Written by Corbett Smith
Cedar Hill spring football report: Longhorns return bevy of FBS caliber offensive weapons
Team: Cedar Hill
How the 2011 season ended: After ending the regular season with a loss to Duncanville, preventing a perfect 7-0 record in District 5-5A, the Longhorns made it to the second round before getting swarmed by 5A Division I champs Southlake Carroll, 40-7.
Key returning starters: It's a treasure trove of offensive talent back for coach Joey McGuire. By his 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 just picked up an offer from Nebraska. Including Pullins, three offensive linemen return, including the whole left side of the line. On defense, three starters return, including three-year starter Isaiah Lewis at linebacker. Plano West transfer Derdrick White will likely step in at defensive end.
Biggest questions facing team:
Will Damion Hobbs become an elite quarterback?
In the recent history of Cedar Hill quarterbacks, Driphus Jackson sets the bar. A three-year starter, Jackson (now at Rice) threw for 3,119 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2011. McGuire thinks that Hobbs -- who completed 67 percent of his passes last year as a part-time starter, throwing for 997 yards and 8 TDs -- might be able to reach or exceed those gaudy stats. "He might be bigger," McGuire said. "He's 6-3, 216 pounds right now, and every time a college coach comes on campus, they are calling their quarterback coach in the office and telling them, 'You need to take a look at this kid.'" McGuire said that Hobbs has practiced with a chip on his shoulder since the Carroll loss, considering how great opposing quarterback Kenny Hill played in that game. McGuire thinks the team will be more balanced next season, but added that Hobbs could very well throw for 3,000 yards in 2012.
How will Cedar Hill hold up with one of the toughest schedules around?
McGuire believes in scheduling tough non-district opponents. Next season, he will continue that practice. Denton Guyer, Allen and Miami's Booker T. Washington (Florida's 4A runners-up) are on board. The Longhorns then open district play with DeSoto, followed by Duncanville. "It's better than Week 10," McGuire said of the early DeSoto match-up. "You don't want to go into Week 10 with a game like that, such a big rivalry. Someone is going to go into the playoffs on a low note." The revamped district, identical except for the addition of DeSoto, is brutal -- especially when factoring in the playoff experience of Mansfield and Mansfield Timberview. "I don't know if there's a tougher district in football, boys and girls football or boys and girls track," McGuire said. "There's going to be teams that are going to be sitting at home that could win some other districts."
Notables: While Gonzalez's commit to A&M seemed a logical choice, the offer to Adeboyejo was somewhat of a head scratcher. Adeboyejo only had five catches last year for 166 yards and two touchdowns, hardly the stat line of a SEC recruit. But McGuire said he expects a breakout season for the senior-to-be, saying he had a great spring and has all the physical tools to be one of the best receivers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. "I'm just happy he's on my team, and we aren't having to cover him," McGuire said.
... Coaches are often worried about their special teams at this point, and McGuire's no exception. Right now, the plan is for Brooks Ralph, a sophomore-to-be who started on JV as a freshman, to take the starting role.
He said it: "For me, it's been most fun spring I've had in 18 years of coaching. It's just that the kids have got that feeling. They're very optimistic that they are going to be good." -- McGuire
Spring football game info: 7 p.m., Friday, May 25 at Longhorn Stadium
Season opener: at Denton Guyer, 7:30 p.m., Aug. 31
Full regular season schedule:
Aug. 31: at Denton Guyer at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7: Allen at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 15: Booker T. Washington (Miami) at Kincaid Stadium at 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 21: at DeSoto* at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28: Duncanville* at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12: at South Grand Prairie* at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19: Grand Prairie* at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26: at Mansfield Timberview* at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2: Mansfield* at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9: at Midlothian* at 7:30 p.m.
* - district game