Written by SportsDayDFW.com
5A top-10 countdown: No. 6 Cedar Hill loaded with big-time offensive talent
Notables: Mesquite finished the 2011 season 7-6 and in fourth place in District 11-5A...Plenty of returning talent on a team that advanced to the third round of the playoffs as the Skeeters get back nine starters on offense and another 9 on defense...Some of those returning starters include a 1,000-yard rusher (Junior Session), 2,500-yard passer (Alex Cooper) and 6-foot-2-inch, 7-touchdown receiver (Reshard Higgins). On defense Mesquite returns a great group in the defensive backfield -- DB Anthony Canady (5 INTs in 2011), DB Traa Strong (69 tackles) and DB Charles Grant (109 tackles, 4 INTs).
Notables: Mansfield finished the 2011 season 11-2 and tied for first place in District 5-5A...Mansfield returns half of its starters from 2011 -- six on offense and five on defense...Leading rusher Kenneth Burks, who ran for 1,885 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2011, returns along with leading receiver Lance Evans (577 yards, 5 TDs)...The offensive line will be anchored by Oklahoma State commit Zach Crabtree (tackle) and Duke commit Austin Davis (center). On defense Mansfield has experience at every level except defensive line...TCU commit George Baltimore (safety) and Cal commit Chad Whitener (linebacker) are big names back in 2012...Mesquite also returns all-district LB Ryan LeRoy and DB Trevor Stutsman (team-high 11 INTs over past two seasons).
8) Colleyville Heritage
Notables: Colleyville Heritage finished the 2011 season 9-2 and in second place in District 6-5A...Heritage returns four starters on each side of the ball...The biggest-name returnee is Oklahoma commit Cody Thomas (QB; 6-5A MVP in 2011; threw for nearly 3,400 yards and 36 TDs)...Connor Davis, mainly an inside wide receiver the past two seasons, will be the team's primary RB; he ran for 583 yards and six TDs in 2011...On defense Heritage returns a key cog in its 3-4 scheme -- NG Donovan Kleckner (a state wrestling finalist)...LB Christian Gonzales is another steady returner (team-high 136 tackles; first team all-district).
7) Arlington Martin
Notables: Arlington Martin finished the 2011 season 12-2 and tied for first place in District 4-5A...Martin returns 12 starters (five on offense, seven on defense) plus AP all-state kicker Ben Grogan from a team that lost to eventual Class 5A Div. I state champion Southlake Carroll in the fourth round of the playoffs...Wager's team will rely on Texas commit Kyle Hicks, who rushed for 1,682 yards and 26 touchdowns last season...Wager is contemplating moving Hicks to become an option-read quarterback; right now, Hicks and last year's leading receiver Eric Hughes are sharing the quarterback role...On defense, the linebacking corps and secondary return loads of experience. Jordan Avery is a three-year starter at linebacker, as is free safety and leading tackler Matt Waller. Junior-to-be Cedric Fernandes saw time as a nickel cornerback last year.
6) Cedar Hill
Notables: Cedar Hill finished the 2011 season 8-4 and tied for first first in District 5-5A…Cedar Hill returns nine starters on offense and four on defense…By coach Joey McGuire’s estimate, there could be as many as seven senior offensive starters that will sign with FBS programs. Two have already committed: do-everything star Laquvionte Gonzalez and fellow wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo have both committed to Texas A&M. Another receiver, Brandon Harris, has an offer from New Mexico State. Running back Jared Rayford should get interest, as should H-back Travis Wilson and center Anthony Pullins. Quarterback Damion Hobbs recently picked up an offer from Nebraska. Including Pullins, three offensive linemen return, including the whole left side of the line. On defense, four starters return, including three-year starter Isaiah Lewis at linebacker. Plano West transfer Derdrick White will likely step in at defensive end…Cedar Hill has one of the toughest schedules in the state with notable opponents such as Denton Guyer, Allen, Miami Booker T., DeSoto and Mansfield among others.