1) Greg Little, OT, Allen
Greg Little is the state's top offensive tackle prospect since Kent Perkins, and probably even a few years prior to that. The difference between the two is subtle, but it's a big enough one that it increases Little's value: Perkins was more of a mauler in the run game, a natural right tackle. And while Perkins *could* pass-protect, that wasn't the best part of his game. Little is the exact opposite, which is why he'll probably shift to left tackle as soon as (Oklahoma commitment) Bobby Evans graduates at Allen and will likely play that spot for the rest of his football career. He's a natural at pass protection with amazing feet, length and outstanding punch that keeps pass-rushers off his body. And he's a force in the run game as well, showcasing fantastic mobility and the ability to connect with players at the second level with ease. He's only going to get better as he fills out — he's currently 6-foot-6 and 280 pounds — and becomes stronger. With his aggressiveness, his mean streak and the way he latches onto defenders and doesn't let them off his blocks, his brightest football is ahead of him, and he might be the top overall prospect in the country, as well as the state.
2) Kendell Jones, DT, Killeen Shoemaker
If you're looking for a player to scare opponents getting off the bust, Jones is your man. Jones stands at 6-5 310, which is impressive on its own, without considering his monumentally low body fat. Jones is layered with muscle, particularly through his upper body and shoulders, while he seems to have the waist of a 240-pound linebacker. Oh, and he can play some football as well. Jones has outstanding quickness and get-off for a player of his size, and that makes him a handful when added to his raw power, which is considerable. Shoemaker often played a three-man front with Jones playing the nose, and he spent most of the year dealing with two and three blockers. He's still figuring out how to use his hands, and he needs to add polish, but everything else is there to be a rare force on the interior.
3) Reggie Hemphill, WR, Manvel
Twice in the past year I saw Hemphill take on an older BCS signee. And both times, Hemphill was absolutely dominant. At 6-1, Hemphill has the size and length to make plays over the top of defenders, and he's got the shiftiness and speed to create separation and run away from them as well. As a junior, Hemphill averaged better than 20 yards per catch and caught 10 touchdown on just 28 receptions. He's a big-play guy who is only going to continue to improve as he fills out and gets stronger and faster. The one-time Texas commitment has offers from Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Michigan State, Maryland and Houston. The only question with Hemphill: is he the best player on his own team?
4) Deontay Anderson, DB, Manvel
Could it be that two of the state's top four players play for the same team? It could if you're talking about the Manvel duo, who not only excel for Manvel's football team, but also for its track squad. Anderson is a rangy 6-1 192 safety who tests out well athletically, but is an even better football player. He's faster and thicker than West Orange-Stark's Deionte Thompson, one of the state's top 2015 safety prospects, and it was Anderson, not Thompson, who took home the DB MVP award at the recent Houston NFTC. Anderson ran a 4.57 electronic 40-yard dash at the event, an impressive time for a safety who has the ability to come downhill in a hurry against the run. Anderson also has a sub-22-second 200-meter dash to his credit this fall, and runs anchor leg on Manvel's 4x100 and 4x200 teams.
5) Ed Oliver, DL, Houston Westfield
There were some great candidates for this list, some of which didn't even make the 'next five up' section below. But it's hard to pick against Oliver, who was outstanding when I saw him at Houston NFTC. Oliver played last season at 6-2 285, but elected to rebuild his body from the ground up. He was just 259 pounds at the U.S. Army All-American Combine and weighed 265 at NLA. But with that toning came added explosiveness … Oliver ran a 4.87 at NFTC and spent some time at defensive end, where he showed the natural bend and movement skills you'd expect from an end. Oliver is already bigger and more straight-line fast than Solomon Thomas was, and while Thomas had better short-area acceleration and more overall polish, it's important to note that Thomas is expected to stick at end, while Oliver is projected by most to be a tackle. That skill-set, athleticism and pass-rushing ability at a three-technique spot makes Oliver a tantalizing prospect.
NEXT FIVE UP
7) S Brandon Jones, 5-11 183, Nacogdoches
8) TE Kaden Smith, 6-5 235, Flower Mound Marcus
9) S Eric Monroe, 6-0 180, Galena North Shore
10) Devin Duvernay, 5-10 175, Sachse