A handful of Texas Longhorn commits and targets in the 2013 class had a busy weekend, with quarterback commit Tyrone Swoopes participating in both the Elite 11 camp on Saturday and the Nike Football Training Camp the following day.
Also participating in the Sunday drills were commits Jake Raulerson, A'Shawn Robinson, Daeshon Hall, Durham Smythe, Jake Oliver, and Jacorey Warrack, in some cases going against targets and players on the radar like Ra'Shaad Samples, Maurice Smith, Mike MItchell and Torrodney Prevot.
So, how did Swoopes perform at both events? Did he receive that prestigious Elite 11 invite? Who received invitations to The Opening from the NFTC camp?
As a primer for the rest of the post, check out what I can only assume is my much-anticipated third video (or, much-delayed, at least) and learn the answers to those questions. I hope you are sufficiently teased.
Nike Elite 11 and Combine Notes (via sbnburntorangenation)
If you weren't sufficiently teased, shame on you, because I'm sad now. But I'll soldier forward and provide a quick recap.
A slow start from Swoopes ($) may have come close to eliminating him from contention for an invite to the Elite 11 event later in the summer, which will feature 24 of the top quarterbacks from around the country, but managed to recover with a strong showing in a simulated two-minute drill at the end of practice. Continued improvement on Sunday helped push him over the top and secure the invite.
However, there was one concerning revelation from Swoopes -- he had barely picked up a football between the end of his football season and Saturday. For a guy who needs all the repetitions he can get to refine his two biggest issues -- his footwork and his tendency to push the ball. Before everyone overreacts, keep in mind that Swoopes has been fulfilling his basketball and track obligations and did say that he needs to throw more often.
On Sunday, one of the stars of the camp was Texas target Torrodney Prevot of Alief Taylor, who earned defensive lineman MVP honors on the day, as well as overall MVP honors.
Prevot was reportedly the closet thing to unstoppable ($) at the event:
His blend of first step quickness, change of direction ability, long arms, ability to turn the corner with a low inside shoulder and closing speed make the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder one of the top edge prospects in the 2013 class.
Torrodney Prevot absolutely kills his lineman on 1-on-1s for 2 easy sacks. Raulerson wants him next.— Max Olson (@max_olson) March 25, 2012
Caught up in the spirit of competition, Prevot was calling for Raulerson as well, setting up a heavyweight match-up.
Good battle between Raulerson and Prevot. I'd give Prevot the win. #longhorns #NFTC— Max Olson (@max_olson) March 25, 2012
Fellow Horns Nation analyst William Wilkerson also called the battle a win for Prevot, but Olson latter admitted that there was some disagreement about who really got the best of the one-on-one rep. Stay tuned for the video to get the conclusive evidence.
Prevot has narrowed his list to Texas, Texas A&M, and LSU and could make a decision in the coming weeks. However, the issue for the 'Horns right now is that after trips to A&M and LSU on consecutive weekends, Prevot now has the 'Horns, his childhood favorite, trailing the other two schools, mostly because he hasn't been able to get in touch ($) with the Texas coaches in some time. If that does happen, the 'Horns should move back in to excellent position.
Texas target Vincent Taylor was also one of the top performers at the event while rocking a pair of Texas shorts expressly meant to show his interest in the 'Horns. Now finally putting on weight and up to 277 pounds, Taylor was pretty clear about how he would react to a Texas offer:
San Antonio Madison DL Vincent Taylor told me Texas coaches visiting his school April 14. If offered, he will commit. #longhorns #NFTC— Max Olson (@max_olson) March 25, 2012
Given that, Texas may continue to slowplay him while continuing the pursuit of top target Justin Manning of Dallas Kimball, but the weight gain helps to assuage concerns about whether Taylor would ever reach a weight that would allow him to play on the inside in college.
The performance from Fort Worth Arlington Heights defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson may reduce the pressure a bit to land Manning or Taylor, as the potential offensive lineman was strong working at defensive tackle:
In terms of raw tools there might not be a better line prospect in Texas for 2013 than the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Robinson. He's quick out of stance and not only can use lateral quickness and body control to slither by defenders, but his natural strength and power are unmatched in this type of setting. When he was locked in and focused on dominating drills, there wasn't a more impressive defender up front on Sunday.
The scary moment of the day came when Dallas Skyline wide receiver Ra'Shaad Samples, who holds one of the few outstanding Texas offers, suffered an ankle when he was pulled down by a defender. Initially, Rivals analyst Brian Perroni thought it might be broken, but Samples took to Twitter to deny the report:
Shoutout to rashaad samples that had the really bad ankle break.... Cause Uhh this rashaad samples chillen!!— Rashaad Samples (@10justscored) March 25, 2012
His father, the head coach at Skyline, told ESPN later he was afraid it was a "severe ankle injury," though the younger Samples said it "ain't bad." On Monday afternoon, Perroni broke the news that Samples did break his ankle (or, more precisely, a fracture in his left tibia ($)), leaving the current question whether or not the injury will impact his recruitment by Texas.
Mack Brown has told kids that he will honor their scholarship even if they get injured, but would he feel the same way about accepting a commitment from such a player? Recent history suggests the answer is probably yes, as Texas offered and received a commitment from 2011 class member Taylor Doyle while he was recovering from a broken leg he suffered playing for Lake Travis.
Despite a good showing before the injury for Samples, it was Texas commit Jake Oliver who earned an invitation to The Opening for his work on the day. As expected, the buzzword around Oliver was consistent. In a video of one-on-ones posted by Rivals ($), Oliver flashed his ability to beat press coverage at the line of scrimmage and then continue to use his hands in a legal manner to maintain position, then used his ball skills and body control to make the catch along the sidelines. Typical Jake Oliver stuff, really.
In the same video, Jacorey Warrick showed why the Texas coaches thought him worthy of an offer at wide receiver, using his quickness off the ball and darting change of direction ability to create separation. When he gets on campus, he could immediately enter the discussion for the most dynamic receiver with the football for Texas.
A strong performance from Fort Bend Dulles defensive back Maurice Smith earned the former teammate of current 'Horn Sheroid Evans one of 150 coveted invites to The Opening this summer. According to multiple reports, Smith was the best cornerback in attendance at the event and answered questions about his ability to play cornerback.
Staying on the defensive side of the ball, there's a new name for Longhorn fans to remember -- Honolulu Moanalua defensive tackle Scott Pagano, who is in Austin visiting Texas on Monday. If his performance is indicative of his talent level, he could end up in the mix for that final defensive tackle spot:
He showed a quick first step, both active and quick feet in drills, the flexibility and agility to change direction and work down a line of scrimmage and the strength to take on and control every lineman that lined up against him throughout the day.
Besides Smith and Oliver, the only other invite to The Opening that went out was one for Plano Prestonwood Christian defensive end/outside linebacker Mike Mitchell, who took home MVP honors at the linebacker position. Why no apparent invite for Prevot, the overall MVP? No clue, but there could be some other invitations extended from the camp in the near future (edit: Prevot was invited to The Opening at a previous combine).
All in all, it was a strong weekend for both the Texas commits and targets in attendance, not to mention a good sign for the mentality of the commits that they were willing to go out and compete and work hard to keep getting better, despite having nothing to prove from the standpoint of earning more scholarship offers or raising their recruiting profile in general.
Dream Team 2013, imo.