In Week five, Texas Longhorns wide receiver commit Damion Miller did aimpression, quarterback Shane Buechele had a good game but was hurt by wide receiver drops at two key moments, defensive tackle Gerald Wilbon set up camp in his opponent's backfield, and do-everything athlete DeMarco Boyd did a little of everything.
This week, two commits are idle, and fans will get to see the (presumed) spectacle of quarterback Sam Ehlinger coming off a bye week (and facing an undefeated opponent, no less). I'll have my usual recaps on how UT commits did in Week 5, a look at their upcoming Week 6 games, some notes from an in-person look at Buechele over the weekend, and a profile of a 2018 prospect who might just be a two-sport star in college, with the non-football sport probably not being the one you're thinking of.
QB Shane Buechele (Arlington Lamar)
Last week:Completed 15 of 25 passes for 214 yards and 1 TD, and rushed 7 times for 3 yards in a 52-24 loss to Arlington Martin
This week: Friday, October 2 at 7:30, vs. Arlington Bowie
Notes: This writer attended the first half of the Lamar-Martin game, partly in hope of seeing a good matchup between city rivals (the two schools both play their home games at Cravens Field), and to see if Shane Buechele could redeem himself for his poor performance against Martin in 2014 (Lamar lost that game 67-20, as Buechele was picked off twice -- including probably the laziest interception of his career -- and, at least for one night, did not look like the better QB on the field).
Buechele didn't have a bad game last Friday; he threw the ball well, found receivers when open, and did not turn the ball over. But Martin put together several sustained drives that kept Lamar's offense off the field for long periods, and a key Lamar possession late in the first half stalled when a receiver dropped a wide-open pass that could have gone for a score and changed the game. I'll have more on that game later.
This week, Buechele and future Longhorn teammate Tope Imade will be on opposite sidelines in what I believe is the first game of the 2015 season to feature multiple players who are UT commits. (Note: I'm not counting the week one Southlake Carroll-Austin Westlake game that included Sam Ehlinger and Obi Eboh, as Eboh didn't commit until a week after the game.)
WR Tren'Davian Dickson (Navasota)
Last week: Caught 8 passes for 77 yards and 2 TDs in a 56-13 win over Fort Worth Castleberry
This week: Idle
Notes: Navasota didn't blow out Castleberry as badly as I expected, but still won comfortably. Navasota remains the #1 Class 4A team in the AP poll, again claiming 23 of 25 first-place votes after week 5.
WR Reggie Hemphill-Mapps (Manvel)
Last week: Caught 2 passes for 72 yards and a TD in a 56-0 win over Pasadena
This week: Thursday, October 1 at 7:00, at Pasadena South Houston
Notes: Hemphill-Mapps's TD came on a 29-yard reception early in the 2nd quarter and put Manvel up 21-0. If the published box scores are to be believed, Manvel put 56 on the board while only gaining 317 offensive yards and running only 29 plays, with no punts.
WR(Valley Christian - San Jose, CA)
Notes: Johnson suffered a shoulder injury in his team's Week 3 game and he will miss the rest of the season.
TE Peyton Aucoin (Brother Martin - New Orleans, LA)
Last week:Team defeated River Ridge (LA) highlights)40-37 in overtime (see
This week: Friday, October 3 at 7:00, at New Orleans St. Augustine (Tad Gormley Stadium)
Notes: Brother Martin came out on top in a marquee matchup of top-5 state-ranked Class 5A Louisiana schools. They led John Curtis 34-20 with just under 6 minutes remaining, but John Curtis scored twice in just under 2:30 to tie the game, and it remained 34-34 at the end of regulation. Louisiana overtime rules are different from Texas high school and NCAA rules in that the teams alternate possessions beginning at their opponent's 10-yard line. John Curtis was stopped on three runs and settled for a field goal, then Brother Martin scored on its first play to win the game.
Brother Martin moved up to #3 in this week's LSWA Class 5A poll, taking over the spot John Curtis held a week ago. Their opponent for this week, St. Augustine, got its first win of the season last weak, beating then-ranked New Orleans Jesuit. One of the defensive linemen Aucoin may end up being asked to block is Tennessee commit D'Andre Christmas-Giles, who was offered by Texas this week.
OL Tope Imade (Arlington Bowie)
Last week: Team ran 68 plays and gained 402 yards in a 35-29 overtime win over Arlington Sam Houston
This week: Friday, October 2 at 7:30, at Arlington Lamar
Notes: Bowie has won two straight games after beginning the season with a shutout loss to Dallas Jesuit and an 11-point loss to defending 6A Division II state champion Cedar Hill (they actually led in that game midway through the 3rd quarter). This week, Imade gets an up close look at a QB he'll hopefully be blocking for in a few years: Shane Buechele.
DT Gerald Wilbon (Destrehan, LA)
Last week: Team defeated Hahnville 48-23
This week: Friday, October 2 at 7:00, at Terrebonne
Notes: Destrehan moved up to 7th in this week's LSWA Class 5A poll. Wilbon's Hudl clips from the Hahnville game showed him picking up a pair of sacks. See below.
LB DeMarco Boyd (Gilmer)
Last week: Had 6 carries for 30 yards, caught 3 passes for 14 yards, and was credited with 3 tackles and 1 pass defended in a 18-15 win over Carthage.
This week: Idle
Notes: Gilmer is again ranked 2nd in Class 4A in the latest AP poll, one spot behind Tren'Davian Dickson's Navasota team. Carthage, which won a state title two years ago, saw its record fall to 3-2 after the loss to Gilmer, though their five games have been decided by a total of 12 points.
DB Obi Eboh (Southlake Carroll)
Last week: Was credited with 2 tackles in a 42-17 win over Abilene
This week: Friday, October 2 at 7:30, at Coppell
Notes: Carroll took a 28-17 lead at halftime, then its defense shut out Abilene in the second half.
QB Sam Ehlinger (Austin Westlake)
Last week: Idle
This week: Friday, October 2 at 7:30, at Austin Bowie
Notes: The Westlake-Bowie game will be a battle of unbeaten teams. Bowie has averaged 40 points per game in dispatching its first five opponents, and last week they defeated Austin High 44-14, one week after Westlake beat them 56-12. When the teams played in 2014, Bowie won 19-13, and eventually they finished with the 2nd best record in district 14-6A (behind Lake Travis) and advanced two rounds into the playoffs. So... revenge game + district matchup between unbeatens + Sam Ehlinger after a bye week = a game well worth watching, no?
WR Damion Miller (Tyler John Tyler)
Last week: Caught 5 passes for 177 yards and 3 TDs in a 65-32 win over Whitehouse
This week: Friday, October 2 at 7:30, at Lindale
Notes: John Tyler got its first win of 2015 and Damion Miller finally broke out in a big way on the stat sheet, posting Collin Johnson-like numbers. Longhorn fans too young to remember Roy Williams (or Malcolm Williams vs. Texas Tech in 2008) may be wondering at this point, "What does 5 catches for 177 yards look like?" See below.
Notes on Shane Buechele vs. Arlington Martin
As previously stated, I attended last Friday's Arlington Lamar-Arlington Martin matchup. It was a popular game for recruiting media, as Mike Roach of HornSports and Richard Davenport of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette were also on hand. (Davenport covers Arkansas recruiting and was in Arlington for Saturday's Arkansas-Texas A&M game, which gave him the chance to see Lamar receiver and Razorback commit Kofi Boateng the night before.)
The game started out well enough for Lamar. After Martin made a field goal on the game's opening drive, Lamar scored in four plays, highlighted by an 11-yard run by Buechele on their first play (his other six carries in the game netted -8 yards), and a 39-yard pass to the aforementioned Kofi Boateng, who made an acrobatic catch (see: the first play of the linked Hudl video) before falling out of bounds inside Martin's 2-yard line. As great as Boateng's catch was, Buechele made a great throw on the play and put the ball where only Boateng could have caught it. Lamar scored a TD on a short run to end the drive, then Martin returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.
Buechele completed five passes on Lamar's next eight plays and got them up to the Martin 4-yard line, but a sack pushed them 11 yards backwards. On 3rd-and-goal from the 9, Buechele floated a pass intended for a receiver in the back of the end zone, another pass put in a spot where only his teammate could have reached it, but the receiver couldn't quite get a handle on the ball, and Lamar settled for a field goal to tie the game at 10.
After Martin answered with a touchdown early in the 2nd quarter, Lamar again advanced the ball into Martin territory, this time getting to the 39-yard line following three straight completed passes from Buechele, but the drive stalled after a penalty and two incompletions, the latter of which wasted a beautiful pass that went in and out of the arms of a receiver who seemed surprised to find himself wide open in the deep middle of the field. Had he caught the ball he would have either scored or gotten Lamar very close to the end zone. But Lamar punted and didn't get the ball back for nearly five minutes, as Martin scored a TD following the punt, recovered an onside kick, and scored again to take a 31-10 lead with 2:38 left in the half. Lamar cut the lead to 31-17 a minute later following a 63-yard touchdown pass on a play very similar to the one that had been spoiled by a dropped pass on Lamar's previous possession.
I didn't stay for the second half, as my allergies were terrible that night and I'd seen what I had hoped to see from Buechele by that point. Going by the Dallas Morning News' play-by-play account, Lamar scored first in the second half to pull within a touchdown at 31-24, but Martin answered with a score of its own and Lamar just couldn't sustain drives for the rest of the game. Lamar's last four possessions went: three-and-out, three-and-out, turnover on downs (incomplete pass on 4th-and-16 near midfield), and punt (on 4th-and-14 from Lamar's own 14-yard line, with 0:41 left int he game).
This was the fifth time in three seasons that I've seen Buechele play in person and he looked as confident as I've ever seen him (as much as one can tell these things from the top row of the bleachers) He had a couple of 11-yard runs in the game but because of sacks his other five carries netted a total of -18 yards. He won't remind anyone of Jerrod Heard when he's running with the ball, though he can make plays with his feet, and when scrambling he watches the action downfield in case a receiver gets open for a pass. In terms of size, poise, and throwing ability, he reminds me more of Purdue's redshirt freshman QB David Blough, a native Texan who passed for 340 yards and accounted for 3 TDs in his first collegiate start last weekend.
I've seen games where he didn't take care of the ball and lost a fumble at the worst possible time (vs. Keller Central in 2014), or where he threw a lazy interception when he should have thrown the ball out of bounds (vs. Martin in 2014), but he took care of the ball and did not commit any turnovers on Friday night. When the game was close, Lamar moved the ball well and got into position to score points. Once Martin went up by two touchdowns in the second half, they couldn't sustain drives, and Martin's offense kept Lamar's off the field for long periods.
Public-Private Partnerships: high school football edition
The past couple of years have seen a number of highly-rated recruits who transferred to public schools after previously spending their high school careers at a private school. Four-star 2017 linebackerspent his freshman year at the Episcopal School of Dallas, before transferring to Plano East. Loren Mondy, a three-star 2017 linebacker who committed to Arizona State in the summer before his freshman year, spent his sophomore season at Dallas Bishop Dunne, then transferred this summer to Mansfield Lake Ridge, where he had actually played his freshman year. Houston freshman running back Tyreik Gray, who was a four-star recruit in the 2015 class, spent his senior season at Houston Lamar after previously attending Houston's Bellaire Episcopal. Those are just three of the more prominent examples.
Kirby Bennett is a budding star in the 2018 class who could eventually be rated as high as any of those three. Bennett, now at Allen, spent his freshman year at Dallas Parish Episcopal, whose 2014 team won the TAPPS Division II state championship. I attended Parish Episcopal's first game of the 2014 season, a win over 4A public school Carrollton Ranchview. I came mainly to see Ranchview senior Raghib Ismail, Jr. (son of this guy - for those of you born in the 1990s or later - and now a freshman walk-on receiver at TCU), and Parish Episcopal's talented trio of 2016 WR Xavier Suggs, 2016 OL Douglas Tucker, and 2017 RB Dominic Williams (now committed to Kansas). I didn't know who the freshman Bennett was, but he made his presence known with his play at linebacker, running back, and on special teams. He made several tackles and ran and played like a much older player when in pursuit, he made one tackle on the punt coverage unit that caught my attention and made me write his number down in my notebook, and late in the game he ran for a 5-yard TD while in at running back.
He would spend most of his freshman year on defense and only have 23 offensive touches for the season, but after seeing him in the Ranchview game I wanted to learn more. I talked to Parish Episcopal head coach Scott Nady the following week to ask about a few of his players, and mentioned how Kirby Bennett had impressed me a few days earlier. Coach Nady spoke very enthusiastically about him, saying that a year earlier Bennett had been the most impressive 8th grade player he had ever seen, and that at one point he went six or seven straight games at running back without being tackled once. Though Bennett was only about 5'9" and maybe 180 pounds, Nady predicted he'd be an SEC-level recruit by the time he was a senior.
This past March I briefly met Bennett after he participated in the Dallas Nike Football Combine, where he posted a SPARQ score of 111.72, an elite figure for any athlete, let alone a freshman. Bennett, who checked in at 5'9" and 190 pounds at the event, has since had his testing figures removed from the event's official results, possibly at his own request. When we spoke, he confirmed Coach Nady's account of his 8th grade exploits, and said that he would be transferring to Allen for the following school year. That would be the three-time defending 5A/6A Division I state champions Allen, as if they needed more talent on their roster.
Through five games this season, Bennett is Allen's second-leading rusher (behind QB Seth Green, an Oregon commit) with 59 carries for 393 yards and 2 TDs, and he has also caught 7 passes for 75 yards and another TD. In last week's 38-28 win over Flower Mound Marcus -- the only close game Allen has had this season; they beat their first four opponents by an average of 41 points -- Bennett was given 20 carries and he ran for 147 yards, and he also had an 8-yard touchdown reception. You can see highlights of Bennett in the Marcus game below.
Bennett has a good frame and outstanding athleticism, and he's also a very good lacrosse player (see this article from a year ago) and has said he hopes to play both football and lacrosse in college. If he still has that goal in a couple of years, it's likely his recruitment will involve schools like Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and Syracuse, all of which played in this year's NCAA Division I Lacrosse Championship tournament.
Who knows? Maybe one day Bennett will see his name on the list of lacrosse stars who had pro football careers, a group that includes current Seattle Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka, but whose most notable member is Jim Brown, who (trivia alert!) is in the Hall of Fame for both sports.