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March 15, 2012Ricky Seals-Jones, Sealy
(6'5", 220/ 31 catches for 512 yds. and 11 TDs in 2011; Texas commit)
Derrick Griffin, Rosenberg Terry
(6'6", 215/ 36 catches for 509 yds. and 12 TDs; Texas A&M commit)
Jake Oliver, Dallas Jesuit
(6'4", 194/ 108 catches for 1,637 yds. and 23 TDs; Texas commit)
Ra'Shaad Samples, Dallas Skyline
(6', 170/ 65 catches for 1,369 yds. and 19 TDs)
Eldridge Massington, West Mesquite
(6'3", 205/ 41 catches for 666 yds. and 6 TDs)
Marcell Ateman, Wylie East
(6'4", 189/ 67 catches, 1,047 yds. and 10 TDs)
Fred Ross, Tyler John Tyler
(6'1", 185/ 99 catches for 1,335 yds. and 15 TDs; Oklahoma State commit)
Jamar Gibson, Goose Creek Memorial
(14 catches for 228 yards and 2 TDs; Texas A&M commit)
Ellis Jefferson, Denton Guyer
(6'4", 190/ 38 catches for 676 yds. and 5 TDs)
Robbie Rhodes, Fort Worth Southwest
(6'1", 186/ 47 catches for 1,315 yds. and 21 TDs)
Quincy Adeboyejo, Cedar Hill
(6'3", 175/ 5 catches for 166 yds. and 2 TD)
It's a unique group of outside receivers in the state of Texas as highlighted by the top two guys, Ricky Seals Jones of Sealy and Derrick Griffin of Rosenberg Terry. Both are X receivers who combine the size of a tight end with the athleticism of a small forward in basketball and the ability to play more than one position.
Take Seals-Jones, for example. He played receiver and defensive end as a sophomore, catching 31 passes on one side of the ball and racking up eight sacks on the other. He moved to quarterback as a junior and was named MVP while also starring at free safety. He also averaged around 30 points per game as a basketball player. He's a super-sized X receiver with the ideal physical tools for the position, good hands, and a fluid style of play.
Griffin actually played outside receiver last season in Terry's veer offense. He also has everything you would want in an X receiver and he's also a very physical blocker who enjoys dishing out punishment. He catches everything with his hands and has very good hand-eye coordination with the ability to not just go up an get the ball but the ability to turn and adjust to a poorly thrown one. His play reminds you of the X receivers that Missouri has churned out over the years that include converted tight ends.
There's not much to differentiate between the two -- Seals-Jones may be slightly more athletic while Griffin is more physical. Both need to work on their route running and not rounding their routes off but nonetheless they will pose unique matchup problems for any defense that they face in the coming years.
Oliver is also an X receiver, but he's probably the most polished receiver to come out of the state in years. His father, Gary Oliver, played receiver at Texas A&M and coached in the high school ranks and taught his son well. His footwork is precise and his cuts enable him to get open against almost all defenders. He has extremely reliable hands as good anyone else's you will see at that level and he has an innate sense of where he is on the field at all times which means that he can find seams in a zone defense or traffic near the goal line.
Samples is a big play guy as he averages almost 20 yards per reception. He lacks the size of the top three but is faster and an excellent runner after the catch with the ability to make cuts and not lose speed. He also can make people miss along the sideline and turn a hitch into a much longer gain. Like Oliver, he has excellent hands and has no problems adjusting to passes thrown behind him.
Massington is another big X receiver who uses his size and leaping ability to outmuscle smaller defenders. He's also a physical runner after the catch who's capable of lining up in the slot for West Mesquite.
Ateman is another in the long line of X receivers in this class. He's caught nearly 100 passes the last two years and averaged about 15 yards per reception which is statistically right where you want an X to be. He's physical, has really good hands, and wins every jump ball against smaller defenders.
Ross, like Samples, is a guy who can turn a short gain into a touchdown in the blink of an eye. He's also adept at taking handoffs when he's motioned into the backfield and setting up his blockers. John Tyler gets him the ball mostly near the line of scrimmage with screens, slants, and handoffs and as a result had 132 touches last season which is an enormous number for an outside receiver.
Gibson is a guy that most people forget about when talking about receivers in the 2013 class for two reasons. First, he played in an option offense last season and went from 48 catches to just 14. Second, he transferred from Baytown Lee to Goose Creek Memorial. At one time, he was on the Rivals 250 to watch list and when you look at his sophomore film you understand why. He's got great hands, can really go up in traffic and come down with the ball, and can make people miss after the catch.