The Fox Sports 7-on-7 State Tournament_ otherwise known as a Hotter than Hell July weekend in College Station _ has grown into one of the state's top off-season football events. It's a mini coaches and players convention. There will be two video crews and two national recruiting analysts from rivals.com. A look at the Top 10 qualifiers:
1. Stony Point
At every camp or 7-on-7 tourney, Stony Point has had some buzz. Nyk McKissic is experienced with very good accuracy. Senior receiver Glasco Martin is a steady star and 7-on-7 superstar.
If speedy DB Julian Dozier makes catches at receiver, no one can cover him. And Stony Point WR Stephen Williams (Class of 2010) has run consistent 4.3s and has good hands as a star of the next three years.
2. Katy Cinco Ranch
The Cougars won the tourney in 2002 and the Katy ISD always has representatives do well at the state tourney. Cinco Ranch senior Shane Ros is a great 7-on-7 athlete who is looking for a big senior year to make up for an injury that caused him to miss four games last year.
Ros can play QB or WR, but it's the Cougars' depth and experience that makes them a favorite in their fifth consecutive state appearance and 7th in since '01.
3. Plano Who would have thought? Plano has the offensive triplets: QB Carson Meger, RB Rex Burkhead and Kris Lott. They can score with patient drives or first-play drives. Plano star on the rise: WR Holt Hoetger.
As we might be saying all season, though, the Wildcats' defense isn't bad, but it isn't a Doomsday Defense either.
Senior QB Stephen Warren has uncanny accuracy and the leadership to run a team over the grueling 2-day tournament that is the Fox Sports 7-on-7 at A&M.
The Eagles' marquee player is linebacker Chris Williams, who keyed the upset of Southlake Carroll in the '07 state playoffs. But the Eagles' chemistry gives them a little something as an overall team.
5. Rockwall Heath
Sure, they are making their first appearance and it'll be a long shot. But senior QB Drew Hollingshead can throw darts all day. Heath uses its speedy running backs Kendial Lawrence and Everett Gilbert out of the backfield well. Speedy WR/DB Darius Jones is on the verge of a breakout year.
Junior QB Matt Joeckel is your classic, 6-4, drop-back quarterback. Great vision, super arm strength, bullets, touch, good presence. But if there's an interception, Joekel has Tony Romo-like chase down speed.
Arlington star of future Miles Onyegbule, a 6-3, '011 will also play some QB on you during the season.
Joekel's 2010 class has won sub-varsity state 7-on-7 state titles. Receiver Cory Broadnax has blossomed with acrobatic catches and breaking slant routes into quick touchdowns.
7. Arlington Bowie Arlington Bowie senior QB Christian Matthews has been good but not great this summer. It's been the emergence of junior receivers Langston Williams and Montra Wilson and senior Jonathan Gazaille that has sparked Bowie's offense.
Defense is talented. Matthews' fellow Kansas commit Dextor Linton can score consistently on defense _ a huge plus.
This tournament is a lot about conditioning and consistency. Katy will beat some teams, as it always does, cause the Tigers have 90 guys working out four days a weeks together for two hours and it's no chit-chat workout.
How a perennial state contender keeps a chip-on-its shoulder about proving itself is amazing, but they do. QB Parker Ray has had a good summer. Eye-catching talent is RB Michael Webber, who missed last season with an injury.
9. Denton Guyer A team on the rise. They are loaded with great athletes on defense. Chuks Orabuchi and Marquis Smith are as athletic as any DBs around. And they've got great energy and enthusiasm for the rigorous tourney. They play nearly all DBs on defense (few linebackers) and can make stops. Sophomore QB J.W. Walsh has a summer full of reading defenses to go with a quick, accurate release. Receivers Luke Russell and Daniel Harkin lead a deep group of receivers who can all score. May be deepest 7-0n-7 team I've seen all summer. Experience is weakness.
The Ville has been so highly rated coming into past years with big-armed quarterbacks like Kody Spano and Jevan Sneed and hasn't come out with a championship. They've played well, but hey, this is Arena League Football here sometimes you just don't don't hit 50 points. There isn't near the individual hype and Stephenville had a less-than-ideal transition to new coach Joseph Gillispie but The Ville still is a 4A team that isn't phased when it plays any 4A or 5A talent level.