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Texas Longhorn commits: Playoff round 4 preview

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As the Texas high school football playoffs reach the state quarterfinals, four future Longhorns are still playing and hoping for a state championship.

Texas Longhorns running back commit Keaontay Ingram (Carthage).
Will Gallagher - Inside Texas

Going into last week there were ten Texas Longhorn football commits whose teams were still in the playoffs. One of that group won a state championship on Sunday, while five others lost their playoff games on Friday or Saturday, leaving just four commits who have yet to see their season end.

Rondale Moore played a big part in his team winning a second consecutive Kentucky state championship, and he’s one of three #RevolUTion18 members who own state championship rings (or at least some pretty sweet letter jacket patches), along with 2016 state champions Keaontay Ingram and Cameron Dicker.

Reese Moore, Keondre Coburn, Al’Vonte Woodard, and D’Shawn Jamison all saw their teams’ seasons end after taking long winning streaks into the playoffs, and junior Roschon Johnson, still the program’s lone 2019 commit, finished a spectacular season that ended three rounds sooner than he and his teammates hoped.

I’ll have a detailed breakdown below on how each commit’s team did in last week’s playoff action, and look ahead to the four games this weekend for UT’s commits. Fans in San Antonio can catch two commits for the price of one, as Cameron Dicker and his Lake Travis teammates will play San Antonio O’Connor at the Alamodome on Saturday afternoon at 4:00, followed at 8:00 by Caden Sterns and Cibolo Steele, who’ll face off against unbeaten Austin Westlake.

Three of the four commits playing this weekend will have their games at domed facilities, and I’m sure they and their fans won’t mind the warm environs considering the chilly weather the state is forecast to have this weekend.

Also, many districts whose teams have all been eliminated from the playoffs have publicly announced their postseason superlatives and all-district teams. I’ll be including those in these posts as I become aware of them.

2018 Texas Longhorn football commits in the playoffs

RB Keaontay Ingram (Carthage)

Last week: Had 8 carries for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns, and had a 59-yard touchdown catch in a 64-36 win over Silsbee in the regional semifinal round of the 4A Division I playoffs.

This week: Friday, December 8 at 7:30, vs. Henderson (at Nacogdoches’ Bryce Stadium) in the Region III final of the 4A Division I playoffs.

Notes: Against Silsbee in last week’s regional semifinal round, Carthage gained 534 yards and scored all 64 of its points in the first half! The Bulldogs held a 64-21 lead at halftime and rested their starters in the second half. Silsbee scored twice in the game’s final eight minutes to cut the deficit to 28, but the game’s outcome had long since been decided, as Carthage scored on its first nine possessions.

Keaontay Ingram had another productive game while playing in just one half. In Carthage’s last two playoff games he has had 23 carries for 296 yards and 4 TDs, despite being on the field for barely more than four quarters total.

The first of Ingram’s three TDs was an 83-yard run with 6:09 left in the 1st quarter, which gave Carthage a 22-7 lead. In the 2nd quarter he had a two-yard TD run that was set up by a blocked punt, and late in the quarter he had a 59-yard catch and run for a TD that gave Carthage a 57-21 lead. Carthage got into the end zone one more time on a 57-yard TD pass with seven seconds left in the half.

Awaiting Carthage in the Region III final is east Texas rival Henderson, a team they will be facing for the fourth time in two seasons. In 2016 Henderson bested Carthage 36-28 in the regular season, but Carthage won a tight 33-31 rematch in the third round of that season’s playoffs, a game in which Ingram rushed for 259 yards and 4 TDs. When the two schools faced each other this season in an October 6 district game, Ingram was held to a season-low 61 rushing yards on 16 carries, but Henderson’s focus on stopping Ingram helped open up Carthage’s passing game, and the Bulldogs turned an early 7-6 deficit into a 28-10 halftime lead, and eventually a 42-17 win.

Carthage has had nary a challenge through the first three rounds of the playoffs, whereas in the 2016 postseason four of their first five playoff games were decided by six points or less, and in the 4A Division I state championship game they were tied with Abilene Wylie going into the 4th quarter before pulling away for a 31-17 win.

Henderson went 8-2 in the regular season, losing only to top-ranked Carthage and district rival Kilgore, the latter by a score of 45-35. The Lions have won six straight games since suffering those two losses in back-to-back games, and they atoned for their earlier loss to Kilgore by winning a re-match in last week’s regional semifinal round 20-14.

This is Carthage’s eighth time in the span of ten seasons to reach at least the fourth round of the playoffs. Henderson doesn’t have the frequent state final appearances Carthage has seen of late, but the Lions have been one of east Texas’s better teams in the current decade. They won a 3A Division I state title in 2010, and have now reached the fourth round of the playoffs five times in eight seasons. Until last year’s third round, Carthage and Henderson had never faced each other in the playoffs.

Earlier this week Ingram was named as one of ten finalists for the Mr. Texas Football High School Player of the Year.

WR Rondale Moore (Trinity - Louisville, Kentucky)

Last week: Had 19 carries for 174 yards and 2 TDs, and caught 5 passes for 115 yards and one TD in a 38-21 win over St. Xavier in Kentucky’s KHSAA 6A state championship.

Season over

Notes: Moore compiled 289 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns on 24 offensive touches in last Sunday’s Kentucky 6A state championship, leading local scribes to speculate that his performance clinched him the state’s Mr. Football award.

Trinity trailed 7-0 early against their longtime cross-town arch-rival St. Xavier, a team the Shamrocks had beaten 28-0 back on September 29. But Rondale Moore tied the score with a 62-yard TD reception, and on Trinity’s following possession he ran for a 93-yard score. Later in the game he added a short TD run. St. Xavier got as close as 35-21 in the 4th quarter, but Moore played a big role in a late drive that chewed the clock and resulted in a field goal that gave Trinity an insurmountable 17-point lead.

The win secured a second consecutive 6A state championship for Trinity and the school’s 25th state title overall, the most in the state’s history. It also extended the program’s winning streak to 30 games and capped off a second consecutive 15-0 season, the first time in the tenure of longtime head coach Bob Beatty that the Shamrocks have had consecutive undefeated seasons. Beatty has coached Trinity to 13 state titles in his 18 seasons at the school. Trinity is ranked 10th in this week’s USA Today Super 25 national expert rankings.

Rondale Moore finished the season with 104 receptions for 1,462 yards and 16 touchdowns. Throwing those passes to him was Trinity’s senior quarterback Nick Bohn, who completed 79.7% of his pass attempts for the season, breaking Kentucky’s single-season record for that stat, which had previously been held by former Kentucky All-American and the #1 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, Tim Couch.

This season’s first Trinity-St. Xavier game back in September was played on a Saturday night at the University of Louisville’s stadium and attracted a hometown crowd of over 24,000. With that in mind, I forecast in last week’s post that the 6A state final was likely to draw a big crowd compared with most state championship games played in other states. 15,000 fans attended the 2007 6A state championship game in Louisville between the two schools, and a pair of state championship meetings between them a few years earlier both attracted more than 21,000 spectators.

This year’s Kentucky state championship games were played in Lexington at the University of Kentucky’s Kroger Field for the first time since 1976, and though Sunday afternoon’s 6A championship had a crowd of only 9,791, that was still the biggest crowd to watch a 6A state final since 2009, and the six-game state championship weekend in Lexington set a new KHSAA record for total attendance (52,796). For comparison, Florida’s eight FHSAA state championship games in 2016 had a total attendance of 33,082.

Rondale Moore was selected to play in the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which will be played in San Antonio at the Alamodome on January 6. Moore will be one of at least four future Longhorns participating in that game, along with fellow wide receiver Brennan Eagles and defensive backs Jalen Green and Caden Sterns. Longhorn commits having a presence at that game is never a bad thing, and in the days leading up to the game those commits should have plenty of opportunities to interact with and do a bit of recruiting on Texas targets who will also be in San Antonio, such as quarterback Tanner McKee, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, tight end Luke Ford, offensive lineman Sione Angilau, linebacker DeShaun White, and defensive back Anthony Cook.

WR Al’Vonte Woodard (Houston Lamar)
DB D’Shawn Jamison (Houston Lamar)

Last week: Woodard caught 6 passes for 70 yards and a TD, and Jamison had a 79-yard kickoff return TD and lost a fumble on another kickoff return in a 44-29 loss to Galena Park North Shore in the regional semifinal round of the 6A Division I playoffs.

Season over

Notes: Miscues killed the Lamar Texans last week against North Shore in what was a playoff battle between two of the Houston area’s most talent rich programs of recent years. Lamar committed four turnovers on the night, two of which led to quick scores, while another killed a Lamar drive deep in North Shore territory.

North Shore scored first on an 86-yard pick-six with 8:39 left in the 1st quarter. D’Shawn Jamison fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and North Shore scored its second TD less than two minutes later. Lamar’s deficit became 28-0 following a 15-yard TD pass from North Shore’s freshman QB Dematrius Davis with 0:52 left in the 2nd quarter. Jamison atoned for his earlier lost fumble by returning the ensuing kickoff for a 79-yard TD to cut Lamar’s halftime deficit to 28-7, but Lamar was not able to dig out of that early hole.

In the 3rd quarter, Lamar recovered a fumble at the North Shore 34-yard line, but that possession ended with an interception in the end zone, and nine plays later North Shore’s sophomore running back Zach Evans scored the third of his four TDs in the game to push North Shore’s lead to 34-7 with 5:05 left in the 3rd quarter, and that lead remained at 20 or more points for the rest of the game, except for about five minutes of the 4th quarter.

Al’Vonte Woodard caught a 25-yard TD pass with 9:33 left in regulation that made the score 37-21, but North Shore responded with Zach Evans’s fourth TD of the night less than three minutes later. Lamar’s last score of the night came on a 45-yard TD pass with 2:05 left to make the score 44-29, and the Texans got the ball back afterward (presumably on an onside kick), but fumbled it back to North Shore for their fourth turnover of the game.

Lamar finished the season with a 9-2 overall record. Al’Vonte Woodard caught a team-high 30 passes for 628 yards and 7 TDs, with 21 of those receptions and 6 TDs coming in Lamar’s final six games. He also had a 53-yard run on a fly sweep. D’Shawn Jamison returned four kickoffs for touchdowns and also reached the end zone this season on a pick-six, a punt return, and an 8-yard run. On defense, Jamison was credited with 30 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, one forced fumble, and 8 passes defensed.

OL Reese Moore (Seminole)

Last week: Caught one pass for a 14-yard TD in a 49-36 loss to Bushland in the regional semifinal round of the 4A Division II playoffs.

Season over

Notes: Seminole was uncharacteristically turnover-prone and ineffective in its running game in last week’s round 3 game, and it cost them as they fell 49-36 to a Bushland team whose balanced offense gained 515 total yards. Seminole lost three fumbles and was intercepted three times, and their usually potent ground game was held to far under its season average.

I’ve read three box scores that all gave different figures for Seminole’s carries and rushing yardage totals in the game (ranging from 43 to 83 yards), but in any case they were well short of the 260 rushing yards they had averaged coming into the matchup with Bushland. The Indians had some success through the air, with their 15 completed passes resulting in 282 yards and two TDs, one by Reese Moore and the other a 79-yard reception by Army commit Cade Barnard in the first minute of the 3rd quarter. But the turnovers and a big second half by Bushland combined to end Seminole’s season.

Moore’s TD reception came with 6:50 left in the 1st quarter and tied the game at 7. Seminole led 17-14 at halftime and Barnard’s long TD catch early in the 3rd quarter made it 24-14, but Bushland scored three TDs in less than six minutes to take a 35-24 lead. Seminole got as close as 35-30 after a TD late in the 3rd quarter, but Bushland scored again in the opening minute of the 4th quarter to extend the lead back to twelve points at 42-30, and Seminole’s last score of the game came with just 3:25 left in regulation.

Bushland’s senior quarterback Colton Moore, a Texas State baseball commit, accounted for 489 total yards and had a hand in all seven of the team’s touchdowns.

Seminole, which finished 1-9 as recently as two seasons ago, ended the 2017 season with an overall record of 11-2, and its seniors, who were sophomores on that injury-riddled 2015 team that won just one game, led the school to five playoff wins and a 20-5 overall record over the last two seasons.

Reese Moore was voted the Offensive Lineman of the Year by the coaches of District 2-4A Division II, despite lining up primarily as an attached tight end. He finished his senior season with a team-high 14 catches for 372 yards (26.6 yards per catch) and 5 TDs. Not bad at all for a future offensive tackle.

DT Keondre Coburn (Spring Westfield)

Last week: Team lost to Lufkin 14-11 in the regional semifinal round of the 6A Division II playoffs.

Season over

Notes: Westfield went into their third round game undefeated at 11-0, but was upset by 10-2 Lufkin in a close game that was mostly a defensive struggle and whose outcome may have turned on a muffed punt late in the game. Westfield scored and converted on a two-point try with 4:01 left in regulation to make the score 14-11 in favor of Lufkin.

On Lufkin’s ensuing possession Westfield got a stop and forced a punt, but turned the ball back over after a botched punt return that - according to ETSN’s recap - was at first ruled as kick-catch interference before game officials determined that a Lufkin player had been pushed into Westfield’s punt returner by another Westfield player, and Lufkin recovered the loose ball that ensued and was given possession. That possession also resulted in a punt but it gave Westfield the ball at their own 19-yard line with very little time left on the clock, and the Mustangs weren’t able to get down the field far enough for a field goal attempt before time ran out.

Westfield finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 11-1. The Mustangs allowed just 8 points per game, but saw their season end in a game in which they surrendered 14 points. In the postseason all-district superlatives voting, the coaches of District 16-6A voted Keondre Coburn as Defensive MVP.

DB B.J. Foster (Angleton)

Last week: Had 8 carries for 156 yards and 2 TDs in a 56-14 win over Corpus Christi Flour Bluff in the regional semifinal round of the 5A Division I playoffs.

This week: Friday, December 8 at 7:30, vs. Richmond Foster (at Houston’s NRG Stadium) in the Region IV final of the 5A Division I playoffs.

Notes: After missing Angleton’s past four games due to injury, B.J. Foster returned to the lineup and averaged nearly 20 yards per carry and reached the end zone on 1/4th of his eight touches. Angleton’s head coach had praised Flour Bluff, which won ten games this year, as being a very well-coached squad in the week leading up to the game. The game was close for about a quarter and a half before becoming the latest in a line of blowout wins for the Angleton Wildcats in 2017.

B.J. Foster’s 3-yard TD run opened the scoring with 9:23 left in the 1st quarter. Midway through the 2nd quarter it appeared the teams would be spending the first half trading scores. A Flour Bluff touchdown with 8:34 left in the 2nd knotted up the score at 14-14. Angleton answered with a drive that culminated two minutes later in Foster’s second TD of the game, a 37-yard run that put Angleton back on top at 21-14 with 6:29 left in the half. Flour Bluff drove inside the Angleton 10-yard line on its next drive, but a pass into the end zone was intercepted. Angleton needed seven plays to drive 87 yards and widen its lead to 28-14.

The rest of the game was a rout, as Angleton finished with 42 unanswered points. Aside from Foster’s big contributions, Angleton also got 14 carries for 182 yards and 3 TDs from senior running back TaMerick Williams, a SMU commit.

The Wildcats are now 12-0 for the season, have outscored their first three playoff opponents 204-35, and are in the fourth round of the playoffs for the fifth time in school history. The last time they advanced as far was in the 2015 postseason, in which they lost by one point in overtime to Fort Bend Ridge Point in the Region III final of the 5A Division II bracket. The only time Angleton has ever advanced beyond the fourth round was in 1958, when they reached the Class 2A state championship but lost 23-0 to Stamford, which was one of the state’s top programs at the time and won four state championships (one of which was later forfeited) between 1955 and 1959.

Hoping to prevent Angleton from reaching the state semifinals will be Richmond Foster, a team that advanced to that round a year ago but lost 31-24 to eventual 5A Division I state runner-up Temple. This year’s Region IV final between Angleton and Foster will be a re-match from five weeks ago.

Angleton beat Foster 34-7 on November 3 in a game that B.J. Foster sat out with an injury. Foster is 9-3 overall and has won four straight games since that early November loss to Angleton, including a 28-21 area round playoff win over previously unbeaten Dripping Springs, which was Class 5A’s 8th-ranked team in the AP rankings at the end of the regular season.

Angleton has been thoroughly dominating this season even without their five-star senior in the lineup, and the Foster Falcons’ defense will have their hands even more full than they were when they lost by 27 points on a day when they didn’t have to deal with B.J. Foster. Angleton has a great shot at a state championship this year but their path will be a challenging one. Of the eight teams remaining in the 5A Division I field, four were ranked in the AP’s final regular season poll: #2 Manvel, #3 Denton Ryan, #5 Angleton, and #7 Highland Park. The winner of Friday night’s Angleton-Foster game will face the winner of the Region III final between Manvel and Temple.

DB Caden Sterns (Cibolo Steele)

Last week: Made one tackle in a 36-21 win over Weslaco East in the regional semifinal round of the 6A Division II playoffs.

This week: Saturday, December 9 at 8:00 p.m., vs. Austin Westlake (at San Antonio’s Alamodome) in the Region IV final of the 6A Division II playoffs.

Notes: Facing Weslaco East in the third round of the playoffs for the third time in four years, Steele won convincingly, despite not scoring a point in the second half and playing over three quarters of the game without its best offensive player.

Senior running back Brenden Brady, who had rushed for 850 yards and 10 TDs in Steele’s previous four games, scored the game’s first points on a one-yard run with 9:21 left in the 1st quarter, but he was forced to leave the game later in the quarter “after being pulled down by his facemask and injuring his right shoulder”, according to the San Antonio Express-News’s recap of the game. But since Division I running backs grow on trees in Cibolo, the Steele Knights didn’t miss a beat, as sophomore running back De’Quavion Thomas, who reported receiving an offer from Colorado just hours before kickoff, rushed for 135 yards and scored two first half TDs.

Weslaco East’s first two possessions ended in Steele interceptions, one of which was returned 45 yards for a TD, and Steele led 22-0 at the end of the 1st quarter. Weslaco East cut the margin to 22-6 with a TD in the first minute of the 2nd quarter, but two Steele TDs in the last five minutes of the first half gave the Knights a 36-6 halftime lead. Steele reportedly rested their starters in the second half, and Weslaco East scored TDs late in the 3rd quarter and with 1:05 left in regulation to make the score a bit more respectable, though still with a two-possession margin.

With the win, Steele advanced to the fourth (state quarterfinal) round for a remarkable eighth straight year. Standing in their way of winning another regional trophy and advancing to the state semifinals is undefeated Austin Westlake (13-0). Some very strong teams remain in the 6A Division II field, some of which had multiple regular season losses but are peaking at the right time. Of the eight teams that will play in the 6A Division II regional finals, only two were ranked at the end of the regular season, #3 Austin Westlake and #5 Waco Midway.

This is the tenth time since 2000 that Westlake has advanced to the fourth round of the playoffs. Within the lifetime of its current senior class, Westlake has reached the state championship five times (2000, 2001, 2006, 2009, and 2015) but lost each time, and the school’s lone state title remains the 5A Division II championship won by its Drew Brees-led 1996 team.

Westlake is led this season by junior QB Taylor Anderson, who has accounted for over 3,600 offensive yards and 45 total TDs, senior RB Nakia Watson, a Wisconsin Badgers commit who has produced over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 30 TDs, senior defensive end Braden Cassity, who has over a dozen offers and is credited with 94 tackles and 10 sacks this season, and junior defensive lineman David Neil, the son of former Texas Longhorn All-American and NFL offensive lineman Dan Neil who leads the team with 11 sacks. Westlake’s fourth-leading tackler (with 88 total stops and 7 tackles for loss) is junior linebacker Jake Ehlinger, younger brother of Texas Longhorns QB Sam Ehlinger.

K Cameron Dicker (Lake Travis)

Last week: Made 5 of 5 PAT attempts in a 42-7 win over Los Fresnos in the regional semifinal round of the 6A Division I playoffs.

This week: Saturday, December 9 at 4:00, vs. San Antonio O’Connor (at San Antonio’s Alamodome) in the Region IV final of the 6A Division I playoffs.

Notes: Dicker didn’t have to do a lot in Lake Travis’s easy win last week over Los Fresnos. He made all five of his PAT tries, punted twice for an average of 49 yards, and launched six kickoffs, five of which resulted in touchbacks.

Lake Travis QB Matthew Baldwin had more touchdown passes than incompletions, the Cavaliers’ defense kept Los Fresnos off the scoreboard until the 4th quarter, and their offense spread the ball around, with nine different players getting at least one carry and the team’s 20 completed passes going to 12 different receivers.

Los Fresnos might have felt more like a scrimmage to Lake Travis after their round 2 win over a very talented Converse Judson team that had beaten them earlier in the season. Round 4 will be much tougher, as Lake Travis will travel to the Alamodome for a state quarterfinal bout with undefeated San Antonio O’Connor.

O’Connor is 13-0 and is led on offense by senior QB Roel Sanchez, who has accounted for over 3,000 offensive yards and 47 total TDs this season. He operates behind an offensive line that includes Brannon Brown, younger brother of former Texas Tech offensive lineman Baylen Brown and one of the state’s top 2019 offensive line prospects (he’s currently the state’s #39 recruit in that class, according to 247Sports’s composite ratings). O’Connor has averaged 45 points per game and won their games this year by an average margin of 23 points.

The Panthers have one of San Antonio’s top defensive recruits in senior safety Millard Bradford, who has been offered by Arizona State, Purdue, TCU, and at least four G5 programs, but their strength isn’t mainly on that side of the ball, as they’ve allowed seven opponents this year to score 24 or more points against them.

O’Connor advanced to the fourth round by beating San Benito 52-43 in last week’s regional semifinals, and early in the season they beat Cibolo Steele 42-30.

Lake Travis and O’Connor have not previously met in the playoffs, and while this is the ninth time in eleven seasons for Lake Travis to advance to the fourth round, this is just O’Connor’s third postseason run that’s lasted as long. O’Connor reached the state semifinals in 2012 before losing 15-7 to eventual 5A Division I state runner-up Houston Lamar, and in 2003 O’Connor advanced to the state quarterfinals but were beaten in that round by Schertz Clemens.

2019 Texas Longhorn football commits in the playoffs

QB Roschon Johnson (Port Neches-Groves)

Last week: Completed 16 of 35 passes for 178 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs, and rushed 29 times for 209 yards and 2 TDs in a 66-40 loss to College Station in the regional semifinal round of the 5A Division II playoffs

Season over

Notes: Against an experienced College Station team eager for another shot at a state title run after losing by one point in the state semifinals a year ago, Port Neches-Groves got into a 14-0 hole after one quarter and were never able to dig out of it, as College Station scored on ten straight possessions, forced three turnovers, punted only once (on their first possession), and rushed for 546 yards as a team to put a decisive end to PN-G’s season.

A 24-yard TD pass from Roschon Johnson to Preston Riggs got PN-G on the board in the first minute of the 2nd quarter, but College Station scored three times in a 2:38 span to take a 35-7 lead with 6:21 remaining in the 2nd, and they led 38-14 at halftime.

Johnson tossed a 17-yard TD pass to Austin Jones with 6:02 left in the 3rd quarter to cut the deficit to 38-20, but the score got no closer than that, and College Station led 52-20 going into the 3rd quarter. With 0:47 left in regulation, Johnson hit Caleb Wuenschel for a 14-yard TD pass, his 35th and final passing TD of the season.

Port Neches-Groves, which was one of many gulf coast schools whose students were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, finished with a 10-2 overall record, and had its season end in the third round at the hands of College Station for a second consecutive season.

This week, Johnson was named one of ten finalists for the Mr. Texas Football High School Player of the Year award, the winner of which will be announced on December 27 before the Texas Bowl, in which his future college team will be participating. Johnson was one of three non-seniors who were named among the ten finalists, along with QB Grant Gunnell (Houston St. Pius X) and RB Daimarqua Foster (Wichita Falls Hirschi).

According to a Beaumont Enterprise article announcing his nomination, Johnson compiled 2,918 yards and 35 TDs passing, and had 1,627 yards and 29 TDs rushing during his junior season. He also caught a 43-yard TD pass on a trick play in one game. He scored at least four touchdowns in every game this season except for PN-G’s 24-17 win over Texas City in the area round of the playoffs two weeks ago.

Other Texas Longhorn football commits whose seasons have ended

All of the following players completed their seasons before last week.

QB Cameron Rising (Newbury Park, California)

Rising suffered a season-ending knee injury late in Newbury Park’s October 27 loss to Moorpark. Newbury Park later lost in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs. Rising finished his senior season with 1,689 yards and 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions passing, and 496 yards and 9 TDs rushing.

QB Casey Thompson (Newcastle, Oklahoma)

Thompson finished his senior season with 3,217 yards, 37 TDs and 9 interceptions passing, and 884 yards and 8 TDs rushing. His team finished 3-7 and did not qualify for the playoffs.

WR Brennan Eagles (Alief Taylor)

Eagles missed his team’s last four games due to an unspecified injury. Taylor lost four of its final five games to finish with an overall record of 3-5 and did not qualify for the 6A playoffs. Eagles finished his senior season with 15 catches for 230 yards and 4 TDs. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 6, 2018 in San Antonio. Eagles was not selected for the all-district team for District 23-6A, probably due to his only playing in four games.

TE Malcolm Epps (Spring Dekaney)

Malcolm Epps finished his senior season with 27 catches for 508 yards and 7 TDs, and he was also credited with 11 tackles, 5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while playing defensive end in the season’s first three games. His team reached the 6A Division II playoffs but lost in the first round. Epps was voted to the All-District First Team at tight end by the coaches of District 16-6A.

OL Rafiti Ghirmai (Frisco Wakeland)

Ghirmai’s team finished 7-4 overall and lost in the first round of the 5A Division I playoffs.

LB Ayodele Adeoye (IMG Academy - Bradenton, Florida)

Ayodele was credited with 25 tackles and one sack while playing for an IMG team that finished 8-0, beat multiple state- and nationally-ranked opponents, and spent the entire season as the #2 team in the USA Today Super 25 national expert rankings.

LB Byron Hobbs (Fort Worth Eastern Hills)

Hobbs was injured in his team’s second game this season and did not play again until seven weeks later. His team finished 4-6 and did not reach the 5A playoffs.

DB Jalen Green (Houston Heights)

Green finished his senior season with 189 yards and 3 TDs passing, 29 carries for 347 yards and 8 TDs, 3 catches for 93 yards and 2 TDs, 13 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a punt returned for a TD, all in just five games played. He suffered a broken collarbone in October and missed his team’s last four games. His team finished 6-3 overall and lost in the first round of the 6A Division II playoffs.

DB DeMarvion Overshown (Arp)

Arp finished 4-6 overall and lost to Newton (Class 3A’s 4th-ranked team) in the first round of the 3A Division II playoffs.