COLLEGE STATION, Tex. — Having won three consecutive Class 4A state football
championships, Lake Travis added another title on Saturday, winning the 2010 Texas
7-on-7 Division I State Tournament over DeSoto at Kyle Field. It wasn’t quite the same day for Texas commit David Ash and
Belton, but on the state tournament’s final day there was still plenty to see
and plenty to ponder with the 2010 season now merely weeks away from getting
started with fall practices.
It wasn’t an easy ride, but Lake Travis eventually made it to the Division I championship game and despite another outstanding offensive effort from DeSoto quarterback Ryan Polite and a receiver corps that features three 2011 Division I commits, the Cavaliers’ won thanks to four touchdown hook ups from Michael Brewer to Connor Floyd.
Floyd, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound receiver with offers from Air Force, North Texas and Tulsa, was named the tournament MVP. Equal credit for the title however goes to the Texas Tech-bound Brewer as the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder was on-target all weekend long.
Lake Travis junior receiver Griffin Gilbert, the younger brother of Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert, said the 7-on-7 experience is a big reason why the Cavaliers have been so successful in the fall the past three seasons. The win is the first 7-on-7 state championship for Lake Travis – a team that consistently advances deep into the state tournament.
“Michael does a great job getting the ball to us, all we have to do is get open,” Gilbert said. “We just have to catch it because he does such a great job of putting the ball where it needs to be. Its great practice for the regular season because we can know what we’re doing on every route and this helps us make the proper adjustments.”
The Cavaliers defeated Saginaw Boswell, Beaumont West Brook and San Antonio MacArthur by reasonably comfortable margins, but the toughest test came in the round of 16 against Little Cypress-Mauriceville. It took and overtime touchdown pass to Floyd and a two-point conversion pass to a stumbling Gilbert at the goal line to help the Cavaliers escape with a 46-45 win.
The championship game of the consolation bracket, also played at Kyle Field, saw Lufkin defeat The Woodlands, 50-39.
ASH, BELTON BOW OUT EARLY
Longhorn commit David Ash and Belton had a good day on Friday winning their first two pool play games before falling to DeSoto in the day’s final game. The Tigers made it to the championship bracket but were ousted by Plano in the opening round, 39-22.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Ash threw the ball well over the weekend, but some untimely mistakes, dropped passes and a few critical defensive lapses proved to be their undoing. Ash developed quite a rapport with senior wide receiver Adrian Henderson as the two hooked up for big touchdown late in the first half against Plano. The Wildcats struck back and hit a big touchdown pass right before halftime to take momentum for good.
Belton head coach Rodney Southern acknowledged that the Belton defense has a tough time adjusting to Plano’s scheme on Saturday and the Tigers never found their footing. He was very complimentary of his senior quarterback however, despite the early exit.
“(Ash) threw the ball really well, especially yesterday,” Southern said. “He even threw it well against DeSoto, and they’re the real deal.”
The next time Ash will be on the field will be Aug. 27 when Belton faces reigning Class 5A Division II state champion Abilene in the Alamodome.
BIG RECRUITING WEEKEND FOR THE AGGIES?
With several hundred athletes already in town for the state tournament, Texas A&M and head coach Mike Sherman are trying to capitalize by having camps in an attempt to gain recruiting momentum to close out the 2011 class and potentially get a head start on the 2012 class.
The Aggies hosted a lineman camp on Friday and a one-day football camp on Sunday. Several 2012 prospects I spoke with (including Spring Dekaney’s Jarrett Irving, Stephenville’s Aiavion Edwards and Lewisville Hebron’s Kiante Griffin) said they were planning on staying in College Station to attend the camp. Texas A&M was also expecting unofficial visits Sunday from elite 2012 prospects Johnathan Gray of Aledo and Cayleb Jones of Austin High.
As of press time Sunday, the news coming out of Texas A&M’s camps included the Aggies landing a commitment from Daingerfield lineman Shayvion Hatten (a previous TCU commit) and offers going out to Klein Collins cornerback Charles Jackson, Houston St. Pius X linebacker Kellen Jones and Reserve (La.) East St. John defensive back Floyd Raven.
GILBERT PREPARED TO MAKE THE MOVE
Lake Travis 2012 wide receiver Griffin Gilbert knows he probably won’t be playing split end at the next level, but the 6-foot-5, 195-pounder isn’t sulking about the move. He’s embracing it and he’s ready to make the change.
The younger brother of Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert said he worked out for the first time as a tight end at Texas’ June 13 minicamp. Gilbert said he knows he will have to get bigger but said he thinks he can be a productive player as a either a true tight end or as a flex tight end/H-back at the next level.
So far the state of Texas doesn’t look to have many elite tight end prospects next year (Mansfield’s Hassan Ridgeway projects as a defensive end and Waco La Vega’s Michael Starts could very well wind up playing offensive line). Gilbert could wind up as a nice project for somebody because of his strong hands, willingness to take on people at the point of attack, and body position to make himself big in the red zone.
Gilbert said Texas and Texas A&M are two schools that have caught his attention early on in the recruiting process.
ELITE BACKS ON HAND TO WATCH
While they would have been two of the best of the best on the field had they suited up, Aledo’s Johnathan Gray and Spring Dekaney’s Trey Williams were in street clothes watching the tournament action on Saturday.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Gray is considered to be the top running back prospect in the country in the 2012 class and was spotted watching the action along with his father – former Texas Tech All-American running back James Gray. Gray was expected to be an unofficial visitor at Texas A&M on Sunday and two of his Aledo teammates (2012 offensive lineman Michael Wilson and 2012 wide receiver Michael Mann) visited College Station as well.
Texas remains one of the favorites to land Gray, but look for the All-State ball carrier to be every bit the national recruit that Malcolm Brown and Aaron Green are in the 2011 class.
Spring Dekaney did make it to the state tournament and while he wasn’t in town on Friday, Williams drove down for the action on Saturday as Dekaney played in the consolation bracket. The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder said he didn’t participate in 7-on-7 this year and has instead opted to work with a personal trainer and work on his speed and explosive power.
Williams said that Alabama and Texas A&M have verbally offered him but that Alabama and Texas remain his top two schools. Williams said he spotted Texas running backs coach Major Applewhite on the Dekaney campus in the spring and he’s looking forward to developing a relationship with Applewhite, who is also Williams’ area recruiter.
THE WOODLANDS DUO LIKES THE LONGHORNS
The Woodlands advanced to the championship game in the consolation bracket and two of their more impressive prospects are potential big-time recruits in the 2012 class.
Linebacker Garrett Hope is a big, rangy player at 6-foot-2, 215-pounds. Hope looked sold in coverage and has a long frame that will continue to fill out. Hope camped at Texas in June and said the Longhorns are very high on his list, but at this stage he’s open to just about anyone.
Maybe the most intriguing prospect in the program is receiver Blake Webb. The 6-foot, 180-pounder has created a buzz this summer after running a 4.39 40-yard dash at Texas’ June minicamp. Webb runs on one of the fastest amateur sprint relay teams in the country – the CL Stars. Webb and his relay team of Deonte Gray, Elijah Hall-Thompson and Cameron Burrell (son of former U.S. Olympic sprinter Leroy Burrell) have clocked a 41.3 in the 4×100 this year.
Webb said he hopes to be able to compete in both football and track at the next level and lists Cal, Texas and Texas Tech as his favorites.
MORE ON TSHIMANGA
In the report from Friday’s action I mentioned how Richland 2012 linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga stood out because of his impressive physique. As it turned out, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder is a native of The Congo and happens to be a cousin of Texas freshman defensive end Reggie Wilson.
Tshimanga said that he attended a camp at Oklahoma State and the Cowboys are already recruiting him after spotting him while recruiting 2011 linebacker Nico Ornelas – a Cowboys commit. LSU and Texas A&M are among Tshimanga’s favorites and so is Texas.
According to Tshimanga, he and Wilson talk frequently and he said he’s supposed to head down to Austin soon to visit his cousin and hopefully take an unofficial visit of the campus. Tshimanga said Wilson often talks to him about coming to Texas and Tshimanga said he would love to play for the Longhorns if given the change.
Look for Tshimanga do be recruited as an outside linebacker who could possibly spin down to defensive end.
MORE LONGHORN CONNECTIONS WATCH THE ACTION
In our state tournament primer piece earlier in the week we mentioned that there were several players in the field who had connections to the Texas football program. Well, a few more popped up over the weekend…
On Friday former Graham head coach Brad McCoy, the father of Colt and Case McCoy, was on hand to watch Brownwood’s tournament game against Rosebud-Lott. As has been well documented, the McCoy and Shipley families are very close and Brad McCoy stood on the sidelines as Jaxon Shipley, whose best friend is Case McCoy, lit it up.
While McCoy could often be spotted wearing a Longhorn ball cap away from the field he has traded his old hat in for a new one. McCoy was wearing a Cleveland Browns hat – the team for which his son will be a rookie quarterback this fall.
Current Texas defensive back Kenny Vaccaro was also on the Brownwood sideline Friday and Saturday watching his younger brother Kevin – a 2012 cornerback – play. Vaccaro attended Brownwood until just prior to his senior year when he transferred to nearby Early High School.
Longhorn offensive line commit Marcus Hutchins made it to College Station over the weekend as the 6-foot-4, 255-pound athletic line prospect was roaming the sidelines in support in his DeSoto teammates.