Cibolo Steele Rides Prospects to Quarters

As a high school, Cibolo Steele (TX) is just a baby. The school didn't open its doors until fall 2005, and didn't play varsity football until 2006.

But as a program, the Knights are quickly growing into an area power. Steele set an area record for most wins by a new school in its first season, then went 30-7 over the next three years.

Still, all of that success came in Class 4A, and this year was supposed to be different. After all, the Knights were headed up in class to 5A to start this year.

"Not to sound overconfident, but we weren't too concerned," said Steele coach Michael Jinks. "We had played a lot of Class 5A schools, and with schools like Lake Travis and Cedar Park, it's a pretty high caliber of football played in 4A."

Steele didn't have any reason to be scared. After going 1-2 in their first three games, with losses to San Antonio Madison and Kerrville Tivy, the Knights have rolled off 10 consecutive victories, including last week's 48-31 victory over McAllen Memorial.

That victory puts Steele in the Class 5A Division 2 quarterfinals against a tough 12-1 San Antonio MacArthur squad.

Of course, the Knights haven't accomplished all of that without a run of talent, and recruiters would do well to remember the school's address.

The most obvious example is Texas commitment Malcolm Brown, who has had a superb senior season, rushing for more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns even after adding weight into the 220-225 pound range.

"Malcolm has had a great season," Jinks said. "Quite a few people were worried about a move up in class and the fact that he graduated a lot of his offensive line, but he's been fantastic. He's solid to Texas."

But Brown is hardly the only big-time prospect donning a Steele jersey this year. Marquis Anderson is among the state's top defensive tackles, and the 272-pound inside force is taking his game to Oklahoma. Anderson's Sooner commitment is the second in as many years for a Steele player, with receiver Sheldon McClain choosing Oklahoma a year ago.

"He's had a little bit of a rough year, and he's been dinged up a bit," Jinks said. "But he's a really good player."

So, too, is senior linebacker Ryan Simmons (6-1 230), Scout.com's No. 46 outside linebacker and a three-star prospect. Simmons is considering offers from Oregon, Oklahoma State and Stanford.

"I just hate that we're letting him get out of the state of Texas," Jinks said. That won't be a problem for two-star safety Shane Huhn (6-0 190), who is headed to UTEP. Alex Lincoln (6-4 255), a defensive line prospect, doesn't have a ranking, but has received an offer from Idaho.

While five FBS prospects, including three to major conference programs, makes for an excellent senior class, Steele isn't exactly going to fall into the abyss after this season.

One of this year's revelations has been junior quarterback/athlete Tommy Armstrong (6-2 190), currently rated as a three-star prospect and among Scout.com's top quarterbacks in the state in the class of 2012.

"He's really had a great year for us," Jinks said. "We won't really know the level of recruiting interest he'll see until the spring. That's when we'll see where people are.

"Some schools are going to have a great interest in him as more of an athlete," Jinks said. "And some will like him more as a quarterback. We'll have to wait and see."

Even without Brown, Armstrong should have plenty of backfield help.

Freshman Justin Stockton, a 160-pound jitterbug, has rushed for more than 400 yards as Brown's backup, averaging double-digit yards per carry.

"He only gets 7-8 carries per game right now, but (at one point) he was averaging 19 yards per carry," Jinks said. "He's more of an Aaron Green type."

Jinks said Stockton has big time potential.

If both of those players pan out, and the rest of the Steele roster continues to improve, the Knights will continue to be a player in Class 5A, and a fixture for recruiters, for some time to come.

"We're happy about the transition," Jinks said. "We expected to be doing exactly what we're doing."


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