By David Claybourn
Their record-setting receiver graduated and went off to Ohio State.
Their head coach Rodney Webb took another job at Denton Guyer.
The Rockwall Yellowjackets lost 32 lettermen to graduation off a 12-3 team that went to the state semifinals in 2019.
But guess what?
The Jackets are still one of the top 25 teams in Class 6A. That’s according to “Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine” that has ranked Rockwall No. 17 among the state’s Class 6A teams and also picked the Jackets to win District 10-6A.
Rockwall-Heath, led by top passer Josh Hoover, was picked to finish second in 10-6A behind Rockwall.
One big reason the Jackets are still being watched is the return of quarterback Braedyn Locke, who threw for 4,305 yards and 52 touchdowns last seasonas a sophomore. Texas Football selected Locke as District 10-6A’s offensive most valuable player.
Trey Brooks, who was the Yellowjackets’ offensive coordinator last season, has taken over as head coach from Webb.
Three of the Yellowjackets’ top receivers graduated, including Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who is now at Ohio State after catching 109 passes for 2,132 yards and 34 TDs in 2019.
But wide receivers Brenden Bayes and Caden Marshall are back. Marshall made one of the biggest plays of the season, throwing for a two-point conversion that beat Allen 60-59 in the playoffs.
Linebacker Dawson Hunt is also listed by Texas Football as one of the players to watch in the district.
Hoover’s throwing arm is one reason the Heath Hawks were picked to finish second to Rockwall in 10-6A ahead of Tyler Lee, Mesquite, Dallas Skyline, Mesquite Horn and North Mesquite.
Hoover, whose father Alex Hoover played on a state semifinalist team at Rockwall in 1981 and was a four-year starter at linebacker for Colorado State, threw for 2,926 yards and 32 touchdowns as a sophomore for the 5-5 Hawks in 2019.
One of the Hawks’ top receivers, is back including Corban Cleveland (75-956, 9 TDs) and leading rusher Zach Evans (135-794 yards, 7 TDs).
Rockwall Heritage, which went 2-8 last season, was picked by the magazine to finish fifth in Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools’ six-man District 3 behind Waco Vanguard, Waco Live Oak, McKinney Cornerstone and Plano Coram Deo.