Grand Theft Athlete

Top 10 Steals of national signing day

Chad Bailey and Nelson Ceaser. Photo by Bob Calbert

Originally appeared on

Every season, I look back at my Top 100 and see who are the best values, surprises and steals of the bunch.

It may be a college that came into Houston and pulled the most interesting prospect. It may be an athlete choosing what seemed like a surprising college choice. It may be a player who just slipped through the cracks of recruiting.

The Class of 2018 has some elite talent. At first glance, the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies seemingly did well this year, signing a ton of top recruits. But lets look a little deeper.

Let’s save this post and revisit four years from now to see how this all plays out.



No. 1

Missouri could have pulled the biggest heist in Houston, signing Manvel WR Kam Scott (VYPE’s No. 7) and Ridge Point LB Chad Bailey at No. 9. The SEC strikes again but by the Missouri Tigers? Kam Scott is a do-it-all guy, who can return kicks, high-point balls and get away from tacklers. Bailey is a smart, physical, prototypical run-stopper.

No. 2

How did Miles Battle not stay in Texas? Honestly. He chose Ole Mill over Oregon at the last minute. A program that has been in trouble of late. Battle is a game-changing WR at 6-foot-4 with basketball ability. Not sure about his breakaway speed, but Battle is going to make some programs pay.

No. 3

Cy-Fair DB Erick Hallett (No. 28) shutdown the entire side of the field he was playing on for the state champ Bobcats. He flipped late from Washington State to Pittsburgh, but he’s a stud. He played on offense when a big play was needed as well. Teams whiffed on this guy.

No. 4

Ridge Point’s Aaron Allen (No. 39) is a little undersized, but will be a great fit for Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs got a great one out of Mo City, who could open the doors for La Tech to continue to recruit the FBISD. Allen could have made a great choice also choosing to play for a smaller program that will give him a chance early.

No. 5

Klein Collins’ Donavan Mutin (No. 20) is all about football. No social media, no flash. He’s about football and UH got a guy who will get in the playbook and be a three-year starter. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and dominated games that I covered against good competition. See Lamar…

No. 6

North Texas pulled a winner out of Alief Hastings with District MVP Austin Ogunmakin (No. 65). The Bears were OFF THE GRID before Ogunmakin went off this year. The transition to college should be easy on the field, and staying relatively close to home is key. If he believes in his ability, this guy has a high ceiling at the next level.


No. 7

Katy’s Josh Oglesby (No. 75) is a DI back. He was committed to BYU, then ends up at Texas A&M-Kingsville. What gives? I witnessed the Tiger RB RUN AWAY from The Woodlands’ defense, which is very good. He’s durable and has great ability. Not sure what happened here, but he could be the king of Kingsville.

No. 8

FB Travis has had one of the best aerial assaults with the likes of QB Amryn Jeffrey and WR Naveon Mitchell (No. 91). Mitchell is headed to New Mexico State as the top WR in Houston by yardage and receptions. Weird. He has decent size and can escape tacklers.

No. 9

The Woodlands’ Kesean Carter (No. 18) exploded onto the scene as a junior, earning VYPE’s Athlete of the Year. He’s headed to Texas Tech, which is a good get for the Red Raiders. The value play is that he can play football and run track. He won the state 100-meters a year ago and led the Highlanders to a state title. He will be tough to deal with in the slot.

No. 10

Why is Dekaney’s Malcolm Epps on this list at No. 6? Well, the 6-foot-6 TE is never in the conversation as one of the top players in the Texas. Epps could be a pro with that size and he likes to compete (see Dekaney basketball). He has swag and has grown into his body since his freshman year. He has great hands and could be a STAR at Texas and beyond.

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Another win for the Coogs! Photo by Getty Images.

The Cougars were supposed to play a game in Tampa against The University of South Florida on Jan. 14th, but this contest was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the USF program. Houston was able to take advantage of the extra time off to rest their players and prepare for their next game against UCF.

Their previous game against the Knights in Orlando on December 26th was a close matchup which saw UCF and the Cougars tied at halftime. The second half was a back-and-fourth contest between the two teams, but Houston was able to come away with a nine point victory.

This game however was nowhere near as close and their previous meeting.

Houston immediately got off to a 12-0 start thanks to four straight 3-pointers from DeJon Jarreau (2x), Marcus Sasser & Quentin Grimes.

The Cougars continued to surge past the knights and at one point led 38-9 with 3:43 left to go in the contest.

Houston led 45-19 at halftime, their largest first half lead of the season.

The Cougars were able to maintain their commanding lead with both efficient scoring early on and elite level defense. Houston forced UCF to commit 20 turnovers that resulted in 22 points for the Cougars.

The Cougars won most of their games this season with commanding defense, dominating the boards and superior guard play. All three boxes were checked as Houston was able to secure a 75-58 victory.

UCF did outscore Houston in the second half 39-30, but the Cougars' lead proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome for the Knights. Essentially, Houston was on cruse control the second half of the game and never saw their lead drop below double digits.

Grimes scored in double figures for his 11th straight game after opening the season with eight points against Lamar. Senior forward Justin Gorham scored a season high 15 points as well.

Houston has now won its fourth straight game since its loss to Tulsa and now remain in sole position of 1st place in the AAC.

The Cougars moved up from No.11 to the 8th ranked team in the country as multiple top-ranked teams suffered losses over the week.

Kelvin Sampson passed former Houston coach Tom Penders as he earned his 650th career win. This also moves him into sole possession of 41st place on the NCAA wins list. He is also the second winningest coach in Houston Cougars Men's Basketball history behind only the great Guy Lewis.

UP NEXT: Houston looks to exact revenge against the only team to defeat them this season as they host Tulsa at the Fertitta Center on Wednesday at 7pm.

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