It's no secret the city of Mansfield has seen a population explosion over the past decade.One of the ripple effects from the population boom is an abundance of high school football talent, which continues to spread throughout top college programs nationwide."The talent level across the school district has really kind of just ballooned here recently," said Legacy coach Chris Melson, who has been at the school since it opened in 2007. "It's crazy how much talent we have in this district from when I first came here six years ago. There's a lot of kids who get to go play college football from this school district and it just seems like it grows every year."What was once mostly a rural community with one high school is now a must-stop for college recruiters when they visit North Texas as the city doubled in population between 2000 and 2010, going from 28,031 to 56,368.As a result, the Mansfield school district has built four high schools since 2002, including Lake Ridge, which opened in the fall. The expansion hasn't resulted in a reduction of talent; it has just spread among the campuses.The district averages six to 10 FBS players a year, Mansfield Summit coach Travis Pride said."We're right there with the Arlington area; they always have a handful of very talented guys," he said. "That whole little corridor right off of I-20, you know Duncanville, DeSoto, Cedar Hill and us have talented athletes. I think Mansfield is very comparable to the rest."The 2013 class is no different. Nine Mansfield area athletes are committed to FBS schools, up from six last year, with the possibility of a few more offers materializing by National Signing Day on Wednesday. There will be a host more signing with FCS, Division II, III, NAIA and junior college schools as well."We got a lot of talent here," said Mansfield Legacy receiver Marchie Murdock, who committed to Illinois. "Mansfield should be a town known for recruits, because there are a lot of good players in college now who came from Mansfield."Mansfield High is expected to lead the way with six players heading to FBS schools, four of them BCS conferences."It sort of blew up around fifth or sixth grade and all these kids jumped in together and we've all just been together," said Mansfield fullback Bryan Shanklin, who committed to Air Force. "I think we've lost five or six games since eighth grade. We just all grew up together and played together."Mansfield ISD looks stocked for 2014 as well, with two of the most heavily recruited athletes in Dallas/Fort Worth returning to Timberview: defensive backs Brandon Simmons and Ed Paris."The '14 class with Brandon and Ed being big-time guys, I think it's going to help some of our other kids who are talented enough for D-1, but have been overlooked on the national scene," Timberview coach James Brown said. "I think with a good spring and going through next fall, we have some kids who can do some good things at the next level."Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760Twitter: @JohnsonJarret
2013 commits to Division I schools from the Mansfield school district:
DB George Baltimore (6-0, 205): TCU
OL Zach Crabtree (6-7, 275): Oklahoma St.
OL Austin Davis (6-5, 295): Duke
TE Trent Gow (6-3, 235): Air Force
FB Bryan Shanklin (6-1, 235): Air Force
LB Chad Whitener (6-1, 235): California
WR Marchie Murdock (6-1, 180): Illinois
DL Bryson Henderson (6-4, 240): TCU
DL Kendrick Johnson (6-6, 230): N. Colo.
RB Josh Smith (5-6, 170): Liberty
DB Trevor Walker (6-1, 190): Washington