ARLINGTON, Texas – It was one of the most highly anticipated third round games in the Texas high school playoffs, and it lived up to the hype of being a hard-fought defensive battle.
Denton Ryan LB Jordan Richmond.
Denton Ryan, thanks to a defense that accounted for nine of its 19 points, defeated previously undefeated Waco Midway 19-10 at Cowboys Stadium on Friday. The game featured some of the top 2012 prospects in the Texas and a couple of 2013 prospects who look like they'll be highly recruited prospects in their own right.
Class of 2012
Alex De La Torre (6-1, 220) LB, Denton Ryan
His measurables won't jump off the page and he won't blow you away on the hoof, but De La Torre is explosive in short areas, extremely instinctive and can finish plays. One of his most underrated qualities is his ability as a blitzer, both in the run game and against the pass. He's a good run fitter who takes on blockers at the point of attack with good technique on a consistent basis. He wasn't caught out of position very often and he got in in on several tackles by putting himself in the right place at the right time. He's also quicker with better hips and range than anticipated. In terms just being a football player, De La Torre is one of the most polished linebackers to emerge in the 2012 class.
Mario Edwards (6-3, 261) DE, Denton Ryan
The tough thing to figure out with Edwards is how a guy that big can move that well? Edwards definitely resembles Clemson star Da'Quan Bowers on the hoof and can impact a game from start to finish at defensive end. He's a fast starter with tremendous ball get-off. Once he gets a step on an offensive tackle he's around the corner in a hurry. He can run the arc and get around people and is strong enough to muscle up and bull rush people. He's becoming more technical with his hands is able to get free from the blocker's initial punch. He made several plays chasing the ball down from the backside and his foot speed and quickness extremely impressive at his size. He needs to make sure to focus on pad level and leverage because at times he can get a little high in the run game, specifically on short yardage and goal line. He's an explosive, quick twitch, max effort athlete who is still a considerable distance from hitting his ceiling. A special defensive line prospect.
Trey Mohair (6-0, 185) S, Denton Ryan
For the most part Mohair played free safety in Ryan's 4-2-5 scheme, but his ability to close and make plays on the ball as well as his cover skills make him an intriguing defensive back prospect. Body-type wise he's similar to 2012 standout LaDarrell McNeil and Mohair shows, like McNeil, that he's got good hips and feet that could translate well to the corner position. Mohair slid down and covered some guys in the nickel, and brings the physical approach needed to play there. Maybe the most impressive thing he showed were his ball skills and his ability to cover a lot of ground out to the boundary and make plays. Mohair is already starting to get some FBS looks at looks capable of being a defensive back in a BCS conference.
Jordan Richmond (6-3, 220) LB, Denton Ryan
Richmond's future could be at linebacker, or defensive end because he's a long, lean athlete who could add a lot of weight to his frame in college. Right now he's a straight line, downhill player who thrives when he knows where the ball is and can go attack. He played blocks well at times but struggled some on inside running plays with run fits. He also needs to clean up some things when it comes to playing in space like not overrunning plays and breaking down with good form on tackles in the open field. There's no doubt though that Richmond has the size and athletic ability is surefire FBS quality, but I think determining his position in the future will be the key in his development.
Shakiel Randolph (6-3, 185) S Waco Midway
Randolph will finish his career as a four-year starter on one of the top defenses in Texas. He's not a fill-the-alley physical safety, but instead he's got a unique body type and skill set at the position. He's long, but his frame doesn't look like it will force him to spin down to linebacker. He's similar to 2011 Oklahoma State commit Lyndell Johnson in that he's a big safety who can cover a lot of ground and has good ball skills. Randolph was more fluid than expected, but because he played almost exclusively as a free safety and Ryan didn't take many shots down the field, he didn't really get to showcase his ability.
Class of 2013
Chrishard Buhl (6-2, 190) LB/S, Waco Midway
Other than Trey Mohair, Buhl was probably the guy I was most impressed with during the game. He'll be an outside linebacker in college but his quickness and feet were good enough that he was able slide over and cover the slot in nickel situations. He's another kid who plays good, disciplined football and doesn't get caught out of position. Buhl showed good burst to the football and while he didn't look to be a knockout hitter, he finishes just about every play when he has the chance. He's one to keep an eye on into next season.
B.J. Kelly (5-9, 185) RB, Waco Midway
With a compact body type, Kelly is a disciplined runner who's able to break big runs because he seems to read and feel things well as the play develops. He did a good job of pressing the hole and then making a quick decision on where to go, which resulted in some nice runs. His balance and agility are good and he's a solid runner between the tackles. He gutted out some tough yards against what was likely the best defense he saw all season.