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Dallas Skyline tradition in good hands

9/8/2011

There's a noticeable aura in the football locker rooms at Skyline High School in Dallas, one that exudes confidence and expects greatness with every play run on both sides of the ball. Coincidentally -- and some may even say ironically -- that boastful swagger rides shotgun with a significant dose of humility.

At least that's the case for quarterback DeVante Kincade and wide receiver Ra'Shaad Samples, two promising juniors who are among the many heavily recruited prospects in the Class of 2013. Both will admit that as good as some try to portray them, it's easy to stay humble around the campus.

"At Skyline, you always hear about the guys before you and what they did when they were here," Samples said. "I know with me, I hear how [Texas commit] Mike Davis did this when he was here or how [Oklahoma commit] Joe Powell did that. You always want to be better than the next guy."

To which Kincade then responded: "There's always pressure, but it's not bad pressure. It's the pressure that pushes us."

Kincade and Samples make up an intriguing combination on a talented Skyline team that has opened the season with out-of-state opponent victories against Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway and Cocoa, Fla. Kincade runs the show on an offense that also features Texas commitments ESPNU 150 WR Thomas Johnson and RB Peter Jinkens and Kansas State-bound WR Tray Rabon at skill positions. Samples is one of many weapons for Kincade to throw to, but it's not hard to tell there's a connection between the two.

Take the Ridgeway game for example, Kincade accounted for five touchdowns -- three of them rushing -- in a 47-7 victory. Of his 11 completions (he only threw 15 times), five were to Samples, and one was a 59-yard strike.

"They've been together, either competing against each other or on the same team, since junior high. They've built a special bond since then," said Skyline coach Reginald Samples, who also is Ra'Shaad's father. "Now that they're together, you can see the chemistry that points to them being leaders on a great team."

Both players are receiving interest from high-major schools. The younger Samples has received correspondence from Alabama, California, SMU, Oregon and Big 12 schools Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas and Kansas State. He is projected to be a receiver in college but is quick and physical enough to see time in the defensive secondary.

Kincade considers Samples a safety blanket of sorts, even on a team with Johnson and Rabon catching passes.

"He's just an athlete," Kincade said of Samples. "If it's a long situation, most of the time I'll look his way, because I know he's going to make a play for me. I know he's going to get open regardless."

Kincade is the enigma of the two. Somewhat raw at the position from a technique standpoint, Kincade shows brilliance with the ball. In two games, he has completed 25 of 32 passes. Five of the seven misses were catchable passes.

Kincade has yet to receive tutelage at an elite quarterbacks camp, but he has shown poise and a high football IQ in the pocket. He is receiving early looks from LSU, Oregon, Colorado State, Clemson, Texas and California, but he also is looking forward to honing his skills at high-level camps in the future.

"A lot of what he does is all natural," Ra'Shaad Samples said of Kincade. "Once he starts going to camps and working with the big-time trainers, it's going to be crazy. You don't find too many quarterbacks with a lot of natural talent like he has. You don't find guys who are pass-first guys who can run."

In addition, both Samples and Kincade are getting high-major college looks on the basketball court. Both are combo guards who also excel as shutdown defenders. Samples also is a sprinter for the Skyline track team.

In an effort to keep them grounded, Coach Samples makes it a priority to remind the juniors of the ghosts of Skyline's past. He reminds his son of receivers such as Davis, Powell and current Minnesota standout Da'Jon McKnight. He also reminds Kincade of quarterbacks such as UTEP's Javia Hall and Minnesota's converted cornerback Troy Stoudemire.

"That's something we do; we wear them out with guys who have done it here before," Coach Samples said. "It's just a matter of standards. We don't ever want them to be less than the standard that has been set. It's another way to motivate the kids, and that's one way we've motivated them."

As for Kincade and the younger Samples, the message is loud and clear -- and they expect to trump their predecessors.

"Tradition is big at Skyline," Ra'Shaad Samples said, "and we plan on adding to it."

Damon Sayles covers recruiting in the Midlands for ESPN Recruiting. He can be reached at dsaylesespn@gmail.com.