The last two nationally recruited prospects from Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider High School were four-star receiver David Nelson who signed with Florida and Baylor quarterback commitment Blake Szymanski in 2005. The 2008 class will bring back the recruiters in a big way.
Two juniors, running back Damian Washington and wide receiver/safety Markelle Martin are definitely on the map and have ushered in a lot of looks from several schools around the country. Rider coach Scott Ponder says that both prospects will receive their fair share of offers and attention through the next several months.
"Damian is having a great year, he's definitely a big time prospect," Ponder said. "He's more of a slasher-type running back. He runs extremely hard, is probably about 185 pounds so he's not a huge guy, but he's as hard of a runner as I've ever been around.
Washington started as a linebacker on Ponder's varsity squad during his sophomore year. During that time, Ponder says that his future running back was the best overall "football player on the field." However, an ankle sprain in the first district game hampered him throughout that season.
Right now, mail is coming from "just about everybody," Ponder says.
"He comes from a tough background and he's a tough kid, so he just wants an opportunity to go to college and change his life," Ponder said. "He's going to go anywhere that will have that for him."
His receiver/safety Martin is getting looks as a big receiver, but as a defensive back, he could also be heavily recruited.
"He started off playing receiver and still does in certain situations, but he's primarily a safety for us," Ponder said about Martin. "He makes our team so much better at safety because he's so rangy and can cover a lot of ground back there.
He's so athletic, so at the next level, he could be a great defensive player because he's a good tackler. He's smart enough to quarterback things back there. It depends on what you're looking for because he can help you as a receiver too."
As to how he'd compare both Martin and Washington to former top high school prospects he's had like Nelson, Ponder says that there are several differences.
"It's hard because Damian and Nelson are different players with different positions," Ponder said. "Markell is faster than David, but not as big. I'd say right now, being on defense, Markell is more physical as well than David was."
No offers have come for either Washington or Martin, but mail is flowing in from the Big 12 and other schools around the country very heavily.