DFW Top Twelve 2023 Pre-Season Rankings

    By: National Scout Marc Henry

    Twitter: @marchen44

    Each season the high school football teams in the state of Texas begin practice in August with the dream of finishing at the top of the food chain as State Champions at AT&T Stadium. From the dog days of summer, to the playing in Jerry World in December, the players and coaches set their goals high. The recent dominance of the DFW Area high school football teams as state champions, has brought up the debate in barbershops, social media forums and even at family gatherings, who is the best team in Texas? Houston, San Antonio, West Texas, East Texas and South Texas high school football teams, have tried to dethrone the DFW Area squads, but The Metroplex has laid claim to titles the last few seasons and in 2022 had a clean sweep in one weekend of title winners. Today we discuss twelve teams in DFW, some who come into the 2023 season as defending champs and several who have potential to punch their ticket to AT&T Stadium in December.

    1. Duncanville Panthers | Head Coach: Reginald Samples | 2022 :  Record 15-0 | Class 6A DI Champs 

    The Panthers were the best team in the state from start to finish in 2022. Defensively, the Panthers play fast, they are physical at the point of the attack and their mantra “Lock The Gates”, is their calling card for 48 minutes of heavy punches and body blows that each opponent who stepped into the ring with Duncanville felt for 15 games in 2022. Five star defensive standout and the number one defensive player in the country, Collin Simmons returns to haunt offenses in 2023, along with Alex January, Tyren Polley Jr. and 6’1 175 pound Class of 2025 defensive back Javion Holiday, the Panthers again will have a stingy defense that loves to bring the pain. This defensive unit pitched several shutouts and held down their nemesis North Shore to capture Coach Reginald Samples first state title. Offensively, the Panthers are loaded with some the top returning talent in the DFW Area, with senior Four-Star running back Caden Durham bringing his big play ability back for another run, junior quarterback Keelon Russell, who had his coming out party in the state title game versus North Shore, where he made big time throws and also showed off his dual threat ability using his legs to score a back breaking TD and game breaking  Five-Star wide receiver Dakorien Moore return to make up one of the most potent offenses in DFW. Coach Samples and the Panthers head into the 2023 season looking to defend their state title and chase ring number two.

    Platform Star Watch: Tre Mosely (RB)


    2. Desoto Eagles | Head Coach : Claude Mathis | 2022: Record 14-2 | Class 6A DII Champs

    Coach Mathis and the Eagles captured his first state title in 2022 and return one of the most talented teams in DFW in 2023 led by All-State quarterback Darius “DJ” Bailey and the number one running back in the Class of 2025 in Deondrae “Tiger” Riden. Riden is a combination of speed and power that makes him one of the most sought after college prospects in the country. Bailey has a big time arm, he has elite pocket presence and his ability to fit the football into small windows and the touch on his deep ball, make him one of the top returning quarterbacks in the Class of 2024 in DFW. Senior running back Jaden Tradwick and junior wide receiver Daylon Singleton, are two dangerous weapons in the Eagle offense and these playmakers will put pressure on any defense that lines up against them. Upfront, Ronnell McLain Jr. anchors the offensive line and Byron Washington is a linemen to keep an eye on, he has the potential to develop into one the top players on the Eagle front line in the future.  Defensively, the Eagles bring back from a 14-2 squad one the top linebackers in Brandon Booker, a recent Stanford commit, who roams the field from sideline to sideline and he has the speed to make plays in the passing game. Purdue commit Keylan Abrams, was a key cog on the Eagle defense in 2022 and he returns to give offensive coordinators fits again in 2023. The Eagles also add the number one player in the Class of 2027 to a potent offensive attack in Ethan “Boobie”Feaster, who comes into Desoto with twenty four college offers and he will be in the lineup in the 2023 season. Look for the Eagles to soar high and they have a game with Duncanville, their arch rival circled on their calendar.

    Platform Star Watch: Ethan “Boobie” Feaster (WR)


    3. Aledo Bearcats | Head Coach: Robby Jones | 2022: Record 14-2 | Class 5A DI State Champs 

    “Titletown”, made it back to reclaim the throne in 2022 and sent retiring Coach Tim Buchanan out as a winner in 2022. After starting out the season 0-2, losing to Denton Guyer and Parish Episcopal, the Bearcats reeled off fourteen wins in a row to claim their 11th state title. The Aledo offense will be just as potent in 2023 and the Bearcats return one the top dual threat quarterbacks in the Class of 2024 in TCU commit Hauss Hejny. Hejny can make the all the throws on the route tree with pinpoint accuracy and he has the sprinter speed to explode for six when he breaks containment. UIW commit, Hawk Patrick-Daniels will lineup in various spots in the Bearcat offense, after rushing for over 1,400 yards and scoring 20 total touchdowns in 2022. Raycine Guillory Jr. and Alijah Johnson will be a potent 1-2 punch at the running back position for Aledo and they will run behind a physical offensive front that is lead by Devron Williams Jr and a young up and coming linemen in Payton Williams. The versatile Tyson Timms returns, he can line up at tight end and wide receiver and Kaydon Finley made a statement in 2022 as a freshmen and the phenom has some of the best hands in the country, which compliments his superb route running. Four year starter and the most athletic Bearcat, is LSU commit Davhon Keys, who can not only score touchdowns and return kicks on special teams but Keys is one the top linebackers in the state of Texas. Keys is an every down linebacker who plays the run from sideline to sideline and his ability to be a menace in pass coverage, enables him to lock down opponents in the passing game. On the back end the Bearcats defense is anchored by Arkansas commit Jaden Allen and cornerback Chris Johnson II, who is a long, athletic defender who has double digit offers from schools across the country. Aledo comes into 2023 with a loaded roster, ready to compete for their 12th state title.

    Platform Star Watch: Kamron Hall (DB)


    4. South Oak Cliff  Golden Bears| Head Coach: Jason Todd | 2022: Record 13-3 | Class 5A DII State Champs 

    The Golden Bears are one of the most well coached programs in the state of Texas and Coach Todd “2 Tymes”, has lead South Oak Cliff to back to back state titles, with the second one coming in 2022. The “Death Row” defense lead by defensive coordinator Kyle Ward and linebackers coach Domenic Spencer, may have the best collection of linebackers returning in the state of Texas. Kelvion Riggins, Jayden Shelton and Brandon Jones look to anchor a defensive squad, along with UNT commit Kerry Williams, who put up five shutouts during district play in 2022 and helped lead The Golden Bears to their second state title. Offensively, quarterback William Little returns, after turning in a State Championship MVP performance in a 34-24 win over Port Neches Groves. Backfield mate Danny Green returns, as the leading rusher for The Golden Bears, a powerful runner between the tackles with excellent vision, who has the speed to make a house call from anywhere on the field. Wide receiver Trey Jackson is another weapon for Little on the outside who has game breaking ability with the speed to get deep.  SMU commit, Jamyri Cauley gives South Oak Cliff a physical presence at the wide receiver position, who likes to get down and dirty in the run game with his ability to mash up defenders with his physical blocking and he is matchup nightmare in the passing game. Cauley has the skill set to dominate most high school defensive backs at the point of attack by overpowering them and he is a big threat in the red zone due to his ability to leap and grab the 50/50 contested catch in traffic. Look for SOC to continue to win due their ability to be physically dominate up front, anchored by Prairie View A&M commit Xyler Myles, Jadan Rowe and Jordan Rowe who are both University of Louisiana Monroe commits.

    Platform Star Watch: Trey Jackson (WR)


    5. Lewisville Farmers | Head Coach: Michael Odle | 2022: Record 12-2  6-6A District Champs | 3rd Round Playoff Appearance

    Coach Odle and the Farmers had a remarkable season in 2022, finishing 12-2 and winning the District 6-6A crown and come into the 2023 season as a highly rated team in DFW. Quarterback Ethan Terrell, is one the top dual threat quarterbacks in the Metroplex. Terrell has a big arm, he throws well on the run and he is an electric runner in the open field. A multi-year starter, Terrell has a 23-4 record under center for the Farmers and he returns for his senior year poised to make a run for a state title. The Farmers offensive line is lead by 6’4 315 pound San Diego State commit Devin Love, a player who has the athletic ability to maul defenders in the run and make blocks at the second level with ease. Class of 2025 offensive linemen Michael Fasusi, is one the top rated players in his class, he has the traits that college programs around the country covet and he and Love form a powerful duo upfront. Viron Ellison II gets is done no matter where he lines up, get the football in his hands and watch him work. Lamar Kerby is a big play threat for the Farmers and his explosive speed gives him the ability to score anytime he touches the football. Jaydan Hardy is one the most explosive athletes in the country, he has the versatility to play both sides of the football, as a wideout, he has great hands, he has the speed to change gears quickly and he is a threat to score with the football in his hands. The Oklahoma commit, is one of the best defensive backs in the country and he has his sights set on leading #TheLew to a state title. Arizona State commit Tony-Louis Nkuba, is a long, athletic cornerback, who can lock down one side of the field and is a playmaker who can score when he gets his hands on the football. Coach Odle and the Farmers are a team to watch heading into the 2023 season.

    Platform Star Watch: Xavier Fleming (DE/TE)


    6. North Crowley Panthers | Head Coach: Ray Gates | 2022: Record  12-1  3-6A District Champs | 3rd Round Playoff Appearance

    Coach Ray Gates and the North Crowley Panthers had an outstanding 2022 season, that included winning a 3-6A District title and an undefeated regular season. Quarterback Chris Jimerson Jr. lead the Panthers to a 12-1 record in 2022, his ability to make timely throws are traits that stick out in his game and his athleticism in the open field, makes him one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the DFW Area. Cornelius Warren III is one the top playmakers in the Class of 2025 in the state of Texas and he is a home run threat with the football in his hands. He can run between the tackles with speed and power and when he sees daylight, he has the explosive burst to separate from defenders. TCU commit Julian Knox is a gifted, long, athletic, athlete who will line up on both sides of the ball for the Panthers and when he lines up at wide receiver, he uses his extended catch radius, combined with his ability to run crisp routes to get open routinely. Defensively, the Panthers have the #Gooncity mentality and they are lead up front by 6’5 315 pound defensive linemen Sterlin Brooks. Brooks has nimble feet, he runs well to the football and he has the skill set to rush the passer. Keith Hodge Jr. is hybrid safety/outside linebacker, who can cover receivers in space and come down and lay the wood in run support. Arkansas State commit David Moore is a lockdown defender on the backend for the Panthers and his ability to be physical at the line of scrimmage allows him to alter receivers route at the snap of the football. North Crowley raised the level of expectations after going 12-1 in 2022 and Coach Gates will have the Panthers locked and loaded as one the top teams to watch in 2023.

    Platform Star Watch: Brandon Ford (DB)


    7. Melissa Cardinal | Head Coach: Matt Nally | 2023: Record 11-3  | District 7-5A DII Champs | 4th Round Playoff Appearance
    The Melissa Cardinal shook off an 0-2 start in 2022 to reel off eleven straight victories before running into eventual state champions South Oak Cliff in the fourth round of the playoffs. Upfront offensively, the Cardinal return on of the top offensive linemen in the Class of 2025 in 6’4 313 pound Owen Hollenbeck, who was a 1st Team All-District selection as a sophomore. Owen plays with great pad level, he has a powerful punch at engagement and he was one the best finishers in the DFW Area. Gunnar Wilson is one the top returning playmakers for the Cardinal and he is a plug and play player who can line up on both sides of the football and make plays. Lincoln Dunn is a speedy athlete who can make a house call with the football in his hands and will be a key cog in the Cardinal offensive attack in 2023. Defensive end Nigel Smith is one the top defenders in the country in the Class of 2024 and he anchors the defense for the Cardinal. The 6’5 260 pound phenom, is a dominant force, who has an explosive first step, he uses his violent hands to deliver a stiff punch and he closes on the ball carrier like a heat seeking missile. The Cardinal are poised to make a run in 2023 and are one the top rated teams in the DFW this upcoming season.
    Platform Star Watch: Ali Vinson (LB)
     8.Parish Episcopal Panthers | Head Coach: Daniel Novakov | 2022: Record 9-1 | TAPPS State Champs 
    The Panthers have been one of the most successful high school football programs in the DFW area for the last four seasons, winning four consecutive state titles including the 2022 season. Junior quarterback Sawyer Anderson returns to lead a potent offensive attack in 2023 and he is one the most sought after players in the Class of 2025. Anderson has lit up defenses as a two year starter, putting up gaudy numbers, passing for over 6,000 yards and 73 touchdowns and leading the Panthers to 24-2 record the last two seasons. Hutch Crow returns to contribute to an explosive offensive attack, he has big play ability and his run after catch skills make him a difficult cover. The addition of one the top wide receivers in the Class of 2026 in wide receiver Jaylen Pile, adds more weapons to the Panthers offense. Sam Liu is a leader upfront on the offensive line and plays a physical game at the point of attack, who packs a powerful punch. Four-Star linebacker Parker Meese is the man in the middle of the Panther defense and he teams up with senior defensive linemen Caleb Mitchell Irving to anchor a defense that lead the Panthers to a state title in 2022. Meese plays fast and he has the skill set to read, react and diagnose plays quickly. Irving has an elite first step off the edge, he runs the arch with excellent bend and he closes on the ball carrier with violent intentions. Parish Episcopal is the favorite to repeat as the state champion in TAPPS in 2023 and made the cut as one the top twelve teams to watch in the DFW area.
    Platform Star Watch: Maddux Reid (RB)
    9. Denton Guyer Wildcats | Head Coach: Reed Heim | 2022: Record 14-1 | District 5-6A Champs | 4th Round Playoff Appearance
    The Guyer Wildcats were ranked as one the top teams in 6A in the DFW Area in 2022 and were lead by Oklahoma signee Jackson Arnold before coming up short to eventual State Champ Desoto in the 4th round of the playoffs. In 2023 the Wildcats will be lead by senior offensive tackle Willie Goodacre. The 6’5 300 pound Goodacre has nimble feet, he plays with a mean streak and he has the athleticism to make blocks at the second level routinely. Senior running back Tre Joyner III rushed for over 1,200 yards last season and looks to add to his resume and he recently picked an offer from Stetson University. Boston College commit Josiah Martin, is a silky smooth, savvy route runner, who has the speed to get deep and will be the leading target for the Wildcats at wide receiver. Defensively, Four-Star cornerback Eli Bowen returns to the Guyer defense and will shut down one half of the field with his sticky defense and his ability to make the big play from the cornerback position. Two players in the Class of 2026 that have had big springs during spring practice are defensive back Kaedyn Cobbs and  wide receiver Corbin Glasco, who look to push for playing time in 2023. Pelumi Olanipekun, Caleb Darthard and Xavier Ukponu return to the Wildcat defense and will lead the charge to get Guyer back to the state title game. Keep an eye on Class of 2024 quarterback Logan McLaughlin, who is in the mix to replace Arnold under center for Guyer.
    Platform Star Watch: Class of 2027 (ATH) Zane Rowe (Already has double digit offers)
    10. Southlake Carroll Dragons | Head Coach: Riley Dodge | 2022: Record 13-1 | 4-6A District Champs | 3rd Round Playoff Appearance
    The Dragons have been a mainstay at the top of the DFW Area rankings for years and they had a phenomenal season in 2022 going 13-1 before losing to Denton Guyer in the 3rd round of the playoffs. Quarterback Graham Knowles returns under center for the Dragons, after going 7-1 as a starter in 2022 and passing for over 1,800 yards with 18 touchdowns. The 6’7 signal caller sees the field well, he has the arm talent to fit the football into tight windows and he navigates the pocket like a veteran. Wide receiver Jacob Jordan returns as one the Dragons go to guys, he is a crisp route runner, who has the quickness in space to avoid tacklers and he has the burst to create separation from defenders. Running Back Riley Wormley will be another weapon in the Carroll offense, he runs routes like a wideout, he has the burst in the open field to make defenders miss and he runs with power between the tackles.  Top tight end prospect Jack VanDorselaer returns and is one the top pass catchers in the DFW Area. The 6’5 tight end blocks like a tackle, he is strong at the point of attack, he is long and athletic and he runs sharp, crisp routes. Wide receiver Brock Boyd will be a potent weapon for the Dragons in 2023, a player who understands how to get open, he is a excellent route runner, who is cat quick in space, which makes him a difficult cover. Upfront the Dragons will be rely on the 6’3 280 pound Andrew Cunningham, as well as Harrison Moore who shifts over to tackle from tight end to open holes for the talented skill players on offense. Defensively, linebacker Wyatt Duffy returns along with DE Dustin Mark along the front seven for the Dragons. On the backend, safeties Carter High and Eric Garza will be roaming the secondary for Southlake Carroll. The Dragons and Coach Dodge are primed and ready to make a run at a state title in 2023.
    Platform Star Watch: Brock Boyd (WR)
    11. Lancaster Tigers | Head Coach: Leon Paul | 2022: 9-3  2nd Place in District 7-5A DI  2nd Round Playoff Appearance
    Coach Paul has one of the most talented teams in the DFW Metroplex and the Tigers look to build off of a 9-3 campaign in 2022, where they had wins against South Oak Cliff and Humble Kingwood Park in the first round of the state playoffs. The Tigers are built to win now and it starts up front offensively with TCU commit Tobias Steppes. Steppes has an athletic frame, he has an extended reach and his ability to get out and run, allows him make blocks at the second level. He is joined by to powerhouses in Osborne Duncan and Levon Davis, who both play with a mean streak, they love to do the dirty work in the trenches and they provide an excellent push upfront in the running game. JaQuavius Pipkin and Carter Jones make up the best quarterback duo in the state of Texas and both Class of 2025 QBs return to lead one the most explosive offenses in the DFW Area in 2023. Ti’Eric Martin and Jerbrandin Henderson are two of the most versatile Tigers in the lineup and look for defenses to see a heavy dose of both wideouts in 2023. . Emmanuel Choice gives the Tigers another big play threat outside and the 6’5 playmaker is a matchup problem for most high school secondaries. All everything athlete Kewan Lacy returns as one the most highly sought after players in the country. There is nowhere on the field that Lacy can’t lineup and be a threat to score. Speed, power, jumping ability, explosiveness, reliable hands and game breaking talent are why TCU, Arizona State, Miami, Baylor, Ole Miss and Nebraska are in the final six for Lacy as he narrows down his college choices. The Tigers defense is one the fastest, ballhawking defenses in the DFW Area and they are locked and loaded and focused on making a state run in 2023. Kam Robinson amd Corian Gipson make up one the top secondary tandems in the state of Texas and take pride in taking the ball away from opponents. Gipson is one the top cornerbacks in the country and his ability to lockdown on receivers, showing off sticky coverage with sprinter speed, enables him to shut down one half to the field. Robinson has the speed to cover ground quickly on the back half but he comes downhill in run support to bring the wood. Ke’Breion Winston, Jaydan Shaw and Davon Newman are front seven players who will make an impact for the Tigers defensively 2023.
    Platform Star Watch: Jerbrandin Henderson (WR)
    12. Red Oak Hawks | Head Coach: Melvin Robinson | 2022: Record 9-3 | Finished in a Three Way tie in District 4-5A DI | 2nd Round Playoff Appearance
    The Red Oak Hawks had a strong 9-3 2022 season and come into 2023 looking to take that next step that would give them a chance to compete for a state title. Coach Robinson comes in with a group of Hawks who are hungry and have the talent to contend with any team in the DFW Area. Taz Williams Jr. is one of those talented playmakers in the Red Oak lineup and he will be a key cog in the Hawk offensive attack. He has a large catch radius, he runs sharp, crispy routes, he is smooth in and out of his breaks and he has the speed to make a house call. Brayden Robinson is one of the most explosive athletes in the state of Texas in the Class of 2026 and he has the skill set to score anytime he gets his hands on the football. Reggie Moody steps in to compete at the quarterback position and has had a great spring preparing to be under center for the Hawks. Christopher Martinez Jr. will get the bulk of the carries at running back, coming off of a standout 2022 season where rushed for over 800 yards and also saw time at linebacker. Kameron Franklin returns in the secondary for the Red Oak Hawks and looks to lead a defense that will attack opponents from all angles. Rodney Malone, Stacey Johnson and Kaden Bates are several standouts who will contribute at Red Oak in the 2023 season.
    Platform Star Watch: Christopher Martinez (RB)
    Top Teams: Right Outside the Top Twelve in DFW
    Argyle Eagles | Head Coach: Todd Rodgers |2022: Record 14-1 | 3-5A District Champs | 5th Round Playoff Appearance
    Gunter Tigers | Head Coach : Jake Fieszel | 2022 : Record 15-0 | 3A DII State Champs
    McKinney Lions | Head Coach: Marcus Shavers | 2022: Record 8-5 | 3rd Round Playoff Appearance

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