In part one of our "2012 Examination," we have to identify the studs in the state of Texas. Regardless of position, Texas' needs, and lean, here is LonghornDigest.com's recruiting analyst Josh Harvey's top ten players in the state.
For much of the season I debated between Gray and Denton Ryan's Mario Edwards for the top spot. In the end, it was the state championship that did it for me. The lasting image for me until next football season is Gray's six touchdown championship performance and Edwards walking out of Cowboys Stadium in defeat. Running backs like Gray don't come around every year. When he's motivated, he does everything well. Not to mention 59 touchdowns in one season hasn't been done before. It's understandable how ESPN named him the Top HS football player in the country last year, regardless of year.
2.) Mario Edwards - Denton Ryan HS - DE
I can't really argue if someone has him as the No. 1 player in the state, I will be the first to admit that Edwards is a man among boys. If he doesn't end up in the Scout.com Top Five in the country, he won't be far from it. His speed and defensive awareness just always seems to put him around the ball. At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Edwards looks already ready to be a defensive end at the next level. Add another 30 pounds to his frame without taking away any of his speed and you will have a Top 10 pick in the NFL down the road.
3.) Cayleb Jones - Austin HS - WR
4.) Malcolm Brown - Brenham HS - DT
People could argue that this is possibly too high, but no one can argue that anyone below Brown has as much upside. He's big, strong, and for 280 pounds very athletic. It's not very often you see a nose tackle with the ability to go sideline-to-sideline, Brown can. Whether he rushing a pass or sliding over to fill a hole on the run, Brown has the ability to do everything.
5.) Trey Williams - Dekaney HS - RB
When I see Williams play, I think of Darren Sproles. He's not very big, but he's a home run threat every time he touches the ball. If he gets into the open field watch out. His vision and ability to change directions are everything a coach would like in a running back. Much like Cayleb Jones, if Gray wasn't in the 2012 class, Williams would be worthy of being the state Texas' best RB.
6.) Derek David - Rockdale HS - LB
Is this rating more about the hype surrounding David and less about his production on the field? Maybe. He had a great sophomore season, but after committing to Texas Tech this past summer (soft verbal), David wasn't heard from as much in 2010. I'm predicting his recruitment will be one of the most interesting to follow during the 2011 season.
When healthy, Johnson is an electric receiver. He will field offers from all over the country and should have his choice on what school he would like to attend. Banged up for much of his junior year, Johnson became a recruiting household name around the DFW area during 7-on-7s last summer. There won't be much room for him to grow on this list, but expect to see his stock rise this summer as he once again plays 7-on-7s and hits various camps/combines.
8.) Curtis Riser - DeSoto HS - OL
I'm sure all the former o-lineman out there are nagging that I didn't have an offensive lineman higher, but in a year where I think it's really strong at the position, there isn't that one guy that deserves "Top Five" status in the state. He already looks like a college offensive tackle, but could improve his footwork and ability to stop speed rushers.
9.) Timothy Wright - La Marque HS - RB
If it wasn't obvious before, I like gamers. I can almost guarantee that no one has Wright as high on their list, but he deserves to be. It wasn't just his state performance, where he battled it out with Johnathan Gray for a half, but his entire season. While there might be better ball carriers, his ability to catch passes out of the backfield puts him higher on the list. He has power, speed, but most of all great vision.
10.) Bralon Addison - Fort Bend Hightower HS - Ath
It was a tough call for this spot, but moving up a couple spots just tonight was Addison. The biggest answer is whether he will be transition from being a athletic high school quarterback to a quality college receiver. There is no doubting his skills and running ability as an athlete, but yesterday according to Scout.com's Ahmard Vital, he proved he can any ball near him and get off the line against receivers. This is the report I was waiting to hear.
In the next few days, LonghornDigest.com debates. What player should be Texas' No. 1 guy on their recruiting board based on need and the way he fits into their system? Is it Johnathan Gray, Cayleb Jones, or Mario Edwards?