Every year the Dallas metroplex and the Houston area produce the largest part of the Lone Star State's talent and this year is no exception. However, one exception this year is that a couple of prospects considered to be at the top of the lists hail from the farthest corners of the state in somewhat of an unusual year.
Scout.com introduces you to the 2007 version of the "Texas Sweet Sixteen." We'll profile 16 of the state's top prospects, many of which already have offers. This will be a two-part series with eight of the prospects introduced today and the other eight on Friday.
Ryan Mallett, quarterback, Texarkana (TX) Texas-There will be great debate about who the top player in the state is, but as of right now Mallet gets the nod. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Mallet has one of the strongest arms we've seen in quite some time. He has pinpoint accuracy and plays in a great high school system. He's a rare breed of player in the fact that he has started for a very successful 4A program since his freshman year. Mallet already has offers from Nebraska and Baylor and by the end of next week that number will likely rise quite significantly now that signing day has come and gone. Expect this to come down to a border war between Texas and Arkansas, but look out for the Michigan Wolverines. After Mitch Mustain's signing with Arkansas yesterday and the Horns desperate need at quarterback, the Longhorns could be tough to beat here.
Richetti Jones, linebacker, Dallas (TX) Lincoln-If Mallet is the top player in Texas Jones is nipping at his heels. This 6-foot-3, 215-pound monster attended day one of the U.S. Army All-American combine where he showed out. He has spent most of his high school career at defensive end, but many schools want him to make the transition to linebacker at the next level. Looking at his size, speed combination it is easy to see why. As a sophomore Jones racked up 75 tackles, 25 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in leading his team to the state title game. As a junior he collected 73 tackles, 16 sacks and 25 tackles for loss in just 10 games. One thing that makes Jones such an attractive prospect is that he is currently set to graduate in December, which means he could get in an extra spring practice at whatever school he chooses. Jones already has offers from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Expect other offers to come flooding in now that signing day is over. Expect Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma to be in his recruitment throughout.
Andre Jones, defensive tackle, El Paso (TX) Andress-It's rare that a prospect of Jones level comes out of El Paso, but this year that is the case. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Jones attended the U.S. Army All-American combine in early January where he looked amazing. He already holds offers from Texas A&M and UTEP. Jones is also projected to be a December graduate and wants to make his decision early in the process. Look for this one to come down to Notre Dame and Texas at the end. Jones will attend the Longhorns junior day in Austin at the end of February where he will likely score an offer. If this happens don't be surprised if he commits on the spot.
Curtis Brown, wide receiver, Gilmer-This speedy star could really play defensive back or wide receiver in college, but when Brown has the ball in his hands he creates magic. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Brown has amazing speed and displays amazing ability to weave through traffic. He is the classic game-breaker type player, the kind of player who can turn what would be a two yard loss on a screen pass into a 20-yard gain. As a junior he had just under 1,000 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. Being the multi-threat he is, Brown also scored eight rushing touchdowns and rushed for 750 yards as well. He currently holds an offer from Oklahoma and this one could very well come down to the Sooners and Longhorns for his services.
Terrance Toliver, wide receiver, Hempstead-The big, lean, physical play-making wide receiver is a hot commodity in college football today and no one fits that description better than Toliver. This 6-foot-5, 182-pound star has all the tools to be the next Limas Sweed from the state of Texas. He's got good speed and great size, but his best attribute may be how physical he is. He also plays safety for his high school team, where he has been known to lay the wood. Texas A&M has already offered and this one will likely come down to the Aggies and Longhorns at the end.
Tray Allen, offensive tackle, South Grand Prarie-Allen is an absolute beast at 6-foot-4, 290-pound, who can move well and play guard or tackle on the next level. He looks to be the top offensive lineman in the entire state for the class of 2007. He's already picked up offers from Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Thus far the Aggies have done a solid job in recruiting him and could be the team to beat. The Longhorns and Sooners will certainly have something to say on where he ends up as well.
Joseph Reese, running back, Pflugerville (TX) Hendrickson-It's tough to know if there will be a back as good as a Michael Goodson or Emmanuel Moody in this class, but the state is going to be very deep for sure. There are three or four guys who could be considered the early favorite for the state's top back, but Reese is absolute dynamite. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Reese rushed for nearly a thousand yards his sophomore year and as a junior he rushed for almost 600 yards in a season that was cut short due to injury after just five games. He already has offers from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Arizona and Nebraska. He lives only 15 minutes from the Texas campus and should the Longhorns decide to offer will be tough to beat.
Dante Pinchback, tight end, Irving-This big bodied fellow could play a couple of different positions, but his athleticism and speed make him most attractive as a tight end. Pinchback checks in at 6-foot-4, 250-pounds, so don't rule out the possibility that some coaches may have the urge to put weight on him and move him inside to tackle or guard. He's big and strong, but it's his mobility that have coaches so intrigued by this young man. Look for Oklahoma, Texas and Notre Dame to do battle for this one.