Football recruiters will tell you Cuero will have the best player on the field Friday in the 4A Division II state championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
MaxPreps and Rivals.com rank the Gobblers’ Jordan Whittington as the No. 1 athlete in the nation for the class of 2019. He’s committed to play football at the University of Texas, having said no to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, and others.
Here’s a look at what Whittington has accomplished during his four seasons in Cuero. First, the Gobblers have won 48 games, losing only three games since 2015. Whittington is listed as a receiver. He has 164 receptions for 3,157 yards and 40 touchdowns since his sophomore season.
Cuero likes to use Whittington in the Wildcat, where he’s rushed 105 times for 1,100 yards and 18 TDs. He’s a great kick returner, with 7 touchdowns. Whittington also plays free safety, with 14 career interceptions, including a 103-yard return for a touchdown.
Harmon’s efficiency awes Pleasant Grove coach
With all this said, Pleasant Grove coach Josh Gibson would never consider trading junior quarterback Ben Harmon for Whittington.
“I tell people every chance I get that Harmon is the best high school quarterback in Texas,” said Gibson. “He’s a dream come true for me. Ben’s had as big an impact on our community and the Pleasant Grove football program as any kid who has put on a helmet. He’s our triggerman, and will go down as the Hawks’ winningest player.
“He’s our leader, his work ethic is unreal. I’ve never been around a kid that works as hard as he does.”
Gibson likes to tell the story of meeting Harmon for the first time. The seniors on the 2017 state championship team had made a pact in high school to come to school early for extra practices. Eighth grader Ben Harmon joined them.
“I knew Harmon was going to be special that first day he rode up on his bike for one of those early practices,” said Gibson. “Nobody had invited a middle school kid, but he was out there every day with those older boys throwing a football. It takes a pretty confident kid to just walk out there among those high school guys.”
Harmon key for Hawks against Cuero
Fast forward two years, Harmon was leading Pleasant Grove to the school’s first state championship in football. He’ll be looking to make it two titles in a row Friday against Cuero and Whittington.
Gibson notes few young players are willing to do what Harmon has done the past three football seasons. Most kids want things to come easy for them, they don’t want to put in the extra work. The Hawks’ coach said when Pleasant Grove lost a game, Harmon would show up on Saturday for 12 hours.
“I’ve got a job for Ben on my football staff when he finishes college,” said Gibson. “He’s going to be a football coach. There would be no greater joy than to have him come back. He’s good for people, and he’s good for our team. Ben will infect players, and help grow young men at that time.”
Recruiters would be hard pressed to find another quarterback with Harmon’s efficiency numbers so far in his career at Pleasant Grove. This year he has 30 touchdown passes and 5 interceptions operating from the Hawks’ slot-t offense. He averages 21.5 yards a completion.
“He’s crazy efficient, that’s what he is,” PG’s coach said. “I can’t say enough about how special he has been for us. I wouldn’t trade him for anyone.”