High-SchoolTexas: Ra'Shaad Samples
April, 5, 2012
By Brandon Parker | ESPN.com
Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile a player who's already earned that honor in Skyline (Dallas) junior DeVante Kincade.
In DeVante Kincade's mind, he was about four months overdue for his chance to throw passes at Cowboys Stadium.
Last December, the Dallas Skyline junior quarterback stood one win away from playing for the Class 5A, Division I state title under the bright lights of "Jerry's World." But the Raiders' undefeated season unraveled in the final two minutes during a 28-24 semifinal loss to eventual champ Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas).
"It was real tough, watching them score and then recover the onside kick and score again," recalled Kincade, who threw for 3,720 yards and 37 touchdowns last season. "We had 40 seconds after that to try and win the game, but we couldn't get the lead back. That loss gave me more fire and flames to work way harder and add on to our intensity."
So when Kincade finally did get to throw in Cowboys Stadium at last month's Dallas Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camp, he was more than ready to shine. Using strong footwork and impressive accuracy, Kincade earned MVP honors and the first of 24 spots at the Elite 11 finals in Redondo Beach, Calif., in July.
Kincade took some time out to talk about his Elite 11 selection, recruitment and how RGIII is biting his style.
ESPNHS: What was the experience like at the Dallas Elite 11 regional?
Kincade: I had a really great time. There were a lot of great juniors there, so I knew I had to set the tone and get it done. We did things like throwing on the run and rolling out for the throw with things swinging in our face. It was really fun and challenging.
ESPNHS: What do you think stood out to the counselors that led them to name you the MVP?
Kincade: I felt like I did well in the footwork drills and being accurate. It almost felt like I was back at Skyline; I felt comfortable. I was just trying to be a leader and play to the best of my ability. I really wasn't expecting to win MVP, but God blessed me so that I did.
ESPNHS: What do you think the Elite 11 finals will be like?
Kincade: Oh, it's going to be way more intense. Trent Dilfer is a different guy. He's actually kind of like one of our coaches at Skyline, our offensive coordinator. He has a real passion for the game and I like that. I saw some of it on TV last year and they coach you really hard, which is good.
ESPNHS: What are your strengths as a quarterback?
Kincade: I think I have real good accuracy. I can also get out of the pocket and make throws on the run. I can play out of the shotgun and make hard throws as well.
ESPNHS: What are some things you are working to improve upon?
Kincade: I want to buy more time in the pocket instead of just rolling out so much. I think it'll help to make more throws in the pocket and only run if I really have to.
ESPNHS: Speaking of which, I'm sure you know a lot of critics have their thoughts about your size and what you need to adjust in your game. How do you respond to them?
Kincade: Once I came into Elite 11, I came in confident. I know I'm not as highly recruited as a lot of the other guys, so I had to be confident in myself. I know I'm better than them. That's not to sound cocky, but it's just a confidence I have in myself and my ability.
ESPNHS: The weekend wasn't all good news for you. Your top receiver in junior Ra' Shaad Samples fractured his left foot and is expected to be out three to four months. How concerned are you about his injury?
Kincade: I was shocked when I heard it. I couldn't believe it. We have great chemistry, where he knows where I'm going to throw it and I know where he will be. He knows when I'm having a bad game and I know when he's having a bad day, too. I'm sure he will come back strong, though.
ESPNHS: Which schools are recruiting you right now and where are you at in the process?
Kincade: I've got offers from Kansas State, Colorado, Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Illinois and Oregon State. I don't have any favorites at this point. I think after spring football is over, I'll break it down some to a list of favorites.
ESPNHS: I noticed you wear a glove on your left hand. Is that something you do for style or grip?
Kincade: I've always been doing that since middle school. It does help me grip the ball better, and I feel like a different person when I put the glove on (laughs). A lot of people think I got it from Robert Griffin, but I was wearing it way before him.
School: Skyline (Dallas)
2011 Team Record: 14-1 (lost in Class 5A, Division I semifinals)
Completions-Attempts: 186-263 (.707)
Passing yards: 3,720
Rushing yards: 857
Brandon Parker covers high school sports for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.