High-SchoolTexas: Texas Longhorns

Five days of List-Mas: Texas' A-list

December, 12, 2011

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: A-Listers

In the NFL, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are A-Listers. In the NBA, it’s LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. But who are the A-Listers in Texas? That’s where today’s list comes in. Regardless of sport, here’s our list of the top five A-List athletes in the state. Can you think of an A-Lister we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.

5. Daniel Vertiz (SR), S.A. Reagan, Cross Country
Credentials: NXN runner-up, fifth at Foot Locker Nationals, second at 5A state meet

4. Marcus Smart (SR), Flower Mound Marcus, Basketball
Credentials: Oklahoma State recruit, nation's No. 11 player in ESPNU 100, reigning Gatorade State Player of the Year, led Marauders to Class 5A state title, adidas Super 64 MVP

3. Julius Randle (JR), Prestonwood Christian, Basketball
Credentials: Nation's No. 3 player in ESPNU 60, 2011 Elite 24 participant, tweeted by Kevin Durant

2. Mario Edwards Jr. (SR), Denton Ryan, Football
Credentials: Nation's No. 1 player in ESPNU 150, Florida State commit, 2010 Class 4A Defensive POY

1. Johnathan Gray (SR), Aledo, Football
Credentials: Texas recruit, No. 5 player in ESPNU 150, two-time Gatorade State POY, 2011 Gatorade National POY, 2010 Mr. Football USA, two-time Class 4A, Division II champion, nation's all-time career TD co-leader, state record holder in carries, touchdowns, points, 100-yard games and single-season rushing touchdowns

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas.

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter@brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Johnathan Gray named Gatorade National Football POY

December, 6, 2011
A slew of state and national records. Numerous awards. Two state championships. Johnathan Gray has earned more than his fair share of honors during his Aledo football career. Now the senior tailback can add Gatorade National Player of the Year to his already impressive résumé.

The Texas recruit learned of the news Tuesday in a phone call from current New York Jets running back LaDanian Tomlinson, who played at Waco's University High. Gray, who is ranked fifth in the ESPNU 150, has rushed for 3,435 yards and 59 touchdowns entering this Friday's Class 4A, Division II semifinal against Corsicana.

Click here to read more about Gray's latest honor.

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Johnathan Gray repeats as Gatorade POY

December, 1, 2011
For the second straight year, Johnathan Gray has been named Gatorade Texas Football Player of the Year.

The Aledo senior running back has rushed for 3,236 yards and and 58 touchdowns in leading the Bearcats to an 11-2 record and a berth in this weekend's Class 4A, Division II quarterfinals. Gray is committed to play at Texas next fall.

For the breakdown of Gray's award, click here.

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Katy, Trinity topple in third round; Skyline takes top spot

November, 28, 2011
It was a disastrous playoff weekend for five previously unbeaten teams in the Texas rankings. Katy, Trinity (Euless), Ryan (Denton), Cypress-Fairbanks (Cypress) and Highland Park entered the regional playoff round with 12-0 records. All suffered elimination defeats.

Katy lasted only one week atop the rankings, taken down by La Porte, 9-7 in the Class 5A Division II bracket. It marked the first time in 10 years Katy failed to reach the fourth round of the playoffs. The last time it happened, Vince Young was the quarterback of the opponent.

One week after knocking off previous No. 1 Allen, Trinity was stonewalled by Martin (Arlington), 19-7. Like all the games in North Texas on Saturday, the game was played in winds that gusted to 35 mph.

An unbeaten team that avoided a calamity was 13-0 Skyline (Dallas), the new No. 1 team this week. The Raiders reached the Class 5A Division I title game in Region II with a 42-24 elimination of Klein Oak (Spring).

The POWERADE FAB 50 also saw a major reshuffle, as a result. Skyline is now the top-ranked Texas team at No. 9 while La Porte and Arlington Martin joined the national list.

Here's the top 25 three rounds into the state playoffs. (Last week's ranking in parentheses):

1. Skyline 13-0 (4)
Receiver Thomas Johnson, a Texas Longhorns commit, broke touchdown runs of 64 and 41 yards in a 21-point third period to help the Raiders to a 42-24 win over 9-4 Klein Oak (Spring) in a Class 5A Division I regional playoff. The Raiders play for the Region II title against 12-1 The Woodlands at 4 p.m. Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium.

2. Lake Travis 13-0 (3)
The Cavaliers scored on all seven of their first half possessions and then cleared the bench in a 58-15 rout of 8-5 Flour Bluff (Corpus Christi) in a Class 4A Division I regional playoff, their 27th consecutive playoff victory. It sets up a rematch against District 25-4A foe Cedar Park (11-2) in a state semifinal set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Austin’s Royal-Memorial Stadium.

3. Southlake Carroll 13-0 (7)
Junior quarterback Kenny Hill ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to help the Dragons overcome a 17-point deficit in a 21-17 defeat of 9-4 Bowie (Arlington) in a Class 5A Division I regional playoff. Next is a Region I title game against 12-1 Martin (Arlington) set for 6 p.m. Saturday at SMU’s Ford Stadium in University Park.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings
BushRidleySulaimonHarrisonsKelly Kline/ESPNHSHere are four reasons why Texas hoops is the cream of crop this year: (from left) Fort Bend Travis junior Andrew Harrison, Strake Jesuit senior Rasheed Sulaimon, Bush senior Cameron Ridley and Fort Bend Travis junior Aaron Harrison.
This story originally appeared in the Holiday issue of ESPNHS magazine’s Texas edition.

The Lone Star State has turned out plenty of basketball talent over the years, from a surefire Hall of Famer like Shaquille O’Neal to a modern superstar like Deron Williams. Texas has produced a few juggernaut teams as well, including Chris Bosh’s 40-0 Lincoln team from 2001-02 and Yates’ record-setting 34-0 squad in 2009-10 — both teams that finished as state and national champions.

But no matter how good the individuals or the teams, Texas has always been thought of as a football state. That’s never going to change. Nor should it. Texas is the home of high school football. But this winter, it’s also the home of high school basketball.

The 2011-12 season has the potential to go down as the best in state history. There are individual superstars aplenty and teams built to dominate. There are established seniors and upstart underclassmen. And ultimately, there’s sure to be plenty of drama along the way.

We couldn’t cover it all in these four pages, but we did our best. So read on for a sampling of the players and teams to watch in what is sure to be an unforgettable season of high school basketball.

Read More »

Stock is rising for Malcolm Brown, Matt Davis

September, 27, 2011
In this week's edition of the Texas All-State Football Stock Watch, we've got a defensive lineman showing off his receiving skills and a quarterback showing that his old knee injury ain't a thang.

UP — Malcolm Brown, Brenham DL
By this time next year, the Texas Longhorns will have two Malcolm Browns on their squad. The Steele alum playing tailback while the current Brenham star lining up on the defensive line, so it's pretty easy to tell them apart. But last week, the younger Brown showed that he's not immune to offensive success. In the first quarter of Brenham's contest against Magnolia West, Brown lined up at receiver, and unlike Patriots lineman Vince Wilfork a couple weeks ago, the 280-pound Brown went the distance on a 50-yard catch down the sideline. Brown's improbable TD, along with three sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery led the Cubs to a 47-13 win and a 4-0 record.

DOWN — Kendall Ehrlich, Pearland LB
After dominating their first two games, the defending Class 5A, Division I champs have sputtered, losing two in a row and dropping out of the state rankings. The defense has particularly struggled, as it surrendered a 14-3 lead last week to previously winless Clear Springs. As the team's leader, the onus will fall on Ehrlich to rally his teammates and right the ship before it's too late.

UP —Matt Davis, Klein Forest QB
Davis' 2010 campaign didn't even last two quarters, as the star quarterback went down with a torn ACL in his right knee during the season opener. But the Texas A&M showed little to no signs of the devastating injury in a 28-21 win against previously undefeated Klein last week. Davis threw for 218 yards and two scores and also rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns in the 28-21 win for the Eagles. On the season, Davis has used his dual-threat ability to total 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.