Scout.com released its updated 2015 Texas Hot 100 rankings Wednesday. Unsurprisingly, East Texas was well-represented with nine players rated in the state's top 97 spots.
So far, the region's 2015 class is fairly top-heavy with seven players rated in the state top 43, including the region's top recruit in this cycle -- Gladewater five-star defensive tackle and Texas A&M commit Daylon Mack, who checks in at No.3.
Four of those seven prospects will play in the secondary at the next level, led by Gilmer cornerback Kris Boyd, who is No. 6 in the latest state rankings.
There's also a pair of Texas A&M-pledged safeties -- Sulphur Springs' Larry Pryor (No. 20) and Whitehouse's Justin Dunning (No. 27) -- as well as Newton safety Roney Elam (No. 40), one of the state's fastest-rising prospects after garnering offers from Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Alabama, LSU, and Mississippi State in the last two weeks.
"There are definitely some elite talents at defensive back in East Texas, and the interesting thing to note is that they all bring a bit of a different style to the table," said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Greg Powers. "But the one thing that they seem to all share in common is that they are not afraid to be physical and play physical.
"Texas A&M has done a good job of already landing two of those four (Pryor, Dunning) and they figure to be a player in the Roney Elam sweepstakes as well, now that they have extended an offer. They have been recruiting Kris Boyd, but have not yet extended an offer."
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Boyd is a two-way standout for Gilmer, where he's rushed for almost 2,500 yards in the last two seasons. But his fluidity, athleticism, and wiry frame make him a great candidate to be a full-time cornerback at the next level. He could also play safety, but most schools are looking at him as a cover guy.
Pryor, who plays quarterback for Sulphur Springs, is a physical safety prospect at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds who excels at crashing the box in run support. While Dunning is bigger (6-4, 200) than Pryor, he's more of a center field-style safety with his ranginess, athleticism, and ability to cover a lot of territory.
Elam is a bit of a combination of the three. He's long and wiry at 6-foot-3, 167 pounds, but he hits with authority and has the frame to put on a significant amount of positive weight. He's also very athletic and can patrol the deep portion of the field on the back end of the defense. While safety seems the best fit, don't be surprised if the school that lands him plays him at cornerback.
East Texas should also produce a healthy number of high-major offensive weapons in the 2015 class.
Longview running back JaMycal Hasty and Troup quarterback/receiver Blake Lynch are back-to-back at Nos. 42 and 43. Then there's a pair of Lufkin receivers later in the top 100 in former Texas commit Keke Coutee (No. 89) and teammate Terry Mark (No. 97).
Lynch stars at quarterback for Troup, but at 6-foot-3 and larger than 190 pounds, the Baylor commit could translate as one of head coach Art Briles' gifted pass-catchers once he gets to college. The 5-foot-9 Hasty could also play receiver as he's proven that he is a very good pass-catcher out of the backfield, but his abilities as a running back are so valued, despite his less-than-ideal size, that it's very doubtful he would play on the perimeter in college.
Coutee is similar to Lufkin 2014 Texas A&M receiver signee Jamal Jeffery: small, agile, and dangerous in the open field. Mark is a bigger receiver with plenty of athleticism who should see his offer list grow as he gains a larger role in Lufkin's offense this coming fall.
Check out the full updated 2015 Texas Hot 100 right here: