Gilmer has a reputation of turning out high-end college prospects on a yearly basis. And yet another could be on the way in a couple of seasons.

Buckeyes sophomore inside linebacker Kelton Collier has all the makings of a future college recruit. Look no further than his debut performance in the middle of Gilmer's state championship defense.

Collier is the 2014 ETSN.fm East Texas Football Super Team Defensive Newcomer of the Year, following a season that included 121 tackles -- second of the team -- with three forced fumbles and three interceptions. He follows last year's recipient, John Tyler defensive tackle Braylon Jones.

"He might be the smartest player on defense," said Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor. "Very bright. Kelton has always had the talent. He is starting to develop the rest of his game as he matures."

Collier (5-11, 195) held his own on a defense that also featured Division I talents like recent Texas commit Kris Boyd, Baylor pledge Blake Lynch, and junior outside linebacker Demarco Boyd, who has also committed to Texas.

The Buckeyes' budding star began to make a serious impact down the stretch last season, recording 16 tackles in Gilmer's first-round playoff win over Pleasant Grove, and intercepting two passes the following week in an area-round defeat of Waco Connally. Collier followed that up with 12-tackle performance in Gilmer's heart-stopping, third-round win over rival Gladewater.

As a valued member of a Gilmer defense that shut out West Orange-Stark in the second half of the Buckeyes' come-from-behind 35-25 win in the Class 4A Division II state championship game, big things are expected from Collier in the future at Gilmer.

"To watch him become the leader that he should become," Traylor said when asked what he looks forward to the most about Collier in the next two years.