Program Focus: Houston Heights

Jalen Green and Michael Huff (Courtesy of Green)

Jalen Green and Michael Huff (Courtesy of Green)

One of the more visible high school coaches in the Houston area is Heights’ head coach, Stephen Dixon. I’ve bumped into Coach Dixon at numerous camps and college practices over the years. He’s easy to spot with his stout build, and ever-present smile.

Like so many other high school coaches, Dixon is in this line of work to help mentor kids, and after talking to a handful of his players, it’s obvious his mentorship is taking root.

On the day I visited Heights, former Westfield star, and Arkansas Razorback turned second round draft pick, Tony Ugoh, was there to speak to the football team. Said Dixon, “I can tell these kids all the same things, but because it comes from someone who has played at the highest level, it will resonate better.” There’s some merit to that, but after seeing Dixon interact with his players, they respect him and his message just as much.

Heights is an interesting school, with interesting architecture, in an interesting part of town. It’s a Magnet school that looks more like a small college campus in a historic and eclectic part of Houston. The efficiency of the school due to tight quarters is a sight to see. Cosmetically, a lot of schools take away from the area, but Heights adds to an already uniquely beautiful part of town.

A 6A school in HISD, Heights could be on the verge of a breakout season thanks to an abundance of talent, even if some of it is still under the radar.

The school that gave the world Red Adair and Dan Rather, is now also giving us football players.

The headliner of course is cornerback/athlete, Jalen Green. As a corner, Green may be the state’s best overall player. Because he’s spent much of his time helping his team on offense, he’s behind some other corners when it comes to reps and technique, but his natural ability is on par with anyone’s. He reminds me of Texas corner Kris Boyd from the 2015 class. Boyd spent much of his time on offense in high school, but now is a potential early round draft pick at his native position.

With his pedigree, Green can choose any school he wishes, but when I talked to him he seemed more interested in discussing his teammates than himself. That’s good, because that’s why I was there.

LB Joshua Reed, 6-1, 225 (2018): It’s borderline criminal that he has yet to receive an offer. His recruitment is similar to Mohamed Sanogo from last cycle. Sanogo’s interest was slow to pick up. He finally received a Houston offer and committed. Late in the cycle big schools such as Ole Miss and UCLA came calling. He eventually ended up selecting Ole Miss. Reed is a superior linebacker prospect to Sanogo, so he just needs to remain patient and keep working. Physically he’s ready to play in college now. He shows the ability to be an explosive striker and he can run for an ILB. He’s hearing from Missouri, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, UTSA, Texas State, and some others.

WR Jacoby Hopkins, 6-1, 180 (2018): Hopkins is a good example of Dixon looking out for his players. Coach told me about Hopkins months before his first offer, stating he would receiver big offers. I turned on the tape and lo and behold, he’s a ballplayer. Not long ago the downfield threat picked up Louisville. I think Bobby Petrino knows what he’s looking for. Hopkins states Houston and Texas Tech are close to offering and he’s also hearing from Oregon State. Despite the Louisville offer he’s still one of the best kept secrets in the city.

CB Tyriq Paul, 5-9, 175 (2018):
Paul holds a UTSA offer, and is hearing from Texas Tech, ULM, Memphis, Texas State and some others. He may not have ideal length, but it’s tough to get separation from him and he’s very competitive at the catch point. He shows good ability when it comes to ‘turn and run’ and has good make-up speed. Dixon is cognizant of the recruiting landscape and thinks Paul is better than some more highly regarded players.

WR Kamron Williams, 6-1, 170 (2018): Williams missed a lot of the season to injury but Dixon thinks he’s going to have a breakout season and views him as a potential D1 player.

RB E’Munn Parker, 5-10, 160 (2019): Parker will find a home in college somewhere, if not at running back perhaps at slot. He shows some initial quickness and agility in space. Look for him to become a bigger part of the Bulldog offense next year.

Some others to mention: WR Kameron Curtis (5-10, 165, 2018), DL/OL Jaylon O’Neill (6-4, 300, 2018), OL Michael Infante (6-3, 295, 2019)