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Offensive Underclassmen Look to Shine at State Passing Event

Every year underclassmen prospects can make names for themselves

at the 7-on-7 state tournament and use the experience gained in the summer to

have big seasons in the fall. Some of the state’s top 2012 prospects and a few

elite talents in the class of 2013 will be taking part in this year’s state

tournament on the Texas A&M campus and while a few of them are looking to

bust out, a few of them have already put their names on the recruiting radar

for a number of schools.
Whether it’s Dallas Skyline’s impressive collection of talent including 2012 stud receiver Thomas Johnson and promising 2013 quarterback DeVante Kincade, a running back group that features three potentially elite 2013 prospects or a number of quarterbacks looking to take the next step as prospects, this weekend’s state tournament features plenty of underclassman talent on offense.

Many of the underclassman prospects in the field like Spring Dekaney running back Trey Williams and Sanger quarterback Dane Evans had big sophomore seasons. However, some prospects like Houston Second Baptist’s Jeremiah Briscoe are settling into different positions than they played last fall.

Whatever the case may be, the state is about to see what some of these promising young prospects bring to the table.

2012 & 2013 OFFENSIVE PROSPECTS BY POSITION

QUARTERBACKS

While there aren’t elite names from the 2012 class like Klein Forest’s Matt Davis or San Antonio Regan’s Trevor Knight in the field, there are still some solid arms among the underclassmen in the tournament.

One of the best looking prospects on the hoof is sure to be Houston Second Baptist’s Jeremiah Briscoe, who caught passes from Texas freshman Connor Wood last year and is now moving behind center. The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder is a tremendous athlete who will look to hone his craft as a passer against some good competition.

In the same pool with Briscoe and Second Baptist is Sanger’s Dane Evans. The 6-foot, 185-pounder threw for more than 2,300 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing 63 percent of his throws as a sophomore and this could be the perfect event for Evans to emerge as a top signal caller in the class of 2012.

Stephenville’s Connor Washington has earned a reputation for being tough as nails and with the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder could be in for a big day with the Jackets being one of the state’s best 7-on-7 teams. Washington threw for more than 2,200 yards and 19 scores as a sophomore and he’s got some very good skill players that can make plays if he can hit his spots.

Among the 2013 quarterbacks one name folks might want to keep an eye on is Dallas Skyline’s DeVante Kincade. The 6-foot, 170-pounder spent the spring working behind center as the Raiders’ new starting quarterback and after lighting it up at the Elite 11 event a few months ago, this will be Kincade’s chance to show the state what he can offer as a passer.

RUNNING BACKS

While the overall talent pool isn’t as deep as 2011, the 2012 running back class in Texas is shaping up to be another dandy crop and some of the state’s best are set to take the field this weekend.

Headlining the running backs in Spring Dekaney’s Trey Williams, who put up monster numbers as a sophomore for the Wildcats. The 5-foot-8, 175-pounder with elite quickness and breakaway speed has flashed good hands catching the ball out of the backfield and Williams doesn’t need much of a crease to turn a short reception into a home run.

Russell Hansborough was a steady performer as a sophomore for Arlington Bowie as the Volunteers made a deep run in the Class 5A playoffs. Bowie is another school that typically fares well in 7-on-7 and look for the 5-foot-8, 175-pounder who rushed for 13 touchdowns last fall to be a big part of the offense.

While he won’t be signing with the school for nearly two years, Wimberley’s Dennis Smith will get another chance to take the field in College Station only this time he’ll be doing it as a Texas A&M commit. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder has enjoyed a productive two-year career for the Texans and at last year’s state tournament Smith did a little bit of everything including flexing as a tight end and playing linebacker on defense. He’ll be one of the most physically imposing players in the tournament.

Also watch out for DeSoto’s Devin Rushing. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder will be counted on to provide some big plays out of the backfield and he could emerge as a playmaking safety valve for Ryan Polite this weekend.

Like the quarterback position, running back also features three of the class of 2013’s best in Tyler Lee’s LaQuintas Wallace, Lewisville Hebron’s Dezmond Wortham and Klein Collins’ Marcus Goodson. Wallace (5-11, 185) averaged nearly five yards per carry as a freshman while Wortham (5-11, 175) rushed for more than 900 yards in his debut season.

Goodson (5-9, 175) is the younger brother of former Texas A&M running back Mike Goodson and the Collins coaches are very excited about his potential.

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

There’s no question that Dallas Skyline has one of the most talented teams in the 128-team event, and two of their best prospects are 2012 receivers Thomas Johnson and Tray Rabon.

Johnson has already drawn comparisons to Texas freshman and Skyline alum Mike Davis because of his ability to explode out of a cut and create big plays after the catch while also being a threat in the vertical passing game. The 6-foot, 177-pounder with verbal offers from Cal, Miami, UCLA and USC played quarterback at Arlington Oakridge last year and after injuring his shoulder at the Nike Football Training Camp at TCU, this could be an event where Johnson shines.

Rabon has already secured a verbal offer from Texas A&M and the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder brings something different to the table. While Skyline has thrived on having big-play speedsters in the past, Rabon will give the Raiders a big-bodied possession receiver with good body control and strong hands to go to on third downs.

San Antonio Warren’s Dennis Parks has had a big summer and has emerged as a candidate to be in the discussion among the top receivers in the 2012 class. The 6-foot-3, 170-pounder has had some consistency issues with dropped passes at times, but when everything is clicking Parks shows elite body control, a great ability to get open on double moves to the outside, and knack for making big catches in traffic.

There haven’t been many tight ends in 2012 show up on the scene, but Lake Travis’ Griffin Gilbert could emerge as a project at the position and nonetheless he’s an intriguing prospect. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound sure-handed pass catcher and younger brother of Texas sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert absolutely lit it up at Lake Travis’ State Qualifying Tournament proving to be a big-time red zone target and reliable target who can work the sideline on third downs.

Pool play in the Division II State Tournament begins on Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Texas A&M’s Penberthy Fields. Bracket play in the Division II tournament begins at 8 a.m. on Friday while the Division I field begins pool play later in the day Friday at 1 p.m.

The tournament semifinals and championships for both divisions and both brackets are played at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field.