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November 19, 2003

Texas playoffs highlight elite recruits

DALLAS - Saturday is a fun day during the Texas state playoff's opening bi-district round in the Dallas Metroplex. On the buffet table were four major Division-I factories in two games.

The matinee featured the top ranked game of the weekend. Speedy Arlington Lamar took on powerful Euless Trinity in what many thought to be a regional championship game in 5A Division I.

The Lamar defense swarmed all over the Trinity power running game, and hit a few big plays with a quick strike offense en route to a 28-14 victory. The game was loaded with Division I prospects like Lamar's K.J. Ellis and Trinity's Desmond Williams.

The nightcap could only be termed an instant classic. In an amazing high school game, 6-3 Midland Lee shocked Duncanville at their home stadium 50-49 in overtime. The see-saw was in full effect for this game, as neither team ever led the game by more than seven points, trading blows and turnovers in a race to fifty points.

One of the stars of the show was Duncanville quarterback Pierre Brown. This big athlete is coveted by many coaches to play somewhere in the defensive backfield. Brown has legit size, and can really fill out a uniform.

Brown popped off for 127 yards on only 12 carries. He was also 3-of-5 passing the football for 63 yards and displayed a surprisingly strong arm.

He looks every inch of 6-foot-2, and 180 pounds might be a little light. He has very good size and it is very impressive to see the body control that accompanies his big frame at such a young age.

When he gets the ball in his hands on the corner, he is an impressive athlete. He has good speed, and impressive quickness and cutting ability. He looks very smooth out on the field, and rarely takes a misstep.

Despite an ankle injury, Brown was able to make impressive cuts and display good acceleration on the edge. It is obvious that the young quarterback is a warrior and could project very well to the defensive backfield.

The second half of an impressive Duncanville backfield was junior running back Cordney Smith. Smith had a huge game against the Lee defense, destroying them for 251 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns.

Smith is the antithesis of his lanky, silky smooth running mate. Smith is more like 5-foot-10 and powerfully built with a low center of gravity that helps him run through tackles and make explosive moves with the football.

Smith's powerful legs helped him late in the fourth quarter when he absolutely buried one tackler in the dirt during a long gain on the ground. The tackler came up strongly, and Smith, with one blow from his shoulder, left the defender sprawled out in the grass in his wake.

Smith is a little lacking when it comes to breakaway speed, but he is a very smart runner and uses the angles to his advantage in the open field.

He has the ability to score from long distance because of his power in the defensive backfield and his explosive acceleration. He isn't going to be a great lateral runner, but he is like a bull in a china shop if you can spring him to the second level.

One final note about Duncanville: Coming into this season, there had been much hoopla around junior linebacker Braylen King. King, at 6-foot-1 and 250-pounds, was expected to be a top recruit for 2005.

According to a few people around the program, King was sent to an "alternative school," for some improper conduct. Unfortunately, it appears that you can remove his name from the recruiting boards.

Midland Lee also had a player worth watching in sophomore running back Trent Hines. Any time a sophomore is starting at running back at Midland Lee, it evokes obvious comparisons. To squash those, Hines looks and runs nothing like Cedric Benson.

However, he is very impressive in only his sophomore year. He looks to be about 6-foot-2, probably weighing around 175 pounds. He has a big frame that will fill in more during the next two years, but what is so impressive about Hines is his combination of height and explosiveness.

Many tall backs are plodders in high school. This is not the case with Hines, who is tall and possesses a very active body. He showed off a good change of direction, and the ability to run at varying speeds, something that all tall backs should know. It helped him to be very elusive, and when he did turn on the jets, he was hard to catch.

Hines also showed surprising power, exploding through bigger tacklers, and using his body lean to fall forward and pick up additional yardage. Without question, this young back will be getting plenty of attention in the next two years after his 19 carry, 114 yard, four-touchdown performance on Saturday night.

WILLIAMS, ELLIS WORTH THE ATTENTION
The first game of the day was a little disappointing, and not as competitive as many had hoped. However, it did showcase two of the biggest division one factories in the Dallas area.

Trinity's crowning jewel, for once, is not Samoan.

Senior Desmond Williams is the ringleader of a physical Trinity defense. At 6-foot-1 200 pounds, Williams really brings the wood from his safety position. Williams is aggressive against the run and often meets the back in the backfield.

Williams is not shy about wading through traffic to get to the ball carrier, and he always arrives with bad intentions. Williams made tackles all over the field in run support, sticking his nose in at the line of scrimmage.

If Williams has a fault, it is that he is too aggressive against the running game. Williams got lost against play-action every time that Lamar tried it, and allowed Lamar to hit big plays over the top of the defense.

The big safety often looks lost in the passing game in general, and will need to work on those skills at the next level.

However, due to his division one body, and big time hitting ability, there is no doubt that this player will play at the next level. With time, he could be an asset on any team.

Lamar has a team filled with impressive looking athletes, but one clearly stood out during warm-ups. Junior strong safety K.J. Ellis was as impressive looking as anybody that took the field on Saturday in Dallas.

He really fills up a uniform at 6-foot and about 190-pounds, and he makes plays when he has the opportunity.

However, Trinity's massive line couldn't get their backs into the secondary, so for most of the day, Ellis was quiet.

If anything, Ellis might be a little too hesitant, and might not be as physical as he could be with his abilities.

He showed good speed in pursuit, and good change of direction when Trinity took to the air.

Ellis was not able to truly strut his stuff against the power running attack of Trinity, but he is still one to watch for 2005.


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