Texas welcomes another top recruiting class this fall, full of players from the Austin, Dallas and Houston areas.
The two major metropolitan areas, plus the state capital, send recruits to the University year in and year out and are usually well represented on the Longhorns’ roster. This year, however, another large city will be well represented in the recruiting class — San Antonio.
“Our city [has] grown quite a bit in the last 10 years,” said Lee Bridges, head football coach at Stevens High School in San Antonio. “There are a lot more good players here than most people think.”
Out of 22 commitments that signed with Texas on Wednesday, three hail from the San Antonio area, a higher number than usual. Malcolm Brown is a five-star recruit from Byron P. Steele High in Cibolo, a small town right outside the San Antonio city limits. Mykkele Thompson was a premier rushing quarterback for Stevens High School in San Antonio. The third San Antonio-area recruit, Quincy Russell, is an agile defensive tackle from Sam Houston High School.
The level of individual performance and team accomplishments has increased over the past 10 years for San Antonio-area schools. Last season, Byron Steele High School won the 5A Division II State Championship.
“This was a great year for San Antonio football,” said Mike Jinks, head coach at Steele. “These kids did a great job ... They did what they needed to do to get a victory.”
The champion athletes at Steele are not an anomaly. The level of athleticism there represents the general level of competition across San Antonio.
“It’s a lot of competition. There’s no football like Texas football,” Brown said. “It’s been a hard run. There [are] so many great teams out there [in the San Antonio area] and just to compete with them makes you that much better.”
While Brown comes from an award-winning program, Quincy Russell may be the spark his school needs to produce more scholarship athletes in the years ahead. Russell became the first football player in the history of Sam Houston and the San Antonio Independent School District to be named a U.S. Army All-American. He is also the first from his school in a long time to go to a university as well-known as Texas. Russell’s scholarship is monumental to a school that faced closure at the beginning of last year.
“We have a lot of young juniors and sophomores that are going to follow in his footsteps,” said Gary Green, head coach at Sam Houston. “He’s a flagship ... he’s the first.”
Aside from an increase in talent level, a general economic boom has seen a large number of immigrants to San Antonio, and more people means more high school students.
“[The] San Antonio area has really grown leaps and bounds over the last four or five years,” Jinks said. “I know that we have signed 34 guys to Division 1 scholarships [this year from San Antonio] ... if you looked back 5 or 10 years ago then that just wasn’t there.”
Expect many more recruits out of the San Antonio area in years to come. This region is a hotbed of individual talent that is fueled by intense coaching and high levels of competition. Who knows, maybe the next Tyler Rose will be a San Antonio native.