There are two quarterbacks and two running backs as well as a receiver in this group with four of the five hailing from either the Brazos Valley or the greater Austin area. All five have been big time players since their sophomore seasons, or freshman seasons in the case of one player, and are all in consideration to be national top 100 prospects.
5. Dexter Pratt, RB, Navasota
Pratt really burst onto the scene as a sophomore with nearly 2,100 yards and 20 touchdowns during an all-State campaign. Pratt really minds me a lot of former Pflugerville star Antwan Cobb in terms of his balance and vision, but he is quicker and better straight-line speed than Cobb. He is being recruited by some as an athlete as some college coaches see him as a linebacker, but there is no doubt that he is the most electrifying senior running back in Central Texas. Also an excellent receiver out of the backfield who averaged over 30 yards per catch this past season.
4. Casey Pachall, QB, Brownwood
The thing that leaps off of the page when looking at Pachall is that he has a cannon attached to his shoulder. He has very good zip on the football and can fit it into some tight windows other high school quarterback's cannot, but like most gunslingers he will get into trouble with interceptions. He his a high end pocket passer that a lot of Division I programs will covet, and he is not a bad athlete by any means as he has esacpability.
3. Emory Blake, WR, Austin High
One talent alone, there are not many players in the state that can stand toe-to-toe with Blake, whose father Jeff Blake enjoyed a successful NFL career as a quarterback. Blake has played some under center, but he is a big time difference maker as a receiver. One thing that could have Blake's stock even higher than it is already is if he can bounce back from an injury-riddled junior season.
2. Chris Whaley, RB, Madisonville
Naturally with his bid size (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) and his power and speed combo and the fact that he hails from the far East area of Central Texas, Whaley has already drawn comparison's to Adrian Peterson. To me, he is more Jamal Lewis that Adrian Peterson because he doesn't have the same burst through the second level that Peterson displays. Nonetheless, Whaley is a true franchise back who can carry the ball 30 times or more per game and keep on chugging. He will be looking to make his mark on the state record books after recording back-to-back 2,000 yard seasons.
1. Garrett Gilbert, QB, Lake Travis
Alas, we arrive at the top spot and barring a slump of unforeseen proportions during his senior season, Gilbert will likely be here one year from now when the final rankings are released in the early Winter of 2009. Gilbert led Lake Travis to a 15-1 record and a state title as junior while having one of the best season's ever for a Lone Star prep quarterback as he know owns or shares state records for completions (359), attempts (555), yards (4,826), and touchdown passes (52) in a single season. Gilbert however faces an offseason of uncertainty as his former head coach Jeff Dicus recently left the Cavs to take over at Duncanville.