In 2003, The Woodlands' Highlanders reached the apex of Texas high school football – the Class 5A Division I state championship game. While they lost to North Shore, a group of freshman began to assemble into what will be a special 2007 class.
The Woodlands could have up to seven Division I prospects, who will get looks ranging from the small to major conferences.
As far as the eye-ball test and projection to the college level, inside receiver Colton McKey is the Highlanders' top prospect. The legit 6-foot-5, 210 pound receiver has done the improbable at the second largest school in Texas by enrollment. McKey starts on the football team, pitches for the preseason No. 1 ranked baseball team and plays the post for the basketball team.
"He's a three-sport letterman which is unheard of here," coach Mark Schmid said. "He has great hands and will be very involved in our controlled passing game this season. He is not going to play AAU this summer so he will get in a good off-season. He could be very special."
McKey played several games last season with a broken wrist, which limited his catches. The first-team, all-district selection favors Texas schools and will visit several camps and combines during the summer.
"I think my field awareness is my strength," he said. "I've got good hands and run good routes going from the inside slot to the outside of the field."
Defensive back Taylor Skaufel (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) is the field general of the secondary for The Woodlands. Skaufel has played since his sophomore season and combines size, speed and leadership to a senior-laden team.
"Taylor commands respect by his actions and work ethic," Schmid said. "He can cover the field and never misses a tackle."
Ranked No. 12 in his class, he favors Notre Dame, Stanford, California and Texas A&M.
"I feel I have great football instincts," he said. "That's what sets me apart."
Falling into succession as the school's third Division I prospect is quarterback Brett Parsons, whose father is the Highlander defensive coordinator.
Parsons (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) was a first-team, all-district selection as a junior and will need to improve his pocket presence to get some serious looks.
"Brett has a lot of expectations put on him," Schmid said. "He has just gotten better and better with every game last year and is getting more confident. He'll have a great year next as a senior."
Parsons lists Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor as his favorites and is on the EA Sports Elite 11 watch list this spring.
Receiver Taylor Grote (6-foot-0, 175 pounds) and defensive back Taylor Charbonnet (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) rank as two of the fastest athletes in the Highlander program. Grote was the team's leading pass catcher and Charbonnet's brother Daniel, exploded onto the recruiting scene with an incredible showing at the Nike Camp at Texas A&M.
"I'd like to be offered in both baseball and football," Grote said. "I'm a sure-handed, physical receiver who can go up and get it with the best of them. I can make things happen after the catch and I'm not a bad outfielder."
Charbonnet had two interceptions as a junior and was a first-team, all-district selection. He has been clocked at a sub 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and will show off his speed at several camps and combines this summer. His brother originally signed with Duke before transferring to Texas Tech.
"I like Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State," Charbonnet said. "It works in my favor to have a brother and father who have gone through the recruiting process already. They will be there to help me make my decision."
"Taylor is a cool customer and will be our go-to guy on offense," Schmid said. "Charbonnet's speed opens up what we can do on defense. He's a lock down corner who you can leave out on an island or will come up and hit you."
While a little undersized, defensive lineman Matt Hinton and offensive lineman Ryan Costello (6-foot-2, 265 pounds) are two prospects who will also get looks.
Hinton (6-foot-0, 265 pounds) is a run-stopper in the middle, competes on the school's power lifting team, and is ranked No. 1 in the state of Texas in the heavyweight division of wrestling.
"He's the strongest kid we've ever had in this program," Schmid said. "He's a force on the line and has so much power and quickness. He holds record in the squat (630 pounds) and the bench (405 pounds) right now.
"Ryan is one of those old school offensive lineman that coaches love," he said. "The dirty and nastier it is in the trenches, the more he likes it."