May 30, 2024

For years, enthusiasts of high school football nationwide have engaged in discussions about which state excels in the sport. While Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, and California have all staked credible claims to the title at various times, Texas has consistently remained at or near the pinnacle.

In Texas, high school football transcends mere extracurricular activity; it’s akin to a deeply ingrained cultural phenomenon, embraced by over 1500 communities across the state fielding teams. According to Jackson Arnold, a former Texas high school football player turned Oklahoma Sooners quarterback, the Lone Star State’s football prowess is unmatched. Arnold shared his perspective on the matter during an episode of the podcast Next Up with Adam Breneman.

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Texas is the best state for high school football in America. According to Oklahoma QB Jackson Arnold, two traits that separate Texas from every other state… The coaching and community. @Next Up With Adam Breneman #cfb #collegefootball #texasfootball

♬ original sound – Adam Breneman

Jackson Arnold’s perspective is hard to dispute. Last year, Texas boasted the highest number of NFL players among all states, with 187, closely followed by Florida and California.

Moreover, the level of dedication and professionalism in high school football in Texas is notable. Coaches in Texas public schools are required to possess teaching licenses, ensuring their direct involvement with student-athletes. Often, training sessions and practices are integrated into the school day, with state-of-the-art facilities enhancing the experience. For instance, I recall observing Quinn Ewers, current Texas Longhorn quarterback, playing for Southlake Carroll, a Dallas suburb high school whose program was sponsored by a prominent Mercedes dealership. It’s an entirely distinct culture in Texas.

Oklahoma Football: Jackson Arnold Sooners key player per CBS Sports

One particularly interesting aspect is the separation between public and private schools in sports. Private schools in Texas aren’t eligible to compete in the UIL State Championships at AT&T Stadium, fostering a strong sense of community among players in public neighborhood schools, where strict transfer regulations apply.

Jackson Arnold has firsthand knowledge of this environment. Having been a two-year starter at Denton Guyer in suburban Dallas, a powerhouse in high school football, Arnold’s prowess earned him the Gatorade National Player of the Year title in 2022, accumulating 4497 total yards as a senior.

This season, Arnold will be leading in Norman, likely influencing Heisman candidate Dillon Gabriel’s decision to transfer to Oregon, given Arnold’s five-star status in the Class of 2023.

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