Rank and file
E.J. Holland ranks and analyzes the 2014 FBS recruiting classes across Texas.
As the 2013 season gets underway, E.J. Holland ranks and analyzes the 2014 FBS recruiting classes across Texas, as they stand so far.
1. Texas A&M: With 14 top-end commits, there is no doubt Texas A&M has the top class in Texas at the moment. Five-star Desert Mountain (AZ) quarterback Kyle Allen has the talent to come in and immediately be Johnny Manziel’s successor –although Kenny Hill might have something to say about that. But the most impressive feature of this class is simply the dynamic athletes. FB Travis product Nick Harvey was an absolute beast at Lancaster last year and the same can be said for North Forney’s Armani Watts. Both players played everything from quarterback to receiver to defensive back last season.
2. Texas: There is just something missing in this class, which features 23 commits. It just doesn’t have that ‘wow’ factor. But there is plenty to like here on both sides of the ball. Denton Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard may very well be the next Vince Young. You should remember Heard from his amazing performance in the 4A Division I state title game, where he led Guyer to an impressive win over Georgetown. One of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the Dallas-area Heard is the total package. Defensively, the Longhorns reeled in San Antonio Brennan defensive end Derick Roberson and Cy Falls linebacker Otaro Alaka. Both should make impacts early on in their careers.
3. Baylor: At one point this summer, it seemed like Baylor was landing a new commit every day. Art Briles and his staff really did work on the recruiting trail and put together and extremely impressive class headlined by nationally ranked Mount Pleasant wide receiver K.D. Cannon. Future Bears offenses should be just as explosive as we’ve seen in the last few years, and the defenses should be much improved. The Bears filled a big need by adding Rockdale linebacker James David and Wylie linebacker T’Kevian Rockwell, both four-stars. Also keep an eye on a couple of Dallas-area athletes in Mesquite Poteet’s Verkedric Vaughns and Princeton’s Jourdan Blake.
4. TCU: It’s not about quantity. It’s about quality. And the Horned Frogs have 10 very quality commits. Dallas Skyline offensive lineman Ty Barrett is a dominant force in the trenches and has the potential to be the best lineman in the Big 12 in the near future. Sticking with beef up front, Longview defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson is as impressive as they come. He will be an unstoppable force in the trenches. The Horned Forgs also added a pair of quarterbacks in FW All Saints’ Foster Sawyer and Decatur’s Grayson Muehlstein.
5. Texas Tech: Texas Tech is without a doubt going to chuck it down the field as long as Kliff Kingsbury is in charge so it comes as no surprise that the Red Raiders added plenty of talent at wide receiver. Argyle’s Ian Sadler is already drawing comparisons to Wes Welker. He will be an electrifying slot receiver. But don’t forget about San Antonio Madison’s Byron Daniels and Princeton’s Jakari Dillard. Both are extremely dangerous weapons. Throwing to them in the future will be Whitehouse quarterback Patrick Mahomes- if he doesn’t decide to play pro baseball instead.
6. SMU: It was somewhat of a tough decision here between SMU, Houston and Rice, but the Mustangs get the nod thanks to four-star Pierce County quarterback Tyler Harris, who held a few SEC offers including Alabama. June Jones has struggles to develop quarterbacks during his time on the Hilltop, but Harris may finally his version of Colt Brennan at SMU. The Houston Lamar pipeline is also strong. SMU has three commits from the 5A Division I state runner-ups in quarterback Darrell Colbert, wide receiver Shelby Walker and center Braylon Hyder. Dallas Carter wide receiver Jordan Ingram and Mesquite Poteet safety Nate Gaines are two impressive commits from the Mustangs’ own backyard.
7. Rice: There is no doubt Rice has continued to make strides in the recruiting world, and this year is no different. San Antonio East Central quarterback Jeremy Jones (6-6, 195) may have been under recruited, but he can flat out play and will be a stud for Rice. Crosby athletes Aston and Austin Walter both stand at 5-foot-8 but are dynamite game changers. Defensively, the Owls landed a couple of quality nose tackles in Dallas Lincoln’s Aaron Jenkins and Frisco Heritage’s Preston Gordon. Mesquite Horn athlete Destri White, who is a three-year starter at quarterback, will also be an impressive playmaker wherever he lines up.
8. Houston: SMU may have the Houston Lamar pipeline, but Houston dominated at FB Hightower this year with four verbal commitments- linebacker Matthew Adams, athlete Khalil Williams, defensive back Joeal Williams and running back Roosevelt Appleton. The Cougars also did a nice job getting Clear Creek running back Kealiq Kokuma and South Houston wide receiver Elton Dyer to stay close to home.
9. North Texas: The Mean Green only have seven commits in this class so there is still plenty of room to keep reeling in under the radar local talent. Desoto defensive linemen Johnavhan Graham and Shaquel Jackson were absolute steals as was South Oak Cliff wide receiver Fonzale Davis. Flower Mound offensive lineman Christopher Miles, who held double digit offers, was also a quality add.
10. Texas State: There are quite a few sleepers in this class. But one standout is FB Bush quarterback Ronald Monroe. A dual-threat signal caller, Monroe is poised for a huge senior season and may pick up some bigger offers before it’s all said and done. The Bobcats have 14 commits in this class and will need to do a better job of landing quality prospects in the next few months.
11. UTSA: It’s surprising that the Road Runners don’t have any local kids committed. But they should come sooner rather than later and help bolster a class that includes just five commits. But Cleveland nose tackle Kevin Strong will be a force inside for years to come and Owasso (OK) pass catchers John Cole Neph and Cameron Oliver and big targets.
12. UTEP: The Miners have just three commits in 2014. First Baptist Academy is a tiny private school but has been producing some quality talent and linebacker Justen Tatum is a solid add at linebacker. Stephenville defensive back Mookie Carlile helped lead his team to the 3A Division I state title game but is considered a big time sleeper as is tight end Sterling Napier, a 6-foot-3 tight end from Rio Ranch Cleveland (NM).
E.J. Holland is a special contributor to Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.