Though the Greater Houston area produces more than its fair share of talent every year, it usually lags a big behind its counterpart in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. However, there is a ton of underclassmen talent around Houston this year.
Sophomore tight end Jontre Epps has grown up a fan of Oregon.
247Sports has been hitting local high schools and the latest was a trip to Houston Madison as well as Dayton.
Madison is well-known among recruiting junkies as the alma mater of former Texas quarterback Vince Young. The school has never quite repeated the success and when the former five-star prospect was there but there is some young talent on campus now that should help the Marlins make some noise over the next couple of years.
Probably the top prospect at the school is sophomore tight end Jontre Epps. Though Madison had trouble throwing the ball this year, the 6-foot-3.5, 235-pound Epps still earned a second-team all-district nod due to both his receiving and blocking ability.
Epps has a solid frame to build on and is a relatively lean 235 pounds. He needs to get a bit stronger but he has all the tools to be a highly-recruited tight end – especially with the fact that not many class of 2015 tight ends have emerged just yet.
Though he is still young, Epps has started to receive a bit of attention from a few in-state schools.
“I've talked to the coach from Texas,” Epps said. “He just wanted me to keep up the good work. I've gotten letters and stuff from TCU.”
He also plans to attend a camp at another in-state school this coming summer.
“I'm going to the A&M camp this summer,” he said. “They asked me to come out there so I'm planning to go there.”
However, it is an out-of-state program that has his attention very early in the process.
“I really like Oregon,” he said. “I've always been a fan of them - I like their uniforms, I like the playbook, everything.”
Madison has two good young prospects at offensive skill positions as well. Running back Darrah Foreman is already a big ball-carrier at 5-foot-10, 193 pounds. He is a tough runner that has no problems going between the tackles. Quarterback Dante Arceneaux is quick and elusive with the ball in his hands and the 5-foot-10, 160-pound sophomore will see schools likely recruit him as a slot receiver.
Madison also has a few under-the-radar juniors as well. Defensive tackle William Simpson is strong as an ox. This week the 6-foot, 295-pounder broke three school records that had stood for 12 years. He bench pressed 410 pounds, squatted 625 and inclined 315. He is also getting some looks on the interior of the line.
Linebacker Kevin Duvisien would likely have a couple offers at this time except for the fact that he is 5-foot-9, 190 pounds. The big question is whether the first-team all-district performer can transition to safety at the next level. Big offensive lineman Steven DeWalt will get some looks because of his size at 6-foot-4, 340 pounds.
Though nobody quite the caliber of VY, Dayton has produced a number of prospects over the years but the class of 2015 at the school could rival the best classes in its history.
The unquestioned top prospect is athlete Jacarius Keener. The 6-foot, 160-pound sophomore played wide receiver, running back and cornerback for the Broncos and was voted the unanimous district Newcomer of the Year.
Keener, who is also a top return man and took two punts back for touchdowns in a game this year, is ultra-thin but incredibly quick. He is also a standout in basketball and track. In fact, he competes in five events in track and could do even more. In his first meet of the year this past season, he easily won the high jump with a jump of 6’2”. His coach stopped him from attempting anything higher since he had everyone else beat by a wide margin.
Keener has not seen a ton of interest as Dayton’s only FBS prospect this past year was an undersized offensive lineman that signed with Louisiana-Monroe. However, when schools come through this spring his stock will take off.
The Broncos have a pair of talented sophomore receivers as well. Isaiah Chambers is an outside deep threat at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds while Lucius Rhone plays inside and is a thicker kid that is hard to take down. Both are good with the ball after the catch.
Running back Kyle McBride is a very good athlete at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds. He was a second-team all-district pick but likely would have made the first team were it not for an ankle sprain that limited him. He is good catching the ball out of the backfield as well but he might move to quarterback as a junior due to need.
One name to file away is linebacker Richard Jones. Only a freshman, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound defender was called up to varsity for the playoffs this year. He is incredibly aggressive and loves to hit. He is also very strong already, which is rare for a freshman. The folks at Dayton feel like, as long as he continues to progress, he could be a special player.