2016 Manvel wide receiver Reggie Hemphill went into the 2013 season with a target on his back. As one of only two sophomores at the time with a Texas offer — teammate Deontay Anderson was the other — and as the sole Texas commitment in the class, it's safe to say opponents noticed the slender 6-foot-1, 170-pound receiver.
Hemphill backed up the hype anyway, making 28 catches for 569 yards (20.3 yards per catch) and scoring 10 receiving touchdowns for a 12-2 team.
"It could have been a better year," said Hemphill, always the perfectionist. "I could have been more aggressive."
In his first two high school seasons, Hemphill has 38 catches for 969 yards (25.5 yards per catch) with 16 touchdowns. This season, he also returned a kickoff for a score.
"I got stronger and faster this past year," Hemphill said. "On some of my plays this year, I beat DBs more with my speed than I did in the past."
But while Hemphill had a nice season on the football field, backing up what the Longhorns thought of him after a resplendent camp performance, he found out this week that he's no longer considered a member of the Texas 2016 class. Members of the Texas staff met with the Manvel coaches as they toured the state, delivering the news.
"I think it's just that Coach (Charlie) Strong has to see me for himself," Hemphill said. "He doesn't want to take any chances. He wants to build a relationship with me himself.
"I understand," Hemphill said. "It's a whole new coaching staff, so they want to see if the players are worthy and they fit. I understand."
Hemphill said he hasn't had any contact with the new coaching staff, and said he didn't see them when they visited Manvel. So, is he excited to get to know the new staff?
"Kind of sort of," Hemphill said. "Right now, I'm just focused on getting stronger in track."
"With Baylor, I like the high-tempo offense, and they get the ball out to the receivers a lot," Hemphill said. "They're fast.
"I like A&M too," Hemphill said. "They've been consistent. They're a consistent football team. They throw it around a lot, too."
It doesn't hurt that Manvel has been a starting ground for A&M football players of late. Former Mavericks now playing for the Aggies include Kyrion Parker and Tavares Garner, while Koda Martin is committed to A&M in the 2014 class. But Hemphill, whose stepbrother is Texas receiver Jacorey Warrick, said his former teammates weren't leaning on him to make a decision.
"They're just letting me go through this on my own," Hemphill said. "I just want to see how this feels for myself."