Top HS playoff games with Longhorns ties

It's playoff time in Texas. Nine of the Longhorns' 2013 commitments and all five of its 2014 commitments will partake in the bi-district round of the Texas state playoffs this week, beginning on Thursday.

For 2013, commitments Darius James, Jake Raulerson, Jacorey Warrick, Kent Perkins, Jake Oliver, Kyle Hicks, Chevoski Collins, Erik Huhn and Naashon Hughes will be playing while Duke Catalon, Daniel Gresham, Jerrod Heard, Lorenzo Joe and Derick Roberson will represent the Longhorns' class of 2014.

Here are five games that should be of particular interest to Texas fans:

• DeSoto (10-0) vs. Harker Heights (4-6) | Waco ISD Stadium, 1:30 p.m. on Saturday

Players of interest: 2013 Texas commitments Darius James (OL) and Naashon Hughes (LB) of Harker Heights; 2013 Oregon commitment Dontre Wilson (RB) of DeSoto

Harker Heights is going to have its hands full with one of the state's most explosive and athletic teams, but it could get a boost with the return of James. The nation's top center could return from a broken foot he suffered in the first game of the season, which would obviously be a huge help for the Knights.

Hughes is going to have to play like a man possessed on defense, and get plenty of help and some lucky breaks, if he wants Heights to pull off the upset.

One of the main players he'll be trying to corral is ESPN 150 athlete Dontre Wilson, an Oregon commitment who has 1,352 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns as well as 462 receiving yards and four scores. His 26 rushing touchdowns and 194 points scored are the most in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Wilson, who chose the Ducks over Texas, is one of several explosive players for an Eagles offense that averages 521.1 yards per game, which is the most in DFW.

• Southlake Carroll (9-1) vs. Arlington Martin (7-3) | Cowboys Stadium, 6 p.m. on Friday

Players of interest: 2013 Texas commitment Kyle Hicks (RB) of Martin; 2014 Texas offer Myles Garrett (DE); 2013 Texas A&M commitment Kenny Hill of Carroll

This will be one of the most intriguing games to watch across the state this weekend. It's a little unfortunate that they have to meet so early as these two teams could easily each make it a few rounds deep.

If Martin hopes to advance it will have to have an all-around superb game by Hicks, who has rushed for 1,114 yards and 22 touchdowns this season while also playing quarterback.

The mystique of Hicks really took off in the third round of last season's playoffs when he broke his foot on the first play of the game against Euless Trinity, kept playing and scored the game-clinching touchdown. He's much healthier this season, which bodes well for Bob Wager and Co.

Garrett, one of the premiere DEs in the state regardless of classification, will be tasked with applying pressure on Hill, who has thrown for 2,288 yards and 20 touchdowns against only two interceptions.

• Colleyville Heritage (9-1) vs. Lewisville Hebron (6-4) | Cowboys Stadium, 8 p.m. on Saturday

Players of interest: 2014 Texas offer Jamal Adams (safety); 2013 Oklahoma commitment Cody Thomas (QB)

It's not often that Adams gets tested, even at safety, but he'll likely get his fair share of opportunities to make plays Saturday night when he goes up against one of the country's top quarterbacks. Thomas has a cannon for an arm. He has completed 206 of 322 passing attempts (63.9 percent) for 3,363 yards and 38 touchdowns against only five interceptions. His passing yards and touchdowns thrown both lead the Dallas area.

• Waco (7-3) vs. Fort Worth Wyatt (6-4) | DeSoto's Eagle Stadium, 7:30 p.m. on Friday

Players of interest: 2013 Texas offer Andrew Billings of Waco

This game might not have as much hype surrounding it as various other games around the state, but it should be of major importance to the Longhorns.

Billings has put his recruitment on hold so he could focus on getting his team to the playoffs. Now that he has achieved that goal it might be a good idea, especially during Texas' bye week, for the Longhorns' coaching staff to make the trip up to DeSoto to show their support. Texas, TCU and Baylor remain his top three with Mississippi State and SMU on the outside looking in. A Waco win and Billings continues his senior season. A loss, and his mind could quickly shift over to his recruitment and wanting to put it behind him. Seeing burnt orange polos on the sidelines couldn't hurt regardless of what happens.

• Katy Seven Lakes (5-5) vs. Houston Lamar (10-0) | Delmar Stadium, 7 p.m. on Friday

Players of interest: 2013 Texas offer Caleb Benenoch of Seven Lakes

We know more about Benenoch's path toward a decision than we do with Billings. He's said he'll make his announcement sometime after he visits UCLA in December. That said, it couldn't hurt Texas' coaching staff to make the trip up for the game. Things could get out of hand as Lamar is one of the more explosive teams in the Houston area. But Texas coaches showing their support for a player that already holds the Longhorns in high regard could go a long way in the end.