December 3, 2007

Sleeper search: Houston under a microscope

College recruiters are scouring Houston in one of the Bayou City's best bumper crops in years.

More than 125 athletes have received Division I scholarship offers out of Greater Houston, and dozens of prospects are being uncovered on a daily basis. The projection could reach more than 200 Division I and I-AA athletes by February.

Topping the list of sleepers are Cypress Falls' Shane Turner, Cypress Fairbanks' Wesley Cobb, Aldine's Anthony Lewis, Elsik's Emmanuel Aluko and Morton Ranch receiver Carson Beard.

Turner turned heads this fall with 1,513 yards and 28 touchdowns. He is also an accomplished kick returner. He has offers from Utah, Fresno State, Arizona and New Mexico State.

"I think he's closest with Utah and Fresno State," Cy Falls coach David Raffield said. "Iowa State wants him to come up on a visit, so they are getting close with him."

Turner's teammate Darius Bolden was recently offered by Texas State after catching 58 balls for 1,133 yards and nine touchdowns.

When Cy Fair's Sam McGuffie went down with an injury, running back Wesley Cobb picked up the slack and then some. Cobb rushed for 1,472 yards and 13 touchdowns in limited action and has not gone unnoticed.

Cobb has unofficially visited the Naval Academy and is hearing from Stephen F. Austin.

"I really didn't expect to get so many carries this year, but it's been great," he said. "I loved the Naval Academy. I went up for the Duke game and loved the campus and the structure."

Aldine's Lewis had a tremendous season at linebacker and has already visited Minnesota and Purdue. He will be visiting Iowa State next week and he has been to Houston on an unofficial.

"I like Purdue for their academics," he said. "I like Houston because it's close to home and I'm ready to see Iowa State. I'd like to stay relatively close to home though."

His teammate Demetrius Dugar has been offered by Air Force and North Dakota State, while Northwestern is nearing.

"I really like North Dakota State," he said. "They have been on me for a long time."

Aldine receivers Patrick Hebert and Tyson Williams are also receiving recruiting interest.

Elsik's versatile defensive lineman Emmanual Aluko has been offered by North Texas, Tulane and Fresno State and he has visits set up with all three schools over the next two months.

"Aluko is tremendously strong and will be a solid player in college," Elsik coach Bill Barron said. "Our sleeper is Chris Asumnu, who is visiting UTEP, Tulane and Fresno State also. He had a great season for us."

While Morton Ranch is a new school, the Katy-based program has a receiving talent that is gaining momentum. Carson Beard, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound receiver, led his district with 561 yards receiving on 37 catches.

"I'm starting to hear from schools all over the country," he said. "I want to play college football and I feel I can be a possession receiver at the next level."

Beard is hearing from the likes of Tulane, Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State, Holy Cross and Dartmouth.

"I'm working out for baseball right now and am getting ready to set up some visits," he said. "

Other emerging prospects in the area include Cypress Creek's Kenny Onwubaya, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound guard.

"Kenny has been offered by Stephen F. Austin and Louisiana Tech is getting close," Cy Creek coach Greg McCaig said. "He's so strong and long as an offensive lineman. Once he's got you, he's got you. He has a mean streak like someone on defense."

Stephen F. Austin as also offered Mayde Creek defensive lineman Jowyn Ward. Ward has been offered by Columbia and Army as well.

"He's a great student and he's so raw," Mayde Creek coach Lance Carter said. "He's a good one to build a team around."

Spring Woods Greg Burks has had an injury-marred 18 months, but schools are looking for the big safety with great speed. Burks is that guy left on the recruiting board.

"He has visits set up to TCU and Oklahoma State," Spring Woods coach Dwayne Eggerman said. "I think TCU is going to offer and he's comfortable with their coaches. He also wants to stay close to home."

Stay tuned.


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