Valley's very best
A few of the big-time 2014 recruits to keep an eye on in the Rio Grande Valley.
Get used to the name Trevor Speights.
The McAllen Memorial running back burst onto the scene last year as a freshman, running for 1,751 yards and 11 touchdowns and immediately stamping himself as The Next Big Thing in the Rio Grande Valley.
You read right: a freshman. As in the class of 2016.
Speights has drawn comparisons to another McAllen Memorial running back: Bradley Stephens, who dazzled during his days as a Mustang before going on to a middling career at Texas A&M.
The short version is that you’re going to be hearing a lot about Trevor Speights in the coming years. But with The Next Big Thing still three full seasons away from graduating, it’d be foolish to look past these next couple of classes of recruits coming out of the RGV.
The Class of 2014 in the RGV looks a little thinner than in past years, but it’s not without its prizes. Here are a few of the Valley prospects to keep an eye on in the coming year.
Edinburg North OL David Anzaldua
Looking for a little size along the offensive line? Anzaldua will do ya just fine. The tackle out of Edinburg North is a monster at 6-7 and 320 pounds, making him one of the biggest linemen in Texas for the 2014 class. He’s got terrific upper body strength and can move pretty well for a guy his size, but he’s still a little raw, as he’s been able to dominate the high school opposition simply by overpowering them. He needs some work on his technique, but the frame is already drawing the attention of a number of high-profile programs, including Baylor, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech. If his technique improves, he could be a stalwart at the tackle spot for an FBS program, but worst case scenario is that he gets moved to guard, where he can continue to dominate.
Los Fresnos WR Brandon Colon
He may not be a native of the Rio Grande Valley – Colon transferred to Los Fresnos from Sherman last summer – but the Falcons’ faithful hardly mind, especially with his the big-play ability he’s brought to the team. In his first season for the Falcons, Colon hauled in 23 catches for 422 yards and 9 touchdowns, leading the team in receiving scores and forming a powerful triumvirate with Akeem Simien and Jaime Mata. At 6-4 and just under 200 pounds, Colon has the size and speed to play at the next level on the outside, and soft hands to go along with them. His route-running could use a little work, but with a frame like that and hands like those, he’ll get some looks from FBS schools before it’s all said and done.
Harlingen QB Brandon Garza
It’s certainly not easy to follow in the footsteps of Kevin Ledesma, one of the most prolific quarterbacks in Harlingen’s storied history, but Garza was up to the task last year. The junior threw for 1,878 yards and 15 touchdowns against just 6 interceptions, which may not sound like much, but he seemed to improve as the season went on. The playoff loss to Mission Sharyland notwithstanding (a game that no Cardinal played particularly well in), Garza improved week by week, and should be in for a big year for HHS. He’s a little undersized – just 5-11 and 190 pounds – but he’s got a rocket for an arm. His throwing motion is a little long (he’s got a bit of a wind-up), but when you talk about quarterback technique, you talk mostly about footwork, which he has down to a T. He’s not a finished product, but the skills are there to make Garza a prized recruit out of the Valley.
Roma OL Ovidio Hernandez
I know, I know: offensive guards don’t really move the needle for the average recruiting fan. But Hernandez, who holds down the left guard spot for the Gladiators, is worth paying attention to. An All-District pick last season, Hernandez’s size at 6-3 and 275 pounds make him a problem for any opposing defensive tackle. He likely profiles as a guard in college – though he may be better suited for the center position, if he can get snapping down – and could be a steal for a program.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.