- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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: San Antonio Brennan vs. Jefferson
Max’s game: Fort Worth Arlington Heights vs. Fort Worth Southwest
1. Robinson playing defensive end
If you were expecting to see A’Shawn Robinson display his potential as a defensive tackle this season, you’re going to be disappointed.
The longtime Texas commit and ESPN 150 defensive tackle has adopted an unusual role for his Fort Worth (Texas) Arlington Heights defense. He’s playing outside defensive end in a 5-2 scheme.
By my count, Robinson had six tackles and a sack against Fort Worth Southwest, and he also deflected a pass at the line on a third down. He was in on several more plays and probably had more tackles. But it was a strange sight to see him at end.
The 6-foot-5, 304-pound Robinson easily was the biggest guy on the field, and he showed off fairly quick feet.
What was even more surprising, at least to me, was that Robinson is wearing No. 11 this year, which makes him ineligible to play offensive line. He did play some blocking tight end late in the game and lit a few defenders up, but that was against Southwest’s small second-team defense.
Many thought Robinson might be a take as a guard when he gave Texas his pledge. Perhaps it’s for the best, of course -- so many Texas commits have gotten injured this fall that you can’t fault him for limiting his snaps.
Robinson’s recruitment is still very much in flux. He’ll be at Texas A&M-Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., this weekend and will take an official visit to USC in December. His trip to Texas’ banquet weekend will be a very important one for the Longhorns to keep him in this class. And he’s definitely a guy worth keeping. – Max Olson
2. Texas smart to get Roberson early
After watching ESPN Watch List defensive end Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) play for the first time, it’s easy to see why the Longhorns went after him when they did, and it’s puzzling why Texas is his only offer. Roberson has a ton of upside.
He’s another one of those players who should benefit greatly from a college weight program. He’s got good size right now at 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds, but you can only imagine what he’ll look like once Bennie Wylie gets ahold of him.
The interesting question with Roberson is: Which defensive ends will join him in Texas’ 2014 class? Texas has offers out to Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin), Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy). I’m guessing the Longhorns will get at least one more from that group, but how many will it limit itself to? - William Wilkerson
3. Rhodes as explosive as ever
Last time he faced Arlington Heights, Robbie Rhodes had 394 receiving yards and a state-record eight touchdown catches.
So you just knew the ESPN 150 wideout wasn’t going to catch anybody by surprise on Saturday afternoon. Even with only a few touches, Rhodes still made some big plays.
Rhodes caught only two passes this time around. One was a screen pass that lost two yards. The other was going to be a 10-yard slant, but he broke a tackle and was off to the races for a 75-yard touchdown.
With quarterback Wes Harris out for the season with a knee injury, Rhodes also took some snaps out of the Wildcat. On one of his two carries, he took a keeper right, eluded several defenders and scored a 45-yard touchdown.
Get the ball in his hands and Rhodes is as explosive a playmaker as there is in the state. There’s no doubt he’ll get lots of catches if he does end up at Baylor.
Rhodes told me he’s still solid in his pledge to Art Briles and the Bears, but he continues to stay in touch with UT receivers coach Darrell Wyatt via Facebook. Texas isn’t giving up on him. – Max Olson
4. RBs on the mend
This week wasn’t an easy one for two Texas running back commits.
Arlington Martin back Kyle Hicks, an ESPN 300 pledge, ate something that didn’t agree with him before Arlington Martin’s 52-21 win over Arlington Sam Houston. He missed the game with a stomach virus.
Hicks told me he’s planning to be back next week and will be just fine. For Hicks, a little food poisoning is nothing compared to what he’s overcome in the past. He’s broken his foot twice in the past year, so he knows he can handle a minor bug.
Daniel Gresham, the Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints fullback commit, also missed a game this week because of a sprained ankle.
Gresham said he’ll be back next week for All Saints’ Southwest Prepatory Conference championship game. Chris Lane rushed for 133 yards and three scores in his absence in a 49-21 win over Houston Christian School. - Max Olson
5. Around the state
Jake Oliver caught only one pass in Dallas Jesuit’s 68-6 blowout of Sunset, but it was an 18-yard touchdown. He spent most of the night on the sidelines after Jesuit put up 28 in the first quarter. … 2014 WR commit Lorenzo Joe completed 12 of 23 passes for 127 yards and rushed for 24 and a score in Abilene Cooper’s 21-17 win over San Angelo Central. … 2014 Texas QB commit Jerrod Heard rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 76 yards in a 49-0 blowout of Wichita Falls. … Lancaster 2014 athlete Nick Harvey produced 49 receiving yards and a score and 56 rushing yards in the Tigers’ 51-14 win over Ennis. … Dallas Skyline 2015 RB Jordan Stevenson had an efficient night in a 70-14 win over W.T. White: Two carries, 99 yards, two touchdowns. … Oregon commit Dontre Wilson rushed for 249 yards and scores of 49, 78, 12 and 6 yards in DeSoto’s 76-35 win over Grand Prairie. – Max Olson and William Wilkerson
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.