DESOTO, Texas - It's not a rarity that DeSoto High School has plenty of talent on their roster.
In March of 2008, former Austin LBJ head coach Claude Mathis was named the new head coach of the Eagles. He didn't waste time as his DeSoto team finished his first year with five wins in the last seven games and the co-district title with Tyler Lee. Mathis was named co-coach of the year for District 11-5A.
DeSoto will have their spring game this week and standing around just one practice this year, it's easy to see why the players and Mathis are excited.
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"They're very confident," Mathis said about his players. "I think it will be a big turnaround from last year, especially kids having more confidence this year. We had a bunch of sophomores and first-year juniors playing varsity for the first time. This year, with them having experience and having a good spring, they're kind of confident."
The list of talent that he has on the roster in terms of recruiting is impressive, as usual for DeSoto.
Wide receiver Darius Terrell and cornerback Adrian White made early commitments to Texas and nothing has changed their mind whatsoever this spring.
"I still get mail, a couple of phone calls, but other than that everything has been quite," Terrell said. "That's what I was hoping would happen. I wanted to get it over with. Texas was always my favorite school growing up. I knew, that if I had the opportunity to go there, I'd go. My whole family, they're all Texas fans."
White said that the opportunity to be going with his friend and teammate to Texas also helped the decision-making process.
"We had talked about it before," White explained. "We said that if Texas offered, we'd both go. Having the chemistry from the team going to Texas, that's going to be a good thing for us. That was my dream school, watching them since I was young. Now, I'm going to Texas. I keep in touch with the DB coach (Duane) Akina. He knows my family real well, so we're on really good terms. I just have a homey feeling when I go down there."
The list doesn't stop there. Perhaps the fastest riser has been offensive tackle prospect Evan Washington. The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder gets praise from both his coach along with teachers and teammates for the way he is off the field.
"Everybody on campus sees this big teddy bear, teachers love him, great attitude in the classroom, but once he steps on the field, that's not the same Evan," Mathis said. "Evan wants to destroy you. I think that sets him apart from everybody else. Plus he's so aggressive and can move so well for a big man."
As for visits upcoming, Mathis says that Washington and his father have a long list of trips set.
"I think they will be going to USC, Auburn, Alabama, Miami, Oklahoma State, and I know they've been to Division I schools already this year," Mathis said. "Nebraska is going to be one of them. He's got a plate full I know that."
Running back Marcus Murphy helped DeSoto to last year's district title on the ground with 1,274 yards rushing on 192 carries. After his big yardage in a season with a tough schedule, the 5-9, 170-pound running back has several scholarship offers in hand.
Those include Minnesota, Ole Miss, Northwestern, Rice, SMU, TCU, Tulsa, Utah, and UTEP.
"I really don't have any favorites yet," Murphy said. "I haven't taken any visits, but we've planned on taking some visits this summer. We're going to take a visit to Oregon as a team. I just want a school where I can get a good education, get on the field early, and be comfortable with the coaches and the players."
Linebacker Zach Orr has picked up offers so far from Louisiana Tech, North Texas, San Diego State, Tulsa, and UTEP.
A recent visit to North Texas was on the agenda for Orr last week and he said that he recently spoke with Louisiana Tech coach Stan Eggen on the phone.
"I'm just looking at [everybody] right now," Orr said about favorites. "I'll probably take some summer trips, everywhere. [A decision] will probably be at the end of the summer or by the middle of the season, somewhere around there."
On the horizon for the future is 2011 quarterback Ryan Polite. Leading his team last year as a sophomore, Polite shows the confidence and maturity you expect in a junior-to-be who is ready to lead again in 2009.
"This is the best chance we've had in a while, so we're really looking forward to going to state this year," Polite said.
As for recruiting, he's taking things slow but mentioned a few teams he grew up watching closely.
"I grew up watching Oklahoma, I love Oklahoma and then Texas with the rivalry," Polite said. "I just love both of those schools. Texas has been out here (at the school) already."
He's working on improving himself before he gets to the next level.
"I've got to get bigger because they're taking hits up there," he said. "I've got to get faster and work on my speed."