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Recently I went to visit with the good folks at Waco Midway, and one thing was abundantly clear, that school has resources.
Most of the state’s consistently strong programs have great resources; schools like Katy, Southlake Carroll, Allen, Austin Westlake, Lake Travis, and the list goes on. Even schools that aren’t necessarily affluent have programs with tremendous community support.
Successful programs also have resources of the human variety, where the coaching is strong and the baseline athlete is higher than elsewhere. When all of these merge, you have a program ready to compete at the highest level. This is the territory Waco Midway finds itself.
Midway’s facilities are evidence of the financial support the school gets, but that goes for naught without good coaches and especially talented, hard-working players. With the financial resources evident, and head coach Jeff Hulme’s resume being quite strong, I knew the first two sets of resources were in play. Midway is also a very talented team on tape. I went specifically to see how hard they worked.
At Midway, traditional lifting days are Monday-Tuesday then Thursday-Friday. Wednesday is a little something called Fight Gone Bad. It’s really circuit training gone bad, consisting of 10 stations, each of them a compound, functional movement. It’s incredibly fast paced with each station lasting 30 seconds. This rotation is done four times, and the coaches relate this to quarters in a football game. The intensity from the coaches picks up as the players become more fatigued. As the “fourth quarter” begins to grate on players, they begin to pick each other up. It’s not hard to understand how this will translate to Friday nights.
I spent a lot of time observing Midway’s most well-known prospect, quarterback Tanner Mordecai. To put it bluntly, the kid worked his ass off; as hard as any of the Rudy’s on the team. He wasn’t shorting reps, he was fighting through the fatigue, he was competing. I asked a coach if he always works this hard and the answer was that he does. Recently Mordecai ran a 10.79 100 meters. While much of that is natural ability, it’s evident his work is paying off in measurable, functional ways.
I also made sure to also watch tight end David Priebe. At 6-foot-6 he sticks out even at a school with size. It’s evident he’s been working hard. He’s added some much-needed weight since I first saw him eight months ago. Priebe has good upside, and is flexible at his size. He should be a guy schools can flex out, and hopefully over time he develops into an in-line blocker as well. He just needs to keep working. Priebe holds Missouri, Central Florida, Texas State, and SMU offers. As he physically matures he could become a steal for someone.
Midway projects to have one of the most talented offensive lines in the state for 2017, with potentially four Division I players on the roster.
Hakeem White is the guy who catches my eye on film with his athleticism, but Kaitori Leveston is right there with him and has really good size at about 6-foot-5, 290 pounds. It’s worth noting that Leveston was the very first player to the practice field for stretching.
Because of length limitations, White will likely be a guard, but he’ll be a tackle-level athlete at that position.
Leveston projects everywhere potentially, but center might be his calling because of his intelligence. I think he also had good upside at guard.
Both White and Leveston hold Missouri (Mizzou obviously likes what it sees at Midway) offers, and Leveston recently picked up Texas Tech. They are both mid-Big 12 players at worst, and both visited Texas this weekend, as did Mordecai.
Yet another interior line prospect is Diazion Carroll, who I think also has P5 ability. Doors will also open up for him thanks to a 1310 SAT.
That’s 5/11 starters on offense who will play D1, and because of the 2019 class, there will likely be more in thickly built running back James Fulbright and offensive lineman Joshua Echeverria.
Fulbright is short but anything but small, at 5-foot-8, 185 pounds. He seems to love weights. “Chevy” played JV last year but will be a two-year starter at Midway and has the size and ability that will gain attention.
While offense is more talent-laden from a college projection standpoint, 2018 defensive tackle, Jaxon Player will play Division 1 somewhere. His only limitations are length; he moves well laterally and will function well in a four-man front heavy with stunting.
And finally, one sleeper is 2018 wide receiver, Clayton “CJ” Williams. He’s good on the track and is also Midway’s starting point guard in basketball. The 6-foot-1, 160 pound athlete does some good things on tape.
With its work ethic, talent, and quality coaching, I’m expecting Midway to play into the holiday season next Fall.