Originally Published: April 10, 2013

Dallas Skyline is a recruiting destination

By Damon Sayles | ESPN RecruitingNation

DALLAS -- There's a respectable buzz through the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas, particularly in the football locker rooms of one of the city's most respected high schools. Victories are measured by more than championships.

Ty Barrett
Damon Sayles/ESPNWith 17 offers already in hand, Ty Barrett looks like a sure bet to follow in the footsteps of other Dallas Skyline prospects playing elite college ball.

While some programs in Texas are able to boast multiple state titles, those at Skyline High School prefer to discuss the multiple athletes who have parlayed putting on a football uniform into playing at the next level. In the last 10 years, more than 60 players have signed national letters of intent to either FBS or FCS programs.

"A lot of those guys come back around the holidays and Christmas with their Oregon gear or their Texas A&M gear or whatever," Skyline recruiting coordinator Jason R. Garrett said. "They expect the guys here now to keep the tradition going. A lot of alumni guys who I didn't coach, they want to see if the legacy is still strong."

Seven Skyline players signed to play for FBS programs in February, including Oklahoma State wide receiver signee Ra'Shaad Samples and Ole Miss quarterback signee DeVante Kincade, two ESPN 300 athletes. The future is very bright for Skyline, as nine returning letter winners have at least one scholarship offer entering the fall.

Watch them on the football field, and it's easy to see why some of the athletes have multiple offers. Cedric Collins is an ESPN Watch List cornerback who verbally committed to Texas A&M in August. Ty Barrett, another Watch List prospect, is a 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive tackle with 17 offers, eight of those being from either Big 12 or SEC programs.

Rising safety Derrick Dixon has five offers, three of which are from the Big 12. Defensive end Victor Evans has offers from Texas Tech, Tulsa and SMU. Even 2015s Anthony Wheeler, a linebacker/defensive end, and Jordan Stevenson, a running back, could end their recruiting processes if they wanted to.

"We have great kids who all work hard," Barrett said. "My teammates are like my brothers. Every time someone picks up an offer, it's a celebration for all of us. We're all getting [the offers] together."

Added Wheeler: "A lot of our guys are all good players and could go D-I. Around here, you've got to put in your best effort to show you're better than some of the players you play with."

Garrett, head coach Reginald Samples and the rest of the Skyline staff take pride in producing quality players. Garrett said coaching beyond a player's expectations assists in keeping Skyline a hot spot for a college coach making a recruiting stop.

Victor Evans
Damon Sayles/ESPNPlayers like Victor Evans benefit from Skyline's individual approach to coaching.

"A lot of people think we have talented kids, but the kids we have are a testament to the extra time we put in," Garrett said. "We don't do lot of 7-on-7 with the state or with any other schools. We try to do that stuff internally. Our work routine is weight room-oriented and position-oriented. From a coaching perspective, we just try to maintain that excellence.

"I think the biggest selling point for our guys is calling out the guys before them. A lot of guys that used to be here are starting at major programs. When you turn on the TV, they can see Skyline. When they go on a visit, they're being escorted by Skyline. We don't have to emphasize much."

Skyline will continue to be a destination for recruiters. Along with Wheeler, players such as 6-foot-5, 197-pound receiver Carlos Strickland are anticipated to be big-time 2015 targets. In the Class of 2016, expectations are high for quarterback Jacoby Williams, who will compete with Sederian Copeland for the starting job this fall.

If all goes as planned, scholarship offers will continue to pour at Skyline, and the tradition of the program producing stars will stand strong. The players are certainly on board in doing their part to keep things going.

"It's hard work and a lot of dedication," Evans said. "You pretty much have to set a good example for yourself wherever you go. You can't act out of character. You have to be a leader on and off the field."

Added Dixon: "You just have to go out and do your best. You work hard, and you go have fun, but you play and work to the best of your capabilities."

NOLA stronger than ever after Katrina

By Gary Laney | ESPN GeauxTigerNation

Leonard Fournette
Greg Ostendorf/ESPN.comLeonard Fournette is one of several New Orleans St. Augustine prospects to be receiving heavy Division I interest.

NEW ORLEANS -- When Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans in 2005, it looked like a game-changer, maybe even a game-ender, for the city's storied high school football history.

Many of the city's schools never re-opened. Others came back as shells of their former selves -- even under different names with different missions. The traditional Catholic League broke apart as some schools struggled to rebound. The future looked bleak.

Instead of falling apart, Louisiana's biggest city, perhaps spurred by changes from the aftermath of Katrina, is instead having a golden age. With a bumper crop of prospects in the 2014 recruiting class and with three state championships out of Louisiana's five enrollment classes in 2012, New Orleans looks stronger than ever.

"There's no question, football in New Orleans and the area is on the upswing," said J.T. Curtis, the coach at traditional power John Curtis Christian, a 25-time state champion that finished No. 5 in the ESPN Power Rankings in 2012. "I think that post-Katrina era is over now. We're past that. We're not just getting people back. We're having people moving in."

And playing football. The New Orleans metropolitan area, with a population of about 1.2 million people, has eight players on the ESPN Watch List. Led by Leonard Fournette, a running back who is among the nation's top players in the 2014 class, New Orleans is a football beacon less than a decade after its darkest hour.

For the full story, visit GeauxTigerNation.

Gary Laney | email

Reporter, GeauxTigerNation

On The Trail TV wrap

ESPN RecruitingNation's Jeremy Crabtree and Dave Hooker, BuckeyeNation's Brad Bournival and NoleNation's Corey Dowlar talk about our the latest in recruiting on On The Trail TV.