Texas Tidbits

In a rematch of a classic 2005 game, the Garland Owls beat the DeSoto Eagles 28-14 at Williams Stadium in Garland, Tex. last Friday.Last year's game was a 56-50 win for the Eagles in five overtimes. However, the area's second-ranked team from Garland dominated the game in the first half, and then they survived several turnovers in the second half to preserve the win against the 14th ranked Eagles.

The game featured several players on each team with connections or potential connections to the Iowa State program. DeSoto is the home of a former Iowa State defensive back Ellis Hobbs. The Eagles showcased their top 10 in the area and top 30 in the state of Texas defensive end, Von Miller. Reportedly, Miller was in Ames last week for the Toledo game on an unofficial visit. According to their roster, Miller is 6' 3 and weighs 225 pounds. He looked fairly slender for 225, but he showed some impressive speed coming off the end. With his reported 4.4 speed, he may be more equipped to become a linebacker at the next level. He made several plays off the end and forced the quarterback into scrambling situations several other times with his speed. His sleek build could use a good college strength program that will take him to the next level, but the tools are certainly there to become an impact player.


One name to remember for the 2008 recruiting season is Tony Jerod Eddie. He played the other defensive end from Miller for part of the game before moving to nose guard to try and shore up the soft interior defensive line. Eddie was listed at 6' 4 and weighed in at 245. He actually looked more of the part than Miller did. The junior drew a lot of double teams in both positions, but he was able to work through the dual attention to make several big plays.


Since Garland has been a Texas hot bed for the Cyclones over the past few years with such names as DeAndre Jackson, Devin McDowell and Derron Montgomery, several names have come to the surface as potential recruits. However, one of the top running backs in the area found himself on the wrong end of the law on Friday. Johnny Wooten was arrested for indecency with a child by contact. I have the details of what happened, but this isn't the appropriate venue to discuss them. He is off the team indefinitely as of this time, and this will probably drop him off the radar of a lot of college teams. The 6', 210 pound running back was a power runner with sprinter speed, but the second degree felony could give the 17-year-old up to 20 years.


However, the team is chocked full of athletes that can still play ball. The Owls are ranked third in the state, and this may be their best team since their last state championship team back in the late 1990s.


Garland also has two impressive defensive ends. Marquis Frazier is another top recruit at 6' 4" and 255 pounds. Iowa State has been mentioned as a potential suitor, but this may be a long shot for the Cyclones. But what a long shot he would be! He was quick off the ball, and he had the strength to dominate off the end. Frazier was able to show this several times during the game.


On the other side of the line is another name to remember for the 2008 recruiting class: Chancey Aghayere. He is a 6' 4", 240 pound junior who is a little more slender than Frazier, but he also has great speed coming off the end. The two ends had the DeSoto quarterback running for his life on several occasions, and fortunately for him, he was a very good athlete to escape the pressure. Aghayere definitely has the tools to become a blue-chip recruit for 2008.


Finally, when it comes to pure speed, there's Jacques Caldwell. The state runner-up in the 200 meters last year in Texas as a sophomore, Caldwell split time on both sides of the ball. The roster has him listed at 5' 9" and 160 pounds, but I have to admit that is probably an exaggeration. My guess is that he is closer to 5' 7", but he is fun to watch. The one play that stood out was a punt return that he made earlier in the game. He fielded the punt and changed directions three times before he got around the end. Here he picked up a couple of slobber knocker blocks and was one botched block away from a 60 yard punt return for a touchdown. In fact, after one of those crushing blocks, another kid from Garland got back up and looked for someone else to hit. As the play came to an end, he found his next block. However, the player was wearing a striped jersey and a whistle. As the press box broke out in a roar of laughter, I'm pretty sure that I saw some cartoon birdies flying around the referee's head as he struggled to his feet. He actually went after the kid but found enough restraint to not throw a flag. But I digress. Caldwell is cut in the same mold as J. J. Moses, but he actually has more speed. Another year of growing and strength conditioning can only help him in achieving his potential.


In addition to the players on the varsity team, the program in Garland is extremely deep in talent throughout all levels of the program. Now I have found out that a relative of Jackson and McDowell is playing linebacker for Sachse, another school in the Garland district. He is supposedly undersized for linebacker, but he is able to play the position because of his speed as a junior. This is something else that will need to be investigated later in the year.



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