RB Keith Ford, Cypress Ranch — Oklahoma (LonghornDigest.com Texas Top 50 Rank: 8)
We've known for quite some time now that Ford is the top back in this in-state class. What was unclear was just how he measured up with the top backs in the country. Consider me sold. The thick runner from Cy Ranch with strength, balance, vision and deceptive speed is a big-time back who has a chance to be among the top couple runners in the nation. Ford has great feet and should be a standout in Oklahoma's zone running schemes at the next level, when he can pick and slide his way to daylight.
DT A'Shawn Robinson, Arlington Heights — Texas (10)
It's tough to gauge linemen in pads, but in some ways, it helps because you find out who's more naturally physical. Put Robinson in that category. He has bullying strength on the interior and couples that with really good athletic numbers for the position. He could be an excellent offensive guard at the next level, but with his performance at The Opening, and the potential he flashes on the defensive side of the ball, it will be tough to keep him from closing holes, rather than opening them, in college.
Smith is such a smooth athlete that sometimes you don't give him credit for just how athletic he is. And so I was somewhat surprised by the times he ripped off at The Opening, including a fantastic 4.51-second electronic 40-yard dash. He's always had the football side of it down, but some people questioned whether he was better suited athletically for safety, as opposed to a jumbo corner. But Smith has passed that question with flying colors, and has asserted himself as the top cover cornerback in the state, and a possible top-10 to top-15 type of player.
LB Jordan Mastrogiovanni, Dallas Jesuit — Oklahoma (28)
Some players just grow on you the more film you watch of them. Count Mastrogiovanni in that group. On tape he reads play well, and when he goes to get the ball, he accelerates downhill and destroys the ball-carrier. Prestonwood Christian linebacker Mike Mitchell is the state's top inside 'backer — and also has his stock on the rise after an outstanding performance at The Opening — but based on actual game film and production on the field, Mastrogiovanni isn't far off.
TE Durham Smythe, Belton — Texas (50)
I had a chance that you don't often get with players: to see Smythe in pads, in a meaningful (read: not all-star gamish) situation playing with and against some really good prospects across the country. And every day, I came away more impressed. Not only is he further along as a blocker than I thought he was, but he also showed the tools to develop into a really solid player in that regard. That I can now consider Smythe a complete tight end prospect, rather than just a flexed-out "big receiver" type certainly helps his grade, and he's probably my top tight end in the state now.
RB Adam Taylor, Katy (NR)
The lone uncommitted prospect on this board, Taylor looks like he's fully over the injury that cost him most of last season. His upside puts him up with the top backs in this in-state class, as he's a chiseled, big-bodied running back with outstanding deep speed. And at Texas State 7-on-7, he even displayed the hands to match, hauling in a pass and outrunning the entire secondary for a score. If I'm a team still looking for a running back in this class, I'm packing up everything and heading to Katy this season.