Houston TD Club honors city's best

The Touchdown Club of Houston awarded 28 of the city's top football players during the annual Touchdowner of the Year Dinner. This year's recipient was former Houston Oiler Bruce Matthews.

For more than a decade, the Touchdown Club of Houston has been putting on events to promote football in the state of Texas. On Wednesday, Aug. 12 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, the organization had its annual Touchdowner of the Year hosted by I.W. Marks. This year's recipient was Bruce Matthews, the former Houston Oiler.

To go along with celebrating Matthews' accomplishments, the Touchdown Club also named a select group of football players to its All-Greater Houston Preseason High School Football team. It was a full house packed with parents, coaches, fans, and supportive community members.

One of the coaches on hand was Fort Bend Marshall's Daryl Phipps, who had two athletes present. Not only that, two athletes from has last coaching stop were also represented.

"I'm very blessed and very fortunate. When you have talented kids who are coachable it makes it a lot of fun and makes the job a lot easier," Phipps, who has two Marshall athletes honored along with former players at Eisenhower said. "I'm looking forward to this season."

On offense it was quarterbacks Kolby Gray, Cy-Falls; A.J. Highsmith, Hightower, and Jacob Karam, Friendswood. Highsmith has given his pledge to Miami while Karam looks toward Lubbock (Texas Tech). 

At the running back position Pearland's Kasey Carrier, Fort Bend Marshall's Knile Davis, Houston Lamar's Kalvin Guyton (Texas A&M commit), and Klein Forest's Dominic Wilkins all made the list.

Offensive linemen Clint Naron of Klein Oak (Texas A&M commit) and Ralph Oragwu (Houston commit) of Fort Bend Marshall were also honored. For the tight ends, Barrett Matthews of North Shore and Wes Williams of Strake Jesuit were both on hand. Matthews has given his verbal to Texas.

Another future Longhorn who was present was Aldine Eisenhower wide receiver Greg Timmons. Also Texas Top 100 receiver Josh Gordon of Lamar and Barry Ford from Spring Westfield were honored. In the athlete category there was LSU commit and quarterback for Cy Ridge Russell Shepherd and Spring Westfield's Ja-Mes Logan.

"Most of the guys on this stage are leaders on their team and as leaders you want to play with a swag and a certain confidence," Shepard said. "And I feel by us being recognized by this Greater Houston organization and it is amazing for our confidence level as we head into next year. You see guys like Kolby Gray and Craig Loston as well as others who are wonderful men as well as good athletes."

The defensive group was just as noteworthy. On the line, there was Clear Lake's Stephen Barrera (Texas A&M), Houston Chavez's Michael Brockers (LSU), Houston Yates' Darryl Jackson (Houston), Stratford's Terrence Lloyd, and North Shore's Thaddeus Randle (Nebraska).

Linebackers Trey Biggs of Jersey Village, Malcolm Johnson of Klein Collins and Jordan Norfleet of Clear Brook were the three top linebackers chosen. Briggs gave a verbal to Rice while Johnson pledged to Texas A&M.

In the secondary, the Aggies have a pair preseason picks with Steven Campbell, Jersey Village and Colton Valencia, Hightower both making the cut. Thomas Bates, (Baytown Lee, Houston) Marcus Davis (Clear Creek, Texas), and Craig Loston (Eisenhower, Clemson) round the remaining defensive backs.

For special teams, kicker/punter Dustin Hopkins of Clear Lake was honored as well. Hopkins committed to Florida State this summer.

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