Greg Powers’ Take
It is hard not to really get excited about a match-up between Cedar Hill and South Oak Cliff, which both myself and Scout co-analyst Gabe Brooks will be at on Saturday night.
It’s a game that will feature, by a quick in my head estimate, about 20 D1 prospects on the same field.
Cedar Hill is coming back with a large portion of its team in place from a remarkable state championship run in 2013 and SOC had its best season in years last year, advancing deep in to the playoffs.
This should be a remarkably entertaining game and while ‘The Hill’ is the more established of the two teams with the superior depth, SOC should not be slept on because position by position it should be able to stand the test.
It should be especially fun to see potential match up like CB Darrell Miller vs. WR J.F. Thomas or WR DaMarkus Lodge vs. Jamile Johnson. Texas commit Jordan Stevenson is the most explosive and exciting running back in the Dallas area and his play could be instrumental if SOC is to pull the upset.
William Wilkerson’s Take
I am most looking forward to seeing what this offensive line can do for the Longhorns. I truly think this is going to be the key for this team.
I’m also interested to see what Jason Hall can do. There’s been a lot of talk about him this fall and deservedly so from what we are hearing. But standing out in practice and doing so in a game are completely different.
I’ll also have my eye looking closely at Texas’ tight ends. Shawn Watson called Geoff Swaim one of the best tight ends he’s ever coached. Watson also said that Andrew Beck, a converted linebacker, has the skills to play TE at the next level. Will either of them stand out? How about M.J. McFarland? He’s supposedly looked better this fall.
Finally, I want to see how comfortable and accurate Nick Rose and Will Russ are. Strong touched on Russ’ inconsistency on Monday when he said he could boom at 60-yarder then come back and kick one 20 yards. Rose doesn’t have much place-kicking experience at all. Will they be a pain in the back side or a positive like Anthony Fera, even if they collectively aren’t as dominant?
Chip Brown’s Take
I'll be at the South Carolina-Texas A&M game on Thursday to watch Kevin Sumlin coach his own recruited QB for the first time in seven years. I also want to see, up-close and personal, if the Aggies' defense under Mark Snyder is any better than the unit that gave up 32.2 ppg and 222 yards rushing per game. I think the Gamecocks, led by RB Mike Davis, one of the best in the country, pound out a 31-21 victory over the Aggies.
I think Wisconsin surprises LSU. I think Navy covers the 14 against Ohio State. Intrigued by Georgia-Clemson as both teams try to replace record-setting QBs. I think Arkansas plays Auburn way closer than 20.5 points.
But I can't wait to see this Texas defense under Charlie Strong, Vance Bedford and Co. go up against a veteran North Texas offensive line, led by first-team All-Conference USA RG Cyril Lemon (6-3, 304).
The Mean Green return four starters on the offensive line from a team that won 9 games last season, including a 36-14 victory over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
"Their focus, their physicality, their work ethic, their pride is what you want as a coach," UNT head coach Dan McCarney said of his offensive line. "I love the depth and competition and the way this offensive line has come together."
UNT will be breaking in a new QB in JUCO transfer Josh Greer, a big, strong sophomore listed at 6-5 and 220 pounds.
"You're looking for character, toughness, mental toughness and play-making, and Josh just made a few more plays," McCarney said. "Greer has really stepped it up and done some positive things."
Reggie Pegram, a 5-9, 221-pound senior, will start at RB, and junior Antoinne Jimmerson (5-9, 222) will get carries as well. They both played a bunch last season and will not be fazed by playing in Austin.
The strength of UNT is the offense (the defense has only one returning starter in its front seven). So this will be a decent test for this attacking, Texas defense. I'll be disappointed if Texas gives up more than 14 points.
Gabe Brooks’ Take
I've been waiting for this weekend for months.
I have a tripleheader assigned starting with a Thursday night contest in Garland between Garland High and Irving MacArthur.
Friday sends me to Apogee Stadium in Denton, where two-time defending Class 4A Division I state champion Denton Guyer faces two-time defending Class 5A Division I state champion Allen. (Thanks to realignment in February, both teams reside in the new Class 6A.)
Saturday night features a trip to Kincaide Stadium on the south side of Dallas, where Scout national analyst Greg Powers and I will see Dallas South Oak Cliff against defending Class 5A Division II state champion Cedar Hill (another school in the new 6A).
Which am I most excited about? That's tough. The Friday and Saturday games featured loaded rosters. South Oak Cliff has 13 players with at least one FBS offer. Louisville offered 10 SOC players on the same day during the spring. Cedar Hill is one of the most talented teams in the country with players committed to LSU, Texas A&M, USC, and Tennessee.
But I'm most fired up about Friday night in Denton.
Allen features Texas A&M-bound 2015 four-star quarterback Kyler Murray, Texas A&M-bound 2016 five-star offensive tackle Greg Little and Oklahoma-bound 2015 four-star offensive tackle Bobby Evans. There's also Notre Dame-bound 2015 three-star receiver Jalen Guyton, plus 2016 four-star cornerback/safety Jaylon Jones.
The big showdown is Murray vs. Denton Guyer 2017 quarterback Shawn Robinson, 1 of 85 players in his class to receive an early four-star grade from Scout this past week. Of the quarterbacks I've seen multiple times this offseason, Murray and Robinson were the best. Robinson, who played as a freshman at Saginaw Chisholm Trail, moved to Guyer in the spring after his mother got the head girls basketball coaching gig there.
Guyer also has Kansas-bound 2015 three-star defensive tackle Carl Thompson and several other FBS prospects, such as Iowa State-committed 2015 safety Jordan Wallace, Texas State-committed 2015 tailback Anthony Taylor, 2015 receiver Alex Honey and 2015 defensive end Derek Watson.
I'm expecting a shootout Friday night at Apogee. What a way to kick off the 2014 season, which also happens to be my first with Scout after joining the squad in February.
Jason Higdon’s Take
I am looking forward to watching two games this weekend. The first game I am interested in is North Texas at Texas. One of the main things I want to see is what the fan support is like for the opener. Will the stands be full, half empty or a so-so crowd? I want to see what the fan support will be like for Strong and company. I am curious to see what the Texas ground game looks like and can the rush for 250 week one. At the same time I would like to see the Texas DL get after the quarterback and hold North Texas to under 100 yards rushing.
The second game I would like to see is Toledo at Florida. Florida opened with Toledo last year winning a very ugly game 24 to 6. Will Coach Muschamp allow the new OC to open things up? The Gators have reached 40 plus points only four times during the Muschamp era, something Gator fans are not used to seeing. Will Jeff Driskel be able to hit some deep balls and will the Gators finally have a wide receiver step up and be that guy.
For a bonus game I am very interested in seeing what a Steve Spurrier offense does to a Kevin Sumlin defense.