Written by Corbett Smith
Skyline again has recruiters lining up: Why is it such a hotbed?
Six seniors already have made college pledges, and more are expected
Expectations for Skyline are sky high, and for good reason. Not only did the team make the 5A Division I semifinals last season, six seniors on this year’s roster have already committed to FBS schools, the most of any high school in the Dallas area.
But if you expect Skyline coach Reginald Samples to be in awe of this year’s class, hold on a second.
Every year, Skyline has a handful of big-time recruits, a trend that Samples said predates his arrival from Lincoln in 2004.
“I can remember when I was at Lincoln, envying what they had at Skyline,” Samples said. “They’ve always had kids.”
Kerrick Huggins, a 6-4, 285-pound defensive tackle, has orally committed to Texas A&M. Dual-threat quarterback Devante Kincade, who passed for 3,270 yards and 37 touchdowns last season, is pledged to Mississippi. Three players are pledged to Big 12 schools: wide receiver Ra’Shaad Samples (Oklahoma State), defensive back Will Barrow (Texas Tech) and linebacker Isaiah Williams (Kansas State). Another linebacker, Roderick Moore, is orally committed to SMU.
Skyline probably will have a few more seniors sign with FBS schools, including Plano East transfer Devion Anderson.
And Cedric Collins, one of Skyline’s top recruits in the Class of 2014, will commit this week, with Oklahoma, Nebraska, TCU and Texas A&M among his double-digit offers.
Why is Skyline such a hotbed? Samples said the answer lies somewhere between the school’s academic structure, the program’s success and high expectations.
Skyline, the nation’s first magnet school when it opened in 1970, draws students from all across Dallas. Students who qualify with grades and test schools, and get through an on-site essay and interview, can choose from more than 20 “clusters,” or areas of study – subjects as diverse as floral design to aircraft technology.
The influx of students creates DISD’s largest high school, its 4,326 students nearly twice the size of the next-largest school, W.T. White.
Combine the school’s size with what Samples praises as a “great academic environment” and his team’s winning ways, and players and families want to be at Skyline – and often do transfer as freshmen.
“You know he’s going to take care of your kid, because the proof’s right in front of you,” Skyline assistant Jason Garrett said. “He’s got this kid at that school, Michael Morgan at USC, so-and-so at a school like Minnesota. The proof is in his hard work.”
Barrow transferred from Carter’s district before his freshman year after hearing about the school’s academic programs and seeing Samples from the stands during a varsity football game.
“We have great coaches,” Barrow said. ”Nothing against Carter and what they do, but they can get you on the map.”
Before playing a down of varsity football, sophomore running back Jordan Stevenson picked up an offer from Utah State. Garrett said Utah State’s coaches came to the spring game to watch Kincade and ended up offering Stevenson.
That’s not uncommon, said Greg Powers, a national recruiting analyst for Scout.com.
“It’s going to open doors for some of the other players there to get more exposure,” Powers said.
Sophomore defensive tackle Anthony Wheeler hopes to be one of those players. He has already impressed college coaches this summer at a few camps, and without any varsity experience, is receiving attention from Big 12 schools.
But, just like Samples, Wheeler seems matter-of-fact about the process.
“Being up at Skyline,” he said, “you end up getting a lot of offers.”
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A decade of Skyline FBS signees
2012: 4 (Notable: Peter Jinkens, LB, Texas)
2011: 4 (Notable: Anthony Wallace, LB, Oregon)
2010: 11 (Notables: Corey Nelson, LB, Oklahoma; Mike Davis, WR, Texas)
2009: 4 (Notable: Steve Williams, DB, Cal)
2008: 5 (Notable: Keanon Cooper, DB, Minnesota)
2007: 2 (Notable: Christian Scott, DB, Texas)
2006: 4 (Notable: Michael Morgan, LB, USC)
2005: 4 (Notable: Mikail Baker, DB, Baylor)
2004: 2 (Notable: Jonathan Penelton, DB, Tulsa)
2003: 6 (Notable: Steven Coleman, DT, Oklahoma)