September 2, 2008

Texas spotlight reveals several sleepers

The stars were shining during a busy weekend for high school football in the Lone Star State. Texas Stadium was home to one of the sites hosting the Herbstreit High School Football Classic, SMU’s Ford Stadium was hosting Texas’ prestigious Tom Landry Football Classic. Meanwhile two of the most talented teams in the Dallas Metroplex were squaring off on Friday night and two more loaded programs shook off the rust in a Thursday scrimmage.

While some superstars justified their reputation with some elite performances on the big stage, there were some as yet unheralded prospects that emerged from the shadows and into the spotlight over the weekend.

Dallas Skyline vs. Rockwall Heath (Scrimmage)

On Thursday night, Dallas (Texas) Skyline, equipped with as much speed as anyone in the Metroplex, took its team to Rockwall (Texas) Heath for a preseason scrimmage. On the Heath defense is a linebacking corps as talented as any you will find. Three-star Ryan Mosby is already committed to Iowa State and Arkansas commit Austin Moss is rated as the No. 25 inside linebacker in the entire country.

Rounding out the crew is a prospect that felt right at home keeping up with the Skyline speed. George Bamfo is barely 6 feet tall and around 200 pounds but he has great athleticism and speed. Bamfo was around the ball the entire scrimmage, showing a great motor and good instincts. The native of Ghana is still waiting on his first offer but this sleeper will likely see several mid-level programs pick up interest as his senior season progresses.

Dallas Carter vs. Lancaster

On Friday night, there was speed and talent all over the field when two teams with high expectations for the 2008 season squared off at John Kincaide Stadium in Dallas. Lancaster High School boasts as much talent at the skill positions as you will find anywhere in the state. The Tigers were playing a Dallas Carter team that thrives in the trenches with great line play.

For most of the night, Carter controlled the line of scrimmage in a 21-6 win but one player that was not going down without a fight was Lancaster defensive end Anthony Gilbert. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Gilbert was very disruptive from his defensive end spot. He was active making several stops behind the line of scrimmage and he was also physical. At one point late in the game, Gilbert took on a 6-3, 280-pound pulling tackle and literally decleated the bigger player. With more games like the one he played on Friday night, schools will not be able to ignore his production.

Though the difference in the game was the line play, Dallas Carter can also thank its athletic quarterback Jarvis Phillips for the victory. Whenever Lancaster was able to track down Phillips for short gains, he would always find a way to make one or two defenders miss to get the extra yard. His play was a constant thorn in the side of the Lancaster defenders and its defensive coaches. At 6-foot-0, 185 pounds, Phillips would probably project well as a safety or running back on the next level.

Mansfield (Texas) Timberview vs. Buford (Ga.) High

Last season, Buford High School was widely regarded as one of the top teams in the country but after losing some key players to graduation like five-star DT Omar Hunter and three-star LB T.J. Pridemore, there were some question marks as to how dominant the Wolves would be on a national level in 2008. Consider those questions answered after a 42-21 drubbing of Mansfield (Texas) Timberview.

A big reason for the victory was the physicality of the Buford players such as a modestly recruited tight end named Devin Durden. Durden is 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and runs a 4.57 40. He is also extremely physical and showed some great blocking ability both at the point of attack and downfield. His athleticism and physicality should see someone take a chance on him as his stock should rise rapidly during his senior year.

Though beef and strength was the theme for Buford, there was some speed mixed in as well, much of it coming from 5-7, 157-pound tailback Cody Getz. Getz had two rushing touchdowns on 64 yards, one 35-yard punt return for a touchdown and an interception in the win. Because of his size, he is limited as a prospect but he does hold an offer from Air Force and that is the type of setting that could really see him excel on the next level. Getz also received the running back MVP award at the Chapel Hill Nike Camp earlier this spring.

On the Timberview side of the ball, the player that stood out along with four-star running back Eric Stephens was wide receiver Sharman Brown. The play that stood out the most was Brown’s 86-yard touchdown grab. On the play he caught a post route and made two men miss before out-running the Buford defense to the end zone. Brown has the size and speed to be a factor on the next level and already holds offers from the likes of Colorado State, New Mexico and Utah.

Plano West vs. Southlake Carroll

Southlake Carroll boasts some good underclassmen prospects as well as two seniors already committed to play D-I college football. Plano West also is home to one of the top 2010 prospects in the country. However, the player that really stood out among the 2009 prospects that was under the radar heading into the game was defensive tackle/offensive guard Ameen Behbahani.

Behbahani was first team all district as a nose tackle his junior year and it was easy to see why. He plays with high intensity and a real nasty streak. He was active on the defensive line, making several plays behind the line of scrimmage and also had some very impressive blocks in limited action on offense. He is maybe just over six feet tall which may explain his limited interest from schools. However, he does have offers from UNLV and Army and may see more come in the near future.

Euless (Texas) Trinity vs. River Ridge (La.) John Curtis

Despite an 28-12 loss to the nation’s top team in Euless Trinity, John Curtis High School had an impressive, competitive showing in the Labor Day contest at Texas Stadium. A big reason for the team’s success was its ability to control the line of scrimmage for much of the game. On the defensive side of the ball, tackle Mike Henry was a big reason for that success.

At 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, Henry is a strong player with deceptive athleticism. Though he plays defensive line for John Curtis, he projects better on the offensive side of the ball at tackle. He currently holds one official offer from Tulane but he has the potential to pick up many more, particularly if colleges are able to see his potential on the offense. If Henry falls to Tulane, The Green Wave can consider that a huge pickup.

For the Trinity program, there is so much talent to spare, that college recruiters could potentially find several players that may not be feature players on that roster. On Monday, running back Christo Lisika looked every bit the running back that three-star Nebraska commit Dontrayevous Robinson was. Lisika is 6-foot-2, 208 pounds so he has the size to be an every down back in college. He is a similar back to Robinson as a between-the-tackles type but he can make plays around the edge as well. After suffering an injury as a junior, Lisika has a chance to put himself on the map in 2008, particularly with all the eyes on Trintiy and its No. 1 national ranking.


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