Week one of the Texas high school football season is in the books, and while most of UT's commits didn't exactly have a rousing start, at least real football is back, and they've got ten more weeks to be in top form for the playoffs.
Here, I'll re-cap how the current Longhorn commits did over the weekend, list the next games on their respective schedules, add a few other notes on the first week of the high school season, and update you on a former recruit who was featured prominently on BON in a pair of articles in 2014.
QB Shane Buechele (Arlington Lamar)
Last week: Completed 8 of 18 passes for 115 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception in a 30-29 win over Richland.
This week: Friday, September 4 at 7:30, at Keller Central (Keller ISD Athletic Complex)
Notes: Buechele's stat line wasn't pretty, but his team still got the win. It should be noted that Buechele was missing his top receiving target, Arkansas commit Kofi Boateng, who reportedly dressed for the game but was held out as a precaution because of a recent injury. Lamar scored the winning points in wild fashion; after a Richland TD with 4:24 left in the 4th quarter gave them a 29-28 lead, Lamar's Reilly Townsend intercepted the pass on Richland's 2-point conversion attempt and returned it all the way back to put Lamar back on top 30-29. Notably, Buechele chipped a tooth after getting hit on a scramble early in the 4th quarter, but shook it off and threw a 38-yard TD pass on the next play.
Next up, Lamar faces a Keller Central team that beat them 38-31 in 2014. This writer watched that game in person. Buechele threw for 358 yards and 4 TDs that night but also committed two 4th quarter turnovers that led to TDs for Central, the latter a fumble late in the game that set up Central's game-winning score with 0:41 left.
WR Tren'Davian Dickson (Navasota)
Last week: Caught 9 passes for 126 yards and 2 TDs in a 49-12 win at Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico.
This week: Friday, September 4 at 7:00, vs. Houston Yates
Notes: Nuevo Leon's Tigres opened the game with a long drive that was ultimately stopped at the Navasota 1-yard line, then Navasota proceeded to march right back down the field for a drive that ended with Dickson scoring on a reception from 5 yards out. He added a 25-yard TD reception early in the 2nd quarter. Next, he faces a Houston Yates team that he burned for 121 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 4 receptions a year ago.
WR Reggie Hemphill-Mapps (Manvel)
Last week: Caught 5 passes for 75 yards and a TD in a 29-26 loss to Spring Westfield
This week: Friday, September 4 at 7:00, at Galena Park North Shore (Galena Park ISD Stadium)
Notes: Also making their presence felt in the Manvel-Westfield game were a pair of Manvel seniors with Texas offers: LB Jordan Carmouche and DB Deontay Anderson. Carmouche was credited with 9 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, while Anderson was credited with 5 tackles. Manvel was the state's 5th ranked 6A team in the Associated Press's preseason poll, while Westfield received some votes but not enough to make the top ten. Dave Campbell's Texas Football ranked Manvel 5th and Westfield 12th, and Manvel's next opponent, Galena Park North Shore, 22nd.
WR(Valley Christian - San Jose, CA)
Last week: Idle
This week: Friday, September 4 at 7:00, at San Jose Pioneer
Notes: A year ago versus Pioneer, Johnson caught 4 passes for 90 yards and a TD in a 55-0 win. Valley Christian attempted only 9 passes in that game, and according to the team's Maxpreps page they attempted less than 12 passes per game for the 2014 season. Valley Christian will have a new starting QB this season, and if they again run over thrice as often as they pass, Johnson likely won't produce eye-popping stats, which is not to suggest that his 49 catches for 921 yards and 10 TDs in 2014 was anything to sneeze at.
TE Peyton Aucoin (Brother Martin - New Orleans, LA)
Last week: Idle
This week: Friday, September 4 at 7:00, at Plaquemine
OL Tope Imade (Arlington Bowie)
Last week: Lost to Dallas Jesuit 35-0
This week: Friday, September 4 at 7:30, vs. Cedar Hill
Notes: Jesuit flat embarrassed Bowie on Friday, holding the Volunteers to 111 yards of offense and only 6 first downs while keeping them off the scoreboard as well. In one of the most remarkable turnarounds I've ever seen in terms of season-to-season results, Jesuit allowed 72 fewer points, 761(!) fewer offensive yards, and 22 fewer first downs to Bowie than in their 2014 matchup, which Bowie won 72-49. Eight Bowie possessions ended with either a punt (6) or turnover (2) on Friday, compared with none of either in last year's Jesuit game. And if that weren't bad enough, Bowie gets to next face the two-time defending 6A Division II state champs Cedar Hill.
DT Gerald Wilbon (Destrehan, LA)
Last week: Idle
This week: Friday, September 4 at 7:00, at Slidell
Notes: Destrehan finished 14-1 in 2014, with its only loss coming in Louisiana's 5A state championship game.
LB DeMarco Boyd (Gilmer)
Last week: 15 carries for 85 yards and 2 TDs, and 4 receptions for 67 yards in a 50-45 win over Texarkana Liberty-Eylau
This week: Friday, September 4 at 7:30, vs. Longview Pine Tree
Notes: Gilmer had a much tougher time with this year's L-E squad than they did in dispatching its 2014 version 55-14 to open that season. Boyd lined up a lot at running back and led the team in carries on the night. He also showed off his hands by catching 4 passes out of the backfield. Could fullback be in his future at UT? Late in the game with Gilmer holding the ball and a 5-point lead, the Buckeyes faced a 4th-and-1 near midfield. With a chance to put the game away, they handed the ball to Boyd and this happened:
QB Sam Ehlinger (Austin Westlake)
Last week: completed 18 of 29 passes for 216 yards and 2 TDs, and rushed 19 times for 72 yards and 1 TD in a 20-14 win over Southlake Carroll
This week: Friday, September 4 at 7:30, at Temple
Notes: Ehlinger has earned rave reviews for his performance vs. Carroll. Our own Daniel Seahorn was there and came away very impressed, as did Eric Nahlin (Inside Texas), and Annabel Stephan (Scout). I've seen accounts from the game that 7 or 8 of his 11 incompletions came on catchable passes that his receivers dropped (let's hope Ehlinger hasn't read any of the recent Longhorn practice reports that have mentioned an abundance of dropped passes by the WR corps). Next up, Ehlinger and his Westlake teammates face returning Class 5A Division I runner-up Temple, a team Westlake defeated 49-48 in 2014, and which has since graduated a lot of offensive skill position talent and managed only 11 first downs in a 23-20 win over Round Rock this past weekend.
Below, you can watch 2:00 worth of Ehlinger's highlights vs. Carroll.
WR Damion Miller (Tyler John Tyler)
Last week: caught 2 passes for 39 yards and a TD in a 35-17 loss to Plano.
This week: Saturday, September 5 at 7:30, vs. Longview
Notes: Plano RB Brandon Stephens, who holds a Texas offer, scored two 1st quarter TDs to put Plano up 14-0 early. Miller's TD catch, a 15-yard grab, came with 6:55 left in the 2nd quarter and tied the game, but Plano outscored John Tyler 21-3 the rest of the way. Stephens, who is set to announce his commitment this Friday, finished the game with 15 carries for 95 yards and 3 TDs.
Other high school football notes:
* Every year there seems to be a few seniors who show up on the recruiting radar and become highly sought-after recruits after missing all or most of their junior season due to injury. One senior to watch who could potentially fit into that category is McKinney Boyd defensive lineman Ramon Readus. As a sophomore in 2013, Readus was named co-Defensive Newcomer of the Year in the competitive District 10-5A. Hopes were thus high for Readus going into the 2014 season, but his junior season ended before it began when he suffered a pre-season injury reported at the time to involve four fractures and a torn labrum. Readus even tweeted at the time that his football career was over. But he came back strong and participated in spring practice six months later, and he impressed onlookers at Boyd's Friday win over Mesquite Horn, whose junior QB Chris Robison is committed to Oklahoma. A friend who was present at the game described Readus's performance as dominant, and Scout's Greg Powers, who was also at the game, tweeted the following:
Readus, who lines up at DE in McKinney Boyd's 3-4 defensive front, should have plenty of chances to impress coaches and scouts during the remainder of the season, and his game is no doubt helped by getting practice reps against four-star 2017 OL and teammate Tyrese Robinson (who holds a Texas offer).
* The 2017 class is shaping up to be a strong one at the quarterback position in Texas, with seven QBs currently ranked among the state's top 50 prospects for that class in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Other junior QBs who are first-time starters this fall and not as well-known yet could be in the conversation for top-100 status by season's end, including two San Antonio-area juniors who began their season on a very good note.
Frank Harris (Schertz Clemens) had one of the most impressive stat lines of any QB in the state in week one, as he completed 17 of 21 passes for 209 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions, and also rushed 15 times for 299 yards and 4 TDs in a 55-43 win over Laredo United. The last of his six total TDs was a 93-yard run with 7:01 remaining in the 4th quarter that extended Clemens's five-point lead and made it a two-possession game. I think Harris's recruiting stock could be pretty high in a few months. Click here to see Harris's sophomore highlights.
Xavier Martin (Cibolo Steele) did not have a stat line as jaw-dropping as Harris's, but he was very efficient in completing 7 of his 10 pass attempts for 151 yards and 3 TDs (all three of which came within a seven-minute period of the 2nd quarter), and also ran 4 times for 37 yards in Steele's 49-14 thrashing of rival San Antonio Madison. Steele's last three starting QBs are all on D1 rosters now (L.G. Williams at Texas State, Breylann McCollum at Incarnate Word, and Tommy Armstrong at Nebraska). Martin, who committed to Texas Tech in late July (and bears a passing resemblance to Russell Wilson), will continue Steele's D1 QB pipeline and may be the most athletic one they've had.
He measured 5'11" 173 pounds at the Dallas Nike Football Combine in March and posted a very good 107.16 SPARQ score, highlighted by a 4.62 forty time and a 41-inch vertical jump (I witnessed him make multiple jumps that may have been better than his official one, but he had trouble landing correctly on the pressure plate the event used for vertical testing). As a receiver in 2014, he had 9 receptions for 196 yards and 4 TDs, and though he did get some playing time at QB, he only had 14 varsity pass attempts going into this season, leading some recruiting sites to label him as an athlete or wide receiver before his commitment to Tech, a designation he bristled at.
Who ever is in charge of 247Sports .. I would really like my position changed from Receiver to QB— OVO1 (@Thexaviermartin) July 24, 2015
With a great junior season, he should end any doubt about QB being his college position.
* Even without a running back commitment in the 2016 class so far, Texas already has a 2,000-yard rusher slated to be on campus next year. San Marcos QB David Hamilton, who committed to Texas for baseball in January, rushed for over 2,100 yards and 22 TDs as a junior (he also passed for 1,000 yards and 6 TDs), and he may be on his way to duplicating those numbers as a senior. In week one versus San Antonio East Central, he rushed 23 times for 225 yards and 2 TDs. His speed serves him sell on the diamond as well; as a junior he stole 16 bases and legged out 10 triples in 28 games, according to Maxpreps. The Longhorn baseball team could use speed like his on the basepaths. This past season, led the team with 16 steals, twice as many as anyone else on the roster, though it should be noted that four came in one game against Prairie View A&M, and he swiped only two in the entire month of May. Stay healthy this fall, Mr. Hamilton!
Non-UT college football note:
Regular BON readers may remember Jarrett Mitchell, who I wrote an essay about in February of 2014. He was a student-athlete who spent his high school years at Kubasaki High School, a Department of Defense Dependents School at Camp Foster, a U.S. Marine camp in Okinawa, Japan. He was a decorated three-sport athlete in high school but being so far off the typical recruiting map kept him from getting much exposure to college coaches (see: The Recruiting Saga of an American Football Star in Japan).
He had no athletic scholarship offers from any school at the D1 or D2 level and eventually decided to attend the University of Arizona and attempt to make the football team as a walk-on. He participated in walk-on tryouts last fall but did not make the team, though he kept working hard and stayed in shape so he could give it another shot later. This past spring, he again tried out and this time impressed the Arizona staff enough to make the roster at running back, even scoring a touchdown in Arizona's spring game (he wears jersey #40).
Arizona opens its season Thursday night at 9:00 central, hosting UT-San Antonio. I don't know where Mitchell is in the Wildcats' current running back pecking order, but hopefully he'll see some playing time tomorrow night. In Arizona's 2014 season opener, a 58-13 blowout of UNLV, seven different players (not counting QBs) got at least one carry, so if they get a comfortable lead I think his chances of getting a few snaps will greatly improve.