Echols Leads DeSoto to Title

At the start of the Fox Sports Southwest Texas State 7-on-7 tournament, Texas commitment Bryson Echols said his DeSoto Eagles were a little bit rusty.

"We haven't played in a month or so," Echols said.

But that didn't change the Eagles' goals. In 2010, they finished second at the tournament to Lake Travis. In 2009, they lost in the semifinals to Round Rock Stony Point.

"We've come so close to winning a championship," Echols said. "This year, we want to finish it. We're coming out to try and win it."

Mission accomplished. Thanks in large part to Echols' lock-down ability at cornerback, the Eagles went all the way, taking home the Division I (bigger schools) championship. Along the way, Echols showed his abilities as an emotional leader, and his ability to raise his competitive juices in key situations.

"I'm just having a little fun," Echols said. "You have to.

"Since committing to Texas, people expect a lot of me," Echols said. "(Opponents) try to test me a lot. They try to throw a lot of double moves at me."

Few of those double-moves worked, with Echols serving as arguably the tournament's top cornerback.

Echols was one of two Texas commitments to take part in the tournament, with Beaumont West Brook's Caleb Bluiett serving as the other. That was in stark contrast to the burnt orange flavor of The Opening just a week earlier.

"The Opening was great," Echols said. "All those guys were really cool. I didn't know them before I got up there, and I feel like I got closer to them before we've even stepped foot at UT. It was a good experience all around."

That included Echols' experiences with fellow Texas commitment and Dallas Skyline rival Peter Jinkens. Echols said that he got along well with both Skyline Texas commitments — Thomas Johnson is also from the school — and said that he appreciated their teasing, "even though we beat them pretty bad this year."

Echols said he was excited to arrive on the 40 Acres, a moment he's eagerly anticipated since first committing at the Longhorns' Junior Days.

"They really stressed education a lot, and that was important to me," Echols said. "And when you add in Coach Akina, probably the best defensive backs coach in the nation to me, I just loved it."

That love was reciprocated by the Texas coaching staff.

"I'm a shorter corner, but they told me they liked how I made big plays despite my height," Echols said. "They liked how I was a technical guy. They loved that."

But before then, Echols has other business to take care of. He said DeSoto should once again be a contender for a state title.

"A lot of people think we lost all of our talent, but we're a rebuilding team," Echols said. "We have a lot of young guys that are stepping up big time, and we have high expectations for ourselves."

A big part of that talent is 2013 running back Dontre Wilson, an early Texas target.

"I'm trying to get him, but he's not budging right now," Echols said. "He still has another year, so hopefully I can change his mind then. Hook 'em."

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