The 2010 class marked the debut of GoBR's Texas Top 25 list and it continues with a look at the 25 best players in the state for 2011. As before, this list is based on collegiate potential.
1. Brandon Williams, Brookshire Royal RB (Oklahoma): Going out on a limb here, as Malcolm Brown is universally considered one of the top 10 or so prospects in the entire country and has occupied the top spot on most 2011 lists. Williams wins out here because of his unreal combination of top-end speed -- in open field, he has that high-effort extra gear resembling Adrian Peterson -- and his ability to cut on a dime. On top of that, Williams bests Peterson in his experience catching the ball out of the backfield (at a similar age) and looks like the type of kid who still has some major physical upside. If you have a Rivals membership, check out this hit ($) that Williams put on a defender trying to return an interception -- Williams absolutely blows the dude up.
2. Malcolm Brown, Cibolo Steele RB (Texas): At this point, if you don't know why Brown is ranked a controversial second on this list, you just haven't been following. Brown is the ideal every-down, workhorse back, with a strong, compact build that allows him to break arm tackles and absolutely truck players at the high school level -- it's hard not to love Brown's physical running style. Early in his junior highlight film, he uncorks a spectacular run that includes two jaw-dropping spin moves along the sideline that shows off his balance to full effect. The major question about Brown is his top-end speed, but he's plenty fast and certainly doesn't get caught from behind in high school. In other words, his speed is a minor complaint. He's second on this list, however, because of those concerns about his speed and how his tackle-breaking ability.
3. Desmond Jackson, Houston Westfield DT (Texas): The national guys at Rivals may not be particularly high on Jackson because of his height -- barely over 6-1, if that -- and concerns that he won't be able to play effectively at 300 or so pounds. Here's the deal, though: throw all of that out the window. Jackson's height probably helps him play with ideal pad level, particularly for his age, and his swim move is flat-out sick and unstoppable in high school. Combine that with a quick first step and a high motor and Jackson projects as a gap-shooting menace in college. Should be able to contribute as soon as he steps onto campus.
4. Steve Edmond, Daingerfield LB (Texas): Edmond is the opposite of a workout warrior -- he sometimes looks less than fluid in shorts and still has some baby fat. On the field, however, the mild-mannered country boy from the small East Texas town of Daingerfield turns into a menacing tackling machine. A physical tackler who can lay the wood, Edmond is most effective coming downhill filling gaps in the running game or blitzing the quarterback, though he also has the speed and motor to make plays from sideline to sideline. Edmond has excellent instincts for the game and rarely takes bad steps -- though he isn't the fastest linebacker around, the Daingerfield star makes up for it by diagnosing plays quickly. Stats aren't everything, but one look at his junior numbers is enough to cause your jaw to hit the floor -- 184 tackles, 34 tackles for loss, five sacks, seven forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, five interceptions, two pass breakups and one defensive touchdown. Boom.
5. Sedrick Flowers, Galena Park North Shore OG (Texas): Flowers will benefit from transitioning to his future college position of guard as a senior and is known as a mauler at the point of attack in the run-based North Shore attack. If Texas truly wants to transition to a power running team, Flowers projects as one of the buliding blocks. Possessed with raw natural strength and excellent weight distribution, he's not only physical and explosive as a blocker along the line of scrimmage, he also has the athleticism and quick feet to put his hat on linebackers at the second level. If there is a negative, it's that he gets few repetitions pass blocking at North Shore.
6. Trey Metoyer Whitehouse WR (Oklahoma): An improving athlete, Metoyer has addressed the major concern about his game over the last year by working on his burst and explosiveness. The frame is there, the playmaking ability is there, and the massive, soft hands are there. Frankly, there's basically no argument to be made against Metoyer the football player as a senior as his measurables catch up to his production on the field.
7. Jaxon Shipley, Brownwood WR (Texas): It's almost a tiresome topic at this point to reiterate just how litlte respect Shipley gets at the national level for a variety of reasons, but the impetus behind that topic remains the same -- Shipley is a flat-out badass. For two straight years he was the most outstanding player at the Texas summer camps he attended and when he went down to the Gridiron Kings event, he dominated the competition with his ball skills and precise route running that is well beyond his age. While he has better height than his brother, he doesn't have the same top-end speed and lateral quickness.
8. Aaron Green, SA Madison RB (Uncommitted): An elite quick-twitch athlete, Green has outstanding stop-start ability and combines his top-end speed with excellent vision -- if there is a crease to be found, the San Antonio product will find it. Despite his less than ideal size, Green is tough enough to be willing to put his shoulder down to pick up extra yardage. However, it's his relatively slight frame that keeps him from being considered the best running back in the country, as he doesn't project as a running back who can carry the ball 20-25 times a game in college.
9. Jamal Turner Arlington Bowie ATH (Nebraska): In terms of the Texas recruiting perspective, Turner has pretty much been off the radar due to the lack of interest from the Longhorns and an early commitment to Nebraska. To overlook him though, would be a major mistake, as Turner presents a unique challenge for the Husker coaching staff as a player who could excel at both receiver and cornerbac, as well as play quarterback, his high school position. In other words, though he has some skill as a passer, his quick-twitch athleticism and elite burst and change-of-direction ability will probably entice a position change in college. Probably the most underrated athlete in the entire class.
10. Sheroid Evans, Sugarland Dulles DB (Texas): Based on pure physical skills and his speed, Evans would rank near the top of this list because he is one of the fastest track athletes in his age group in the 200m and 400m, as well as extremely competitive in the 100m. There are several concerns: 1) Evans is raw as an athlete and will need some time to refine his technique as a cornerback if he ends up at that position at Texas, 2) he's missed time in each of the last two seasons due to injuries, and 3) he may end up focusing more on track in college due to his world-class speed. It's his fluidity, burst, and top-end speed that give him as much or more upside than anyone else in the class.
11. Quandre Diggs, Angleton ATH (Texas): A do-it-all playmaker at his high school, the major question mark with Diggs is where he will end up in college. An explosive runner with the ball in his hands, an apt comparison might be to say that Diggs is a bigger, slightly more physical version of fellow Angleton alum DJ Monroe. Like Monroe, the concern about Diggs is his height -- although he has all the physical skills to play cornerback in college, the lateness of his offer suggests that Will Muschamp isn't sold on Diggs as a defensive player. With Texas needing playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, the potential of Quentin Jammer's little brother to score at any time, from any point on the field may cause Greg Davis and company to think long and hard about getting the ball in his hands.
12. Garrett Greenlea, Klein Collins OT (Texas): A mammoth person at 6-6, 285 pounds, Greenlea is an athletic prospect who perhaps does not quite have quick enough feet to play left tackle in college, but has the ability to become an excellent right tackle. As the Texas coaching staff prefers, Greenlea carries little or no bad weight on his huge frame and, like Flowers, is a physical, aggressive run blocker who has the nasty attitude to finish plays. Will have to work on his balance and punch in pass protection in college.
13. David Jenkins, Lewisville Hebron CB (LSU): A late riser in recruiting circles because he received little playing time as a junior due to his move from Louisiana, Jenkins is a long and athletic cornerback who could also play some safety. His cornerback skills will need some work, so he could contribute as a safety more quickly in college, where his size and strength could make him a ball-hawking, big-play machine.
14. Herschel Sims, Abilene RB (Oklahoma State): With Sims, the concern isn't just that he has much less than ideal size for an every-down back at the next level -- it's that he just doesn't have elite acceleration or top-end speed. Other than that, Sims has all the tools of a great running back, as he can change direction, has good patience to wait for holes to develop, runs behind his pads, and has good vision. His ability to be a factor as a runner, receiver, and in the return game makes him a coveted prospect and he should be a good fit in the Oklahoma State offense.
15. JW Walsh Denton Guyer QB (Oklahoma State): This author was in love with Walsh basically at first sight a year and a half ago and the love affair continues. Walsh has experience working from under center and from the shotgun, but projects the best as a pure spread passer in a scheme that takes advantage of his speed and athleticism with the football as a runner and improviser on the run. A coach's son, Walsh can deliver the football with zip on intermediate routes, but needs to work on his arm strength and accuracy down the field. Should be a perfect fit in the Oklahoma State offense under Dana Holgorson.
16. Quincy Russell, SA Sam Houston DT (Texas): A basketball player with an ideal body type for the defensive tackle position, Russell gets by on his raw athleticism in high school. Since his technique needs some major refinement, he will need some time to develop in college, but his upside is tremendous because of his natural strength and athleticism for his size. He has ideal thickness for a defensive tackle, but often plays with high pad level, doesn't use his hands consistently, and lacks any developed pass-rushing moves. As a junior, his 87 tackles speak to his activity up and down the line of scrimmage.
17. Jace Amaro SA Macarthur TE (Texas Tech): At the Texas 7-on-7 State Championship, Amaro was one of the most impressive-looking athletes at the entire event. His play on the field backed up his projectable frame, as he showed the speed to threaten opponents down the seam and the ball skills to attack the football at its highest point, especially on fade routes in the red zone, where he will be a major threat at the next level. Every bit of 6-4, 230 pounds, Amaro ranks highly on this list because of the difficulty of finding impact players at his position. Right now is a better receiver than blocker, but has the physical tools to eventually make an impact in the running game.
18. Ladarius Brown Waxahachie ATH (Uncommitted): His ball skills and overall playmaking ability (he averaged 31 yards per catch as a sophomore and 26 as a junior) cause his upside to be the greatest at the wide receiver position, where he can use his initial acceleration and overall smoothness to get open, then get upfield quickly after the catch. Does need to work on improving his upper body strength, like most high school players. Could also play safety.
19. Cedric Reed, Cleveland DE (Texas): A big, rangy prospect with a frame that could eventually carry between 270-280 pounds or more, Reed shows off his athleticism on the basketball court and in the open field as a tight end in the Cleveland offense. The combination of his height, long arms, and solid first step give him some upside as a pass rusher in college, but with the room for growth on his frame, he could eventually end up playing inside, particularly in pass rush situations. As with most high school defensive ends not named Jackson Jeffcoat, Reed needs to improve using his hands to keep offensive linemen out of his body and take advantage of his long arms.
20. Kendall Thompson, Carthage LB (Texas): At times projected as a 3-4 outside linebacker/edge rusher, Thompson has worked hard on his conditioning in the last year and now projects as a player who can hold his own as a linebacker against spread offenses. The physicality at the point of attack that caused those edge rusher projections remains and his experience playing middle linebacker in the Carthage Cover 2 scheme means he has experience with his pass drops, where he has shown an ability to make plays in high school.
21. Charles Jackson, Klein Colilns CB (Uncommitted): Slightly undersized, Jackson makes up for his lack of height with a college-ready body and fantastic leaping ability. A strong tackler and hard hitter for his position, Jackson has all the natural skills to transition to the next level -- fluidity, burst, and ball skills. Along with his height, the other concern is that he doesn't have elite top-end speed, as his personal best 100m is a 10.91.
22. Anthony Wallace, Dallas Skyline LB (Uncommitted): Like Thompson and Edmond, some projections early in the process had Wallace pegged for the defensive end position in colelge, a position he has played some in high school. Right now, however, Wallace looks like a college linebacker because he doesn't have the frame to play at 240 pounds or more. His hallmark on the field is his physicality in the running game -- he's an intimidating presence in the middle of the field and can lay the wood. His poor conditioning this season has raised some concerns and hurt his stock a bit, as well as the fact that he doesn't always look like the most fluid player in coverage.
23. Tevin Mitchel, Mansfield Legacy CB (Nebraska): When looking at all the skills that Mitchel brings to the table -- an ability to play the football in the air, quickness out of his breaks, an ability to play in zone coverage, and willingness to come up in run support, it's somewhat hard to imagine that Mitchel few under the radar until some break-out performances last spring at combines. He does have a lean frame and will need to add strength at the next level to continue to be a strong tackler and to match up against bigger receivers in press coverage.
24. Kenny Williams, Plugerville Hendrickson RB (Texas Tech): Built like a tank, Williams will provide the Red Raiders with a physical, downhill running back. Like most backs in his mold, Williams lacks breakaway speed, but makes up for it with his bruising running style, good feet, and, at times, short-area quickness, though his suddenness seems to decrease at times as his carries pile up. His powerful legs and low center of gravity make him difficult for one defender to bring down, as well as his ability to keep his feet moving on contact.
25. Mykkele Thompson, SA Stevens DB (Texas): A remarkably similar-looking athlete to Ladarius Brown, Thompson is a lean, rangy athlete with good speed who lookes like he is gliding on teh football field. Unlike Brown, however, Thompson has minimal experience on the defensive side of the ball, where he will play at Texas. There are questions, then, about his short-area burst, transition ability, and hip fluidity and how well Thompson does or does not answer those questions will determine whether he will play safety or cornerback in college.