Every week through the football season, HornsNation’s William Wilkerson and Max Olson will break down five things they learned while on the road at Texas high school football games. From the latest on Longhorn commits and offers to game observations to players who caught their attention, they've got you covered. Here’s what they saw this weekend:
William’s game: Hutto vs. Bastrop
Max’s game: S&S Consolidated vs. Whitewright
1. Tough season for Swoopes
There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Tyrone Swoopes is not having a great senior season.
His Whitewright Tigers are now 0-7 after losing to S&S Consolidated 40-20 on Friday night. He missed two games with a pulled hamstring. This season has not gone as he’d planned.
As someone I talked to at Friday’s game put it: How can a team have one of the state’s best quarterbacks and be this bad?
There have been injuries to two key offensive linemen, and that’s taken away Whitewright’s ability to give Swoopes consistent pass protection.
Most of the time, he takes the snap and runs left or right. It’s simple, but it’s his team's best way to pick up yardage. When Swoopes does pass, it’s usually a quick hit or screen along the sidelines, except on third downs.
Swoopes will still have a couple plays each game where he does something jaw-dropping. He shook off a couple tackles and busted off a 63-yard run. He scrambled around a good 20 yards before firing off a bullet to convert a two-point conversion.
Every so often, he’ll make those plays that remind you why some compare him to Vince Young.
More often than not, though, he’ll remind you that he’s in for a serious transition when he joins the Longhorns.
The good news for Swoopes is that he’s planning to enroll at Texas in January and participate in spring ball. He’ll need every snap he can get. – Max Olson
2. Davis doesn’t get tested
It must be tough being an ESPN 150 cornerback like Antwuan Davis (Bastrop, Texas/Bastrop) knowing that every time you go out on the field at this level you probably aren’t going to get tested all that much.
That was again the case for Davis on Thursday in a game that Hutto won in the final seconds, 21-14.
Davis doesn’t get very many opportunities to show off his coverage skills because teams don’t throw his way. But it’s easy to see why the No. 149 player in the country was so highly coveted. He’s a physical specimen, plain and simple. He should fit in perfectly with the way Texas coaches like to use their cornerbacks in man coverage.
Although he didn’t get any touches this time around, Davis’ athleticism has been used at running back some this year. He has 13 rushes for 272 yards and three touchdowns. – William Wilkerson
3. The quarterback question
Someday, we may look back at the class 2013 as one of the many in which Texas chose the wrong quarterback.
That’s not a knock on Swoopes. It’s just a reminder that, in a state that produces 20 Division I quarterbacks a year, the Longhorns coaching staff faces tough decisions year after year.
Most assumed this year’s debate was between offering Swoopes or Wichita Falls Rider’s J.T. Barrett, the Ohio State pledge. In reality, Texas would’ve received a junior-day visit from Colleyville Heritage’s Cody Thomas had UT not already landed Swoopes. Now the two-sport standout is a future Sooner.
Swoopes’ senior-year struggles could prompt some fans to ask why Texas passed up the other two. The presumed answer: Barrett is a tad small at 6-foot-1, and Thomas could wind up in pro baseball.
Even despite Whitewright’s poor showing on Friday, Swoopes reminded me why he was the guy Texas took. He’s far from polished. He plays 2A ball. He might not play right away.
But you just don’t pass on guys like him, not with that athleticism and size and raw skills. Once Bryan Harsin gets to work on Swoopes’ passing skills, look out. He’s a project, but he has a chance to be a special talent. - Max Olson
4. Prestonwood Christian loaded
Mickey Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian) is already a household name to basketball programs across the country, but he can play a little football, too.
Mitchell, the No. 1 basketball recruit in the state and No. 5 player in the country in 2015, completed 21 of 40 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns (one interception) in a 63-47 loss to Trinity Christian. He also ran eight times for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Two of his touchdowns went to freshman receiver Michael Irvin, the son of the former Dallas Cowboys receiver. – William Wilkerson
5. Around the state
If you missed The Heard on Thursday, check it out for season stats for Texas’ 2013 and 2014 commits. A few big performances from this weekend: Jake Oliver broke former Longhorn Jordan Shipley’s state career receptions record of 264 with a 15-catch, 174-yard performance against Lake Highlands. He now has 274 career catches. … Kyle Hicks rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns in Arlington Martin’s 47-7 win over North Crowley. … Denton Guyer’s Jerrod Heard rushed for 119 yards and threw for 45 yards and two scores in a 63-13 win over Lake Dallas. … Lorenzo Joe threw three touchdowns and rushed for another in a 42-0 Abilene Cooper win over Amarillo Tascosa. – Max Olson