Cover Photo via @HeathHawksFb on Twitter
We have just two districts left to preview and this week we are going under the microscope on District 10! This district features Mesquite and Rockwall schools, along with Dallas Skyline and Tyler Legacy. The Legacy Raiders were formerly the Lee Raiders before the school changed names this summer. The playoff race should be exciting in this district, so let’s take a look at how it might play out.
Rockwall made a run to the state semifinals and defeated Allen in the playoffs en route to a 12-3 finish. The Yellowjackets suffered two losses over the offseason with the graduation of five-star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and coach Rodney Webb, who left for Denton Guyer. On the bright side, stud quarterback Braedyn Locke returns for his junior season after a stellar sophomore campaign. Locke will be protected by a solid and experienced offensive line. Wide receiver Brenden Bayes is the top returning target, though Rockwall has some young talent at the position as well. The Yellowjackets return just eight starters and this team will only go as far as Locke takes them. With that being said, Locke’s job will be a lot easier if Rockwall can find some additional playmakers. There might be some growing pains, but with Locke and former offensive coordinator Trey Brooks, who was promoted to head coach, leading the way, this group should be just fine.
Rockwall Heath Hawks
Rockwall Heath missed out on the playoffs after a 5-5 finish last season. I expect a different result in 2020. The Hawks return 17 starters and will contend for the district championship this season. It starts with returning quarterback Josh Hoover, who already has offers from Arkansas and North Texas heading into his junior season. Wide receiver Corban Cleveland is back for his senior season and will be Hoover’s top target and watch for Jordan Nabors in the passing game as well. Running back Zach Evans has a handful of offers, including one from Arizona State, and is heading into his junior season. The Hawks have a solid offensive line, led by Hunter Smith. The defense returns eight starters, headlined by linebacker Grady Brewer and defensive backs Peyton Williams and Bryson Elbert. There’s plenty for Heath to be excited about in 2020, and I expect the Hawks to compete for the district championship.
Skyline could have one of the most explosive offenses in the entire metroplex after finishing 7-4 last season. Quarterback Darryl Richardson returns for his junior season after a big sophomore campaign. Richardson has plenty of weapons to get the ball to. Wide receiver Quaydarius Davis is a USC commit and had an excellent junior season last year. Ma’leeyon Winfield has offers from Arkansas and Missouri and will form a dynamic duo with Davis at wide out. Running back Qualon Farrar has offers from Tennessee and Missouri and is back for his junior year. The defense will be led by SMU commit Isaiah Nwokobia at safety. If Skyline can perform in the trenches, this could be the best team in the district. I expect Skyline to make the playoffs, and the Raiders could even compete for the district crown.
Tyler Legacy Raiders
The last team I have sneaking into the playoffs is the Legacy Raiders. Legacy brought in former Colleyville Heritage coach Joe Willis to be the head coach. Legacy also returns a 1,000-yard rusher in Jamarian Miller, who is just a junior. Watch out for Legacy this fall.
Mesquite has graduated a lot of talent from a team that finished 8-4 a season ago and won a playoff game. The Skeeters only return five starters though and will have to find a new quarterback. There will be plenty of talent at wide receiver for the new quarterback to throw to. Kevin Hodges and K.B. Frasier return to lead the offense at wide out. Running back R.J. Bonner will be a name to keep an eye on as well. Linebacker Jayden Brown will be looked to as the leader of a defensive unit that only returns two starters. It’s just as important that defensive tackle Marlon Thompson- Leatch has a big season as well. There is a foundation, but Mesquite will have to find some new playmakers in order to make the playoffs this season.
Mesquite Horn Jaguars
Mesquite Horn played one of the tougher schedules in the DFW area last season and the Jags were probably a little better than their 3-7 record indicates. We won’t get to find out this year as much of the talent from last year’s squad is gone. That doesn’t mean this team isn’t talented, but they are young. A talented offensive line, led by Nathan Luna, will lead the way for the offense. Running back Jalynn Lester is a welcome addition to the offense and wide receiver Sir’Elston Hill III is back as well. The defense returns five starters, headlined by defensive back Marquis Edwards. If this team can find a few playmakers, Horn could be a team to keep an eye on in 2020.
North Mesquite Stallions
North Mesquite finished just 2-8 last season but returns 13 starters this season. Athlete Liam Thornton figures to be the full-time quarterback. Running back Kobie Newman and wide receiver Christian Perales will give Thornton playmakers to get the ball to and the offensive line will be led by Terrance Hobbs. Defensive lineman Davion Carter has offers from Baylor and Houston already as he returns for his junior season. Carter will be looked to as a leader of the defense. This team has some work to do in order to make the playoffs, but there is a foundation in place.
Player to Watch
My player to watch is Rockwall quarterback Braedyn Locke. The junior quarterback had a big sophomore season and led his team to the state semifinals. Locke will have to adjust this season with a new, yet familiar, head coach. He also won’t have the luxury of throwing to one of the best receivers in the nation, though his receiving corps is still strong. I am interested to see how he adjusts and if he can lead his team to another district championship and deep playoff run.
Team to Watch
My team to watch is the Dallas Skyline Raiders. If Skyline can perform along the offensive and defensive lines, this team could be one of the best in the area. Skyline returns tons of talent at skill positions and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team win the district championship. The X-factor will be in the trenches. Watch out for Skyline if the Raiders can answer those questions up front.