While offenses steal the headlines, the defense will ultimately control the outcome.
Why? If you have a dominant defense that can disrupt at the point of attack up front, the QB is knocked off their mark. A lock-down secondary can dominate in the high school game as some offensive schemes can be solved. A smart LB is the QB on defense and their football acumen and physicality can terrorize offensive coordinators.
This is the year of defense in H-Town, so here are some of the best in the city.
THE SUPER 60
No. 30 AJ Holmes, Westfield, DT
Westfield has been a hot bed for DTs for years. AJ Holmes is the next big thing. He was the co-Defensive Player of the Year in the district and continues to improve. Everyone wants to compare him to Ed Oliver. That's unfair, but he does have great leverage and a super motor. He's getting some nice mid-Majors right now like Virginia, Colorado, Memphis and Nevada.
No. 29 Dorian Friend, Spring, DB, Houston-commit
Speed is Friend's best friend. He makes up for a lack of size with his track speed. He can run with virtually any receiver and has good ball skills. UH is a great fit for this Lion, who has helped turn Spring into a city power.
No. 28 Kivon Wright, Manvel, DE
Hand in the ground or standing up, Kivon Wright can play. He's explosive off the ball and can lock down ball carriers and QBs with his long arms. Academics are a plus, which gives him ever more options. At 6-foot-4, Wright continues to grown into his body and will be a beast after the offseason.
No. 27 Jhalyn Bailey, North Shore, WR
At 6-foot-1, Bailey has good size and he can outrun angles of opposing DBs. He's a straight-line guy who can also break tackles. He will be the 'Stangs No. 1 WR this season after learning from one of the best in Shadrack Banks. But who will get him the ball?
No. 26 Carter Brown, Dawson, Kicker, Arizona State-commit
Kickers can be a weapon as we know. Carter Brown is the best weapon in H-Town as a kicker. He's committed to Arizona State and is a Top 5 special teams guy in the country. He can crush the ball.
No. 25 Collin Wright, Manvel, DB
What do Virginia, Vandy, Stanford, Duke and Cal have in common? Yes, tremendous academic institutions. Wright is a student in the classroom and on the field. The 6-foot safety anchors a talented secondary and can cover and tackle well. He never gives up on a play and makes the game look effortless. Oh, by the way, he's been offered by all of those schools.
No. 24 Dillon Bell, Kinkaid, WR
Bell is the best private school player in Houston. At 6-foot-2, 210-pounds, he can play several spots on the field from QB to WR. Michigan is hot on him but he seems to want to stay closer to home. He has a younger brother who will be another prospect in 2023. Bell is a can't-miss student-athlete.
No. 23 Tai Leonard, North Shore, DE
Tai Leonard's best football is in front of him. The Cy Falls' transfer found a home at North Shore but will be even better as a senior. A year of offseason with coach Jon Kay and company and this guy will just look different. Teams offering on potential right now and that will pay off.
No. 22 Bra'lon Jones, Spring, LB
Jones was the co-Defensive MVP as a junior and is a heat-seeking missile. He's a smidge undersized and could move to safety in college, but he's a bone-crusher who likes the big hit. He can cover RBs out of the backfield well.
No. 21 Marcus Scott II, College Park, DB, LSU-commit
Marcus Scott II is a bit of an anomaly. A guy who marketed himself well on Twitter and has the measurables that college coaches like. He needs to show out as a senior and be that guy who takes half of the field away for offenses. Heck, he's committed to DBU.