Mesquite has had an offseason in chaos. They have almost completely revamped the head of the coaching staff due to coaching changes and controversy - but despite all that - the team looks to be on the verge of a breakout season. The record may not show that type of improvement this year considering the fact that they are playing the murder's row and the district schedule doesn't give them any break, but when all is said and done, I think Mesquite will be a pretty salty team. 9 starters return from last season's squad.
Coach Lavender came from Garland to be the offensive coordinator in Mesquite. His spread offense uses a little from Tony Franklin's system - but it is a hybrid of his own ideas as well. Luke Halpin, former coach Halpin's son is the quarterback. They will have to get a lot out of new running back Robert Marshall. Marshall has the size to really be special. Marcus Trice played wide receiver at 7 on 7, but tall lanky receiver Tim Paris and Brad Smithey will see most of the time during the season with pads on. The offensive line will be the weakness and it will be VERY young with two sophomores starting.
The defense will be the strong point for MEsquite. The defensive line will be the weakness this season but Jamaal Boykins looks to be the leader on the line. The linebacker crew will be led by Darius Taylor. Taylor is a special player that looked good in 7 on 7. The secondary is amazing and could be one of the best in the state. Darnell Taylor - brother of Darius Taylor - could play linebacker some as well. Darien McNealy is a speedy receiver whose lightning fast speed makes up for the lack of height. Marcus Trice is a recent commit to Oklahoma and has been soaring in value with his performances in the offseason.
Mesquite will be a top 20 team in the state if they go 8-2 in the regular season - and they could make a three round run with a 6-4 type of result. That is what I think they will be at. I don't think they'll beat Hebron, Southlake or Lufin - and even though I like them to win the district, I don't think they will get out of district unphased. I'm not sure anyone will get out of that district unphased. If Mesquite can get past the first round against 12-5A - they should get past the second round against either DISD or Garland. It will be weird that Mesquite will have to travel in the first round but will have a closer second round game, but thus is realignment. Mesquite is poised for a strong run - and depending how the Houston brackets fall - they are as good of choice as anyone to win the region.