Football

10 Tarrant County players who may be top recruits next year

Arlington Lamar quarterback Shane Buechele is the highest-rated recruit in Tarrant County.
Arlington Lamar quarterback Shane Buechele is the highest-rated recruit in Tarrant County. Special to the Star-Telegram

College coaches have no time to take a break.

Days after signing their 2015 recruiting class, coaches across the country have been working diligently on next year’s group, and keeping tabs on even younger players.

Here are 10 Tarrant County-area prospects with the potential to be among the best blue-chippers on National Signing Day.

1QB Shane Buechele

(Arlington Lamar, 6-2, 185)

Among the various national recruiting services, Buechele, son of former Texas Ranger and Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele, is the consensus top recruit in Tarrant County, ranking No. 246 on ESPN’s list and 160 on Rivals’ national chart. He’s a dual-threat quarterback who has the arm strength to impress opposing coach’s. “I turn around and here’s Shane Buechele on the goal line at Cravens Field and from one knee threw the ball 50 yards,” Arlington Martin coach Bob Wager said. In his junior season, Buechele threw for 2,470 yards and 31 touchdowns. He holds offers from Texas Tech, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma, SMU and Ole Miss among a few others. “Total package. Big-time player,” Wager said.

2DT Michael Williams

(Fort Worth All Saints, 6-2, 280)

Williams has the size to draw the attention of Division I scouts and has offers from more than 15 schools, including Baylor, Miami, Michigan, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and UCLA. What stands out to All Saints coach Aaron Beck is Williams’ offer from Stanford. “When you’re offered by Stanford, you know what he’s like in the classroom,” Beck said. “He’s a complete deal. Just a great kid. Physical kid. Tough kid. Hard-working kid. He’s going to make somebody a really good defensive tackle.” Williams can move as well, running a 4.9-second 40-yard dash.

3DT Chris Daniels

(Euless Trinity, 6-4, 280)

Daniels has the size and strength to make an impact at the next level, most notably with quickness in his lateral movement. What has impressed Trinity offensive coordinator Chris Jensen the most is Daniels’ desire to lead. “He’s really trying to make sure and take a leadership role. We’re happy to see that,” Jensen said. Daniels holds nine offers, including Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, USC and Kansas.

4CB Obi Eboh

(Southlake Carroll, 6-1, 180)

At 6-foot-1, Eboh provides some height to the defensive back position, which Carroll coach Hal Wasson said is Eboh’s biggest selling point. “He’s a very long and tall corner with big wingspan, which really attracts them to him. He’ll definitely get his shot.” Eboh has 15 offers, including Colorado, Duke, Iowa, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oregon State, Pitt, Purdue, Rice, SMU and Texas Tech. “Just about every school in the country has shown interest,” Wasson said.

5RB Lil’Jordan Humphrey

(Southlake Carroll, 6-5, 205)

There are not many athletes in the country who can run with speed and agility such as Humphrey, who is 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds. However, Humphrey’s greatest quality is his intellect, , Wasson said. “He’s one of the smarter players I’ve coached. He has great football IQ,” Wasson said. Humphrey led the Dragons in rushing, running for 1,830 yards and 29 touchdowns. He holds offers from Colorado, Ole Miss, Texas and Texas Tech.

6ATH Dylan Thomas

(Fort Worth Paschal, 6-3, 185)

Is there anything Thomas can’t do? Paschal coach Matt Cook doesn’t think there is. In his time with the Panthers, Thomas has played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, safety, cornerback, kick returner and punt returner. He has excelled at each, collecting 21 touchdowns and leading the team with 651 yards rushing and 560 yards receiving. “They can take him and do whatever they want with him,” Cook said. “He’s got range. He’s tall to play in the corner spot or safety spot.” Thomas has committed to TCU and holds an offer from SMU. Cook said Texas and Oklahoma have been in his office frequently to chat about the athlete, but have not offered to date.

7ATH Brandon Bowen

(Trophy Club Byron Nelson, 6-5, 230)

Bowen is a player who could be placed in multiple positions at the collegiate level. He’s projected to be a defensive end with the ability to use a speed rush to get to the quarterback. However, Nelson coach Brian Polk said many schools would like to see him play tight end or even halfback. In his junior season, Bowen caught 10 passes for 137 yards and touchdown. If the college that ultimately signs Bowen wants him to rush the passer as an outside linebacker or stand-up defensive end, Polk said Bowen would have no problem putting on muscle weight quickly. “He can go in and put on 35 pounds in a hurry,” Polk said. “He’s so lean right now. He doesn’t have an ounce of fat on him.” Bowen also plays basketball and has a 35-inch vertical jump. He holds offers from Baylor, Ole Miss, North Texas, Oklahoma, SMU and Texas Tech and has received interest from Texas, Alabama, LSU and Oregon.

8RB Nic Smith

(Arlington Martin, 5-9, 160)

Smith will leave Martin as a legend. He holds the school rushing record and is just shy of becoming the Arlington school district’s all-time leading scorer. Martin coach Bob Wager said Smith has a relentless drive to achieve his goals. “He has the hunger and drive of a prize fighter that’s trying to pick his way out of a hole and make it to the top,” Wager said. “He’s a guy that would do whatever it takes to make sure he gets to the next level.” Smith holds offers from SMU and Utah State and has seen significant interest from Stanford.

9QB Cameron Matthews

(Fort Worth Trinity Valley, 6-3, 190)

Matthews is a pro-style quarterback with a pedigree at the position. His older brother, Tyler Matthews, was a backup quarterback at TCU before transferring to Southern Miss before last season. He has the ability to sit in the pocket and make all the throws necessary for a college quarterback. “If he got a little pressure and had to move around, he was able to make throws on the move. I was just impressed with his overall accuracy, arm strength and size,” said Dallas First Baptist Academy coach Jason Lovvorn. In his junior season, Matthews threw for 1,948 yards and 11 touchdowns. Matthews has received significant interest from several Big Ten schools, including Illinois, Purdue and Michigan State. He has also picked up interest from Oklahoma State, UCLA and San Diego State.

10RB Ja’Ron Wilson

(Euless Trinity, 5-10, 185)

While Wilson is the next in a long line of standout running backs to roll through Euless Trinity, he has the chance to be one of the more highly recruited. “He runs well behind his pads and is elusive,” Southlake Carroll coach Hal Wasson said. “They have a history of really producing great running backs and he’s the next one. He’s a special athlete.” Wilson led the Trojans in rushing, running for 1,668 yards and 22 touchdowns. While he would not mention any schools individually, Trinity offensive coordinator Chris Jensen said he is hearing interest from schools all over the country.

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