During the offseason, we’ll check out one team per week that looks like a sure bet to be among the best in the nation for next fall.
This week’s team: Skyline (Dallas).
2011 Season: 14-1, Class 5A Division I state semifinalist, finished No. 14 in the POWERADE FAB 50.
Projected 2012 Preseason Ranking: Top 10. While the Raiders did not win a state title in 2011, they came very close given that their controversial 28-24 loss in the semifinals came against Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas), the eventual state champion. With that loss sticking in their throat all spring and summer, there’s no telling how pumped up the Raiders will be to win it all in 2012.
Team Strengths: Skyline may have more elite college prospects than any team in America next fall. On offense, quarterback DeVante Kincade (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) can be electrifying in the open field on scrambles and threw for nearly 3,300 yards with 35 touchdowns. Receiver Ra’Shaad Samples (5-11, 170), the son of Skyline coach Reginald Samples, will be back as well. The two combined for five touchdowns in a playoff win against DeSoto (Texas). Up front, the Raiders return one of the state’s top offensive linemen in Kevin Coleman (6-2, 300) and one of the best groups of defensive linemen. The defensive line should include Devion Anderson (6-3, 220), Isaiah Williams (6-2, 230), Roderick Moore (6-1, 210) and Kerrick Huggins (6-4, 285). There’s also the talented Will Barrow (5-10, 170) in the secondary and promising junior running back/defensive back Derrick Dixon (5-9, 170).
Another Texas team to watch: With the legendary career of Aledo running back Johnathan Gray coming to a close, the Manvel team that Gray faced in his last game may be the favorite to replace the Bearcats as Class 4A state champions. The Mavericks were 15-0 entering that title game, a 49-28 loss, and return a wealth of talent. Leading the way should be quarterback Shane McCarley, who passed for 1,905 yards and 23 touchdowns with just three interceptions. All-State candidate receiver Jalyn Judkins (6-4, 205) will be back along with top rusher Selwyn Green (5-6, 160).