DCTF's Greg Tepper identifies five HS players you probably haven't heard of hat could be on the verge of a breakout.
One of the most fun things about putting together the bible of Texas football – and trust me: the DCTF staff is very hard at work on the 2012 Summer Edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football – is getting an inside glimpse into what each coach thinks of his team coming into the season.
We get a questionnaire from every coach in the state – and talk to most of them on the phone, too – that sheds some early light on what to expect in the season to come.
The most fun part? Hearing names for the first time.
It happens every year: a coach raves to us about this kid that we just have to see, a player that is one of the most special he’s ever coached, a guy who’s going to be a household name by the end of the season. And you know what? The coaches are usually right!
Flipping through a number of coaches questionnaires yesterday, it struck me: why not share a few of the names I’ve written down as “players to watch in 2012” with you, the readers?
Now, this is hardly a comprehensive list – for that, you’ll have to pick up Dave Campbell’s Texas Football when it comes out in June – but here are a handful of players whose names I’m keeping a special eye out for in 2012, based on what their coaches are saying about them.
Georgetown QB Jake Hubenak
Of the players on this list, Hubenak is probably the one you’re most likely to have heard. All eyes were fixed on the junior last season before an injury ended his season three games in. But those first three games lived up to the hype: 52 of 75, 845 yards, 11 touchdowns without an interception. He’ll be back and healthy for the Eagles, and at 6-3 and almost 200 pounds, he’s got the tools to get coach Jason Dean’s squad back to the playoffs after a 6-4 season last year.
McGregor DE Dylan Brown
Hardcore Texas high school football fans – you know, the kind qualified to write for DCTF – might remember Brown, a dominating defensive end for 2A McGregor. An All-State selection as both a freshman and sophomore, Brown’s 2011 season was cut short from injury, playing just half of the Bulldogs’ five games. He still managed 44 tackles (8 TFL) and 4 sacks in those five games, but it pales in comparison to what he did the year before, racking up a whopping 11 sacks and 89 tackles. If he’s healthy – and coach Tim Seward indicates that he is – Brown stands to be one of Class 2A’s most explosive defensive forces.
El Paso TB Andy Rivera
This one’s a little more of a projection pick because Rivera – a 5-8 and 180-pound rising senior –will be making the move to tailback this year after bouncing around a few other athletic positions (WR, FB, CB, etc.). He’ll still play both ways at corner, but the senior’s speed is what has coach Robert Morales rubbing his hands together with glee: with legit 4.5 speed, he stands to be one of the fastest players in El Paso. And with his background as a versatile player, expect him to be a receiving threat out of the backfield in the Tigers’ spread offense as well.
CC Ray QB Marcus Mosley
Speaking of versatility, that’s what has Corpus Christi Ray fans all fired up about Mr. Mosley. A true dual-threat quarterback, Mosley showed off his skills last season, providing most of the highlights for the 2-8 Texans in throwing for 1,627 yards and seven TDs while running for another seven scores. Mosley will be all over the field again this season, playing both under center and in the secondary, and will be a key cog in what will be a very experienced Texans squad.
Center LB Derrick Thomas
Do not adjust your screen: it is a linebacker named Derrick Thomas, much like the 9-time Pro Bowler in the 90’s. And to hear Roughriders coach Kevin Goodwin say it, the 6-0, 222-pound senior has a lot in common with the potential future NFL Hall of Famer: a sound tackler who racked up 101 of them last season (including 6 for a loss) who provides excellent leadership for a defense that brings back a whopping eight starters. He might not be the most jaw-dropping linebacker in the state, but Thomas is as reliable as the day is long, and that can go a long way down in District 20-3A.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.