Sunday, April 7, 2013
Lessons Learned: Dallas NFTC
By Max Olson
ALLEN, Texas -- The 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour continued in the Dallas area on Sunday as several top prospects from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana showcased their skills at the brand new Eagle Stadium in Allen, Texas. The defensive back group was as loaded as expected, and several players earned invitations to The Opening.
Recruiting Nation’s Max Olson attended the camp. Here’s what he learned:
Off to Oregon
North Little Rock, Ark., safety Kavin Alexander was one of the seven players to earn invites to The Opening on Sunday.
When it was all said and done, seven recruits received invitations to The Opening following their NFTC performances. Coveted quarterback David Cornwell was named MVP of the day thanks to a strong two-day showing at both the NFTC and Elite 11 regionals. He’ll be joined in Oregon this summer by safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), safety Kavin Alexander (North Little Rock, Ark./North Little Rock), cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), wide receiver Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis), LSU safety commit Ed Paris (Arlington, Texas/Timberview) and defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell).
That Cornwell received the honor was no shocker, but there was one surprise that came with it. Trent Dilfer announced after the camp that this year’s edition of The Opening and the Elite 11 finals will both be held in Beaverton, Ore., from June 28 to July 3.
Dominant defensive backs
For more than a year now, folks in Texas have been heaping praise on the state’s Class of 2014 defensive backs. The stars of that group lived up to the hype on Sunday. Brown earned DB MVP honors on the day, but Paris and Adams were right there with him. They matched their talent with more than enough bravado -- all three were extra vocal after each of their one-on-one reps. The field also included two of the state's top 2015 defensive backs, Alabama commit Deionte Thompson (Orange, Texas/West Orange Stark) and Texas pledge Jalen Campbell (Corpus Christi, Texas/Flour Bluff).
The surprise of the day, without question, was Kavin Alexander. The North Little Rock (Ark.) athlete came to Allen, Texas, with no offers, but don’t be surprised if that changes soon. Alexander produced the second-best performance in the history of SPARQ testing with a total score of 148.17. That showing included a time of 4.36 in the 40-yard dash and 3.90 in the shuttle, and he also shined while competing at defensive back against the camp’s top wideouts. Coincidentally, the No. 1 all-time SPARQ score belongs to a Texan. Linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood), an Ohio State signee, set the record with a total of 154.47 at The Opening last July.
Big guards impress
Two interior offensive linemen -- one junior, one sophomore -- handled their foes well in one-on-one drills. Some big-name tackles attendance the NFTC, but it was Jacob Bragg (Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches) who took home MVP honors. The 6-foot-4, 308-pound guard holds offers from Kansas and Louisiana Tech. Zach Rogers, the 2015 Lewisville (Texas) Hebron guard with six early offers, was as strong as he was fundamentally sound and held up well against older defensive linemen.
All eyes were on ESPN Watch List prospect K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) going into the day, but Abilene (Texas) Cooper’s Lorenzo Joe took home the wide receiver MVP honors. The Texas commit caught almost everything that came his way and took advantage of his 6-foot-2 size and long arms against small defensive backs. The award was even more impressive considering Joe played quarterback for Cooper in 2012. Joe was one of six future Longhorns to compete in Allen.