Written by SportsDayDFW.com
The next Megatron? Cedar Hill's DaMarkus Lodge making case for top 2015 recruit in nation
CEDAR HILL — Few people outside of Cedar Hill knew the name DaMarkus Lodge four months ago.
The unheralded wide receiver had six catches for 59 yards last season, making him little more than a footnote — statistically speaking — during Cedar Hill’s run to the Class 5A Division II state final.
This week, though, as Cedar Hill prepares to face Katy in its second straight state championship game at AT&T Stadium, Lodge is far from an afterthought.
“He will be the best thing that ever came out of Cedar Hill High School,” veteran Cedar Hill wide receivers coach Kevin Benjamin said. “And we’ve had a lot of great athletes. But where he is at this point in his football career, the sky is the limit.”
Head coach Joey McGuire called his talented 6-3, 195-pound receiver the top 2015 recruit in the nation last week.
McGuire knows a thing or two about recruiting the position. Cedar Hill sent three wide receivers off on FBS scholarships last season: Quincy Adeboyejo (Mississippi), Travis Wilson (Nevada) and Brandon Harris (Iowa State).
The logjam at the position was the primary reason Lodge didn’t see much of the field during his first two seasons.
So he observed, learned and patiently waited for his time in the spotlight.
“Watching Quincy really gave me a lot of tips,” Lodge said. “And as far as blocking, I learned a lot from Brandon Harris and Travis Wilson. I’m actually glad I sat out last season to pick up a lot of things from those guys.
“There was a lot of talent on the field, and I knew that I would have my time the next season.”
Lodge made six catches for 147 yards and a touchdown in his starting debut Aug. 29 against defending 4A champion Denton Guyer.
A week later he stole the show at Allen’s Eagle Stadium, catching six passes for 120 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to the defending 5A state champions.
Lodge has amassed 1,229 receiving yards in 15 games and leads all area receivers with 21 touchdowns.
He’s received scholarship offers from more than two dozen schools, including Ohio State, Auburn, Texas and Texas A&M.
McGuire said Lodge has the body control of former Cedar Hill and current Washington Redskins receiver Dezmon Briscoe, the yards-after-catch ability of Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones and the playmaking ability of Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.
Just his being on the field has an impact on every play. Opposing defenses tend to double-cover Lodge, which opens up opportunities for Cedar Hill’s four-man running back committee.
Cedar Hill is averaging 284.4 rushing yards in its five playoff victories.
“We’ve had juniors that are good, but maybe weren’t quite ready for the stage,” McGuire said. “Dezmon Briscoe had a great senior year. Quincy Adeboyejo had a great senior year. They were learning as juniors. Lodge is already past where they were as seniors.”
The coaching staff’s confidence in Lodge has continued to grow throughout the year. Lodge has 10 touchdowns in the postseason, and two of those came on running plays from the wildcat formation.
Perhaps the best example of McGuire’s confidence in Lodge came during Saturday’s state semifinal against Lake Travis.
Cedar Hill faced fourth-and-5 at the Lake Travis 30-yard line, trailing 10-6 midway through the fourth quarter. Lodge trotted out behind center in the wildcat formation and ran for six yards and the first down.
It was a massive play, and it set up Lodge’s impressive, leaping touchdown catch on a fade route five snaps later.
“It’s one of those things where if we’re going to go down, we’re going to go down with the ball in our best player’s hands,” Cedar Hill offensive coordinator Mike Glaze said.
Katy, the unbeaten defending state champions, will pose a tougher challenge Saturday than Cedar Hill (13-2) has faced during the postseason.
That might further inspire Lodge, who has been matched up with every opponent’s top player in the secondary.
He got the best of Hebron’s Jamal Adams, one of the nation’s top defensive back recruits, for 129 yards and four touchdowns in an area playoff.
Cedar Hill quarterback Justin McMillan said it doesn’t matter who is covering Lodge.
“We have a connection,” McMillan said. “I tell him if you just give me an inch or two, I’ll throw you the ball.”
And Lodge, far more often than not, will catch the ball.
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.