Star power is one element Guyer’s offense did not lack coming into the 2019 season.
With Texas A&M commit Eli Stowers under center, senior running back Kaedric Cobbs in the backfield and Air Force commit Seth Meador on the outside, the Wildcats already had plenty of weapons at their disposal.
At Monday’s first practice, they added another.
Junior cornerback Deuce Harmon, who has offers from TCU and SMU, spent the first 45 minutes of practice working primarily with the offense. As Guyer coach John Walsh explained afterward, the highly talented Harmon is too explosive to not play on both sides of the ball.
“He’s a difference maker,” Walsh said. “His ball skills are some of the best in Texas, and he’s strong. The kid has to play.”
Walsh said the plan for Harmon moving forward is to play nearly every snap at cornerback and wide receiver, as long as he’s able. Harmon split his time Monday afternoon working with the offense and defense, alternating every 15 minutes.
Harmon ended practice by hauling in a pass from Stowers along the sideline.
“The folks that were around in 2010, the last time we were in the [5A] title game, Josh Stewart and Quentin Gardener started at corner and never came off the field on offense unless they needed a break. That’s going to be Deuce Harmon,” Walsh said. “If Deuce is in great shape and standing next to me, he’s going to be in the game on offense.”
Stewart, who went on to play collegiately at Oklahoma State, caught 56 passes for 971 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2010. Gardener tallied 35 receptions for 544 yards and six scores.
For Harmon, the move to receiver marks the first time since his freshman year in 2017 that he has played offense. Harmon was the Denton Record-Chronicle’s 2018 all-area defensive newcomer of the year, posting 45 tackles and three interceptions.
“I definitely had to ease back into it,” Harmon said. “I have to work on my routes again because I haven’t done it in two years.
“I think I can help the team a lot. The more weapons we have on offense, the more we can get in the end zone. We already have a lot of good people on offense. I think one more will help.”
Stowers sharp in second year as starter
Highly regarded as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in Texas, Stowers looked the part in his first practice as a junior. The Wildcats’ signal caller was extremely accurate throughout the afternoon, throwing receivers open down field and hitting them in stride.
“I think it was a really good first practice,” Stowers said. “It seems like we were really focused.
“I definitely think we can [go far this year]. We have the potential. Now it’s just on us to be able to fight through some hard games and adversity. The teams that make it far are the ones that can fight through adversity.”
Stowers connected with a number of receivers on deep passes that would have been 40-50 yard touchdowns, and was equally as proficient on checkdowns as he looks to build on his sophomore campaign.
The 6-4 quarterback threw for 1,563 yards and 12 touchdowns last year.
“He’s a good representation of our entire football team,” Walsh said. “We’re not counting on young sophomores to have to do anything really. He and the junior and senior leadership make it look easy right now, and he’s definitely at the top of that list.”
Senior defensive lineman Grant Mahon, who missed the entire 2018 season with an injury, was back on the field. The Oklahoma State commit’s return will be a huge boost to what should already be a stingy Guyer defense.
“A year ago, Mahon was having trouble even getting in a stance,” Walsh said. “It was good to see him out there running with the guys.”
Walsh also liked what he saw out of the Wildcats’ offensive line.
Guyer returns four of its five starters from a season ago, anchored by senior Chet Beach and junior Gabe Blair.
“They’re monsters,” Walsh said. “They’re all returners except for Knox Boyd. Their strength numbers are off the charts. You can talk about all the skill we got, but our trenches are at a high level and are Guyer ready. We’re known for the trenches and they’re going to do us proud this year.”