Five from Friday: Thomas staying strong

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 Longhorns 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: Lewisville vs. Coppell

Max’s game: San Antonio Southwest vs. Cibolo Steele

1. Thomas' leadership on full display

The physical attributes that Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) brings to the table are overwhelming. At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, the ESPN Watch List defensive end has the look of a grown man. And he plays like one, too.

It doesn't take long to see why the Longhorns offered him, or why others -- Baylor, BYU, Clemson, Colorado, Houston, Iowa, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Stanford, Texas A&M, UCLA, Virginia, West Virginia -- have as well.

But what impressed me about Thomas the most didn't have to do with what he did on the field in Coppell's 41-3 victory over Lewisville. It was his leadership off of it.

The Cowboys played with heavy hearts in the wake of the tragic death of teammate Jacob Logan a few weeks back. It was senior night and the school retired Logan's No. 21 jersey before the game.

Emotions ran high and none more outwardly than Thomas', who was one of Logan's closest friends. In the locker room and coming out on the field, Thomas was the unquestioned emotional leader for the Cowboys, who are 10-0 heading into a bi-district game against Irving MacArthur on Nov. 17 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. It speaks to how much respect he has from his coaches and teammates, especially being a junior. - William Wilkerson

2. Huhn hanging in there

Erik Huhn has endured a tough senior season, but he’s doing better and better these days. The Texas safety commit from Cibolo (Texas) Steele was lost for the season in his first game of the year, when he went down while picking off a pass and suffered a torn ACL.

Huhn is now off crutches and down to just a minimal brace on his left knee, and he told me his rehab has gone well so far.

Because Huhn didn’t plan to enroll early at UT, the knee injury shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance to him when he starts off his Longhorns career.

With Marcell Harris looking more and more like a likely Gator, there’s a chance Huhn ends up being the only safety for Texas’ 2013 class, though that does depend on where Chevoski Collins ends up as well.

If Huhn is the only safety take, he’ll step into a situation that should be ripe for early competition for playing time. Texas loses Kenny Vaccaro and brings back Adrian Phillips, Mykkele Thompson, Sheroid Evans, redshirt freshman Adrian Colbert and corner/safety Josh Turner.

That safety spot appears to be one of the few weak spots of the defense in 2013, so if Huhn can heal up properly, he could have a shot at snaps next fall. – Max Olson

3. 2014 RB impresses again

William was in attendance for Cibolo Steele’s season-opening win over San Antonio Madison and came away impressed with 2014 Steele running back Justin Stockton. The junior rushed for 262 yards and four scores that night.

He didn’t put up big numbers in a 42-14 win over San Antonio Southwest this Friday, but Stockton didn’t need one in a blowout. Most of Steele’s starters exited the game early in the fourth quarter.

Stockton rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries, including TD runs of 53, 28 and 13 yards.

After the game, he told me he recently picked up his first offer from Boise State, and UCLA and Baylor have been showing interest this fall.

There should be many more offers on the way. He likely won’t end up at Texas because of UT’s two running back commits for 2014, but whoever signs him down the road will be getting a good one.– Max Olson

4. Two 2014 DEs to watch

Cibolo Steele has been a powerhouse loaded with talented recruits for the last few years, and more are on the way for the 2014 class.

In addition to Stockton, Steele has two talented defensive ends who are both juniors and getting early college interest.

The one you can’t miss is Josh Malin. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound end has been hearing from Baylor, LSU, Northwestern, Boise State and UTSA already. You won’t find many junior linemen that big who aren’t playing tackle, but Malin was impressive.

Across the line from him is Matthew Simmons, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound end. He’s also getting interest from Baylor and UTSA. He had no trouble getting consistent pressure against Southwest.

There are a lot of established ends in the state of Texas for the 2014 class, but add these two to the list. – Max Olson

5. High school playoffs begin

Texas high school football playoffs begin this week. Here's a look at the games that feature Texas commitments and targets at the Class 5A level:

Texas commits

C Darius James, LB Naashon Hughes: DeSoto vs. Harker Heights, Nov. 17, 1:30 p.m. at Waco ISD Stadium.

RB Kyle Hicks: Southlake Carroll vs. Arlington Martin, Nov. 16, 6 p.m. at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

OT Kent Perkins: Lake Highlands vs. Plano West, No. 16, 7:30 p.m. at Cowboys Stadium in Coppell.

WR Jake Oliver: McKinney Boyd vs. Dallas Jesuit, No. 16, 7:30 p.m. at Plano's Clark Stadium.

2014 WR Lorenzo Joe: El Paso Americas vs. Abilene Cooper, Nov. 17, 1 p.m. at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa.

Texas offers

OG Caleb Benenoch: Houston Lamar vs Katy Seven Lakes, Nov. 16, 7 p.m. at Delmar Stadium.

2014 LB Hoza Scott: La Porte vs. Pasadena Memorial, Nov. 17, 1 p.m. at Abshire Stadium.

2014 DE Solomon Thomas: Coppell vs. Irving MacArthur, No. 17, 11 a.m. at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

2014 S Jamal Adams: Colleyville Heritage vs Lewisville Hebron, Nov. 17, 8 p.m. at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

2014 S Edwin Freeman: Arlington Bowie vs. Keller Central, Nov. 15, 6 p.m. at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

2014 LB Zac Whitley: Galena Park North Shore vs. Pasadena Dobie, Nov. 16, 5 p.m., Pasadena's Memorial Stadium. – William Wilkerson