DFW has thawed out, and PlanoFootball.com is catching up with the Wildcats who made commitments on NCAA National Signing Day on February 2nd. We caught up first with Connor Michelsen, who has committed to Princeton. Connor tells us why in this video interview.
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By Todd Wills, Contributing Writer
Three Wildcats will sign on Wednesday – National Signing Day – and the action is already picking up for Plano’s 2012 recruiting prospects. Letters of intent were scheduled to be faxed to schools on Wednesday morning.
Expected to sign on Wednesday – Blair Burns with Wyoming, Conner Michelsen with Princeton and Brandon Hamilton with Cisco Junior College. Murat Kuzu has been extended an invitation to be a preferred walk-on at the University of Nebraska.
The week’s weather prevented immediate video coverage of the signing, but additional coverage will follow the thaw.
The Wildcats already have several juniors receiving interest from colleges, and there should be offers out sometime soon (written offers can’t be made to 2012
prospects until Aug. 1).
Xavier Harbert went to Texas A&M’s Junior Day last weekend, and he will attend Junior Day at Kansas. He has already taken an unofficial visit to Oklahoma
State. Dwayne Hicks has visited Oklahoma State and will visit Kansas as well. Sam Garcia has also visited Oklahoma State. Andrew Dockrill will visit Kentucky this summer. Kevin Merrill may visit Kansas and Texas Tech in the upcoming months.
Follow all of the Plano recruiting news on PF.com
While the regular season ended in November for the Wildcats, a few former starters will be with their college teams in December BCS bowl games. Here’s a rundown.
December 18 – NEW MEXICO BOWL – BYU & UTEP (Carson Meger, Plano ’09)
Suiting up as #13 for the UTEP Miners, redshirt freshman Carson Meger was back-up quarterback but saw no playing time in the Miner’s 52-24 loss to BYU in Albuquerque.
With the graduation of starting QB Trevor Vittatoe this year, look for Meger to pull out all the stops in spring practice to earn the top seed as QB for the next season.
December 30 – BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL – Army & SMU (Blake McJunkin, Plano ’08)
As starting center this year for the Mustangs, #63 Blake McJunkin will enjoy his second BCS bowl game before a largely home audience as the Armed Forces Bowl will be played at SMU’s Ford Stadium in University Park.
The Mustangs have been practicing this week in Bedford for a change of scenery and routine to focus on its opponent, Army, a team known for its running game. Before practices moved across the DFW Metroplex, Blake was interviewed by PonyFans.com to provide his perspective on the Army defensive line.
The game will be broadcast at 11:00 a.m. on ESPN.
#22 for the Huskers, Rex Burkhead returns to San Diego for his second Holiday Bowl appearance in as many years. Last year, Rex helped the
This season Husker fans have witnessed Rex take on the role of “shadow QB” in the Wildcat formation as Nebraska struggled through starting QB injuries. Rex’s ability to throw the ball or scramble from a direct snap is not news to Plano fans, who witnessed him take over as starting QB for the Wildcats into the 2006 season.
The game will be broadcast at 9:00 p.m. on ESPN, and we hope the announcers correctly identify Rex’s alma mater as just Plano Senior High. Our Editor has received no small number of comments from Wildcats fans this season that ABC/ESPN on-air sportscasters can’t get this fact straight.
COPPELL – All the things it was supposed to take to get Plano to the area playoffs for the fourth straight season happened Saturday.
One of the area’s best running backs was held to 61 yards and his quarterback was held under 200 yards passing. But, three second-half takeaways was enough to help lift Coppell past Plano, 23-6, at Cowboy Stadium in a bi-district playoff game.
Plano (7-4) bowed out of the playoffs in the first round for the first time since 1999. Coppell (11-0) advances to meet Duncanville (8-3) in an area playoff at 8 p.m. Nov. 20 at Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium.
The first two possessions of the second half and some key stops late in the game helped Coppell past Plano. Joe Minden scored on a 2-yard keeper with 8:38 left in the third quarter to put Coppell up, 14-3, with 8:38 left. A freak fumble on the ensuing kickoff bounded through the air and straight to a Coppell defender. Cam McDaniel scored on a 10-yard run three plays later and Coppell had a 20-3 lead with 7:37 left in the third quarter.
But, the game was far from decided. Plano responded with an 11-play, 75 yard drive that ended in a 24-yard field goal conversion by Chris Moore to cut the lead to 20-6 with 11:48 left to play. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the Coppell 6, Plano could have gone for the touchdown to narrow the margin to 10 points but chose the field goal. Either way, it was going to face a two-score deficit.
That’s where Coppell’s defense kicked in. It intercepted Plano on the second play of its next possession and again on the fifth play of the next Plano series. Then Tanner Rice got a big sack to close out a drive with 4:43 to go. It resulted in a 28-yard field goal by Nick Jordan to seal the victory, 23-6, with 1:57 left.
On a day where fate didn’t bounce in Plano’s favor, the offense used the final drive to showcase some of the players that got it to the playoffs. Quarterback Connor Michelsen completed 5-of-7 passes on the final drive for 36 yards and had another 12 yards rushing. He completed passes to Steele Hoetger, Murat Kuzu and Clayton Parlin on the drive. Kuzu and Parlin each hauled in career highs in receptions.
The defense did exactly what logic suggested it needed to win. Cam McDaniel, the senior tailback who had averaged 158 yards rushing in the regular season, was limited to 61 yards on the ground. Joe Minden, the senior quarterback who had averaged 225 yards passing in the regular season, was held to 184 yards passing and no target had more than 80 yards receiving. Two Coppell plays went for more than 15 yards, as the defense controlled the big-play offense.
But, Coppell scored early and then kept Plano out of the end zone. Tyler Landis scored on a 13-yard pass with 2:27 left in the first quarter to give Coppell a 7-0 edge. Plano countered with Moore’s first field goal conversion, this one from 41 yards, with 6:40 left in the first half to trim the lead to 7-3 at halftime. But three takeaways and a couple of quick scores in the second half lifted Coppell past Plano.
Coppell 23, Plano 6
It was believed that even some teams that struggled could take some solace in a District 8-5A alignment that had to be among the toughest in the state.
But, the alignment is 1-2 in the postseason. Plano’s chance will come today.
Plano (7-3), making its 46th playoff appearance and fourth straight, meets Coppell (10-0) for the first time at 1 p.m. today at Coppell. That’s generally bad news for Plano’s opponents. The Wildcats hold a 37-8 record in the opening round of the playoffs and have not been ousted from the playoffs in the opening round since 1999, when it drew a Mesquite opponent en route to a state semifinal appearance.
The winner draws Duncanville (8-3) in an area playoff at 8 p.m. Nov. 20 at Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium. Plano has eliminated Duncanville from the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.
First though, Plano must get past Coppell, the District 7-5A champion. The team finished ahead of Denton Guyer and Southlake Carroll, which is no small feat, in district play.
The Coppell defense gets the team started. It has not sacrificed more than 20 points all season, or more than 17 since district play began. Offensively, Cam Daniel leads Coppell with 1,584 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns. Joe Minden adds 2,252 yards passing and 18 touchdowns. Tyler Landis has 748 yards receiving on 51 receptions. Coppell ranks as the No. 2 offense in the area, trailing Flower Mound. It has the fourth-leading defense.
Plano, meanwhile, will be after its 90th playoff victory and seventh straight opening-round victory today. The offense has the capability to hang with anyone, evidenced earlier this season when it faced Flower Mound. It begins with quarterback Connor Michelsen (136-for-240, 2,069 yards), who has a combined 31 rushing, passing and receiving scores. Murat Kuzu and Kevin Merrill share rushing chores. They have combined to compile 1,133 yards rushing and 1,651 all-purpose offensive yards this season. Brandon Hamilton has 700 yards and 7 touchdowns on 32 receptions to lead all Plano receivers this season.
Get set for today’s game. See Plano’s offensive totals and its averages. You can note the success Plano has had this season when it controls the rushing game and check in on the last time it happened. View Plano’s all-time playoff results, notable facts about the program and check in with Plano’s coaches. The AP poll has Coppell ranked No. 6, but Matt Wixon, the top picker in the Dallas Morning News’ staff selections, picks Plano and he might know what he’s talking about based on one upset he went alone on already this week.
- Pre-season Scrimmage: Mesquite @ Plano August 17, 2011
- Video – Wildcat Linemen Pull Sled, Flip Tractor Tire July 27, 2011
- Video – Wildcat Linemen Bench Press July 26, 2011
- Video – Wildcat Linemen Farmer’s Walk, Truck Push July 25, 2011
- Wildcat Alum C.J. Martin Recognized Going Into Holycross Sr. Season July 24, 2011
- Maroon/White game 2013 May 17, 2013
- Wildcat’s Carpenter invited to Super Combine May 13, 2013
- Blake McJunkin to Packers Mini Camp May 1, 2013
- Former Wildcat drafted by Cincinnati Bengals May 1, 2013
- Spring football Wildcat style is now underway April 30, 2013