While most sophomores explode onto the scene from a pure eyeball test standpoint, Bryce English did so by being a primary cog on the defensive line of one of the state's most powerful programs.
"Nobody can block him one-on-one. Nobody," said DeSoto coach Claude Mathis. "He demands a double team, and a lot of times, that isn't enough.
"He's a guy that still has a lot of growing to do," Mathis said. "He's already fast. He's already quick. He's already a man among boys. But he's only going to get better. He's only a sophomore, and he had a great sophomore year."
Much of the credit for English's development should go to DeSoto defensive line coach Donald Miller. The Eagles had a highly talented roster in 2012, but Mathis said that the expectations weren't too high for a young and unproven defensive line group.
"People just think that we get these great players," Mathis said. "But we have great coaches who develop these kids. Our defensive line wasn't supposed to be that great, and I challenged our coaches. [Miller] took it to another level. They played well above what they were expected to do."
According to Mathis, Miller put in the work with English to make his young prodigy more than just a quick big body. Miller — a former member of the United States Karate Team — worked extensively with English on his hand work and his technique. And that extra effort helped English take another step forward, from a gap-jumping player to somebody who could defeat double teams with his hands as well.
"Bryce was very, very coachable," Mathis said. "He's a great kid, a very smart kid. He's been working his butt off to lose weight, to get faster and quicker. And he's become more of a leader. He's a smart kid who listens and studies the game of football."
Mathis noted that he thinks that English will be a star at the next level, and actually listed two Sooners as comparisons. The first was Tommie Harris, a former Oklahoma All-American. Mathis was coaching in the Austin area when Harris was starring in nearby Killeen. And the second was former Round Rock Stony Point product Jordan Wade, who Mathis coached against in the 2010 playoffs.
"I think that he can be that kind of a difference maker," Mathis said. "He has a long way to go. He's only going to continue to get better."
And taller. Mathis acknowledged that he heard people questioning Texas's take of English because of the defensive tackle's height — he's listed at 5-foot-10, but Mathis said he's 5-11.
"These fans who are knocking this kid, they should just be happy that he committed," Mathis said. "He's going to grow. He's just a sophomore. He's going to be one of the top recruits across the entire nation.
"He's a great kid, and academically, he's doing well. He'll be fine there," Mathis said. "He's doing the right things in the classroom, on the field and off the field, and I'm so happy with his progress right now in the spring. He's really continued to grow."