Huge Upside

North Forest duo the talk of inner-city football

Demas, a sophomore, was the go-to guy for North Forest. Vype

When people think about high school recruiting hotbeds in Houston, the names Katy, Lamar, North Shore and Manvel come to mind.

But North Forest?

Two national recruits are emerging from the inner city school, bringing the likes of Alabama’s Nick Saban, Texas’ Tom Herman and TCU’s Gary Patterson through the school’s field house.

Junior offensive lineman Javonne Shepherd and sophomore receiver Demond Demas are putting the school right in the epicenter of the football recruiting map.

“I can’t go anywhere around the neighborhood or on campus and not be asked about them,” coach Clifton Terrell said. “I’ve been around the district for 28 years, and there haven’t been any more high-profile guys than these two.

“They are really grounded kids and we keep them grounded,” he said. “They motivate the other kids here. They see that if Javonne and Demond can do it, so can they. It just takes hard work and effort. We want it to continue to be a revolving door of coaches after they leave.”

At 6-foot-4, Demas is the go-to guy for North Forest. He is a dominant receiver, a punt and kick-returner and can play safety on defense.

He was the Offensive MVP of the District as a sophomore and a first- teamer on defense.

“He’s so explosive and there isn’t a ball that he doesn’t think he can’t catch,” Terrell said. “He does everything for us and he never wants to leave the field.”

The Big Man on Campus also helped lead the basketball team to the second-round of the playoffs and is now making noise on the track.

‘My first love is football,” Demas said. “I can’t put my finger on what I like the most.”

One of the things that make Demas a great player is his work ethic. He got it from admiring the hard work his father and grandfather put into creating their own successful businesses.

In pursuit of his NFL goal, Demas works relentlessly on his craft setting a good example for his younger brothers. His mom is also a motivating factor as he tries to make sure he can one day provide for her.

What else makes Demas a great player is his faith. Demas understands his God-given talent will have a lot to do with him reaching his goals.

Because of that faith, Demas doesn’t hesitate to give up the opportunity to go to football showcases on Sunday, so that he can be in church. That was the case when “The Opening” sponsored by Nike came to Houston. Demas was invited but chose to skip the event so that he could be in church.

Javonne Shepherd is so new to the sport of football. The right tackle started playing football in the ninth grade and has upside a big as his 6-foot-6 frame.

“Shepherd is really strong and has worked so much on this craft,” Terrell said. “He has a great football IQ, but at the same time wants to pancake you on every play. He has a great motor.”

His motor was on display at The Opening when he ran a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash at 320-pounds. He walked away with the Offensive Lineman MVP.

“I’ve known about ‘The Opening’ before I even started playing football,” Shepherd said. “I didn’t think I would get ever get MVP, especially on my first time. It’s a big deal for me.”

When his football journey began, he admits that he got whooped the first day of practice. Since then, Shepherd has become a leader that his teammates respect and look up to.

“These are great young men,” Terrell said. “We are real with them and take the recruiting process very serious. We want them to get out of here and make us proud. We guide them with tough love, but they are more than our players, they are family. We will provide them with everything we can, they know I’ll answer every time they call and I will treat them like they are my own sons.”

That’s how it’s supposed to be.

This article appears in the March Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!

 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome