USA TODAY Sports Super 25 Regional Football Watchlist: Southwest


The 2023 high school football season has arrived, with teams kicking off across the country in August.

That means the first USA TODAY Sports Super 25 is nearing, which marks another start to an iconic franchise that began back in 1982.

Last year’s Super 25 was one of the tightest races of all time, as St. John Bosco narrowly won out over Mater Dei and Bishop Gorman, among others.

How will things stack up this season? Ahead of the opening Super 25, USA TODAY HSS is looking around the country at the five regions we use to create the national rankings:

Next up is Southwest, which comprises of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Duncanville (Texas)

(Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports)

2022 final Super 25 ranking: No. 5.

Duncanville went undefeated with a 15-0 record last year, and it’s really not clear how opponents will be able to do better this season. With five-star edge rusher Colin Simmons giving the defense trouble and the return of four-star running back Caden Durham, who was only 40 yards shy of 2,000 rushing yards last year, and five-star wide receiver Dakorien Moore teams will have to hope for good luck to take down the Panthers.

North Shore (Houston, Texas)

(PAUL BRICK/CONTRIBUTED)

2022 final Super 25 ranking: No. 8.

North Shore was undefeated heading into the championship game before falling to Duncanville. They have the pieces that could help them get the upper hand this year, with the returning five-star cornerback Devin Sanchez, four-star receiver Deion Deblanc, and three-stars including safety LaVonte Johnson receiver Christopher Barnes and tight end Kaleb Thomas. Plus, quarterback Kaleb Bailey may be just a junior, but he has two years under his belt, including a championship in 2021.

Westlake (Austin, Texas)

(USA TODAY Network)

2022 final Super 25 ranking: No. 15.

With just one loss last year, Westlake’s lone blemish was the loss to North Shore in the semifinals. This year, the biggest question is quarterback, after both Brett Skinner and Paxton Land both saw quite a bit of time last season. Skinner threw for 1,301 yards and 16 touchdowns to two interceptions in 12 games, while Land threw for 1,1515 yards with 16 touchdowns to three interceptions in 10 games. They’ll need to account for the graduations of guys like Colton Vasek, TJ Shanahan, and Jaden Greathouse, but Westlake doesn’t typically have problems finding new talent.

DeSoto (Texas)

(Photo: 247Sports)

2022 final Super 25 ranking: No. 17.

DeSoto is really well-positioned this year with the returns of players like senior quarterback DJ Bailey, who threw for 3,871 yards to go with 45 TDs and three INTs, junior rusher Deondrae Riden Jr., who rushed for 1,339 yards and 18 TDs, linebacker Brandon Booker, who had 147 total tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss, and junior edge rusher Keylan Abrams, who had 10.5 sacks. Their only losses last year were to St. Frances Academy and Duncanville; they’ll go into this year with confidence they can succeed.

Guyer (Denton, Texas)

(USA TODAY Network)

2022 final Super 25 ranking: No. 25.

Guyer only had one loss last year, but they’ll have to make up for losses, including five-star QB Jackson Arnold, three-star receiver Landon Sides and a pair of highly ranked safeties in Peyton Bowen and Ryan Yaites. How will they do so? Leading rusher Trey Joyner returns, as well as three-star defenders including Eli Bowen and Xavier Ukponu. If they’re to replicate their success, they’ll have to have an adequate replacement for Arnold.

Katy (Texas)

(Youtube)

2022 final Super 25 ranking: NR.

An undefeated season was halted at 14 wins in the close semifinals defeat at the hands of Vandegrift. Katy was ranked through most of 2022 but will face an upwards challenge after the losses of productive players like running backs Seth Davis and Dallas Glass (combined for more than 3,000 rushing yards), quarterback Caleb Koger, and three-star defensive players including Johnathan Hall and Arian Parish. But the cupboard is anything but bare as four-star edge rusher Dakyus Brinkley, four-star lineman Coen Echols and three-star tight end Luke Carter look to lead the team.

Southlake Carroll (Texas)

(Youtube)

2022 final Super 25 ranking: NR.

Southlake Carroll won the first 13 games of the season before falling in the quarterfinals to Guyer. What hurts heading into this year is that Owen Allen, who rushed for more than 2,100 yards, graduated; the good news is that quarterback Graham Knowles and essentially the entire receiving room will return, as do four of the six leading tacklers, including Dustan Marks, who had 85 tackles and a team-high 13.5 sacks. As usual, Southlake Carroll will be tough to beat.

Bryant (Ark.)

(USA TODAY Network)

2022 final Super 25 ranking: NR.

Bryant has won five straight championships and has only one loss since Nov. 2018, midway through that first championship. Now on a 22-game winning streak, the team doesn’t look like it will let up, as the young core from last year largely returns. Quarterback Jordan Walker is only entering his junior year, and RB James Martin and WR Mytorian Singleton are back as seniors. There are some losses, though: SBLive Arkansas Defensive Player of the Year Tyler Mosley graduated, four-star T.J. Lindsey transferred to IMG Academy, and coach Buck James departed the team. How much will the system change with defensive coordinator Quad Sanders promoted to head coach? Time will tell.

Bixby (Okla.)

(USA TODAY Network)

2022 final Super 25 ranking: NR.

Bixby won the championship last year by a score of 69-6 — that’s right, a 63-point walloping — to complete a 12-1 season. Many of the top performers from the season have graduated, though, leaving question marks around the field. Hank Puckett, who led the team with 125 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks, may have more pressure this year to dominate. The good news is that they should continue putting good pressure on the quarterback, with several sack leaders returning, and keep an eye on sophomore Cord Nolan, whose 10 QB hurries was second-best on the team (behind Puckett’s 21).



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