DR7 Road to the Crown Houston: Notable Defensive Standouts

By: Drew Johnson (@RealNews102) 

The DR7 Road to the Crown was on the move this weekend with another successful turnout in The Woodlands, Texas tournament with over 120+ teams participating. The seven-on-seven circuit provides athletes a chance to showcase their skillsets and upside while scouts analyze tendencies and potential. There’s hardly any chance to get eyes on every kid in such a wide-pooled group of talent but this list will include some of the notable defensive players that shined throughout the weekend. The Platform’s goal will always be to Expose the Unexposed!


Chad Nelson | Class of 2027 | 7v7: Tha Money Squad 

Nelson immediately caught my eye in the first game I watched because of his leadership and vocal skills on the back side of the defense. Nelson played in the safety position but made an impact all over the field this weekend. At one point he made a read on a ball that seemed like he called the play out before it happened. Nelson has good mental awareness and a well-built frame for his age. His recruitment and overall development should be interesting to watch. 


Tristan Willis | Class of 2027 | 7v7: CAT TAKEOVER

One of the best up-and-coming running backs in the state of Texas was dominating on the defensive side of the ball this weekend in The Woodlands. The 5’7, 175-pound athlete caught an eye-popping one-handed interception in the endzone that garnered some reaction from the watching crowd. Willis has a bigger frame that helps him absorb contact on both sides of the ball combined with good ball skills and change of direction agility. The rising 8th grader has true breakout speed and will be someone to keep an eye on nationally. 


Isaiah Brown | Class of 2024 | 7v7: KB3

Brown displayed his athleticism and ability to be a plug-and-play defender throughout the weekend in Houston. Brown has a good motor on the gridiron with a good burst and speed to cause deflections or disrupt routes. The 5’10, 160-pound junior has a lengthy frame with time to add weight to his decent frame. Brown finished his junior season at Ridge Point High with 48 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, and 7 pass breakups, with just three catches allowed.   


Dillan Tatum | Class of 2025 | 7v7: Dime Factory 

Tatum created multiple pass breakups throughout the tournament but stood out when he skyrocketed in the air and caught a one-handed interception. Tatum can play both sides on the ball but displayed good defensive anticipation and defensive awareness for Dime Factory. Tatum played in limited games in his sophomore season but has true upside and potential to create some buzz around his recruitment because of his versatile ability to impact the game.


LaTraevien Lockett | Class of 2024 | 7v7: Grand Elite Houston 

Lockett was one of the standout middle linebackers that caught my attention because of his ability to read the offense and be a playmaker when the opportunity presents itself. He created multiple pass deflections and even had an interception against a talented quarterback.


Lorenzo Johnson | Class of 2024 | 7v7: KB3

Johnson was an impressive prospect that stood out because of his strong hands and DOG mentality on the defensive of the ball. He wasn’t afraid to line up with some of the more talented receivers at the tournament and held his own for majority of reps. The 6’1, 175-pound playmaker has the ability to play on both sides of the ball because of his speed and agility in the open field. The junior athlete also runs track, which he uses to his advantage on the gridiron. He finished his junior season with 31 catches for 809 receiving yards and 10 TDs with 4 interceptions and 10 pass breakups to add. Johnson is also a threat in the kick return game, totaling 4 combined returns. Johsnon is currently committed to Texas Tech.  

*Notable Standouts

Aaryn Leonardo | Class of 2027 | 7v7: SA Ducks 

Tyran Chappell | Class of 2024 | 7v7: TXP DTX

Michael Stafford | Classs of 2023 | 7v7: Team Mamba

Derrick James WIlliams Jr | Class of 2026 | 7v7: Elite House

James Reginald Evans | Class of 2026 | 7v7: CAT TAKEOVER


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