The freshly dried ink on letters of intent for members of the class of 2006 from across the country mean only one thing: time to focus on prospects in the class of 2007. It’s no secret that Texas is one of the top prospect producing states in America.
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 is the second part of the two-part series.
Tekerrien Cuba, safety, Tyler (TX) Lee-The state of Texas always produces top defensive backs, however, that is not the strong suit of the 2007 class. There are still some very good defensive backs and at the head of the class is Cuba. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Cuba is a destroyer in the secondary. He’s a very physical and very aggressive, makes good reads and has solid speed. He has good coverage skills, but his strongest attribute is covering the run where he is certainly not shy about coming in and making contact. Expect this one to come down to the in-state schools, but if the Longhorns decide to offer they could be tough to beat.
Marcus Mendoza, running back, Houston (TX) Spring Woods-As usual there will be a lot of great running backs in Texas for the class of 2007, but don’t let Mendoza get lost in the shuffle. He’s not the state’s biggest back at 5-foot-9, 175-pounds, but he’s got very good speed and seems to bounce off defenders like a pinball in a pinball machine. He’s got great balance and exceptional vision. He has a strong burst through the hole and is extremely slippery. He has already picked up an early offer from Kansas State. Look for Mendoza to stay in the Big 12 and possibly in Texas.
Dez Bryant, wide receiver, Lufkin-Bryant is a mix between the big, physical wide receiver and the small, fast, shifty one. He checks in at 6-foot-1, 197-pounds with solid size. He is not a blazer, but has good speed, enough to create separation in his routes. The best thing Bryant does is make the tough catch, he can go up and pull the ball down in near impossible situations. As a junior Bryant caught 48 passes for 1,025 yards and 16 touchdowns. Texas Tech has already extended and offer to Bryant and look for him to stay in the state of Texas to play his college football.
Jerrod Gooch, offensive lineman, Vidor-Gooch has garnered a lot of early talk after making no secret of the fact that he plans to end the recruiting process very early on. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Gooch attended the U.S. Army All-American combine where he a solid showing that was cut short by a hand injury. He’s got good size and moves very well. His 6-foot-5 height makes him a bit of a tweener, therefore some schools look at him as a potential tackle and others like him at guard. He’s already picked up an early offer for Arizona, but has named Texas and Texas Tech as his leaders. Don’t be surprised if he picks up an early offer from the Longhorns and is committed before Easter.
Bradley Stephens, running back, McAllen (TX) Memorial-One name that has been hot in the recruiting process early on is that of Stephens. The 5-foot-10, 176-pound Stephens is a big time talent playing in an uncommon part of the state for top talent. He led the entire state in rushing through the regular season with 2,633 yards and 38 touchdowns. Stephens is originally from the Chicago area and has yet to narrow down his list very far. He has already picked up offers from Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Houston and Iowa State. Look for Stephens to stay local and play for Texas or Texas A&M or go back to his roots and play for one of the Big Ten powers or Notre Dame.
G.J. Kinne, quarterback, Canton-The son of Baylor assistant coach Gary Joe Kinne who was the head coach that became known throughout the nation as the coach was shot by a disgruntled parent and also named national coach of the year. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Kinne may be the state’s No. 2 quarterback prospect behind Mallet in what is a good year in-state for signal callers. He has already picked up offers from Baylor, Alabama, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Tennessee. Obviously one has to like Baylor’s odds with his father being on the Baylor staff, but Alabama could be a sleeper here.
Malcolm Williams, wide receiver, Garland-Another big bodied wide receiver from the Lone Star State that is becoming a huge commodity in college football. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Williams attended the Scout.com combine in Waco last year and turned in a solid performance. Williams plays on a team that does not throw the ball around a whole lot and only caught 17 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns. The potential that Williams possesses though is obvious with his size and speed. He has already picked an offer from Texas A&M and look for his recruitment to come down to schools from around the Big 12 South and Florida.
John Chiles, quarterback, Mansfield Summit-As previously stated quarterbacks from the state of Texas this year are plentiful. However, the one big difference with Chiles and the others is that, while he will get his first look at quarterback, his college position may not end up a quarterback. He certainly has a lively arm and can make all the throws, but he is also an exceptional athlete with good speed and can make all of the cuts that running backs can make and some schools will be tempted to look at him as a wide receiver. He has already picked up offers from Oklahoma and Nebraska. Look for him to stay in the Big 12 to play his football.