Expect a stampede of Dallas talent to sign with Texas over the next few recruiting cycles because of a powerful duo. One is a commitment, the other an assistant coach.
The string bonding the two is Duncanville head football coach Reginald Samples, a long-time coaching figure in the south Dallas community. His quarterback, Ja’Quinden Jackson, is Texas’ highest-rated pledge in the 2020 class. His son, Rashaad, is an assistant receivers coach at Texas under Tom Herman.
The importance of a consistent recruiting pipeline into Dallas cannot be overstated. The Longhorns already prowl successfully in Houston, the state’s other true hotbed for talent, due to Herman’s connections in Houston from his prior stint coaching the Cougars. Staff members like Bryan Carrington and Corby Meekins also hold long-time ties to the area.
Herman’s last two classes were ranked No. 3 in the country. It’s hard to point out weaknesses without splitting hairs, but even Herman knows Texas must improve in Dallas-Fort Worth to compete for national championships. Texas is good when it recruits well in one of those cities. The Longhorns are a national contender if Herman finds a way to land the best talent in the DFW like he’s done in Houston.
That’s where Texas hopes to rely on Rashaad and Jackson to lead the charge in DFW. Rahaad’s last name and success at Dallas Skyline gives him instant credibility with young recruits. Quay Davis is the lone Texas commit in the 2021 class and he’s a receiver at Skyline. Cedar Hill, DeSoto and Duncanville are the current holy recruiting trinity of south Dallas. Skyline is coming back to life.
“The Samples name is huge in south Dallas,” said Cedar Hill assistant coach and recruiting coordinator D.J. Mann. “Coach (Reginald) Samples has coached either an uncle, dad or brother of many of the top players in the area. Shad gets the respect factor because he was a big-time baller at Skyline. He is young and these kids grew up watching him play. They can relate to him.”
Texas’ 2017 class was essentially done when Herman took over the job in late November. It was the 2018 and 2019 classes where he put his stamp on the roster. He clung tightly to his roots in Houston, signing the area’s best prospects in B.J. Foster and Anthony Cook, among others. The Dallas flavor lacked, however. The Longhorns signed two DFW prospects in each of the last two recruiting classes. Texas already holds three DFW commitments in 2020 and one in 2021.
“We talk about not leaving out of Texas and staying home,” Davis said. “We all grew up together. Ja’Quinden and I grew up together. That’s a life-long connection. His commitment was real important. He’s a bad man.”
Jackson is a living legend in south Dallas after taking Duncanville to the brink of a Class 6A Division I state title last season, only to lose to Galena Park North Shore on a last-second Hail Mary. He was the best player in the game, however, dominating a talented North Shore defense with his arm and legs. That same defense shut down Hudson Card and Lake Travis a week before the title game. Jackson’s commitment instantly changed the perception of the UT program in Dallas.
“He’s a loyal dude,” said Duncanville teammate and Texas safety target Chris Thompson Jr. “If I was going into a fight, he would be the one I want combing behind me, and it’s vice versa.”
Don’t expect the movement to slow down. The young prospects want to help put college football in Texas on the map in the same way we think of high school football. Why can’t the best teams be from Texas in college if the best prep teams hail from inside the Lone Star State? It’s an understandable mindframe for young, talented prospects.
“It’s going to continue to pick up momentum. We want our stars to stay in state. We don’t to win for other states,” said 2021 DeSoto defensive end Shemar Turner. “We talk about it a lot.”