Last Thursday, 2020 defensive end Van Fillinger (Corner Canyon - Draper, Utah) became the first of the Texas Longhorns’ current football commits to play a game in the 2019 high school football season. On Friday, 2020 cornerback Ethan Pouncey (Winter Park, Florida) will become the second, one week ahead of when the teams of all of the program’s other commits will kick off their 2019 season in earnest.
Fillinger got to have a solo preview post last week, but since there will be more than one member of the #cloUT2020 class taking the field this week, this post will be written in the style I typically use. Because the Longhorns have commits from three different time zones, the start times listed for upcoming games will always be for that location’s local time.
2020 DE Van Fillinger (Corner Canyon - Draper, Utah)
Last week: Credited with six tackles and two sacks in a 30-14 win over Orem.
This week: Friday, August 23 at 7:00, at Herriman
Notes: Fillinger was a disruptive force in the first game of his senior season, despite reportedly playing with a 100-degree fever. His Corner Canyon team won Utah’s 5A state championship in 2018, and opened its 2019 campaign with a strong defensive showing against the state’s two-time defending 4A state champions from Orem.
Corner Canyon led 14-7 after one quarter, then Orem tied it at 14 with a touchdown very early in the 2nd quarter, but Corner Canyon’s defense held Orem scoreless for the rest of the game, while junior running back Austin Bell rushed for 127 yards and 3 TDs on 15 carries to provide most of the team’s scoring punch.
Corner Canyon’s Maxpreps page credited Fillinger with two sacks, though at least one published report of the game credited him with three, including a strip-sack. Mike Craven of the Austin American-Statesman traveled out to Utah to see Fillinger play in person, and in a Dotted Line post on Monday he wrote about Fillinger’s journey from being a 5’11” 150-pound freshman to a muscle-bound 6’3” 250+ pound football recruit as a senior.
Craven also posted some video clips of what this columnist will probably end up calling “Van Fillinger doing Van Fillinger things”. See the below tweet.
On Friday, Corner Canyon will travel to face Herriman. Both are relatively new schools (Herriman opened in 2010 and Corner Canyon in 2013), and though their campuses are just ten miles apart they have never played each other in football. Herriman won Utah’s 5A state championship in 2015, but its overall record since that season is just 16-17, including its season-opening 14-10 win over Davis last week.
Trivia: the only previous UT football letterman with the first name Van is former All-American defensive back Van Malone, who was a member of the program from 1989 to 1993 and is currently the cornerbacks coach at Kansas State.
2020 DB Ethan Pouncey (Winter Park, Florida)
This week: Friday, August 23 at 7:00, vs. Apopka Wekiva
Notes: Pouncey is the younger brother of Longhorn sophomore wide receiver Jordan Pouncey, who also starred at Winter Park High School and was a three-star recruit in the 2017 class. They have two younger brothers (neither of whom are in high school yet), so there’s the possibility of more Pounceys heading to Austin in the coming years. Interestingly, the UT football program’s current list of all-time letterwinners does not include anyone with the first name Ethan or last name Pouncey.
The city of Winter Park is bordered by Orlando on its south side, and its high school competes in Florida’s highest classification, Class 8A. Winter Park has an enrollment well north of 3,300 students, which would put it comfortably among the larger 6A schools in Texas. The Wildcats have never won a state championship in football and have only made it as far as the state semifinals once, but they have put together some good seasons of late, posting a combined record of 31-7 from 2016-2018.
In 2018, Winter Park went 9-1 in the regular season but lost 41-8 in the second round of the playoffs to eventual 8A state champion Mandarin. In 2017, the Wildcats won their first 12 games before falling in the regional finals to Wekiva by a score of 33-7.
They will kick off their 2019 season by hosting Wekiva, which has been responsible for two of their last three losses (Wekiva ended Winter Park’s 2017 season in the playoffs and dealt the Wildcats their only regular season loss in 2018). Wekiva reached the Class 8A regional finals in 2018 and the state semifinals in 2017, and has moved down to Class 7A for this season and will begin 2019 as that classification’s 8th-ranked team, according to FloridaHSFootball.com, while Winter Park is unranked in 8A.
Pouncey is part of a talented Winter Park secondary that boasts five players with at least one reported FBS offer. Fellow senior Marcus Clarke, who plays wide receiver, cornerback and safety, is committed to Miami, and the 247Sports profile of classmate Kyan Graham shows him holding ten FBS offers. Also, junior defensive backs Daniel Edwards and Dakota Mitchell both reportedly hold Illinois offers.
Among the Wekiva receivers Pouncey and company will seek to neutralize on Friday night will be 6’7” senior wide receiver/tight end Jalen Williams, who made Class 8A all-state first team at tight end a season ago and committed to Indiana on August 1.
Pouncey had a recent injury that caused him to be held out of a preseason game Winter Park played last week, but the Orlando Sentinel reports that he is expected to play in Friday’s season-opener.