounder can play on either side of the ball at multiple positions, but Jackson sees McNeil as a receiver at Poteet and likely a flex tight end/H-back down the road.
Class of 2014 inside linebacker Denzel Thomas (6-0/225) attended a junior day at SMU last month. He's planning on visiting Rice and Houston later this month.
Warren carving his own niche
Twenty years ago Chris Warren was one of the best running backs in pro football with the Seattle Seahawks. Now his son of the same name is on his way to being one of the top football recruits in Texas.
Warren, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound running back with a great combination of size and speed rushed for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns and added two touchdown catches for Rockwall High. Warren is thankful for what his dad has taught him, but he's intent on blazing his own trail.
“There's some pressure, but it's not much,” Warren said. “He played the way he plays and I play the way I play.”
Warren is an impressive athlete. He recently long jumped 22-2 and has a high mark of 21.4 in the 200-meter dash. He's open to a position change down the road, but he'd like to stay at running back.
Rawleigh Williams III has an Ole Miss offer and interest from other FBS schools.
Warren's interest in terms of recruiting lies mostly within the state – specifically Baylor and Texas. He's also interested in two schools where he has family ties to the region – Washington and Virginia.
Warren describes himself as a back who is always looking for daylight.
“When I'm out there I'm just looking for a hole to go through,” Warren said. “I'm very patient, and when I see it I go for it.”
Williams leading the way at Bishop Lynch
It doesn't get as much attention as some of the other Dallas powerhouses when it comes to recruiting, but Bishop Lynch produces it's share of FBS talent.
The most notable recent alums are former Louisiana Tech and Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats and former Texas backup quarterback turned reality television star Matt Nordgren.
Rawleigh Williams III will be the next in a growing line of talented players from the school. The 5-foot-10.5, 195-pound 2015 running back rushed for 1,191 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore and he's proud to be a Bishop Lynch Friar.
“It's a unique deal,” Williams said. “It's like a family. My teammates are basically like my brothers.”
Khalil Johnson is one of several 2015 FBS prospects at Dallas Skyline.
Ole Miss offered Williams last spring while Texas and Texas A&M are among those schools showing interest in him. While Williams is trying to keep his options open, he admits that the Longhorns are his childhood favorite.
Expected to be one of the state's top backs in his class, the buzz surrounding Williams has opened the door for a few of his teammates to get FBS looks. Defensive end Obi Anozie and wide receiver Tremel Glasper recently took in a North Texas junior day and are starting catch the eye of a few other programs in the region.
“I think some of those guys are getting the pub they've been deserving,” Williams said. “For me to be getting the attention that I get, I'm glad they can get noticed as well because they're great football players.”
Skyline loaded once again
If you cover recruiting in the state of Texas one of your regular stops on the road is Dallas Skyline. Head coach Reginald Samples continues to reload every year and the talent-rich school currently boasts a 2014 class that features Texas A&M cornerback commit Cedric Collins, four-star safety Derrick Dixon, three-star offensive lineman Ty Barrett, defensive end Victor Evans and defensive tackle Mych Thomas among others.
“We've got kids who want to work hard and that see what it takes to succeed based on watching the guys who came before them,” Samples said. “Honestly, there's not that much you have to do as a coach when all of your kids have a desire to get better every day and you don't have to tell them they need to work hard. They're motivated and driven on their own to get it done.”
While he's got a talented group of rising seniors, Samples also has several talented recruits in the 2015 class.
“We've always been fortunate that we can play a few sophomores every year,” Samples said. “We get them that experience so when it's time for them to step up it doesn't take them as long to adjust.”
Linebackers Anthony Wheeler (6-2, 215) and Malik Jemison (6-1, 223) both played end last season. Samples and his staff start their linebackers out learning how to be physical at the point of attack at defensive end before moving them back to play in space.
Samples feels they have a chance to be two of the best linebackers he's had come through his program, which is saying a lot considering Skyline will have two alums starting at linebacker in the Big 12 this fall (Peter Jinkens at Texas and Corey Nelson at Oklahoma). Both prospects favor Texas early while Jemison has also had early interest from Florida State and Penn State.
Khalil Johnson is the kind of defensive end prospect Samples hasn't had in his seven-plus years at the school. Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound defender with a great frame is expected to start this fall and while Samples has had at least one FBS signee at defensive end every year he's been Skyline, he said Johnson's length and athleticism make him a potentially special edge player.
Carlos Strickland (6-5, 194) is a long, lean wide receiver Samples feels will be a big contributor in the fall. Zachery Abercrumbia (6-2, 243) is a sleeper defensive tackle and is one of the better interior prospects Samples said he's had in his program.
- Start Photo Feature ▶
- Showing photos 1 - 19 of 19