Written by Corbett Smith
All remaining Dallas-area playoff teams feature multiple-threat quarterbacks
Of the 12 teams still alive in the UIL playoffs from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, each team has a quarterback capable of beating opponents by running, as well as with his arm.
From DeSoto to Corsicana Mildred, each team runs some version of the zone-read option. The reason is simple, Plano coach Jaydon McCullough said.
“If you’ve got an athletic quarterback who can do that back there, it’s like having an extra blocker,” McCullough said.
McCullough’s team faced three quarterbacks still playing in this year’s playoffs: Allen’s Kyler Murray, Plano West’s Travis Korry and Skyline’s Devante Kincade.
All of them use their mobility in different ways, McCullough said.
In a two-back set, Korry can rely on two quality tailbacks to pick teams apart by diagnosing what opposing linebackers are keying on.
When passing plays break down, Murray can tuck the ball and run with great effectiveness — averaging 7.7 yards a carry.
Kincade, committed to Ole Miss, is a physical runner, but also uses his feet to buy time in the pocket.
“They are all great in their own right,” McCullough said.
Here’s a look at the quarterbacks still playing in the UIL playoffs:
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Class 5A Division I
Devante Kincade, Skyline, Sr.
Stats: 159 of 244 (65.2 percent), 2,636 yards, 37 TDs, 6 INT; 122 rush, 750 yards, 11 TDs
Notable: The first two starts of his career weren’t good; just a sophomore, Kincade passed for 159 yards, no scores and two interceptions in losses to Bell Glades (Fla.) Central and Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas. Since then, Skyline’s record with Kincade is 39-3.
Quoteable: “He’s a little more disciplined in the passing game than [Murray or Korry]. He doesn’t want to take off as much. He wants to extend the play and make something happen.” — McCullough
Kyler Murray, Allen, So.
Stats: 127 of 194 (65.5 percent), 1,731 yards, 14 TDs, 4 INT; 131 rush, 1,005 yards, 19 TDs
Notable: Right now, Murray might be more of a scrambler than pocket passer. But that’s expected to change. He has the arm and other attributes to become a great passer, and his father is noted quarterback guru and former Texas A&M QB Kevin Murray.
Quoteable: “Any time you’re a sophomore, you are going to be still learning. But he’s coming of age. You have to be careful coming after him, because he’s a very accurate passer.” — McCullough
Kenny Hill, Southlake Carroll, Sr.
Stats: 187 of 273 (68.5 percent), 3,030 yards, 26 TDs, 3 INT; 148 rushes, 1,322 yards, 28 TDs
Notable: Hill has become more accurate and prolific as the year has progressed, and that’s scary — considering he entered 2012 as the defending SportsDayHS offensive player of the year. In fact, the stats for Hill — a Texas A&M pledge — are better now than they were at season’s end in 2011.
Quoteable: “He’s smart and efficient, but the thing that sticks out is when you see him, you say ‘look at that big son-of-a-gun coming at us.’” — Arlington Martin’s Bob Wager
Desmon White, DeSoto, Jr.
Stats: 188 of 303 (62.1 percent), 2,774 yards, 27 TDs, 5 INT; 135 rushes, 1,149 yards, 10 TDs
Notable: White might not look the part (5-8, 140), but opposing coaches say those that underestimate his passing ability do so at their peril. When combined with running back Dontre Wilson, there’s not a faster zone-read duo in the state.
Quoteable: “His biggest attribute is that he can extend plays and make good things happen. Lots of kids can make something happen. He makes good things happen.” — Mansfield’s Jeff Hulme
Class 5A Division II
Damion Hobbs, Cedar Hill, Sr.
Stats: 169 of 260 (65.0 percent), 2,256 yards, 24 TDs, 7 INT; 152 rushes, 591 yards, 9 TDs
Notable: Hobbs’ production would have been more prolific if Laquvionte Gonzalez, one of the most explosive receivers in the state and a Texas A&M pledge, was not forced to move to running back because of the team’s injuries. Hobbs (6-2, 200) is committed to Arkansas State.
Quoteable: “He’s got a college-sized body. When he lowers that shoulder, he’s a load. Joey [McGuire] does a great job of using him in their goal-line package.” — Hulme
Travis Korry, Plano West, Sr.
Stats: 128 of 206 (62.1 percent), 2,161 yards, 12 TDs, 7 INT; 159 rushes, 866 yards, 16 TDs
Notable: While Sotonye Jamabo has emerged as a star for Plano West in the playoffs, Korry’s performance over West’s six-game winning streak has been impressive as well. Over that span, he’s rushed for 10 scores and passed for 1,089 yards and five touchdowns.
“I think he’s the X-factor with those two great running backs. He’s smart and a winner, and what he does in the running game, he splits your defense into thirds.” — McCullough
Class 4A Division I
Justin Martin, Birdville, Sr.
Stats: 188 of 273 (68.9 percent), 2,781 yards, 35 TDs, 5 INT; 85 rushes, 626 yards, 9 TDs
Notable: Martin has been largely unheralded during Birdville’s 13-0 run. But his stats are staggering — especially since this is his first varsity season at QB. Coach Jim Skinner said that Martin (5-10, 175) is still waiting to pick up his first offer at any level.
Quoteable: “He’s got the whole package. He’s a great leader. He’s effective in the run game, a good passer, and with their zone read game, he makes them go.” — Saginaw coach Mike Peters
Jerrod Heard, Denton Guyer, Jr.
Stats: 130 of 212 (61.3 percent), 1,657 yards, 12 TDs, 6 INT; 176 rushes, 1,510 yards, 24 TDs
Notable: Heard — a Texas pledge — is the most heavily recruited player on this list. His size (6-3, 190), arm strength and athleticism give him a dynamic that few in the state possess. A junior, he still struggles with his accuracy. But if he’s on, watch out.
Quoteable: “He’s a stud. Obviously, he’s a great runner, but he can throw the football well, too. [Guyer coach John] Walsh does a great job putting him where he can succeed.” — Peters
Lamar Jordan, Fr. Centennial, Sr.
Stats: 191 of 318 (60.1 percent), 2,381 yards, 29 TDs, 8 INT; 128 rushes, 556 yards, 9 TDs
Notable: Jordan is the most successful starter in Centennial history, winning 24 games in two years. He’s relied more on his arm as a senior, but he can run; committed to Arkansas as a receiver, he rushed for 920 yards and 11 scores as a junior, averaging seven yards a carry.
Quoteable: “He’s a patient, good runner. He throws the deep ball well, but he scrambles to throw — keeps his eyes down field at his receivers.” — Kimball’s Carlton Nelson
Class 4A Division II
Tanner Ramsey, Mes. Poteet, Sr.
Stats: 185 of 290 (63.8 percent), 2,817 yards, 33 TDs, 8 INT; 133 rushes, 684 yards, 17 TDs
Notable: While he possesses a strong throwing arm, Ramsey is built like a fullback (6-3, 225) and runs like one. He might not be the most fleet-footed quarterback on this list, but much like Hill, he’s tough to bring down between the tackles.
Quoteable: “He is one tough guy — an extraordinary competitor. That epitomizes that kid. Tough, physical, like a bull. He took some shots in our game, and got right back up.” — West Mesquite’s Mike Overton
Demarcus Ayers, Lancaster, Sr.
Stats: 97 of 172 (56.4 percent), 1,452 yards, 20 TDs, 9 INT; 142 rushes, 1,179 yards, 14 TDs
Notable: He might be the most elusive runner on the list, but that comes with the funkiest throwing motion of the dozen. Then again, Ayers isn’t trying to play quarterback at the next level; a Washington State pledge, Ayers is projected as a slot receiver.
Quoteable: “He’s a complete athlete. … On those dive-read runs, the more he has the ball in his hands, the more they’ll be successful.” — Nelson
Class 2A Division II
Nic Shimonek, Cor. Mildred, Sr.
Stats: 125 of 197 (63.5 percent), 1,917 yards, 27 TDs, 5 INT; 97 rushes, 677 yards, 13 TDs
Notable: At Mildred, he’s received little publicity for two years of excellence, leading his team to a 24-2 record. Recruiters have been watching, though; Shimonek (6-4. 205) has committed to Iowa.
Quoteable: “He’s a big kid, strong and physical. And he’s faster on the field than what you give him credit for watching on tape or even in person. He’s strides it out.” — Cooper coach Ronnie Green