Just how vital is Aldine MacArthur High 4-star senior cornerback Joshua Eaton to a Generals team seeking to improve immensely from a 1-9 campaign last year?
According to second year head coach Wayne Crawford, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound University of Texas commit serves as “our engine, [our] spark plug, [and] our leader.”
“The team rallies around him,” Crawford told Texas Scorecard. “As he goes, so do we. When he’s playing well and he’s excited, he’s got everybody excited.”
In his final season donning the silver, red and white, Eaton will no doubt bolster a defense with a lot of upside.
He originally played wide receiver when he joined the varsity in his sophomore year. Crawford said that Eaton’s role in the offense helped mold his proficiency and confidence as a defensive back.
“His instincts are very good when it comes to knowing routes receivers will run based on a lineman and where they line up because he has played the position, and he still plays the position,” Crawford said. “We still use him on that side of the ball. It’s been [really] great for his instinct in terms of him jumping balls and cutting receivers off by knowing where linemen are going to go.”
The coach has had a front row seat to Eaton shutting down receivers and occasionally going downfield. One game that Crawford recalled was a 2018 game against district rival Houston Nimitz High in which Eaton successfully covered Cougars star receiver Karl Reynolds and snagged four passes for about 140 yards and a touchdown.
“It really shows his versatility,” Crawford said. “He can really play football. Where you want to use him at when he gets to the next level is totally up to the coaching staff. He’s a great corner, but I think he can also be a great wide receiver. He’s got great football skills.”
Eaton earned first team all-district honors for his penultimate season at MacArthur. The website 247Sports ranked him the No. 28 cornerback in the nation.
A who’s who of high-profile college programs including perennial national championship favorite Alabama courted Eaton, with the Longhorns ultimately securing a verbal commitment from him earlier this month.
“He truly loves the University of Texas,” Crawford said. “He’s a Texas kid. I knew along although he was getting attention from everyone in the nation, he was going to a Texas school … he’s a really big family guy. He wants his mom, his dad, and his siblings to be able to just jump in the car and see him play. He loves the support of his family.”
When it comes to his expectations of the 2019 Generals, the coach hopes his team will be more consistent. He said that the program needs to work on closing games on a victorious note, essentially developing mental toughness and a killer instinct.
As of this writing, MacArthur and Eaton were preparing for their Aug. 30 season opener against Houston Klein Forest High.