Stars shining, studs emerging across Texas’ HS playing fields

With the high school football season in full gear, national recruiting analyst Cole Patterson has been on the road in the Lone Star State. Patterson empties his notebook with everything from recruiting updates to players turning heads.


FACT OR FICTION: UGA leads for four-star linebacker Chris Cole

RUMOR MILL: Prospects take in Week 1 across the country

FINAL 2023 TEAM RANKINGS: Comprehensive (overall) ranking | High school/JUCO ranking | Transfer portal ranking

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Transfer portal player ranking | Transfer portal team ranking | Transfer Tracker | Message board



Xavier Filsaime committed to Florida after his junior season and has not looked back. One of the crown jewels of the Gators’ 2024 haul, Filsaime is on the cusp of five-star status, thanks to his all-around ability on the defensive side of the ball.

Already this season, the Rivals100 prospect has made a strong case to move up in the rankings, highlighted by his season-opening performance. He was excellent in coverage, forced a game-sealing fumble and even pinned the opponent deep in its own territory on multiple terrific punts.



Kobe Black is another defensive back in Texas right on the verge of five-star status, and he’s put his best foot forward in making that a reality. In the season opener, Black scored a 92-yard touchdown reception, was electric in the return game and active on defense in a blowout victory. Texas and Texas A&M are battling it out in his recruitment, with LSU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State among the others in the picture.


Taylor Tatum has a case to be the No. 1 running back in the 2024 class. After a slow start to his senior campaign against Xavier Filsaime’s McKinney squad, Tatum finally broke free for an electric 64-yard touchdown in the third quarter that really put his ability on full display. The Rivals100 back also threw a touchdown and finished his day with an average of more than 8 yards per carry. He’s a tough, between-the-tackles runner with home-run speed in the open field. Tatum committed to Oklahoma in the summer after a strong push from Lincoln Riley and USC.



Colin Simmons had social media in a frenzy when he committed to Texas over LSU last month, providing the Longhorns with a five-star pass rusher in the 2024 class. Simmons has picked up where he left off after a dominant junior season as he has created plenty of havoc early on during his final year at the high school level. He has gotten after the quarterback in each of his first two games and looks the part of the No. 5-ranked player in the nation. Simmons has the talent to be a day-one difference maker on the next level.




Dakorien Moore kicked off his junior campaign with a stat sheet-stuffing seven-catch, 281-yard and three-touchdown performance versus Dallas South Oak Cliff. Then, he followed that up with a two-reception, 119-yard and one-touchdown game versus UCF Jaylen Heyward and Rockledge (Fla.) in Week 2. In both instances, Moore looked like the best player on the field as he continues to push for the No. 1 spot among receivers in the class. LSU won out for his commitment in August.



Lamont Rogers is ranked inside the top 30 nationally for the 2025 class – and for good reason. At 6-foot-8 and 305 pounds, Rogers is a massive anchor on the offensive line, where he protects the blindside and paves the way for the running game. The high four-star recruit is a stone wall on the left side and moves well for his enormous size. He’s in no rush in his recruitment, as Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee have all made big impressions.


Riley Pettijohn was a big part of the reason McKinney was able to contain Taylor Tatum in the season opener – relatively speaking, of course. He’s a versatile defender that is a tackling machine in addition to his ability to drop back into coverage and defend the pass. Florida, USC and Texas are among the programs standing out right now to the nation’s No. 1 inside linebacker.


Keelon Russell engineered the Duncanville offense to a state championship as a sophomore, but he looks to be even better already in his junior campaign. Russell is a dynamic threat behind center and has put impressive accuracy and touch on display through two weeks, highlighted by three passing scores in less than four quarters of action against Rockledge (Fla.) in Week 2. Ole Miss has made a push for the DFW signal caller, while SMU is another school heavily involved. LSU could be a program worth paying close attention to as well.



Kevin Ford Jr. is next up along the defensive line for Duncanville – a program that has churned out Colin Simmons, Omari Abor and plenty of others in recent years. Ford is a lanky pass rusher at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds who bends the corner and generates pressure with ease. Playing with Simmons and Texas commit Alex January doesn’t hurt, but Ford still flashes more than enough to stand out. Nebraska, Texas A&M and Penn State are among his early offers.


Zachery Turner is another sophomore at Duncanville that has been generating buzz. The 6-foot-3 and 205-pound athlete can play on either side of the ball at wideout or off the edge. It’s been out wide on offense where he has shined already though, as Turner hauled in a touchdown and looked the part of an explosive weapon for a passing attack versus Rockledge (Fla.). USC has already extended an offer.


Legend Bey is a name to know in the 2026 class at quarterback. Listed a bit generous at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, Bey is an elusive athlete behind center with natural playmaking ability that really shines with the ball in his hands. He threw four touchdowns and added highlight-reel runs in Mesquite Horn’s blowout victory over Arlington Bowie in Week 2. His aggressiveness can lead to negative plays, but the positives far outweigh any negatives. Oregon became the latest to offer last week.


Markel Ford grabbed his first career pick-six last week as he read the quarterback’s eyes, jumped the route and made defenders miss in the open field en route to reaching the end zone. Additionally, Ford was active in run support, was a sure-tackler and patrolled the secondary in impressive fashion. Oklahoma State added to his offer sheet over the weekend.



Cedric Lott is brand new to varsity football as he starred on the basketball court and track previously, but the Mesquite Horn wide receiver looks like he could be a late-blooming gem. Lott is a lanky receiver that provides an offense with a legit deep-ball target. He grabbed three touchdowns from Legend Bey last Thursday evening and looks to be scratching the surface of what he can develop into. Lott committed to Boston College in late June; however, Texas Tech is a team to watch in his recruitment.


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