High School: University of Texas

DeSoto's Echols relieved after signing with UT

February, 1, 2012
DeSOTO, Texas -- After signing a letter of intent with Texas, Bryson Echols said the feeling was one of relief.

[+] EnlargeBryson Echols
DeSoto High SchoolDeSoto's Bryson Echols committed to Texas in Feb. 2011 and signed with the Longhorns nearly a year later.
“I worked hard since I was a freshman for this day and now I’m glad it is over,’’ said the DeSoto cornerback, who is No. 79 in the ESPNU 150.

Echols (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) was a four-year varsity player for the Eagles, competing at one of the most difficult of positions. He made an early oral commitment to Mack Brown and the Longhorns.

Claude Mathis, DeSoto’s head coach throughout Echols' career, could not be a part of signing day. Mathis recently accepted a job as an assistant coach at the University of Houston.

“Even though Coach Mathis wasn’t here in person, I know his heart was here,’’ Echols said.

Aledo's Gray sets Texas career scoring mark

September, 22, 2011
KELLER, Texas -- The price of admission to an Aledo football game these days just about guarantees a chance to witness history.

That was the case again Thursday night as Aledo running back Johnathan Gray became the career scoring leader in Texas and No. 5 in the nation after a five-touchdown performance in a 62-17 rout of Keller Timber Creek (2-2, 0-1).

The Texas commit entered the game with 890 career points and passed Texas high school football legend Ken Hall of Sugar Land, who previously held the No. 5 national spot and state record with 899 career points. Gray (920 points) is now just four points shy of overtaking Kevin Grady Jr. of East Grand Rapids, Michigan for the No. 4 position.

Gray finished the game with just eight carries, but racked up 209 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He also gained 61 yards receiving, including a 48-yard catch-and-run off a screen pass for a score in the second quarter.

Gray had touchdown rushes from 69, 15, 35 and 54 yards out -- all but one coming in the first half.

He finished each electrifying scoring play with a nonchalant ball-flip to the official and a quiet jog to the sideline, yet the state career touchdown leader said running the ball into the end zone is still as exciting as ever.

“If it ever got unexciting, you don’t want to play the game anymore,” Gray said. “There’s nothing more you want to do than get in the end zone.”

The win in the District 5-4A opener was important for Aledo (2-2, 1-0), which got off to a rough 1-2 start in nondistrict play.

“Taking those two losses to those two good teams -- that’s something you don’t want to do, but it happens,” Gray said. “You’ve just got to take it and progress through the year and make it what it is.”

What it is for Gray, so far, is nothing less than record-breaking, night in and night out, even on a Thursday night that marked his season low in yards in a game.

Pirates lure Jesuit slugger Bell away from UT

August, 16, 2011
The Associated Press reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates gave a $5 million deal to second-round pick Josh Bell, the slugging outfielder from Dallas Jesuit who had said he was committed to attending the University of Texas.

The deal was struck just before Monday night's deadline to sign draft picks.

"After the draft, we had the opportunity to sit down with Josh and his family and let him know what our organization is about and how we operate," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Monday. "We made it clear that we would really like him to be part of our organization. We left with the idea that they were open-minded and that if we were able to reach a financial agreement that both sides were comfortable with that he would be willing to begin his professional career with us."

Bell slipped to the second round because he sent a letter to major league teams telling them not to draft him because he was determined to enroll at Texas. He wound up with a larger deal than many first-rounders received.

He hit .538 with 13 home runs, 54 RBIs and 54 runs scored his senior year at Jesuit.

DeSoto RB Murphy chooses Missouri

February, 3, 2010
A recruiting trip last month sold DeSoto running back Marcus Murphy on his future as a Missouri Tiger.

Murphy was part of a school-record class of 13 to sign football letters of intent -- 10 in Division I.

"I considered Tulsa, and Texas Tech came on late after the coaching change, but Missouri really grew on me," Murphy said.

Murphy likes the way Missouri uses its running backs as receivers, similar to his role at DeSoto.

"It ought to be to my benefit," he said. "It is nothing I haven't seen before."

Murphy rushed for 1,432 yards and 19 touchdowns and led the Class 5A area in scoring with 174 points as a senior. He was offensive player of the year in District 11-5A the last two seasons.

Texas No. 1 all along for DeSoto WR

February, 3, 2010
DeSoto HS Recruiting Classn/aTBD

DeSoto wide receiver Darius Terrell made his college dream official, signing with Texas on Wednesday morning in a ceremony in the school auditorium.

"I grew up a Texas fan," said the 6-3, 216-pound High School All-American. "Vince Young was my favorite player, but I was a Texas fan before he played."

Terrell caught 78 passes for 1,143 yards in 2009.

Terrell committed to Texas in October of his junior season. He visited Oklahoma and listened to an offer from Tennessee but remained firm in his commitment.

"I gave my word and I was going to stick to it."

In his words, what are the Longhorns getting?

"I'm versatile. There's not anything I can't do. Nobody will outwork me."