JUCO jewels
JUCO jewels
2014-09-03 00:00:00

We take a look at some of the state' best junior college recruits

 By EJ Holland
 DCTF Associate Editor

Academic problems, off the field issues or little attention coming out of high school are just some of the reasons prospects end up going the JUCO route.

And it’s even becoming a popular decision even for recruits who feel they can just get better with two years at a lower level of football. An array of junior college players have had quite a bit of success lately — just ask Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton or Nick Marshall, who led Auburn to a national title appearance last year.

More and more FBS coaches are looking to fill immediate needs by signing JUCO players. Getting older fast is not a fad — it’s the standard.

With that said, here is a look at some of the top 2015 prospects from Texas junior colleges.

OL Maurice Porter, Navarro JC (6-6, 295) — Porter is a huge get — literally — for Baylor, who will lose right tackles Troy Baker and Tyler Edwards at the end of the year. Porter is a big body with quick feet and would be a natural fit at that position. Porter, a Fort Bend Marshall product, committed to Baylor last February after switching from Texas Tech but did not qualify academically and was forced to go the JUCO route. Porter, however, ended up back with the defending Big 12 champ. 

DB Ray Crockett, Navarro JC (6-0, 185) — Navarro JC defensive end Quincy Vasser, a Georgia commit, is a beast, but we wanted to highlight Ray Crockett since he’s staying in-state next season. Crockett, the son of former Denver Broncos defensive back Ray Crockett Sr., committed to SMU and is sure to be thrown into the fire right away in a secondary that has looked a little too much like Swiss cheese as of late. Crockett, a Southlake Carroll grad, is a taller corner with tons of athletic upside.

DB L.B. Bates, Trinity Valley CC (6-0, 180) — Graduation will hit Kansas hard next season as multiple defensive backs will be lost to graduation. So it was imperative for the Jayhawks to get a seasoned player who can play both safety and cornerback. And that’s exactly what they got in Bates. The former Allen star will play primarily safety this season and has impressed coaches with his awareness and physicality. Bates was also attracting interest from Nebraska and Texas Tech.

WR Jarvis Baxter, Trinity Valley CC (5-11, 175) — Originally an SMU commit, Baxter didn’t qualify right out of the gates. But the silky smooth route runner has picked it up in the classroom and on the field at Trinity Valley CC. Baxter has some of the softest hands around and is a dangerous big play threat. His stock should continue to rise if he has another productive year at the JUCO level. He currently holds offers from Louisiana Monroe, New Mexico, New Mexico State and North Texas.

WR Darrion Landry, Blinn CC (6-3, 195) — Baxter isn’t the only JUCO wide receiver you need to keep an eye on. Landry is a tall, physical pass catcher who constantly commands double teams. FBS schools love his size but more importantly his ability to stretch the field with his 4.45 speed. Illinois, Kentucky, North Texas and UAB have offered Landry so far. Last season, he caught 45 passes for 766 yards and five touchdowns and should have an even bigger year in 2014.

DB Michael Mathis, Kilgore JC (6-2, 205) — Mathis committed to Kentucky during the 2014 recruiting cycle and was set to suit up with the Wildcats this season, but he made a late switch to Kansas during the summer. Mathis still has to finish up a class at Kilgore this fall before he can begin practicing with the Jayhawks in the spring. Mathis, a Crosby alum, can play both cornerback and safety just like the aforementioned Bates. Both are solid pickups for the Jayhawks.

DT Motekiai Maile, Tyler JC (6-4, 305) — Defensive tackle is one of the most difficult positions to recruit coming out of high school. Usually, true freshmen defensive tackles are too raw and need to get adjusted to the physicality of college football by hitting the weight room and adding muscle. And Maile, who started his high school career at Euless Trinity before moving to California, has done just that. An Oklahoma State commit, Maile will be a force in the middle for the Cowboys. 

EJ Holland is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.

He can be reached via e-mail or on the DCTF Facebook page.


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