Colleyville Heritage football may be fielding its deepest team in history. But before the Panthers take a snap in 2017, they already know their secondary has taken a hit.
Senior defensive back and Division I recruit Marcus Mosley has moved to Brownwood and will complete his high school career in the West Texas community. Head coach Joe Willis called it a family decision.
“With him moving it really goes back to what’s best for him,” Willis said. “We hate to see him go. But when there’s a decision by the family, that always comes first. It’s a tough replacement.”
Mosley anchored one of the cornerback spots for the Panthers defense for the previous two seasons. He became pretty much a shutdown corner. After missing most of the non-district season with an injury, he came back and wound up leading the team with six interceptions, 16 passes defended and a fumble recovery.
However, the Panthers will also miss Mosley as a return specialist. He led all returners in kickoff and punt return yards as the Panthers went 10-4, shared the District 8-5A championship and advanced to the 2016 Class 5A Division I finals.
Still, there are options. Willis wouldn’t dismiss the idea of using a rotation. Fall camp will reveal more answers.
The great thing about this team is that I’ve never looked at any guy in the locker room and sensed panic.
Colleyville Heritage head coach Joe Willis
To start, senior standout Caleb Murphy, who was the other starting cornerback in 2016, likely will see time. The idea in the spring was to emphasize Murphy more with the offense as the starting running back and quarterback in wildcat situations. The emergence of junior Bruce Cobb (5-10, 175) during spring football allowed for the Colleyville Heritage coaches to keep Murphy on the offense. Cobb is coming up from the junior varsity.
Given the departure of Mosley, Murphy may rarely step off the field.
“I’ve never seen Caleb tired,” Willis said. “He has great coverage skills. He’s going to play offense and defense full-time.”
Murphy’s extended role likely has no bearing on Lake Dallas sophomore transfer Drew Sanders. Sanders is also going play some quarterback in the wildcat but also can play tight end and linebacker.
Willis may also turn to junior wide receiver Kam Brown in his secondary. Brown also played cornerback this past fall. Down and distance and matchups will play a role.
“At cornerback, you’re either going to play man or zone with some help,” Willis said. “So in terms of what we have, I feel pretty comfortable to what goes back there. The great thing about this team is that I’ve never looked at any guy in the locker room and sensed panic.”
Willis said he anticipates no incoming freshmen being on the varsity roster. Colleyville Heritage opens the 2017 season Sept. 1 at Aledo, the Class 5A Division II 2016 state champions.