East Texas Recruiting: Top 2018 Prospects Without Division I Offers
The 2018 recruiting season in East Texas is shaping up to be a busy one. Already the area has 13 players with at least one Division I FBS scholarship offer.
Arp's DeMarvion Overshown, Carthage's Keaontay Ingram, and Marshall's Chasen Hines have become the standard-bearers for the area's recruiting class, but there are plenty of other athletes in East Texas who could be pulling down their first FBS offer in the near future.
Below, is a list of the top 2018 athletes in East Texas without a Division I offer, a list that is certain to change in the coming weeks and months.
Analysis: Started at Carthage as a sophomore before moving to Crockett prior to last football season. With the Bulldogs, he racked up 192 tackles (17 for loss) and forced three fumbles. Measuring at 5-11 1/2 and 226 pounds at last May’s ETSN Combine, Brown was one of the event’s standouts at linebacker. He has reportedly moved back to Carthage.
Analysis: Perhaps no player had a bigger impact on the defensive side of the ball for state champion Carthage than Colbert. In the final three playoff games alone, Colbert produced five takeaways, including two interceptions in the title game. He finished the year with eight INTs, 10 passes defended, and one defensive TD.
Analysis: Van’s 12-win run to the 4A Division I quarterfinals in 2016 was in part made possible by a dominant offensive line, anchored by Dike, who started at left tackle. He graded out at 92 percent on the year and did not allow a sack in 14 games. Dike visited Houston’s Junior Day last month.
Analysis: Despite playing at one of the state’s smallest schools, Gardner is perhaps one of the most explosive athletes in the area. His versatility makes him an intriguing prospect, as he showcased his skills on both sides of the ball in 2016 with more than 1,400 yards receiving and five interceptions on defense.
Analysis: There aren’t any more physical defenders in all of East Texas than Gates, who led the state champion Bulldogs in tackles last year with 159. The outside backer also made 19 stops behind the line of scrimmage, forced three fumbles, and pulled down two INTs. He was laser-timed at 4.68 seconds in the 40 at last May’s ETSN Combine.
Analysis: Very few players in East Texas have the athleticism and range at safety than Hurd, who will be entering his third year as a starter in the fall. In what was a down year for Marshall’s team as a whole, Hurd made the most of it with more than 70 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble.
Analysis: He emerged as a legitimate weapon in the passing game as the season progressed, and by the time the playoffs began, Ingram was the No. 1 receiving option. At 6-foot-1, he has the frame necessary to add 15-20 pounds before he even steps foot on a college campus.
Analysis: Kilgore’s run-first philosophy on offense may limit his capability in the passing game, but Shepherd is one of the most intriguing prospects in East Texas. His size automatically attracts the attention of college coaches, and his speed (laser-timed 4.57 second 40 at last May’s ETSN Combine) makes him dangerous.
Analysis: Playing in the secondary at Nacogdoches the previous three seasons, Wade has played with both Brandon Jones (2016 Texas signee) and Josh Thompson (2017 Texas signee). But he stands on his own merits, and should be one of the top players at the 2A level in 2017 after moving to nearby San Augustine.
Analysis: Speaking of Nacogdoches, could Williams become the fifth Dragons defensive back to sign with a Division I program since 2014? His play on the field certainly speaks volumes. Utilized mostly at linebacker as a junior, Williams projects to a safety at the next level.