All-Spiegelman Team: Top offensive performers in Texas, Louisiana
Football season in the South has come to a close as the Texas large-schools championships wrapped up a very long, daunting but rewarding few months.
Rivals analyst Sam Spiegelman covered games from Louisiana to Texas and honored the top performances he saw live from September through January. Here’s the All-Spiegelman Team for 2020 on offense:
SPIEGELMAN'S TAKEAWAYS: Star-studded championship week in Texas
QUARTERBACK: Walker Howard, Quinn Ewers
Howard capped his first season orchestrating the St. Thomas More (La.) offense with a perfect record culminating in a second consecutive Division II championship. Howard opened the year on a torrid pace and took down some of Louisiana’s best defenses in the process, including comeback victories over Division I champion Baton Rouge Catholic and Division II runners-up De La Salle. The LSU commitment threw for more than 3,000 yards with a 35:4 touchdown to interception ratio along with three rushing scores.
Ewers battled injuries during his junior campaign but engineered Southlake Carroll past a talent-rich Duncanville defense that had bitten him in the postseason a year ago and helped the Dragons advance to the 6A DI championship. Austin Westlake boasted arguably the best defense in the Lone Star State this fall, but Ewers’ ability to make accurate throws downfield on the move and off his back foot, plus his arm talent cemented his place as the No. 1 prospect in the country.
RUNNING BACK: LJ Johnson, Montaye Dawson
LJ Johnson amassed more than 1,200 yards and 20 touchdowns as he topped the century mark on the ground for a third year in a row. The Rivals100 running back blends power and 4.4 speed and more importantly, is talented enough to pick up tough yardage after contact. Texas and Texas A&M are both vying to sign the nation’s No. 2-ranked back.
Playing behind one of the Metroplex’s best offensive lines, SMU-bound Montaye Dawson is a home-run threat at all-purpose back and was electric running and receiving for Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints this season. He’s quick-footed and wildly elusive in space. He’ll make a ton of plays on the Hilltop in SMU’s high-powered offense.
RECEIVER: Brady Boyd, JoJo Earle, Aaron Anderson, J. Michael Sturdivant, Jaden Greathouse, Jack Bech
Boyd was the No. 1 target for Ewers and was near-unguardable in the 6A DI title game. His speed stands out, but he also competes for contested catches and outmaneuvered through double-teams. He’ll be dynamic at Minnesota.
Earle is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball and made plays as a returner, a slot receiver and in the Wildcat for Aledo. He’s got sure hands and is electric after the catch. The Alabama signee should bring a unique dynamic to the Crimson Tide offense.
Anderson possesses a similar skill-set to Earle in that he’s a big-play threat in a smaller frame. Anderson, an LSU commitment, has been the go-to guy in Edna Karr’s pass-first offense the past three seasons in the Class 4A title game. He can stretch the field vertically with a large catch radius for the dangerous slot receiver.
Sturdivant’s game continued to develop in his two seasons playing Texas 6A high school football. The big-bodied wideout (6-foot-3, 182 pounds) -- a Cal signee -- has an insane vertical with excellent hands and has learned to overcome double-teams and become more physical after the fact.
Greathouse put himself on the map with his performance in last year’s championship game, but the 2023 Austin Westlake pass-catcher is a bonafide star. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Greathouse beat double-teams with speed, size and playmaking ability after the catch in the 6A DI title game. He stretched the field and came up huge in the red-zone.
Bech, a hybrid receiver or flex tight end, was Louisiana’s most dynamic pass-catcher this past fall. The LSU signee doesn’t have elite speed, but makes up for it with the ability to make difficult grabs in traffic, yardage after the catch and the ability to get up and over defensive backs. Bech finished with almost 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns and a number of state records in the process. He’s a dangerous pass-catcher wherever he lines up on the field.
TIGHT END: Shield Taylor, Elijah Arroyo
Taylor doesn’t possess an enormous stat line and sometimes doesn’t even appear in the box score, but the Stanford-bound tight end was deemed “the focal point” of his offense by Alexandria (La.) coach Thomas Bachman. Taylor is a motivated blocker that lines up at tight end, H-back and receiver -- and even sees snaps at defensive end. When he is involved in the passing game, Taylor is a sharp route-runner with great hands.
Arroyo is a true pass-catching tight end with outstanding athleticism and could be the next great tight end to surface out of Miami. The four-star is a mismatch for linebackers and safeties in coverage and still has room to improve as a blocker.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Tommy Brockermeyer, Reuben Fatheree, Emery Jones, Devon Campbell
Brockermeyer didn’t miss a beat after a shoulder injury sidelined the five-star tackle all of 2019. The Alabama signee is explosive off the ball to initiate contact and overpowers the competition with ease. Brockermeyer was excellent blocking in space and creating a comfortable pocket for his quarterback.
Fatheree, a two-sport standout with a hoops background, showcased his nimble feet and impressive length for Richmond (Texas) Foster this season. He’s continued to improve as a finisher at the point of attack and his athleticism in pass pro is glaring. He brings a ton of upside to the Aggies up front.
Like Fatheree, Jones has a basketball background and the athleticism that translates well to the football field. Jones has great feet and enormous power, and while he plays left tackle for Baton Rouge (La.) Catholic, he could play multiple positions up front, including guard.
Campbell is the straw that stirs the drink for Arlington (Texas) Bowie and could be a tackle or guard at the next level. He is a dynamic blocker in space and is an explosive blocker. Campbell continues to make strides in pass protection and is one of the meanest run-blockers in the nation.
ATHLETE: Ja'Tavion Sanders, Jacoby Mathews
Whether Sanders lines up at tight end or defensive end in Austin remains to be seen, but whatever position he focuses on in the future is bright. As a senior, we’ve seen athleticism and power to battle off the edge on defense and no shortage of highlight plays at receiver. Sanders has excellent hands, outstanding athleticism for a 6-foot-4, 230-pounder and a bonafide playmaker.
Mathews plays quarterback for Ponchatoula (La.) and his first year on offense was an eye-opener. However, he’s expected to be a safety in college. Mathews is dynamic as a runner and thrower at quarterback -- with a knack for making timely plays -- and made the most of his action on defense.