Is Under Armour All-American Johnathan Gray ranked as the top player in the state by the BON recruiting team? (Photo courtesy of Under Armour)
This list was complied by the BON recruiting team as a collaborative effort, but the final decisions were made by me. So if ya got beef, come after me. -- Wescott
Follow after the jump for the complete list.
- Johnathan Gray, Aledo RB (Texas) -- The Euclidian Terrorist looks for all the world like a once-in-a-generation back who simply has a nose for the end zone. While he can't make defenders miss in a phone booth like Trey Williams or bowl over defenders like Joe Bergeron, Gray is a nearly perfect blend of virtually every attribute a great running back should have, capped off by vision and patience that makes it seem as if he can see the future.
- Mario Edwards, Denton Ryan DL (Florida State) -- A defensive lineman with exceptional quickness for his size (now around 300 pounds), Edwards can still do standing backflips and was a monster at split end as a sophomore, while also playing defensive end. Whether he can stay lean will determine whether he becomes an evolutionary Lamarr Houston as an outstanding three tech or a Mario Williams-style jumbo defensive end. Either way, Edwards projects as a special talent in college.
- Malcom Brown, Brenham DT (Texas) -- One of the better defensive tackle prospects to emerge from his high school ranks in Texas in several years, Brown showed off his quickness making plays as a tight end at times for Brenham as a senior and consistently pursued opponents downfield, if necessary. He was miscast as a nose tackle at the International Bowl, but should see some action as a three tech as a freshman in pass-rushing situations, at the least.
- Trey Williams, Spring Dekaney RB (Texas A&M) -- One could make an argument that Williams is the most dynamic player in the state, as he has an initial burst and ability to jump cut that even J-Gray can't match. His size is a bit of a concern going into college, but he was a tough kid in high school and people questioned the size of LaMichael James, too, didn't they? And how did that work out?
- Javonte Magee, SA Sam Houston DL (Baylor) -- It remains unclear whether Magee is a big defensive end or a tall defensive tackle, but it's heartening for his projection going forward that he leaned up as a senior, as greatest upside in college is probably as a defensive end, since it can often be difficult for defensive tackles of his size to keep their pads low. Hard to overstate how much landing Magee means for Baylor defensively.
- Kennedy Estelle, Pearland Dawson OT (Texas) -- Estelle has elite size and feet, as well as a nasty disposition that makes him an impact player at the first and second level. Since he started playing football as a sophomore, he is raw, but has virtually limitless potential.
- Thomas Johnson, Dallas Skyline WR (Texas A&M) -- In the conversation as the fastest and most dynamic players in the state with the ball in his hands, Johnson recovered from a junior season slowed by a high ankle sprain to return to his typical level of production as a senior.
- Kendall Sanders, Athens WR (Texas) -- A co-MVP of the Army game after recording two interceptions, Sanders has NFL upside as a defensive back and is now more open to the idea, but he's been told he will play receiver at Texas, where his ability to make plays after the catch and work in the jet sweep/reverse game will make him a versatile weapon in Bryan Harsin's offense.
- Bralon Addison, FB Hightower WR (Oregon) -- A Signing Day switch to Oregon, Addison doesn't have the size or the long-speed of the players directly in front of him on this list, but he'll be a perfect fit for Chip Kelly and is fantastic with the ball in his hands, as proved on a consistent basis as one of the best high school players in Texas after the last two years.
- Hassan Ridgeway, Mansfield DE (Texas) -- Physical upside -- that's what stands out the most about Ridgeway, he wasn't always the most productive player in high school and doesn't have an elite first step, but he's a specimen on the hoof and he's young for his class, so he's projectable. In terms of natural strength, there may not be another player in the state who can match the Mansfield product.
- Curtis Riser, DeSoto OG (Texas) -- Mean. Nasty. Those are the adjectives that every fan wants connected with their offensive lineman and both fit Riser well. An intense competitor who seems to take every rep in any situation as if it could be his last, Riser projects as a mauler in the running game who is advanced for an interior lineman in pass protection because he played outside for DeSoto, a spread, pass-happy team his junior season.
- Cayleb Jones, Austin High WR (Texas) -- A tall, fluid receiver with elite ball skills and flypaper hands, Jones could well make this ranking look foolishly low. How he is able to transition to the college game in terms of creating separation and avoiding injury will ultimately determine the sagacity of this ranking.
- Adrian Colbert, Mineral Wells S (Texas) -- The kid known as Flash combines elite track speed with the striking ability of a much larger safety. Throw in a fierce determination to succeed and it becomes pretty unbelievable that he was such an unknown until deep into his senior season.
- Devonte Fields, Arlington Martin DE (TCU) -- The Metroplex product has the best first step off the edge of any player in the state, but he needs to add weight to hold up against the run. In a pass-rush league like the Big 12, Fields has a lot of upside as a weakside defensive end.
- Brian Nance, Euless Trinity LB (Baylor) -- In a deep class at linebacker in the state, Nance has one of the best frames and is the most physically gifted in Texas. With the physicality to play middle linebacker, but the range to play outside, Nance is another big-time get for Art Briles and his staff.
- Corey Coleman, Richardson Pearce WR (Baylor) -- Adept in the art of separation, Coleman was virtually unstoppable on Saturday on the first day of practice in preparation for the International Bowl (and in the game) and that's a reasonable projection for his Baylor career as a slot receiver. It's going to be as hard for defensive backs to get their hands on him in the slot as it was in high school, which spells trouble for Big 12 defenses.
- Dominique Wheeler, Crockett WR (Texas Tech) -- Like Kendall Sanders, Wheeler was used in both the passing and the running games as a small-school star, but looks like a future flanker at Tech. He'll be a threat to take the ball the distance at any time and will be one of the most gifted offensive weapons at Tech in the last decade.
- Matt Davis, Klein Forest QB (Texas A&M) -- A fringe top-10 talent, Davis is still a run-first quarterback who needs work on his consistency in the passing game -- the only thing holding him back from being higher on this list. It looked like he may have made the leap during 7on7 last summer, but that improvement didn't translate to the season, so he'll likely need some seasoning at A&M before he can step into a starting role.
- DeVante Harris, Mesquite Horn CB (Texas A&M) -- An Aggie legacy whose father played in the NFL, Harris is about an inch and a bigger frame away from being a top-10 talent as well. However, all the other physical attributes are there for a high-level cover corner, though his slight frame may limit him to playing off coverage on the field side.
- Michael Starts, Waco La Vega DL (Texas Tech) -- At 6-4 and 280 pounds, Starts looks like a future offensive tackle, but he insisted during his recruitment on playing defense, where he has less upside, especially on the inside due to his height. While he's still an important piece of the puzzle for the Red Raiders on defense moving forward, his desire to play on defense seems to bespeak a fundamental misunderstanding to understand where his potential NFL future would lie. He's like a Lone Star State version of Arik Armstead, but without the same elite height to play outside.
- Daje Johnson, Pflugerville Hendrickson APB (Texas) -- Perhaps the fastest player in the state (obligatory SPARQ national record mention), Johnson has the versatility to be used in a number of different ways offensively. He has some experience as a route runner, as well as some pure running back skills. And if offense doesn't work out for him, he also has all the attributes of a strong cover corner.
- Marcus Johnson, League City Clear Springs WR (Texas) -- A late riser, Johnson has a nice combination of size, body control, catching radius, and make-you-miss ability. No other receiver in recent yeas is as strong making catches along the sideline, a good skill for a future flanker.
- Camrhon Hughes, Harker Heights OT (Texas) -- Much like Estelle, Hughes is raw, but has the body quickness, feet, arm length, and attitude to grow into an all-conference type of tackle. Just give him some time.
- Orlando "Duke" Thomas, Copperas Cove CB (Texas) -- A quarterback in high school, Thomas showed natural ability at cornerback in the Offense-Defense Bowl, recording an interception and a fumble recovery. He won't be asked to play early at Texas, so he will have time to refine his technique, probably necessary since he didn't even play corner in 7on7 in high school.
- Peter Jinkens, Dallas Skyline LB (Texas) -- A running back at times for Skyline, Jinkens is a Demarco Cobbs clone, as he runs like a safety, making him a strong bet to play SAM linebacker for Texas, even against the spread. His running back speed -- he tested faster than Johnathan Gray at The Opening -- will make him difficult to beat in coverage for running backs, tight ends, or even many slow receivers. *Jinkens rips shirt off*