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August 15, 2011

Rival regions: Dallas/Fort Worth vs. Houston

MORE TEXAS: Chat | Edwards ROTW | Mailbag
MORE RIVAL REGIONS: Charlotte vs. Raleigh-Durham

For the next two weeks, Rivals.com is taking a look at the high school football talent in rival regions - breaking down the best prospects, best teams and giving our vote for which area is superior.

TODAY's MATCHUP: Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex vs. Greater Houston metro area


The Case for Dallas

The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is home to both of the state of Texas' five-star prospects. Defensive end Mario Edwards and running back Johnathan Gray headline a very talented group of prospects from the area.

In addition, three more Rivals100 prospects hail from the Metroplex in wide receiver Thomas Johnson, linebacker Brian Nance and defensive end Hassan Ridgeway. The upper-tier talent does not end there, though.

Linebacker Peter Jinkens is the No. 101 overall prospect in the country, falling just outside the Rivals100. He is joined by fellow area Rivals250 prospects in safety LaDarrell McNeil, defensive end Devonte Fields, running back Jonathan Williams and offensive guard Curtis Riser. Linebacker Jordan Richmond is also ranked as a four-star prospect just outside the Rivals250.

The area has several prospects that had very good summers as well and could see a bump in the rankings. Cornerback DeVante Harris was named the Defensive MVP at the Gridiron Kings event while Corey Coleman ran the fastest 40-yard dash time at The Opening.


The Case for Houston

The Greater Houston area is home to the state's top quarterback in Matt Davis and there is really not a close second. Davis is incredibly dangerous as a runner but proved this summer that he is an equally adept passer.

Fellow Texas A&M commit Trey Williams is the No. 2 running back in the country, ranked behind only Gray. He has excellent vision and can catch the ball out of the backfield.

Defensive tackle Malcom Brown and offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle are both among the top players at their positions nationally and are both among the top 35 prospects in the Rivals100. Brown's high school teammate, linebacker Timothy Cole, is also ranked in the Rivals100.

Like its rival to the north, Houston is also home to several more Rivals250 prospects. Wide receiver Bralon Addison and defensive tackle Paul Boyette Jr. round out the group while offensive center Mike Matthews is also a four-star recruit.


Bottom line

Both cities have a wealth of talent and are deep enough to provide a two-deep roster on both sides of the ball. Both are well-represented on the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Under Armour All-American rosters. However, due to the fact that Dallas has two five-star prospects compared with Houston's zero, as well as five Rivals100 prospects to Houston's four, the edge would have to go to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in the battle this year. There is not a huge separation between the two but the top-tier talent gives Dallas the edge.


Team matchup

This debate should be handled at the highest level: the number of state titles. Unfortunately, since Texas divides each group into two divisions, there's no guarantee the top teams from these regions will face each other each season. The talent of the teams, however, is unquestioned. Katy High is among the best of Houston this year, followed by North Shore and Pearland. Allen High appears to be the best team this year in the DFW Metroplex, followed by Euless Trinity and Coppell. And even though Pearland was the highest-ranked team in the state a year ago (it beat Trinity in the state final), we have to give the overall edge to the Dallas teams, which perennially are as good as any in the country.

- Dallas Jackson


Series Schedule
AUG. 17: North Jersey vs. Philadelphia | Western Oregon vs. Western Washington
AUG. 18: Tampa vs. Miami | Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland
AUG. 19: Orlando vs. Jacksonville/North Florida | Oklahoma City vs. Tulsa
AUG. 22: Memphis vs. Nashville | Kansas City vs. St. Louis
AUG. 23: North Alabama vs. South Alabama | Arizona/New Mexico vs. Colorado/Utah
AUG. 24: Atlanta vs. New Orleans
AUG. 25: Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati | Chicago vs. Detroit
AUG. 26: Southern California vs. Northern California



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