Every other Friday, the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football staff will answer some of your questions from Facebook and Twitter, so if you’ve got a question, be sure to ask it through our social networking channels!
Now, let’s dive into your questions!
You guys are hyping up UTSA way too much… what about Rice? They are doing great in recruiting and on the field. I think they are the sleeping giant in Texas. —Mario Sherman via e-mail
Greg Tepper: Well, first of all, I reject the premise of the question — that we’re overhyping UTSA and underhyping Rice. Just look at our Power Poll, where Rice is fifth and UTSA is eighth. But now that I’m done swatting your “disrespect card” out to half-court, let’s talk about Rice. There is perhaps no more underrated coach in the nation than the Owls’ David Bailiff. What he’s built (and is building) at Rice is astounding, and he has them on a meteoric rise. For years, the struggle was for Rice to find players who could both produce on the field and meet Rice’s rigorous academic standards. Bailiff is doing that to a T. As for this year, it may not be another conference title year, but the Owls will be in the hunt, this year and for many, many years to come.
Outlook for SMU? Who will start at QB? — @ponyupyank via Twitter
EJ Holland: Right now, we have SMU going 5-7 and missing a bowl game for the second consecutive year. That’s not to say SMU can’t steal a few here and there in a weak American Athletic Conference, but there are a lot of question marks including at quarterback. Neal Burcham is currently penciled in as the starter and has the advantage of being in SMU’s offensive system the past two years. Sure, Burcham was average at best when he came in for an injured Garrett Gilbert last season, but we need to reserve our judgment until he gets a few more starts under his belt. Remember, he was the co-Elite 11 MVP with Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston a few years ago and has received high praise from June Jones. But he’s definitely not a lock to win the job. Former Texas A&M quarterback Matt Davis has tremendous upside, but he isn’t a perfect fit for Jones’ system and obviously doesn’t have a whole lot of time to learn what has been deemed a complicated offense. My pick is Burcham, but if he struggles early, Davis will get his shot.
What does the future hold for Prime Prep? — Billy Palmer via e-mail
Greg Tepper: Who knows? What we know, via The Dallas Morning News, is that Prime Prep – Deion Sanders’ much-ballyhooed and much-maligned Dallas-area charter school — is under threat from the TEA (Texas Education Agency) to have its charter revoked. The Prime Prep saga has been a comedy of errors since its very inception, especially crystallized in what co-founder and de facto spokesman Sanders has experienced, being fired, re-hired, and fired again. Prime Prep may appeal the charter revocation, but things are not looking good for the school, which has been accused of fiscal mismanagement and lackluster academics. But just when you think Prime Prep is dead (and it’s looked that way a couple of times over the years), they find a way to survive. Don’t count them out until the charter is fully revoked.
What surprises did you see at the state 7-on-7 tournament? — Henry Rivas via Facebook
EJ Holland: I think the biggest surprise was the Division I champions — Katy Seven Lakes. Going into the tournament, I thought a team like Allen or Manvel was going to win it all. But boy, was I wrong. Seven Lakes absolutely destroyed its opponents early in the tournament and beat aforementioned Manvel and a strong Whitehouse team late. Seven Lakes had a decent team last year, but based off of its state performance, it could have a great year in 2014. The Spartans return seven starters on each side of the ball including explosive athlete Braeden West, who made play after play in College Station. Hutto, who actually fell to Seven Lakes in the quarters, was another surprise. Led by Rice commit Brandon Douglas, the Hippos made a nice little run and are poised for a bounce back year after finishing 4-6 a year ago. On the down side, Cedar Hill, last year’s 5A Division II state champions, failed to even make to the championship bracket. With so much talent on that team, I thought a title was very much a possibility.
Who is the top prospect out of East Texas? — Rodney Fields via Facebook
EJ Holland: The beast that is East Texas has an array of extremely talented and athletic recruits. There might not be a region in Texas that produces more pure athletes. With that said, this is an easy one. Gladewater defensive tackle Daylon Mack is simply on another level. The Texas A&M commit is the most dominant interior defensive lineman in the state and regularly faces double and even triple teams. And despite that, he still notched 97 tackles and six sacks as a junior. By the way, Mack aka ‘The Mack Truck’ also played some running back in the playoffs and carried Gladewater deep into the postseason. My new Texas Top 150 comes out later this month and will be littered with East Texas prospects. Some names you should know: Gilmer DB Kris Boyd, Whitehouse DB Justin Dunning and Longview RB JaMycal Hasty.
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