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September 17, 2012

Howell: Texas top performers

Rivals.com Southwest Analyst Jason Howell saw Keller Fossil Ridge (Texas) vs. Lewisville Hebron (Texas) on Thursday, Dallas Kimball (Texas) vs. Lancaster (Texas) Friday night and Fort Worth Southwest (Texas) vs. Alvarado (Texas) High on Saturday. He shares his thoughts on the prospects who stood out in the games:

1. Jamal Adams, S, Lewisville (Texas) Hebron (2014)
This summer, Jamal Adams made sure everyone knew he was one of the top defensive backs in what is looking like one of the deepest defensive back classes the state of Texas has seen in my years of covering the state. With each camp performance, Adams turned more heads and earned more offers. On Thursday night, Adams said he wanted to be a ballhawk and help his team win. He did not disappoint as he made big, game-changing plays on offense, defense and special teams. He blocked a field goal, gave Hebron great field position on kickoff returns, and took reverses for big gains on offense. However, Adam's play in the Hebron defensive backfield really stood out. He was physical, disciplined and showed top-tier ball skills. He also showed great effort. On one play, Adams came all the way across the field for a leaping pass breakup as he fell out of bounds. On another play, he was tricked with a play fake, but instead of giving up on the play, Adams chased the opposing player down from behind to make the touchdown-saving tackle. He recorded an interception on the night and was around the ball several times. Adams had a big reputation coming into the game and he certainly lived up to it.

2. Zach Rogers, OL, Lewisville (Texas) Hebron (2015)
Rogers may only be a sophomore, but he certainly does not play like one. The 6-foot-3, 274-pound Rogers is in his second year of varsity football for the Hebron Hawks, lining up at left tackle Thursday night. The first thing that stands out about Rogers is his mentality. On the field, he plays mean and he likes to get dirty. Rogers has solid feet and keeps a powerful base. He did a great job of being patient and engaging his opponent. He shot his hands and often finished his blocks with a pancake. Right now, Rogers' size makes him more of an interior prospect, but he is already attracting high-level college attention. He currently holds scholarship offers from Arkansas and Texas Tech.

3. Marcus McNeil, ATH, Alvarado, Texas
Before Saturday, I was not familiar with Marcus McNeil. He was completely off the radar. After three interceptions, and a fourth that was wiped out by a bad out-of-bounds call, he is firmly on the radar. McNeil is a solid athlete and he played both ways on the day. At 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, McNeil showed great ball skills and physicality from his safety position. On offense, McNeil was a strong runner with surprising quickness and vision at running back. He is a solid athlete who plays with a high level of football intelligence. His main objective on the day was to help stop Fort Worth Southwest Rivals100 receiver Robbie Rhodes. While Rhodes was not completely shut down, McNeil was the biggest playmaker on the day and of my weekend. He has yet to receive any offers in football, but is already receiving attention from Arkansas, Houston and Kansas St. for his play as a center fielder in baseball.

4. Demarcus Ayers, ATH, Lancaster, Texas
Ayers is the kind of guy who can line up on either side of the ball, but he gets it done at the quarterback position for Lancaster. He is a quick-twitch athlete and as slippery as they come. Ayers is not the biggest at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, but he's the type of guy who could play in the slot and could transition well as a cornerback on the defensive side of the ball. He is currently committed to play for Mike Leach and Washington State, but also holds an offer from West Virginia and several others.

5. Nick Harvey, CB, Lancaster, Texas (2014)
Harvey is already at the top of college wish lists and he gets it done in a number of ways on the field. He lined up at receiver, quarterback, and safety on the night. When he was deep, Kimball knew it and kept things underneath. Not only is he threat to intercept as a roving safety, but he's libel to deliver a crushing tackle. When he was on offense, he was a home-run threat with the ball in his hands. He is quick and has elite speed on the football field to go along with a solid 5-11, 180-pound build. He projects to safety or cornerback on the college level. He also contributes in the return game.

Others:

Daeshon Hall, DE, Lancaster, Texas
Hall is what college coaches look for in a defensive end. He has added some good weight over the summer to bulk up to 240 pounds and his 6-foot-6 frame holds it well. Hall showed a quick first step and a variety of moves off the edge. He made a big effort in the offseason to improve his strength and technique and it showed.

Justin Manning, DT, Dallas (Texas) Kimball
Manning is a defensive tackle at the next level, but he spent the majority of the night lined up in a five-technique. Despite being a little out of position, he was able to get consistent penetration and used his hands well. Manning demands constant double-teams and does a great job of getting off blocks and down the line.

Robbie Rhodes, WR, Fort Worth (Texas) Southwest
It was not Rhodes' best effort, but he had some moments. His first reception was a short touchdown and he also had a 48-yard score. Rhodes is known for his speed and his hands. When the ball is near him, chances are he makes the catch, as he is a natural in jump-ball situations.

Dezmond Wortham, RB, Lewisville (Texas) Hebron
Wortham is a big back who wears down a defense and is also capable of turning a short gain into a long one with his leg drive. On Thursday night, Wortham had 17 carries for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He is not quite the big bruiser, and he doesn't have elite level speed, but Wortham does have another gear and always seems to be moving forward.




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