Hendrickson Hawks Report
The Texas Longhorns claimed the moniker DBU (Defensive Back University) in the early 2000s for its penchant of producing NFL-caliber defensive backs. In the Austin-area high school football scene, Pflugerville Hendrickson might as well dub itself DB High. The Hawks have had eight defensive backs in the last 10 years get FBS offers. Senior Myles Brooks – an Arkansas commit who made four interceptions last year – will lead the secondary in 2018.
“It starts with you got to have good athletes,” head coach Chip Killian said of his program’s ability to churn out high-quality defensive backs. “Then I think our coaches do a really good job of teaching those guys specific technique, and then third phase of it is keeping our scheme pretty simple. We’re not a complicated defense by any stretch. But those guys, they’re confident in what they do, they trust what they do, and it allows them to play fast.”
But Brooks and the secondary are far from an offense’s only worry. The Hawks have 6-foot-4, 330-pound senior defensive tackle Shaylon Roberts clogging up the middle. He frees up senior linebacker Clifton Styles – gifted in both run-stopping and pass coverage – who cleaned up with 135 tackles last year. The most dangerous man on Hendrickson’s defense, however, is senior defensive end/linebacker Curley Williams, a California commit coming off a season where he made 90 tackles (18 for a loss) with seven sacks.
“I don’t know what you really call that guy (Williams). You can call him a rush end, or you can call him a rush backer, whatever you guys feel like calling him, to be honest with you,” Killian said. “I think we’re going to be solid in the front seven.”
Anybody who watched the Longhorns last year knows how a strong defense and great punter can feed off each other. Ex-Texas punter Michael Dickson consistently put his defense in advantageous situations position with booming punts that pinned the opposition deep in its own territory. Hendrickson has its own version of that in senior Adam Cousins, who also plays safety and was the backup quarterback last year (starter for two games).
“Just having an athletic guy back there gives you a lot of different options. You got different types of fakes you could do. He’s always a threat to throw the ball or run the ball,” Killian said. “But his ability to rugby kick… We can always get a pretty good net on our punt with that skill so it allows us to flip the field and play a field position game where we’re not worried about having to go for it on fourth down a whole lot and can kind of set our defense up in some positive field position.”
Hendrickson also has a history of producing great running backs. Washington Redskin Samaje Perine (who starred at OU) comes to mind. Kenny Williams enjoyed a nice career at Texas Tech. D.J. Jackson rushed for 1,508 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. He’ll pass the torch senior Timieone Jackson for 2018. Will the younger Jackson take off and run with it?
“We sure hope (he can),” Killian said. “Timieone is an explosive young man. He’s done a good job of working in the backfield with D.J. the last couple years and getting quality carries… It’s just making sure he’s comfortable and getting used to his offensive line and where the holes were… Timieone has phenomenal hands. He played a little bit of slot for us last year and caught the ball a little bit so we’re excited with him out of the backfield catching the ball as well as running it.”
Senior quarterback Blaine Barker will be tasked with putting all the pieces together. Barker is a capable passer and runner who averaged 6.7 yards per pass and 5.2 yards per rush last year. He also accounted for 22 touchdowns (14 through the air, eight on the ground) with only 10 turnovers. But what Killian loves best about him is his intangibles.
“I always feel good about Blaine in a leadership role. He’s such a competitor,” Killian said. “It’s a great thing and then it’s also a thing that kind of gets him into a bind sometimes because he takes a lot of hits because he wants to compete. He doesn’t want to go down. He runs angry for a skinny dude. You wouldn’t recognize him coming down the hallway. He’s not a big guy at all so he just does a super job of leading the team and he’s very much a huddle-presence and the guys play hard for him. He gets along with everybody and he’s just kind of that prototypical leader that you want in that position.”
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