2014 ETSN.fm Preseason East Texas Football Super Team
There is no shortage of talent in East Texas, which should make for one fantastic high school football season. For purposes of this piece, you could say there is actually a surplus of talent in the region.
While there are 12 players on the 2014 ETSN.fm Preseason East Texas Football Super Team committed to FBS programs and another 10 with offers, we were forced to omit 13 others who have major Division I scholarship offers.
East Texas has an embarrassment of riches at defensive back. There are only four spots on the team available to DBs, yet there are at least eight who are slated to see action in the secondary at college.
Needless to say, there were some very good players left off this year's preseason team.
Longview running back JaMycal Hasty, a Baylor commit, is the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Gladewater defensive tackle and Texas A&M pledge Daylon Mack is the preseason Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Without further adieu, we bring you the 2014 ETSN.fm Preseason East Texas Football Super Team:
Class: Senior (committed to Texas A&M)
2013 stats: 170 of 285, 2,666 yards, 26 TDs, 6 INTs; 151 carries, 1,027 yards, 15 TDs
2014 outlook: Even though Pryor is likely ticketed for strong safety at Texas A&M, the dynamic athlete turned in quite the debut season at quarterback last season. He loses backfield mate and North Texas signee Willy Ivery, so even more may be asked of Pryor this season as the orchestrator of head coach Greg Owens' uptempo spread offense.
Class: Senior (offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Cal, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech)
2013 stats: 113 carries, 1,191 yards, 19 TDs; 22 catches, 333 yards, 4 TDs
2014 outlook: Boyd is another player listed on the offensive side of the ball but more likely to play defense at the next level. And the while the four-star recruit is being pursued as a defensive back, Boyd may have a bigger impact out of the backfield for Gilmer. His explosiveness, vision, open-field shiftiness and sure hands make him a perfect fit for the Buckeyes' well-oiled offensive machine.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Class: Senior (committed to Baylor)
2013 stats: 189 carries, 1,413 yards, 13 TDs; 12 catches, 255 yards, 3 TDs
2014 outlook: Hasty could be East Texas' fastest man on the gridiron, having been laser-timed at 4.4 or below in the 40-yard dash on multiple occasions. But that only begins to tell his story, as Hasty also exhibits great open-field instincts, precise route-running capabilities and soft hands that could ultimately make him a star at the next level as a slot receiver. And despite his small stature, Hasty is a surprisingly tough runner between the tackles.
Class: Senior (committed to Houston)
2013 stats: 218 carries, 1,966 yards, 36 TDs; 3 catches, 56 yards
2014 outlook: Justice was one-half of Kilgore's one-two punch out of the backfield in 2013, one that helped carry the Bulldogs all the way to the state championship game. His running mate, Davieonta "JuJu" Brown, is gone, which could mean more carries and subsequently greater production in Kilgore's ground-oriented offensive attack this fall.
Class: Senior (committed to North Texas)
2013 stats: 28 catches, 361 yards, 4 TDs
2014 outlook: Don't be fooled by Bendy's numbers from last season. That's merely a product of John Tyler being blessed with a plethora of options in the passing game. Bendy's big frame, massive hands and ever-improving route-running skills should yield more numbers in 2014. There aren't too many DBs in the area that will stand a chance one-on-one on jump balls in the end zone with Bendy, who is also one of the area's best basketball players.
Class: Senior (offers from Louisville, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa)
2013 stats: 77 catches, 1,034 yards, 9 TDs
2014 outlook: It would be hard to find a more versatile player in all of East Texas than Coutee, who can carry the ball out the backfield, line up wide and burn defenders down the field, return kicks and punts and play lockdown defense at cornerback. Coutee is one of those rare high school players that must be accounted for pre-snap by the defense, or he'll make them pay.
Class: Senior (committed to TCU)
2013 stats: 570 receiving yards, 9 TDs
2014 outlook: Gladney could've made this team twice -- both at receiver and defensive back, where he starred in leading New Boston to its first-ever state semifinal berth last December. Without 3,000-yard rusher Damien Haskins (now at Oregon State), New Boston put the ball in the air with more regularity last season. And with a playmaker down the field like Gladney, the Lions may air it out even more this fall.
Class: Junior (offers from North Texas, SMU)
2013 stats: 47 catches, 727 yards, 5 TDs
2014 outlook: Blessed with elite size for a receiver, Rogers did not disappoint in his first full season on the varsity level last fall. Much of his ability right now is raw, but with so much time between now and signing day 2016, there will be ample opportunity for Rogers to perfect his craft. Don't be surprised if the Frankston wideout begins to separate himself from the talented pack of receivers in East Texas before the 2014 season is finished.
2014 outlook: Cox is one of the most under-valued recruits in the area. His frame alone makes him a prime candidate for the all-important offensive tackle position at the next level. Cox performed well at the second annual ETSN.fm + APEC Football Recruiting Combine in June, and with another big season in 2014, the Bulldogs' lineman could work his way into a Division I scholarship opportunity before February.
Class: Senior (offers from Arkansas State, Houston, Kansas, North Texas, Oklahoma State, ULL)
2014 outlook: It's been an active recruiting offseason for McCoy, which included the Lufkin big man claiming OL MVP honors at the NIke Football Training Combine in Houston during the spring. He's strong and exceptionally agile for a player of his size, which could translate into him serving a variety of roles up front in college.
Class: Senior (committed to North Texas)
2014 outlook: Overlooked by recruiters for most of his junior year in high school, a strong showing at multiple camps this summer has earned Munden the interest of several college programs. Ideal for left or right tackle at the next level, the Mavericks' monster up front proved he may be among East Texas' most athletic interior linemen with his showing at the ETSN.fm + APEC combine back in June. He had the fourth-fastest 40 time and scored the best vertical jump out of any of the O-linemen in attendance.
2014 outlook: Apparently, the only thing keeping Santos from holding an FBS offer is his height. He has everything else. The bloodlines are there as his older brother Dalton is a middle linebacker at Texas. The strength is undeniable after back-to-back OL MVP honors at the ETSN.fm + APEC combine. And it would be a challenge to find anyone more competitive or that plays with more of a mean streak than Santos, who when it's all said and done, will sign with a Division I school in February.
Class: Senior (offers from Arkansas State, Houston, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico, North Texas, ULL, UTSA)
2014 outlook: To run the football as effectively as Longview does year-in and year-out, quality offensive linemen are a necessity. And Washington fits the Lobos mold to a tee -- big, physical and athletic. Center or guard is his likely position in the future, but until then, Longview fans will have fun watching him protect the quarterback's blind side and seal edges for running backs to turn the corner and drive upfield.
2013 stats: 5 FGs (long of 42), 63 PATs
2014 outlook: Perez has gotten attention from high-major FBS programs interested in the Lobos kicker joining their team in college. With several key offensive members returning, Longview is bound to find itself in opposing territory on a regular basis all season long. Perez has the leg to routinely drill field goals of more than 40 yards, and is rarely off on extra points.
Class: Senior (offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, LSU, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech)
2013 stats: 40 of 80, 939 yards, 11 TDs, 6 INTs; 67 carries, 437 yards, 5 TDs; 23 tackles, 5 INTs, 1 forced fumble
2014 outlook: With 10 FBS offers, Elam figures to be the third Newton player in as many years who will sign with a high-major D-I program come National Signing Day, following in the footsteps of D.J. Dean (Arkansas) and Kevin Shorter (Texas). Defensive back is where Elam will play in college, but Newton coach W.T. Johnston had Elam at QB and DB last season. Expect more of the same in 2014.
Class: Senior (offers from Arkansas State, Texas State)
2014 outlook: While Brown was a stabilizing force along Texas High's defensive front last season, he was a relative unknown heading into the offseason in the world of recruiting. But all that has changed following a series of impressive showings at college camps that have yielded two FBS offers. Brown returns to a Tigers defense that ranked among East Texas' best in 2013, holding opponents to less than 10 points per game.
Class: Junior (offers from Air Force, Navy)
2013 stats: 61 tackles, 8 for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
2014 outlook: Jones burst onto the scene as a sophomore, leading many around the region to believe he will be the next great DT from East Texas. His strength is something to behold as Jones is able to quickly shed O-linemen of comparable size. Jones' maneuverability serves him well in attempts to wriggle through double teams, and few down-linemen finish the play as well as Jones, who should only get better as his high school career still has two full seasons remaining.
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Class: Senior (committed to Texas A&M)
2013 stats: 98 tackles, 35 for loss, 5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 punt block
2014 outlook: There is no debate; Mack is East Texas' most talented overall player. No one on either side of the ball possesses the game-changing ability of the Aggies commit. Throw out the stats, and you still have a player athletic enough to run a sub-5.0 40-yard dash at 330 pounds and strong enough to overpower double and triple teams at the high school level. His play on both sides of the ball in 2013 helped Gladewater reach the state quarterfinals for the first time in more than a decade.
Class: Senior (committed to North Texas)
2013 stats: 89 tackles, 26 for loss, 3 forced fumbles
2014 outlook: Miller had one of the most active recruiting seasons of any East Texan in the spring, receiving interest from programs all over the country. And it's easy to see why after watching him play. His rare combination of size and speed makes it difficult for offensive tackles to contain him in one-on-one situations. If he's not wreaking havoc in the opposing backfield, Miller is chasing down plays from behind with speed usually seen on receivers at the high school level.
2013 stats: 48 tackles, 12 for loss, 6 sacks, 8 QB pressures, 7 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
2014 outlook: The younger brother of Kris Boyd, Demarco Boyd has been busy making a name for himself over the past couple seasons at Gilmer. Demarco is likely an outside linebacker at the next level, but he is used in a variety of roles on defense for head coach Jeff Traylor. Where he's at this best so far in his career is when he drops down and lines up at DE. His quickness off the line presents all kinds of matchup problems for bigger, but slower, offensive linemen. Keep an eye on Demarco over the next couple of months as big-time colleges could begin handing out offers.
Class: Senior (committed to Louisiana Tech)
2013 stats: 70 tackles, 15 for loss, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 1 defensive touchdown
2014 outlook: It's almost impossible to teach instincts, and Durman's play at linebacker may be best described as instinctual. The La Tech commit is rarely out of position, and his ability to slip past would-be blockers, frees him up to chase plays all over the field. Tyler Lee's defense, which allowed 39.1 points per game in 2013, should improve naturally with another year of experience under Durman's belt.
2013 stats: 28 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT (in 8 games)
2014 outlook: One thing is for sure: Reese is not afraid to lower the boom, as several of his opponents discovered last season. His 2013 numbers were down because of injury issues, but attend a John Tyler practice or one of the many college camps he attended, and you'll see why a number of FCS and Division II schools are interested in obtaining his services.
Class: Senior (offers from Houston, Memphis, Texas State)
2013 stats: 155 tackles, 23 for loss, 2 INTs, 1 fumble recovery
2014 outlook: Smith may be caught in between positions as far as college is concerned, but that doesn't keep him from making plays at linebacker for annually one of the most talented programs in all of East Texas. Despite being "too small" for linebacker in college, Smith's lateral quickness and nose for the football will keep him in the running for East Texas' top tackler all season long. His size and natural ability would make him a perfect fit for a LB/S hybrid at the next level.
Class: Senior (committed to Texas A&M)
2013 stats: 15 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 1 pass break-up (in 2 games)
2014 outlook: Dunning is arguably East Texas' best athlete. He proved that the summer prior to his junior season with his standout performance at the first-ever ETSN.fm + APEC recruiting combine. Dunning's season was cut short after just two games because of a torn ACL, but the A&M pledge is back to his old self after a quick rehab. Dunning was one of the top competitors at NIke's The Opening in Oregon just a few weeks ago.
Class: Junior (committed to Texas A&M)
2013 stats: 53 tackles, 7 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 17 PAT blocks, 4 FG blocks
2014 outlook: Plain and simple, Fuller just makes plays. If he's not stepping in front of pass for an interception, ripping off yardage as a wingback on offense or returning kicks and punts for touchdowns, he's delivering mayhem on special teams. Fuller inexplicably blocked 21 kicks as a sophomore, which means he has two more seasons in high school to become even more of a nightmare for opposing coaches. Fuller is one of East Texas' very best in the 2016 class, as evidenced by his recent commitment to Texas A&M.
Class: Junior (offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Baylor, Florida State, Houston, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Purdue, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Washington State)
2013 stats: 95 tackles, 5 INTs, 1 defensive TD
2014 outlook: Jones is without question East Texas' top prospect in the 2016 class. He is already approaching 30 FBS offers without playing a down yet as junior. While he's being looked at mostly as a safety for college, Jones possesses the coverage skills to line up across from receivers as a corner. His speed on the football field, whether utilized in covering ground at safety or staying step-for-step with receivers in single coverage, cannot be taught. Big plays will be the norm for Jones the rest of his high school career.
Class: Senior (committed to Oklahoma State)
2013 stats: 46 tackles, 5 INTs, 1 defensive touchdown (at San Angelo Central HS)
2014 outlook: After spending some time in West Texas, Lane has returned to his native Nacogdoches and will help form what should be one of East Texas' top defensive backfields. Lane's coverage skills have caught the attention of the nearly 40 FBS programs that have offered scholarships his way. He'll play corner at Nac, but don't be surprised if he grows more into his big frame and becomes a safety at the next level.
2013 stats: Averaged 35.7 yards on 40 punts, five of which were downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
2014 outlook: Field position is incredibly important in football, and having a good punter is something not always seen at the high school level. Duran, who plays soccer during the offseason, is adept at providing his defensive teammates with advantageous field position. A weapon in the kicking game can sometimes be the difference in winning and losing tight games, and JT is in good shape with Duran.
2013 stats: Six returns for touchdowns
2014 outlook: Nobody did special teams returns better in East Texas than Brooks in 2013. The under-recruited athlete returned six kicks (punts or kickoffs) for touchdowns last season, which means it would be wise for Tatum opponents to steer clear of Brooks in the return game this fall.