DESOTO, Texas -- DeSoto High School has always fielded its fair share of talented football prospects and had numerous alumni go on to standout college and NFL careers. But while most programs suffer a lull occasionally, head coach Claude Mathis is making this south Dallas program an annual top stop not only for recruiters from Texas programs, but also programs across the country thanks to an array of talent in the junior, sophomore and freshman classes.
"We have a pretty good group coming back this year," said Mathis, who sent eight players in the 2010 class to Division I schools. "I think Ryan Polite, being the leader he is, makes a big difference. We are glad to have him back running the offense and he has a great surrounding cast at receiver. We have Antoine Jimmerson and sophomore Devin Rushing back at running back and a couple of big linemen back. We did lose a lot off the offensive line and have to fill three spots. In the spring, most of our guys will get all their offers. I think I have about six juniors that will get offers for sure."
The list of future college prospects includes a collection of four top prospects at receiver led by Cameron White, who is committed to TCU.
"We have four really good receivers with David Porter, Sam Ajala and Austin Vincent returning. We recently got a move in, Cameron White, that will move right in to where Darius Terrell (who signed with Texas) played," Mathis said.
The wealth of talent goes much deeper than the junior class at the 5A program. The sophomore class has a number of top prospects and the freshman group may have the most depth in the program.
"Alex Lyons, gosh almighty, is going to be a standout linebacker for us. He started last year as a sophomore along with Michael Richardson at defensive end. Those two guys are going to be studs in that sophomore class with some other guys coming up through the ranks. Offensively, the running back Devin Rushing will be able to do everything that Marcus Murphy (who signed with Missouri) did," Mathis said.
Big talent filling big holes
DeSoto faces the tough task of replacing three veteran starters along the offensive line, but the cupboard is far from bare. The return of Texas commit Marcus Hutchins and the immense talents of 2012 prospect Curtis Riser provides the Eagles with a terrific foundation.
"I like being the leader and taking over for the others guys like Evan [Washington] and Darius [Terrell]," Hutchins said. "I want to push the young guys to strive to be better than we were last year. Being committed to Texas, I know it comes with a price. It starts in the offseason with people watching me and then when we play because guys want to beat the guy going to Texas."
Hutchins, 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds, entertained offers from USC, TCU, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Arizona, Baylor, Houston and Kansas before pledging to the Longhorns.
While Hutchins is a top prospect in the junior class, Riser is likely the top prospect on the line regardless of classification. At 6-5, 275 pounds with quick feet, agility, balance and the ability to run, the sophomore is a few months away from being a national recruit. Riser played on the offensive and defensive line as a sophomore.
Plenty of talent at skill positions
Polite enters his senior season in the catbird seat with an array of talent at his disposal. The 6-1, 200-pounder, who is receiving heavy interest from Tulsa, SMU, Texas A&M, Baylor, Notre Dame and Iowa, returns after throwing for 4,056 yards and 39 touchdowns as a junior. Polite has attended junior days at Texas A&M, Baylor, SMU and Texas.
Three 2011 receiver prospects return, led by Porter. The 5-11, 180-pounder is the top returning pass-catcher, having hauled in 64 receptions for 1,010 yards and nine touchdowns last year. He has an offer from Tulsa.
Ajala and Vincent also return. Ajala, 5-11 and 175 pounds, caught 19 passes for 387 yards, while Vincent totaled 17 receptions for 214 yards. Ajala has been offered by Tulsa, while the 6-2, 175-pound Vincent is receiving interest from the Mountain West and C-USA.
Rounding out the receiver core is White. The 6-2, 185-pounder caught 53 passes for 729 yards and 10 touchdowns last season at Arlington Bowie. The long-armed, fluid junior has offers from Missouri, Texas A&M, Houston, Kansas and Tulsa in addition to TCU.
Jimmerson returns at running back and is receiving looks from a number of programs from around the region. The 5-9, 191-pound powerful back is joined by Rushing, who is a rising star. Rushing, 5-9, 175 pounds, is an electric runner with the ability to score from anywhere on the field. He rushed for 403 yards on 63 carries and caught eight passes for 144 yards as a sophomore playing behind Missouri signee Marcus Murphy. Rushing will be recruited from coast to coast.
Future stars on defense
Youth will definitely be served on defense in 2010, but the youth is immensely talented. Richardson, just a sophomore, is the best looking DeSoto prospect on the hoof at 6-2, 225 pounds. He recorded 61 tackles and a pair of sacks in his first year starting and will be a national prospect before long.
Lyons, 6-1, 195 pounds, is another top prospect in the 2012 class. He totaled a whopping 152 tackles, three sacks and an interception in 12 games. Like Richardson, he will be recruited from coast to coast.
Fellow sophomore Bryson Echols is a third Eagles prospect in the 2012 class that will be a top prospect. The 5-11, 170-pounder will roam the secondary in 2010 after playing in a backup role last year.
Gerry Hamilton has covered recruiting in Texas and the Southwest for more than a decade. He can be reached at email@example.com.