- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
We introduce a new feature on GigEmNation today: Five from Friday, where GigEmNation writer Sam Khan Jr. discusses five things he saw and learned while on the road watching football recruits from games in the Midlands region.
1. Rosenberg (Texas) Terry tight end Derrick Griffin is still as good as advertised. The 6-foot-6, 228-pound Griffin displays incredible athleticism, from his speed, his hands, his leaping ability and his propensity to block downfield. His team uses a run-heavy veer offense and the Rangers are on their third-string quarterback, so Griffin didn't get as many opportunities on Friday in his team's 30-0 win over Bay City (Texas) High School. But when he got the opportunities, he took advantage as two of his three catches were for touchdowns. He said he's still "keeping his options open" at the moment while maintaining his commitment to Texas A&M, but it's noteworthy that he was sitting front and center at Kyle Field for the LSU game on Saturday with teammate Victor Davis and Manvel's Tavares Garner, both Texas A&M cornerback commits.
2. Whoever takes a chance on Eugene Wright is going to get a quality player. The Rosenberg (Texas) Terry back is undersized (5-8, 160 pounds) but he's quick and shifty and can change the game at a moment's notice when the ball gets into his hands. On Thursday against Bay City (Texas) High School, Wright averaged a whopping 14.2 yards per carry, gaining 128 yards on nine totes including a 58-yard touchdown to lead the Rangers to a 30-0 win. Notably, all those numbers came in the first half as Wright was injured in the second quarter and didn't return. But the Rangers already had the 30-0 lead at halftime so his services weren't needed in the final two quarters. Wright has had interest from Boise State, Texas Tech and West Virginia this year.
3. Lufkin (Texas) High School 2014 receiver Jamal Jeffery didn't play on Saturday when the Panthers visited Bryan (Texas) High School, but the 5-8, 165-pound prospect -- who Texas A&M recently offered -- should return from his injury next week when the Panthers host The Woodlands (Texas) College Park. According to Lufkin coach Todd Quick, Jeffery isn't blazing fast (Quick estimated Jeffery as a 4.6-second 40-yard dash type) but he said that Jeffery is very aware of how to use his speed and intuitive in regards to finding open space and making plays.
4. SMU commitment JaBryce Taylor shined in the Lufkin's 47-7 win over Bryan catching six passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. The touchdown catch was highlight-worthy, as Taylor had to tip a jump ball while going up with a defender and snagged it in as he hit the turf. SMU is getting a terrific player in the 6-1, 185 Taylor.
5. Nestled in the heart of East Texas, Lufkin is a storied program and always produces college prospects. This year is no different. Whoever snags defensive end Demontrai Lewis will likely be rewarded. Lewis has an incredible motor that seemingly never turns off. Even in the fourth quarter, when the Panthers were up by 40 points, he was relentless. New Mexico has offered, UTEP and Arkansas State have been to Lufkin practices to see him, but part of what is holding him back from being more heavily recruited, Quick believes, is his impairment: he's deaf. On Friday, it clearly didn't effect his play, however. The Panthers also have a young up-and-comer in 2015 cornerback Ke Ke Coutee, who also returned punts for the Panthers. Quick said he'll be worth keeping an eye on.
3dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
4dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf