The East Texas football landscape never disappoints. Each summer, the staff at ETSN.fm combs through the thousands of players in the area to pick its annual preseason East Texas Super Team.

It is simultaneously the most fun and hardest job we undertake all year. Whittling down the region’s best to 29 names is no easy feat; there are inevitably great players left off the list each and every single season.

ETSN.fm covers more than 100 schools in the area — from Texarkana all the way down to Newton and Jasper. The following are, in our judgment, the very best players at their respective positions.

Newton running back Darwin Barlow is the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Newton cornerback Tamauzia Brown is the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Without further adieu, we bring you the 2018 ETSN.fm Preseason East Texas Football Super Team:

Haynes King, QB, Longview

  • Class: Junior
  • Height: 6-2
  • Weight: 172
  • 2017 stats: 130 of 240, 2,106 yards, 25 TDs; 22 carries, 238 yards, 2 TDs
  • Outlook: Haynes King, the son of Lobos head coach John King, was third on the depth chart when the 2017 season began. But after Longview dropped its district opener, Haynes took over the job and guided the Lobos to 10 consecutive wins and their first appearance in the state semifinals since 2010.

 

Darwin Barlow, RB, Newton

  • OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 5-11
  • Weight: 195
  • 2017 stats: 205 carries, 2,246 yards, 38 TDs; 14 catches, 189 yards, 4 TDs
  • Outlook: On an offense full of offensive playmakers it was Barlow who led the team in touchdowns and was the driving force behind Newton's first state championship since 2005. Barlow has more than 20 Division I offers, including Arkansas, Oklahoma State, TCU, LSU, and Nebraska.

 

TK Hamilton, RB, Waskom

  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 5-11
  • Weight: 161
  • 2017 stats: 175 carries, 1,816 yards, 26 TDs; 4 catches, 100 yards, 3 TDs
  • Outlook: Following a first-round exit in 2016, Waskom rebounded with a trip to the state quarterfinals, and Hamilton was the biggest reason why. The Wildcats' speedster, who holds multiple Division I offers, averaged more than 10 yards per carry last season, and is one of the most explosive players in the region.

 

Jawan King, RB, Atlanta

  • Class: Senior (committed to Rice)
  • Height: 5-10
  • Weight: 210
  • 2017 stats: 1,189 rushing yards, 11 TDs; 316 receiving yards, 5 TDs
  • Outlook: Atlanta is dropping down to Class 3A this season, and King could end up being one of the best running backs in the state before the year ends. Last season, he picked up more than 1,500 all-purpose yards and scored 16 touchdowns, and makes the Rabbits serious contenders in 3A Division I in 2018.

TQ Jackson, WR, Jefferson

  • Class: Senior (committed to Arkansas)
  • Height: 6-2
  • Weight: 188
  • 2017 stats: 38 catches, 861 yards, 10 TDs
  • Outlook: Far and away the highest-rated receiver in all of East Texas, Jackson is primed for a big senior season. He has amassed almost 2,000 receiving yards over the past two seasons, and with three-year starter Trey Hodge returning at quarterback as well, Jackson could be in line for his biggest campaign yet.

 

Ke'Andre Street, WR, John Tyler

  • Class: Senior (committed to Houston)
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 200
  • 2017 stats: 36 catches, 873 yards, 11 TDs
  • Outlook: Street committed to Houston back in May, and if he signs with the Cougars he will be the sixth John Tyler player to play for Houston since 2013. Despite a revolving door at quarterback in 2017, Street still put up big numbers. With JT's drop to Class 5A, expect Street's production to increase this fall.

 

Cameron Cantrell, WR, Whitehouse

  • Class: Senior (committed to Texas Tech)
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 180
  • 2017 stats: 51 catches, 620 yards, 6 TDs
  • Outlook: The younger brother of ex-Texas Tech and current Los Angeles Chargers receiver Dylan Cantrell, Cameron Cantrell is working on carving out his own legacy at Whitehouse. Cameron Cantrell possesses excellent route-running abilities and his hands are second to none.

 

Ja'Lynn Polk, WR, Lufkin

  • Class: Junior
  • Height: 6-2
  • Weight: 175
  • 2017 stats: 40 catches, 667 yards, 6 TDs
  • Outlook: Already saddled with two Division I offers, Polk could be the area's next big thing when it comes to recruiting. Despite sharing touches with fellow D-I receiver Malik Jackson, Polk produced at high level as a sophomore, and helped the Panthers reach the state quarterfinals. Opponents beware; Polk is on the verge of a monster 2018.

 

Marcus Williams, OL, Longview

  • Class: Senior (committed to TCU)
  • Height: 6-5
  • Weight: 285
  • 2017 stats: N/A
  • Outlook: Williams missed a significant chunk of his junior season because of injury, but if he is able to maintain health through a full season, Longview's already-menacing offensive line will be all the more dominant.

 

Beaux Limmer, OL, Tyler Lee

  • Class: Senior (committed to Arkansas)
  • Height: 6-5
  • Weight: 270
  • 2017 stats: 95 percent grade
  • Outlook: Limmer was one of the new staff at Arkansas' first commitments. Playing for Raazorbacks assistant Jeff Traylor's younger brother Kurt Traylor, Limmer is hopeful he can be a part of returning Lee to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

 

Blake Trainor, OL, Hallsville

  • Class: Senior (committed to Texas A&M)
  • Height: 6-7
  • Weight: 320
  • 2017 stats: 37 pancakes, 52 knockdowns, 0 sacks allowed
  • Outlook: Trainor has impressed college coaches with his size and skills as a left tackle. Now, the Texas A&M pledge's main goal is to help his Hallsville teammates rebound from a disappointing 1-9 season in 2017.

 

Caiden Walker, OL, Newton

  • Class: Senior (committed to Louisiana Tech)
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 285
  • 2017 stats: 95 percent grade, 0 sacks allowed
  • Outlook: Newton averaged 52.2 points and 454.8 yards per game en route to the Class 3A Division II state championship last season. The best offensive lineman from that group, Caiden Walker, returns. The Louisiana Tech commit is the key to the Eagles' protection schemes.

 

Chance Billington, OL, John Tyler

  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 300
  • 2017 stats: N/A
  • Outlook: Billington holds six Division I FBS offers from SMU, Iowa State, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State, Texas State, and Tulane. He will be a central figure to a John Tyler offense that hopes to improve on last year's unit that averaged 28.9 points and 376.9 yards per game in 2017.

 

Dillon Williams, K, Pleasant Grove

  • Class: Senior
  • Height: N/A
  • Weight: N/A
  • 2017 stats: 87 of 90 on PAT's, 7 of 11 on FG's (long of 41)
  • Outlook: Williams has instrumental in helping the Hawks capture their first-ever football state championship last fall. He'll be counted upon again in 2018.

 

Keshon Williams, ATH, Pine Tree

  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 230
  • 2017 stats: 76 carries, 339 yards, 16 TDs; 15 catches, 205 yards, 3 TDs
  • Outlook: Williams might be East Texas' most versatile player. In his career at Pine Tree, he has played quarterback, running back, and tight end on offense. In college, his 6-4, 230-pound frame could eventually lend itself to the defensive side of the ball at either end or outside linebacker.

 

Carl Williams, DL, Lufkin

  • Class: Senior (committed to Arkansas)
  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 310
  • 2017 stats: 56 tackles (6 for loss), 4 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 3 forced fumbles
  • Outlook: The key to a dominant Lufkin defensive line, Williams is equally adept at stopping the run as he is getting pressure on the quarterback. The Arkansas pledge might be the most important defender on any team in all of East Texas.

 

Javasia Brunson, DL, Lufkin

  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 6-2
  • Weight: 251
  • 2017 stats: 25 tackles (5 for loss), 3 sacks
  • Outlook: Brunson's numbers in 2017 were modest, but that was mostly because of Lufkin's depth and its ability to rotate several players in and out along the defensive line. Expect Brunson's reps and production to significantly increase this season.

 

Landon Jackson, DL, Pleasant Grove

  • Class: Sophomore
  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 210
  • 2017 stats: 98 tackles (16 for loss), 11.5 sacks, 23 QB pressures, 3 forced fumbles (1 recovery), 1 INT, 6 PBUs
  • Outlook: Jackson burst onto the scene as a freshman, leading the Class 4A Division II state champion Hawks in sacks and quarterback pressures. Already saddled with offers from eight FBS programs, including Arkansas, Baylor, Kansas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, Jackson might be East Texas' best player in the 2021 recruiting class.

 

James Sylvester, DE, Newton

  • Class: Junior
  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 225
  • 2017 stats: 86 tackles (21 for loss), 8 sacks, 6 PBUs
  • Outlook: Newton, while averaging more than 50 points per game on offense, was equally as impressive on the defensive side of the ball. Sylvester has not yet played a game as a junior but he already holds offers from some of the biggest college programs in the country, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas A&M.

 

Diego Molina, LB, West Rusk

  • Class: Senior
  • Height: N/A
  • Weight: N/A
  • 2017 stats: 137 tackles (33 for loss), 6 sacks, 6 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs
  • Outlook: West Rusk's defense lost of ton production to graduation but does return one of the best linebackers in all of East Texas. If the Raiders' defense is to build on last year's scoring average of nine points per game, Molina will need another season like the one he put together in 2017.

 

Eric Gipson, LB, Jefferson

  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 190
  • 2017 stats: 137 tackles (25 for loss), 10 sacks, 9 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles (1 recovery), 1 defensive TD
  • Outlook: Gipson played defensive end last season for Jefferson, but his skill-set may ultimately lend itself to outside linebacker in college. His speed as an edge rusher is unmatched as evidenced by his 4.43-second 40-yard dash at May's ETSN/APEC Combine.

 

Ty Patterson, LB, Linden-Kildare

  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 180
  • 2017 stats: 200 tackles (23 for loss), 3 sacks, 10 forced fumbles (5 recoveries), 2 INTs, 2 blocked kicks
  • Outlook: Patterson amassed an incredible 200 tackles in only 11 games last season, which comes out to an average of 18.2 stops per game. What's even more amazing: Patterson forced 10 fumbles and recovered five of them. A case can be made that Patterson is the most valuable defender in the region.

 

Brady Odom, LB, Henderson

  • Class: Junior
  • Height: N/A
  • Weight: N/A
  • 2017 stats: 146 tackles (10 for loss), 8 sacks, 12 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 4 PBUs
  • Outlook: Odom was all over the field for Henderson as a sophomore, and was a big reason why the Lions reached the state quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. With Odom and defensive end Keivie Rose back in the fold, Henderson has the ability to became one of Class 4A's top defensive fronts.

 

Jerrin Thompson, DB, Lufkin

  • Class: Junior
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 172
  • 2017 stats: 95 tackles (5 for loss), 4 INTs, 7 PBUs, 4 forced fumbles (2 recoveries)
  • Outlook: Lufkin's defensive line, which featured three Division I recruits, might get a lot of the headlines, but the Panthers' secondary is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Thompson is a major FBS prospect in the 2020 class, holding offers from Arkansas, Baylor, and Oklahoma already.

 

Tamauzia Brown, DB, Newton

  • DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 175
  • 2017 stats: 46 tackles, 12 INTs, 16 PBUs
  • Outlook: There isn't a more exciting player in East Texas than Tamauzia Brown, who is special on both sides of the ball. As a receiver Brown put up more than 1,400 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns. But on defense, Brown led East Texas with 12 interceptions and 16 pass break-ups at cornerback.

 

Keontae Burns, DB, Pittsburg

  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 177
  • 2017 stats: 57 tackles (3 for loss), 1 INT, 7 PBUs, 1 forced fumble (1 recovery)
  • Outlook: Burns is another two-way standout. The numbers might be more impressive on offense, but Burns' ability to make plays on defense at safety at critical junctures is a big reason why he is listed as defensive back on this team.

 

Deshawn McCuin, DB, Jacksonville

  • Class: Senior (committed to TCU)
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 177
  • 2017 stats: N/A
  • Outlook: McCuin seemingly came out of nowhere late this spring, and eventually became a TCU commit. McCuin might be the area's most athletic defensive back, and is one of the keys for a potential breakout season for Jacksonville in 2018.

 

Efren Barcenas, P, Spring Hill

  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 5-11
  • Weight: 180
  • 2017 stats: 45.0 average
  • Outlook: Don't tell Spring Hill head coach Kelly Mercer special teams isn't important. The Panthers challenged for a playoff spot last year and the field position created by Barcenas played no small part.

 

Josh Foster, UTL, Newton

  • Class: Senior (committed to TCU)
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 165
  • 2017 stats: 112 of 177, 2,003 yards, 30 TDs; 83 carries, 553 yards, 15 TDs
  • Outlook: Foster stepped into the starting quarterback spot last season, and the transition was flawless as he led the Eagles to a 15-0 record and a state title. He played little defense last year but that is likely where his future lies in major college football.