Stock report from Spiegelman's Road Show in Texas
We are in full swing of the football season and to be honest, it doesn’t get much better than this … until the playoffs, of course.
Texas and Louisiana Recruiting Analyst Sam Spiegelman spent the first 18 days of the high school football season traveling across the Lone Star State, from the Golden Triangle and Houston to different sectors of the Austin area and across the Dallas Metroplex. In that time, he saw 40 different teams via practices, athletic periods, meetings and under the lights on game day.
Naturally, that allowed for plenty of looks as some of the state’s top prospects kicked off their seasons. Here’s Spiegelman's stock report from the road trip, including some big risers to keep an eye out for in 2020 and beyond.
The post-Ehlinger era of Texas football: It sounds a bit wacky to say, especially given how well Sam Ehlinger has played to open his junior season, but Texas is recruiting quarterbacks at an extremely high level and plucking some of the best from the home state. Having watched both Hudson Card and Ja’Quinden Jackson, I came to the conclusion that Card etched himself as the QB1 in-state for 2020. He has incredible accuracy, natural play-making skills and is a true dual threat. The same goes for Jackson, who used his big arm to take down a ranked St. John’s College (D.C.) team. There’s no doubt that Jackson can play quarterback at the next level, and Texas might be the best possible fit to showcase his talents.
The 2022 DB class: The first part of my trip included stops at Beaumont West Brook, Port Arthur Memorial and North Shore, where each team has a young lockdown cornerback that projects as a probable ranked prospect. West Brook’s Bryce Anderson had interest in Alabama, Texas and Texas A&M, but gave an early pledge to LSU after taking a trip to Tiger Stadium in Week 1. He’s playing corner, safety and quarterback for his high school team, but has the potential to be a lockdown corner down the road. Jaylon Guilbeau of Memorial is 6-foot and 170 pounds with track speed and is garnering plenty of early looks in his sophomore year, including an offer from Texas A&M. Denver Harris was a stud in his Week 1 tilt vs. Katy with multiple pass breakups, including a few in the end zone. Texas offered after the game, joining the likes of LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M and Georgia, among others. Harris has a chance to debut as a five-star in the 2022 class.
The 2021 QB class: When you think of Texas, you can’t help but think about the influx of quarterbacks that have blossomed into college and NFL stars. Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. The junior crop of passers is shaping up to be a record-setting group, too. Preston Stone, Eli Stowers, Dematrius Davis Jr., Garrett Nussmeier and Jalen Milroe make up an uncanny group of quarterbacks that’ll have the chance to play anywhere in the country. Stone led a second-half comeback highlighted by an overtime touchdown on national TV in Week 2. Stowers is an athletic freak who looks like a defensive end and throws in the mold of Aaron Rodgers. Davis has had to overcome the absence of a five-star tailback on his offense and hasn’t missed a beat this fall. Nussmeier has one of the prettiest arms in the country and might be the most overlooked of this group, but there’s not a throw he can’t make. Milroe, an early Texas pledge, put on a clinic in his season-opener. In other words, this group has a chance to be really special.
Denton’s big three: There are talent-laden teams all over Texas, but I can’t get past the big three at Denton Ryan High. Drew Sanders, Ja’Tavion Sanders and Billy Bowman Jr. are all top 100 prospects in 2020 and 2021, and could all wind up being in the five-star discussion. Drew Sanders is an Alabama commit who pressures quarterbacks and catches touchdowns. Ja’Tavion Sanders has a chance to be Texas’ top junior by the end of the fall, and Bowman is prolific as a receiver, a cornerback and a return man. The latter two are key cogs in the Longhorns’ spectacular 2021 class.
Teams outside of Texas: Tom Herman’s 2020 class now sits No. 6 nationally, and Texas A&M is not far behind at No. 13 with a chance to crack the top 10 in December. As well as the Horns and Aggies are recruiting the home state now and in 2021, there are always a few cracks in the armor. Five-star juniors Tommy Brockeremeyer and Camar Wheaton are two examples of elite players – with offers from in-state schools – that are currently wide open in their recruitments. According to those close to the prospects, neither is a lock to wind up remaining in Texas beyond his senior years. For Brockermeyer, schools such as LSU, Clemson, Alabama and Oklahoma are all real options. Wheaton is high on a few of those schools, too, as well as Ohio State. It’s going to be fun to see how things pan out with these five-stars down the road.
King’s national TV debut: It’s never fair to judge a quarterback based on one game, but Haynes King certainly struggled in a nationally televised game in which he should have dominated. King has incredible physical tools, but made some questionable decisions throughout the game. The Texas A&M commitment overcame some struggles throwing the rock by making plays with his legs that John Tyler had no answer for. That’s the positive takeaway for Aggies fans anxiously awaiting King’s arrival in The Station.
Hornby’s final destination: Another senior prospect whom I’ll be keeping close tabs on this fall and into January is Rivals250 dual-threat Malik Hornsby. A one-time North Carolina commitment, Hornsby has incredible physical skills, but his recruitment remains in flux. Since backing off his short-lived commitment to North Carolina, Texas A&M – a presumed favorite – has found its 2020 quarterback. Other schools after Hornsby include Oregon, Illinois, Auburn, Florida State and Houston. Several of those programs have already locked in their quarterbacks in the cycle, but will they take a flier on Hornsby? He’s adamant about only playing quarterback at the next level, which is another factor to consider as he prepares for a January decision at the All-American Bowl.