Coaches and players meet prior to the start of the Austin Red Bull Gamebreakers 7-on-7 qualifier at Round Rock High School (photo by the author).
The Texas 7-on-7 State Championship has some serious competition now with the national Red Bull Gamebreakers 7-on-7 tournament on the scene. Where the Texas championships feature only high school teams from the Lone Star State, the Red Bull tournament showcases teams from across the country, with the finals held in the Metroplex the same weekend as the state tourney. Aledo and Arlington Martin have already opted to attend the Red Bull event instead of heading to College Station.
On Tuesday afternoon, Round Rock High School hosted a Gamebreakers qualifier, with a number of area teams in attendance. Unfortunately, Lake Travis did not attend, but Austin High's Cayleb Jones and Bastrop's Antwuan Davis were there, making the trip up I-35 from Austin worthwhile.
The Red Bull event also features several major rule differences from state 7-on-7. The major change is the length of the games -- 20 minutes instead of 40, leading to fewer comeback opportunities and less rhythm for the quarterbacks. Additionally, Gamebreakers also has a different scoring system, awarding points for interceptions, defensive stops, and first downs, and allowing the defense a pass rusher, who can begin pressuring the quarterback one second into the play. And instead of the the pool play format used in the state qualifying tournaments, followed by the semifinals and finals, the Red Bull event utilizes a double-elimination format with a winner's bracket and a loser's bracket.
Follow after the jump for some thoughts on Jones and Davis, as well as James Kirkendoll's younger brother, 2014 Round Rock WR Keyon Dilosa.
Cayleb Jones, 2012 Austin High WR -- At this point, Jones is pretty much a known quantity -- so it wasn't a surprise to see him beat double coverage on an out route and finish the play with a sliding catch near the sideline. After his one-handed catches against Belton, though, the play seemed rather routine, as did another leaping touchdown catch in the end zone shown below.
Cayleb Jones Red Bull Gamebreakers.dv (via ghostofbigroy)
Jones is also willing to use his hands to create separation, on one play he drawing a penalty flag when he put an opposing defender flat on his back coming off the line of scrimmage. Despite the penalty, it's still a skill that will serve him well at the college level because it demonstrates that he won't simply let a defender control him at the line of scrimmage in press coverage.
All in all, though, with little left to discuss in terms of his flypaper hands and fluidity as a route-runner, all remains is parsing his body language and discussing the Austin High quarterback play. An ejection from the Lake Travis SQT tournament brought Jones's maturity and propensity for occasional outbursts to the fore. With Austin High eliminated after only two games, there wasn't much opportunity for another ejection and despite some visible signs of frustration with the poor quarterback play from his teammates, Jones avoided the type of outburst that hurt him at Lake Travis and generally exhibited positive body language on the day -- at this point, the ejection seems more like a case of Jones being a strong competitor than a systematic issue that could impact his career at Texas.
However, judging by the type of play that the Maroons received on the day from two different quarterbacks, which ranged from mediocre to absolutely abysmal, it could be a long season for Jones, with plenty of opportunity for frustration.
Antwuan Davis, 2013 Bastrop CB -- The Del Valle transfer looked like the definition of a lockdown corner, showing why he created some serious buzz following a strong performance against mostly 2012 competition at the June 5th Texas camp. On the hoof, Davis impresses with a sturdy 5-11 frame that still has room for growth -- by the time he leaves college, Davis could easily tip the scales at close to 200 pounds without losing the top-end speed and short-area burst that makes him a top prospect.
Like Austin High, Bastrop was bounced from the tournament after only two games, but it was plenty of time for Davis to impress on the field. During a game and a half of viewing, opposing quarterbacks didn't even target his side of the field. Showing his strength and ability to re-direct receivers at the line of scrimmage, Davis also showed fluid hips and the ability to turn and run, as well as burst on tap at all times to stick in a receiver's hip pocket.
During the first game against LBJ, the Bastrop cornerback on the opposite of the field gave up two long touchdown passes. After Davis moved over, the LBJ receiver was quiet for the rest of the game. Lock. Down.
There was one concern with Davis, however, as the big corner sometimes didn't use his strength to his advantage in press coverage, failing to get his hands on the receiver and leaving him with some ground to make up coming off the ball. Fortunately, his speed can make up for some poor technique and as he receives more coaching and improves his technique, that concern should fade.
Keyon Dilosa, 2014 Round Rock WR -- The younger brother of former Longhorn receiver James Kirkendoll didn't get many opportunities to make an impact in the game I viewed against Round Rock Stony Point, receiving reps during only one series. Apparently the Dragons typically play the older receivers more extended minutes. However, Dilosa looks every bit of 6-2 and has extremely long arms as well. On the field, he showed solid burst, but will need to add strength to his wiry frame over the next several years. Far from a finished product, Dilosa is a player to keep an eye on as a Longhorn legacy.