The State 7-on-7 Tournament is ready to get going in College Station this Thursday — and you can watch much of the action live for free on Dave Campbell's Texan Live. With 128 teams ready to descend on the Brazos Valley, DCTF managing editor Greg Tepper and assistant managing editor Ishmael Johnson pick out some teams they'll have their eye on in Aggieland.
I could’ve either gone with Lubbock Coronado here with Jett Carroll’s emergence and a host of new playmakers around him, but I’m giving McKinney a bit of a spotlight. The Lions make their first State 7-on-7 appearance since 2002 and the headline here is simple, Keldric Luster. Built like a linebacker, the SMU has given McKinney a new boost heading into the fall and a chance to see him and the Lions, who have high expectations, is something you can’t miss. — Ishmael Johnson
The largest division is full of intrigue in every pool, but I'll definitely be finding my way over to Pool K at some point to watch the boys from The Friendly Frontier. We've got high hopes for the Eagles, with their move down from 6A to 5A Division I, but one of the few lingering questions about Abilene High is under center, where they must replace Hardin-Simmons-bound two-year starter Abel Ramirez. The Eagles have turned to Dylan Slack, who's performed well enough to get them to College Station; if he and the Eagles' offense can show out in Aggieland, it'll make me feel even better about buying in on Abilene High. — Greg Tepper
Anna is an intriguing team in Division II with the recent addition of former Allen quarterback Evan Bullock who absolutely looks the part at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds. But how's he look in live-fire? This feels like a great opportunity to get first eyes on the Louisiana Tech commit and gauge where the Coyotes' ceiling could be. — Johnson
San Antonio Davenport
One of two new schools in Comal ISD, it's hard to know what to expect from the Wolves in their debut UIL season. Typically, first-year UIL programs struggle to find their footing, but there's reason to believe Davenport may be different. The Wolves went 6-4 in an outlaw 11-man schedule in 2021, and welcome back 10 starters on each side of the ball, including quarterback Triston Hamlin (2,235 yards, 26 TDs passing) and linebacker/running back Zahir Livingston. They'll get tested with Pleasant Grove and West Orange-Stark in their pool, but if they acquit themselves well, they could vault into the conversation in Region IV in Class 4A Division I. — Tepper
Last week, the Bulldogs received horrible news losing Derion Gullette for the season to a torn ACL. But Marlin’s team is still one of the most physically gifted in 2A and should still compete in this division with Desmond Woodson at quarterback, Trajon Butler and Zha'Mauryon Lofton still out wide. — Johnson
Prior to last year, the Pirates had never made it to College Station, but now a trip to state is seemingly an annual tradition for the boys from Falls County. Coming off a realignment that shifted them to Region IV, there's expectations that Chilton could make a run in the fall, but much of that is dependent on the offense taking the next step. Smallish-but-dangerous quarterback Daylon Ford is back in the mix, as is speedy receiver Markedrick Taylor; can the Pirates show flashes that they're ready to make a run when football season rolls around? — Tepper
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