This past weekend, I covered a plethora of games, five to be exact, and was able to watch a handful of Texas targets. Today, I will provide a quick overview of several players that impressed me during the Area round of the Texas high school football playoffs.
Playoffs Round 2:
- Rueben Owens II: The five-star running back continued his streak of absolute dominance as he rushed for 326 yards and 4 touchdowns in El Campo's 56-42 win over Lindale. Unlike most El Campo wins, Owens was needed for most of Thursday's contest as Lindale's offense kept the Eagles in the game. However, Owens showed no signs of slowing down and kept the Ricebirds in the driver's seat throughout the night. Of course, Owens should be considered as Texas's top target in the 2023 recruiting class, along with five-star quarterback Arch Manning.
- DK Ward: The class of 2022 athlete made plays on both special teams and defense, returning a kick return for a touchdown and tallying an interception as well. As I mentioned earlier in the season, when I covered El Campo's game against Boerne Champion, DK Ward deserves an opportunity to play at the collegiate level.
- Johntre Davis: The senior athlete is one of the more entertaining players to watch at the high school level. Against Lindale, Davis added another 148 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground for the Ricebirds. Davis's physical style of running has fueled his recruitment, earning an opportunity to play football at McNeese State next season.
- Dylan Raiola: Despite the Burleson Elks being a major underdog against Lovejoy, 2024 four-star quarterback Dylan Raiola displayed great maturity in the pocket and kept the Elks in the contest. Furthermore, Raiola's pocket presence was very promising, especially as a sophomore, as he was able to glide around the pocket to buy himself time to find open receivers. In addition to his feel for the pocket, Raiola's arm strength was certainly another impressive trait that stood out. Ultimately, Raiola accounted for three touchdowns in Burleson's 28-23 loss to Lovejoy, two of which were via the ground. The sophomore quarterback received an offer from Texas back in September and has seen has recruiting stock skyrocket as teams such as Alabama and Ohio State have also entered the race for his services.
- Payton Pierce: The sophomore linebacker was all over the field against Burleson, plugging up gaps on defense and rushing for two touchdowns as a wildcat quarterback on offense. I believe that Pierce will be a player to watch for the Longhorns in recruiting going forward, especially because of Texas's need for linebackers. Additionally, the underclassman has already received five collegiate offers.
- Jamarion Miller: Miller, a current Texas pledge in their 2022 recruiting class, looked to lead the Raiders past Cedar Hill in their Area round matchup at Globe Life Field. However, the Cedar Hill defense was able to create quite the push on Legacy's offensive line, forcing Miller to play the role of Superman just to get a gain of a couple of yards. Furthermore, Miller's biggest rush on the day was brought back by a holding penalty. Unfortunately, Miller's high school football career came to a close on Saturday as Cedar Hill cruised to a quiet 21-7 victory.
- Bryson Donnell: Alongside Miller, Donnell is another senior running back that the Raiders had at their disposal. Donnell, a senior committed to Texas Tech, showcased his speed on a handful of occasions, exploiting narrow openings on the ground to pick up first downs. However, like Miller, Donnell's production was limited by a Cedar Hill defense which quelled Legacy's playoff hopes.
- Devyn Bobby: Bobby, a senior defensive back committed to Baylor, came away with two interceptions in DeSoto's playoff matchup against Rockwall. Also, it is worth mentioning that his interceptions came against the 6A Classification's all-time leading passer, in terms of passing touchdowns, Braedyn Locke.
- Caimon Mathis: Like Bobby, Mathis also was able to partake in the interception party as he tallied two of his own on Saturday. The junior cornerback has received three scholarship offers so far from Kansas, Marshall and Mississippi State.
- Christopher Henley Jr.: Against Rockwall, Henley looked like beast mode as he broke tackles left and right, finishing the game with 4 rushing touchdowns and 232 rushing yards. Similar to many of his teammates, Henley also has his own share of scholarship offers from schools such as Illinois State, Navy and Texas Southern.
- Matthew Allen: The senior Eagles quarterback was able to move the sticks through the air all night, ending play with a total of two passing touchdowns. So far through the playoffs, Allen has been able to manage the Eagles to a pair of playoff wins and should be considered as the team's X-Factor.
- Cadien Robinson: In the second quarter, the senior cornerback made a SportsCenter-worthy interception which would have otherwise been completed for a touchdown. Last week, the Rockwall senior received a preferred walk-on offer from the Longhorns.
- Owen Allen: The junior Dragons running back broke Carroll's all-time rushing record in the first round of the playoffs and continued to put up numbers on Saturday. Against Midland Legacy, Allen added another 247 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns to his season resume. Ever since I started covering Allen, during his freshman season, he has done nothing but produce for the Dragons on offense. Currently, the Dragons running back is without a college offer, but hopefully that changes soon.
- Kaden Anderson: The Dragons starting quarterback shows poise in the pocket and always delivers an accurate football. So far this season, Anderson has thrown for 2,522 passing yards and 29 touchdowns, to just 6 interceptions. Like Allen, only time will tell how long the 6'4" junior quarterback will have to wait for an offer.
- RJ Maryland: The senior Boston College commit made several first-down catches and is a nightmare for both linebackers and cornerbacks to cover from the flex tight end position. The 6'4" pass catcher has amassed 24 collegiate offers from schools such as Miami, Michigan State and Wisconsin.
- Avyonne Jones: The senior cornerback showcased active hands and was able to come away with a couple of pass breakups. In addition to Jones's play in the secondary, the Dragons were able to beat up on a solid Midland Legacy offensive line, launching them to a 42-7 win. Currently, Jones is committed to join the Wisconsin Badgers after his high school graduation.
- 554 (Total)