The countdown has begun for the Class of 2018 and National Signing Day. With the 2017 class in the books, the Star-Telegram looks at the area’s top 25 football recruits for next year’s class.
Offensive linemen and wide receivers lead the way with five players apiece. Defensive backs, linemen, linebackers and quarterbacks are next with three each. Nineteen schools are represented.
1. Darrell Simpson, Justin Northwest, OL: Simpson (6-7, 330) is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 8 player in Texas, the 58th in the nation, and the sixth best offensive lineman. He holds 20 offers including Baylor, TCU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Ohio State.
2. Bobby Brown, Arlington Lamar, DL: First-team 4-6A defensive end (6-4, 275) is ranked two spots below Simpson at No. 10. Offers include Baylor, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Missouri.
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3. Cam’ron Jones, Euless Trinity, DB: First-team 5-6A safety decommitted from Texas Tech in December. Ranked No. 19, Jones’ final four schools are Tech, Oklahoma, UCLA and Mississippi State.
4. Erik Ezukanma, Keller Timber Creek, WR: Ezukanma exploded on the scene with 1,500 yards receiving and 20 TDs last season. He has offers from Kansas and Texas A&M.
5. Jaylon Robinson, Fort Worth Paschal, ATH: Robinson played quarterback, running back, receiver, punter and returner last season. Committed to Texas Tech in October.
6. Ke’Von Ahmad, Colleyville Heritage, WR: Ahmad was Class 6A all-state in 2015. He has 101 receptions, 2,116 yards and 28 TDs in 19 career games. Offers have come from Baylor, Louisville, North Texas and San Diego State.
7. Jalen Knox, Mansfield Timberview, ATH: Knox has offers from Duke, Kansas, Missouri and Tulane. First-team 10-5A, 684 yards offense rushing and receiving, seven TDs.
8. Alan Bowman, Grapevine, QB: The 8-5A MVP (6-3, 200) threw for 3,000 yards and 43 TDs in 2016.
9. Jason Bean, Mansfield Lake Ridge, QB: Bean threw for 2,950 yards and 29 TDs. Added 530 yards rushing and seven TDs. Offer from SMU before his junior season.
10. Jacob Doddridge, Southlake Carroll, LB: Doddridge helped Carroll to the 5-6A title. He finished with 54 tackles, 11 for loss, three sacks and one interception.
11. JaQualyn Greene, Arlington Bowie, CB: Greene has offers from SMU, Houston, Tulsa and Tulane.
12. Andrew Flanagan, Kennedale, OL: Flanagan is a three-time Class 4A all-state selection and two-time offensive line MVP.
13. Jackson Gleeson, Mansfield, WR: Gleeson averaged 28 yards per reception in 2016 with six TDs. Offers from Iowa State and Tulsa.
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14. Grayson Mann, Fort Worth All Saints, LB: Mann had 60 tackles, five for loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles. Offered by Nebraska.
15. Izaih Filikatonga, Euless Trinity, DL: The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder was district newcomer in 2015. Offers from TCU, Utah and Utah State.
16. Brendan Harmon, Fort Worth All Saints, WR: Offered by Kansas State.
17. Jackson Kimble, Southlake Carroll, OL: First-team 5-6A offensive lineman has offers from Texas Tech and Bowling Green.
18. Clayton Franks, Mansfield Legacy, OL: Franks was a first-team 10-5A pick, offered by New Mexico.
19. Prince Mavula, Justin Northwest, QB: Mavula threw for 3,175 yards and 31 TDs. Added eight rushing touchdowns. First-team 6-5A.
20. James Williams, Aledo, DL: Williams helped the Bearcats to the 5A Division II state title. He finished with 107 tackles, 11 for loss, eight sacks and two interceptions.
21. Matt Girard, Keller Central, LB: First team 3-6A linebacker led the team with 143 tackles with 12 for loss, seven sacks, 12 quarterback hurries and three pass deflections.
22. Juma Otoviano, Arlington Martin, RB: Otoviano rushed for 1,200 yards and 25 TDs.
23. Dayton Dubs, Arlington Lamar, WR: Dubs had team-highs of 463 yards receiving and 8 TDs.
24. Ares Fritzenwallner, Fort Worth Arlington Heights, OL: The 6-foot-2, 275-pounder was first-team 7-5A and second-team all-area.
25. Noah Moreno, Keller Central, DB: Moreno was first-team 3-6A with 44 tackles and led the Chargers with six interceptions and 16 pass deflections. Also voted first-team 6A all state.
The cheers have faded. The players have put up their pads. And the coaches are getting ready for next season. But Aledo's 2016 journey to State will be etched in their memories forever. Jared L. Christopher and Jessica KoscielniakStar-Telegram.com