2012 Lewisville Hebron WR/CB Kiante Griffin could be a star on either side of the ball in college.
Kiante Griffin, Lewsille Hebron WR/CB: Physically, Griffin has the size to play either wide receiver or defensive back at the next level. Griffin played receiver exclusively in the game that I saw and is a strong route-runner for his age who rarely rounds off his cuts and has the burst to get out of his breaks quickly. However, Griffin intersperses moments of letting the ball get into his body and some poor efforts going outside his frame with highlight-reel one-handed catches, including one that ended up being a game-winner in the end zone late in the game. Though it's impressive that he can make one-handed catches, Griffin needs to more consistently make sure that he goes up for the ball strongly with both hands.
Griffin did consistently get separation and often found himself wide open but unseen by his quarterbacks, leading to some frustrated moments. At times, it resulted in some poor body language, but to his credit, when his teammates made plays, he was quick to celebrate with them.
Overall, Griffin has adequate size for the receiver position, but elite size to play cornerback and though one oberver thought he was a bit, my take is that he is fluid enough to play cornerback in college, as evidenced by some monster performances this spring and summer on that side of the ball. He has a well-developed frame for his age and the major intrigue in his recruitment will be which side of the ball college coaches prefer him playing on.
Aivion Edwards, Stephenville S: Most of these players stand out physically from their peers. Edwards is no exception and looking at his frame, it's no surprise that he's started for Stephenville since his freshman season. He's around six feet tall and is a strong 200 pounds or so and could add even more muscle mass. He's more of a strong safety at this point and doesn't have ideal recovery speed, so he could end up spinning down to linebacker if he keeps on putting on weight, as his frame could probably hold between 220 and 230 pounds.
Jeremiah Tsiminga, Richland LB: The cousin of Reggie Wilson is the proverbial player you want getting off the bus first. A chiseled 6-3, 215 pounds, Tsiminga looks the part and has the athleticism to play linebacker in college (through his pure speed could use some improvement), but has the frame to possibly spin down to defensive end. Basically, his athleticism backs up the promises made by a quick glance at him in t-shirt and shorts. If the Longhorns want a Buck position type in 2012, Tsiminga could be one of the candidates, but he's raw as a football player due to his limited experience having only played football for several years, so he needs to develop his skills and technique.
Kevin Vaccaro, Brownwood CB: The one thing that will probably keep the younger Vaccaro from being the type of prospect his older brother was coming out of high school is his size at 5-9. Like his brother, however, his physicality still stands out in a setting designed to reduce contact as much as possible -- Kevin barely manages to contain his aggressiveness and looked more frustrated about not being able to hit his opponent than any other defensive back at the event. Considering his strength and explosiveness, it's not hard to imagine that he can strike like his brother. He also did a nice job of being able to turn and run with receivers, but also have the awareness and anticipation to know when to turn and look for the football before relying on his athleticism to finish the play.
Griffin Gilbert, Lake Travis WR: Another younger brother, obviously, he may even be taller than the current Texas quarterback, but the major concern is that he's currently running in the 4.9 range. The question, then, is whether his frame can hold another 30-40 pounds while he attempts to increase his speed to transition to a flex tight end/H-back role in college.
If he can do that, the upside is there. Like seemingly every Lake Travis player, he goes about his business with a fundamental precision, allowing him to get separation out of his routes even though he lacks much speed. Where he really excels is in the red zone, using his big frame to his advantage and box out defenders, much as a low-post player boxes out his opponent before going for a rebound.
Blake Webb, The Woodlands WR: Webb burst onto the scene by running about a 4.4 flat ($) at the Texas camp back in June, so it's no surprise that he's a track star during the spring as well. The same burst was evident in College Station and he has solid size at between 5-10 and 5-11 and he's not skinny either -- he'll play at about 190 pounds or so in college. While I didn't watch Webb enough to get a full evaluation, there's no question that he plays as fast as his 40 time and he's tall enough that his size is not as much of a concern as it was for, say, Brock Fitzhenry.
No-shows decrease elite talent across the board
The most disappointing aspect of the whole tournament was the last-minute cancellation by Dallas Skyline, one of the favorites to win the big-school division. Since several players were participating in AAU basketball and the coach was unavailable, the team decided not to make the trip, depriving recruiting analysts and the curious public from seeing numerous top 2012 and 2013 prospects, as well as star linebacker Anthony Wallace. The 2012 prospects include wide receivers Thomas Johnson and Tray Rabon, as well as linebacker Peter Jinkens.
The Skyline players were not the only big names who were not in attendance. SA Madison brought their team without star running Aaron Green, recovering from an ankle injury that he suffered during the spring. Another top running back, this time a member of the 2012 class, was not in attendance -- Spring Dekaney's Trey Williams. Another big name missing was Carthage safety Edward Pope, a possible Texas target who suffered a leg injury in spring practice.
Besides Thomas Johnson, the electric Skyline playmaking who teamed last season with Ross Apo at Arlington The Oakridge School to destroy TAPPS competition, the biggest disappointment was missing out on seeing split end/defensive end Mario Edwards play with Prosper, as the big-time athlete is transferring to Denton Ryan for the coming season.