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Bevo Bites: Texas targets impress at UIL State Championships

Some of the top talent the nation has to offer was in action over the weekend at the Texas UIL state championships.

Joe Hamilton

Last weekend at AT&T Stadium the Texas high school football season concluded with UIL State Championship games. A tremendous amount of talent was on hand, including a Texas Longhorns signee, targets, and potential targets.

Here are a few key takeaways after seeing this talent in action over the weekend.

2019 — Jordan Whittington — 4-star WR — Cuero — Texas signee: After Whittington put on one of the more remarkable performances you’ll see from a skill position player on the biggest stage, many across the country are now aware of the elite receiver the Longhorns have acquired. Whittington literally helped pull his team across the finish line Friday, winning Offensive and Defensive MVP honors after rushing for 334 yards, adding 43 yards as a receiver, recording 11 tackles, and scoring each of his team’s six touchdowns to lead Cuero to a 4A Division II state championship. You couldn’t have written a better finish to a high school career. The next stop for Whittington will be the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio on Jan. 5, where he will compete against some of the best prospects in the nation from his class. After that, Whittington will become an early enrollee for Texas as he aims to compete to become a day-one contributor. He has the tools to do just that and blossom into a household name for the Longhorns for the years to come.

2020 — Zachary Evans — 5-star RB — North Shore: Evans capped off his junior season as a state champion in the most talked about game from this past weekend. His team secured the victory after a monumental ‘Hail Mary’ was executed to perfection from a few of his teammates. Evans will admit that he didn’t have the game he envisioned himself having, but he still found a way to be impactful, picking up a good chunk of yardage when it was needed and shedding a great deal of tackles in crucial moments of the game. On 23 touches, Evans racked up 96 yards on the ground and 14 yards receiving. Evans has been and will always be the main player opposing defenses key in on. A greatly talented Duncanville defense made him their priority, but Evans still weaved his way to over 100 all-purpose yardage. The nation’s top running back will be back next season searching for another 6A title and rack up an abundance of yards as he did this season. A top 10 list for Evans is expected to be released any time. The Longhorns seem to be in good standing with the nation’s top running back.

2020 — Jase McClellan — 5-star RB — Aledo — Oklahoma commit: McClellan continues to prove why he’s regarded as one of the nation’s top prospects in the 2020 cycle. The OU commit helped bring back a state title to Aledo after five seasons with an eye-opening performance. The speed of Fort Bend Marshall’s defense was thought to give McClellan some trouble leading up to this game, but Aledo’s offensive line and McClellan were entirely too overwhelming. The combination of McClellan’s size, ability to make defenders miss in open space, and breakaway speed were on full display as he piled up 171 all-purpose yards (149 rushing, 22 receiving) and four total touchdowns. McClellan has been a Sooners commit since the summer of 2017 and hasn’t switched up. The Longhorns offered McClellan earlier this year, despite him already being a verbal pledge to OU.

2021 — Shadrach Banks — 4-star ATH — North Shore: Not too many sophomores have performed at the level Banks has this season. He continued his unstoppable brand of play Saturday night in the biggest game of his life as he logged 179 receiving yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions. Banks is just simply a terror once he reaches the second and third level of the defense because of his speed and lower-body strength and that was evident against Duncanville as he set a record for the longest touchdown reception (80 yards) in a 6A state championship game. Rated as the No. 1 ATH in the nation for the 2021 cycle, Banks has been a more than a reliable receiving threat this entire season. The four-star recruit averaged 21.6 yards per reception, totaled 1,300 receiving yards, and had 17 total touchdowns. Several prominent programs are after Banks. In fact, after the state game, Banks earned an offer from the Sooners. As of now, he holds 19 total offers. The Longhorns offered Banks at the beginning of the season and have been in contact with him frequently. Banks is slated to be recruited by most programs as a defensive prospect, mostly at the linebacker position. But with him being still a young guy, you never know what position he could end up playing, which likely depends on how grows into his body.

2020 — Ja’Quinden Jackson — 4-star QB — Duncanville: No other player has burst onto the national scene over the last year like Ja’Quinden Jackson. Jackson might be the most dynamic athlete in next year’s class and if you witnessed his performance Saturday night, you would agree. Just a year ago, Jackson was 6’1, 185 pounds, and has grown exponentially to a mighty 6’3, 220 pounds with the same speed and lateral quickness he had when he was of smaller stature. Seeing Jackson take off and make defenders miss in open space in the state championship game against a well rounded North Shore defense was impressive to see. Jackson rushed for 226 yards on 18 carries and added two rushing touchdowns. While Jackson was impactful on the ground, there wasn’t much going for him in the passing game, as he threw for only 43 yards. Playing quarterback is just one of the many positions Jackson could potentially excel at. Just based off of what I’ve seen, Jackson could be effective at any skill position on offense and has skill-set that could transfer over to the defensive side of the ball. As a highly sought after recruit, Jackson holds 19 total offers, including one from Texas. The Longhorns hold 100 percent of his Crystal Ball projections to this point.

2020 — Chris Thompson Jr. — 4-star S — Duncanville: Thompson just might be the best defensive prospect in the secondary for this 2020 class. To be as fearless as he is and have the capacity to keep the best offensive weapon in check just goes to show how uncommon he is. Seeing how Thompson is utilized all over the field is a compliment to his versatility. Being able to play inside the box for run support or getting after the quarterback might be one of Thompson’s greatest strengths. He was able to stop the run numerous times in the state game, proving the physicality he possesses. I have never seen a single player matchup with Zach Evans and win the battle multiple times in a game setting. Thompson is that legit. A total of 23 offers have been put on the table for Thompson. The four-star recruit garnered an offer from Texas early in his recruiting process and has been fond of the program. The Longhorns are in as an early favorite for Thompson according to his Crystal Ball.

2020 — Malik Hornsby — 4-star QB — Fort Bend Marshall: Hornsby is seen to have the most upside of any player in the state, especially at the quarterback position. He was able to help lead his team to a 5A Division I state championship appearance after moving to the Fort Bend area and being granted to play Week 5 of the regular season. Hornsby and Fort Bend Marshall were not able to pull off the win and it was just a tough game overall. But the four-star quarterback gets to go back to the drawing board and improve on some of the inconsistencies many witnessed in Friday night’s game against Aledo. The arm talent and athleticism is most certainly there and above a lot of his other peers, but just making the right play at the right time is what was missing from Hornsby in the state title game. I can say this: after seeing the gifted quarterback in multiple games this season, it can be difficult for Hornsby to really get in any type of passing rhythm due to the style of offense Fort Bend Marshall runs. This offseason will be extremely vital to Hornsby and I think you’ll see him take some positive strides in the right direction under Houston-area based quarterback trainer J.P. Tillman. There hasn’t been much traction between Hornsby and the Longhorns, but that may soon change with Texas freshmen quarterbacks Cameron Rising and Casey Thompson each electing to explore the transfer market.

2020 — Prince Dorbah — 4-star WDE — Highland Park: Dorbah helped lead Highland Park to another state championship game Saturday afternoon as he earned Defensive MVP honors. When the Scots needed Dorbah to come up big for them, he did just that. The first half wasn’t one to remember for the elite pass rusher, but in the second half we saw a high-motored Dorbah that utilized his speed and intelligence to get after one of the smaller and quicker quarterbacks he’s faced. Dorbah’s adjustments and efforts in taking the right angles allowed him to hurry the quarterback on key downs and come up with game-changing sacks. The Longhorns offered Dorbah in March and hold a 100 percent of his Crystal Ball predictions at the moment. Dorbah would be a perfect 4i in Todd Orlando’s defense.

2020 — Damieon George — 4-star OT — North Shore: The first player you want walking off the bus is George. At 6’7, 320 pounds, he continues to overpower edge rushers that don’t tend to calculate their moves when facing him. George is still a raw prospect as a junior at the offensive tackle position. He will need to work on hand placement and having quicker feet against faster pass rushers, but that’s something he’ll grow to become better at. The newly-crowned state champion has potential up there with some of the best in the nation, regardless of position. The four-star prospect loves the attention he’s getting on the recruiting trail and has loved the idea of possibly playing in the SEC, but the Longhorns are certainly making a great impression on him after offering in October.