Pleasant-ly surprising. Power forwards who are 6-5 and can throw down thunderous dunks in traffic aren't exactly a dime a dozen, but that one skill alone isn't enough to draw the attention of major-college programs around the country, especially being undersized for the position. Football players who are 6-5 and can run 4.56 40s, on the other hand, are pretty rare and sure to draw the attention of coaches all over the country. They are also far from undersized.
Atascocita's Everett Pleasant loves basketball, but is quickly realizing just how valuable his talents on the football field make him. He attended the second Texas summer camp ($) and wowed coaches with his speed while lining up at tight end. Kid is the second coming of Jermichael Finley and even though he needs to add weight to his 215-pound frame to play tight end in college, he's a prototypical tight end for the Texas offense. If Atascocita struggles to throw the ball again this season as much as they did last year, Pleasant may not put up eye-popping numbers, but his recruitment will be more about talent and projection than pure numbers.
Considering the recent dearth of talent at the position in Texas, Pleasant is a virtual lock to receive an offer and may end up being one of the top targets in the class. In fact, there are few potential game-changers at tight end in 2011 once again and the current top tight end in the state, Chris Barnett, doesn't seem particularly interested in the Longhorns, even though his older brother Eryon will play football at Texas. That means that the lack of other options makes Pleasant even more valuable and the good news for the Longhorns is that Pleasant loves the football program ($) and has no other current gridiron favorites. He would love to play basketball at UConn, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that football is the sport with the tremendously bright future for Pleasant.
Scott a rare talent. An extremely select group of sophomores received an invitation from the Texas coaching staff to attend the second Junior Day in late February. South Houston cornerback Leroy Scott was one of the select few and there is little wonder why. Scott already has two years of high-level production under his belt entering his junior season and "has the body of a college senior of NFL player already ($)." A quick look at his measurables supports that statement -- Scott is 5-11, 192 pounds, and runs a 4.45 40.
Those measurables also translate onto the field. Much like Adrian White, Scott is extremely physical in press coverage, as well as in the running game, drawing comparisons to Thorpe Award winner Aaron Ross. Physically, Scott can do it all, possessing quick feet, fluid hips and ability to get out of his backpedal and accelerate quickly, as well as elevate to high-point the ball. If Scott does have one weakness, it's in his struggles to cleanly and consistently intercept the football -- he has the hands of a defensive back.
His high school coach, CL Whittington, a former NFL defensive back, confirmed the positive analysis ($) of his star player:
Leroy can play off, he can play bump and run, he's solid on the run force and he does a whole lot of things from the outside. Leroy had some big hits this year. Big hits and cornerbacks are a rarity these days. I feel like he's a complete corner. All of the intangibles are there. He's still constantly working on technique. He has the raw ability. He's doing much better with his bump and run press coverage and that is what he likes to do. The different things technique-wise are what he needs to work on. The athletic ability is there, the body is there and the speed is there.
While Scott may have the confidence required of every great defensive back, he eschews the jawing ($) common to players at his position, while relishing the challenge of facing talented receivers:
I love it when coach throws the X up and gives me the sign to go in press. I get right in his face and I don't say a word the whole game. I let him talk all game and just look at him and let him know this is how it's going to happen all game. That's how it is.
As befitting one of the top prospects in the state in his class, Scott is drawing heavy early interest from every program in the area, but Texas and LSU are the early leaders. The Tigers are his childhood favorite, but Scott says that he loves the Longhorns:
The school I'm favoring right now is UT. I favor UT a lot because just to be a Longhorn, with just the history of UT I want to be maybe another Aaron Ross or something like that maybe, maybe better. I just want to come in as a true freshman and set the whole scene on fire.
The Longhorns appear to be in strong position with Scott, but LSU will certainly pose a major threat to land the extremely talented cornerback.
Evans has all the physical tools. At 6-1 and 185 pounds, Dulles safety Sheroid Evans has all the physical tools to be an exceptional football player. He burst onto the scene as a sophomore with his size and athleticism, but will need to perform more consistently on the field to fulfill his massive potential. He will also need to add weight to his lanky frame over his next several years of high school. Currently, LSU, Texas, and Oklahoma stand out ($) to the talented safety who is also an incredible track athlete, finishing second in the 400m at state, finishing less than a second behind the winner. Evans was also the winner in his region ($) in the 200. Those skills as a runner have Evans wanting to run track and play football in college.
Linebacker updates. Marshall linebacker Aaron Franklin, the latest player to receive a Longhorn offer, visited Norman over the weekend ($) to check out the Oklahoma program. Not a lot to report from the visit, except that Franklin made the usual, generic comments about liking the visit. His mother and both his grandmothers made the visit and reportedly felt comfortable with the program, so getting Franklin's family on campus before he makes a decision before the start of football season will be important. Franklin did say that his current top three are Texas, Oklahoma, and Baylor. The Longhorns are his childhood favorite, but the relatively late attention paid to him by Texas could hurt their chances.
Jordan Hicks has narrowed his list ($) down to six schools: Ohio State, Texas, Florida, Georga, USC, and Alabama. Getting Hicks back to campus has been key for some time and despite earlier reports that he has planned his official visits, Hicks now says that is not the case. His comments on Texas:
Texas is Texas for me. They are that team that I've always loved. After meeting the coaches and getting to know Coach (Will) Muschamp, it made me love them even more. That place is just really cool. Visiting down there I got to meet everybody and see the facilities which really helped a lot.
Obviously, it's always good to hear a player reiterate their positive feelings for Texas and an official visit seems extremely likely, even if it hasn't been set up yet. If Hicks makes it down to Austin again the Longhorns should be in excellent shape to receive a commitment, though Ohio State is probably still the favorite, with USC always dangerous, especially with the appeal of a coach like Ken Norton, Jr.
Jeffcoat camps at USC. On the heels of news that twin sister Jacqueline committed to play basketball at Oklahoma, brother Jackson made the trip out to the West Coast to participate in the USC Rising Stars camp. His father, Jim, reiterated that the two are not a package deal, but did wear a USC shirt to the camp, where he spent much of his time speaking with his friend and former Cowboys teammate, USC linebackers coach, Ken Norton, Jr. Coupled with the elder Jeffcoat's friendship with another former teammate, Derek Kennard's father, USC has a tremendous advantage, though Jim has repeatedly stated that his son's decision will be his own.
As expected, Jeffcoat was extremely impressive during the camp, using his advance technique to consistently get to the quarterback. In one-on-one drills he was nearly unstoppable, even though he looked like he was in basketball shape and not nearly as big as he did on film. However, his quickness and ability to effectively use his hands help make up for any current lack of bulk.