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Sunday, April 6, 2014
Houston NFTC notebook

By Damon Sayles

HOUSTON -- On-again, off-again rain couldn’t put a damper on the Houston Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday, and three athletes -- safety Deionte Thompson, tight end Jordan Davis and offensive tackle Jerry Tillery -- earned golden tickets to compete at The Opening this summer in Oregon.

Seven players left The Kinkaid School practice facility with MVP honors at their respective positions: Skyler Bonneau (quarterbacks), Remus Bulmer (running backs), Gary Haynes (wide receivers), Erik McCoy (offensive linemen), Nikolas Daniels (defensive linemen), Spencer Choka (linebackers) and Deontay Anderson (defensive backs).

No more questions: Thompson’s solid with Bama

Deionte Thompson, the nation's No. 76 player and an Alabama commit since February, sighed when asked if he's tired of people asking him how solid he is with his commitment to the Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound safety was one of the stars of Sunday’s camp in Houston, but he couldn't escape the questions.

“It's starting to get old already,” Thompson said. “I was even asked about it by a few of the other guys out here earlier. It's crazy. People don't believe me when I say I'm committed.”

Even if Thompson is steadfast, schools are going to continue to pursue the four-star safety, especially in April and May when they can make their one official phone call. His offer list is one of the best in the country with Baylor, Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, USC and others offering him, and there's no doubt those schools aren't going to stop recruiting him. But Thompson said he had plenty of reasons for his commitment to the Tide.

“I'm going to a place where I can develop my skill set and become a better young man,” Thompson said. “I'm positive I made the right decision to go to Alabama.”

Jerry Tillery
Notre Dame O-line commit Jerry Tillery is excited to attend The Opening for a variety of reasons.
OL's The Opening invite will reunite Irish pledges

An invitation to The Opening is special for ESPN Junior 300 offensive tackle and Notre Dame commit Jerry Tillery in more ways than one. In addition to competing with the nation’s best linemen, he also will be reunited with one of his good buddies.

“One of my friends is Blake Barnett, and he got invited,” said Tillery, referring to the ESPN Junior 300 quarterback and fellow Irish pledge. “I’m pretty excited because I’ll get to meet up with him, and it’s just a great trip. It’s a blessing.”

Tillery has been committed to Notre Dame since June, and he said nothing has changed in his recruiting process. He said he’s looking forward to blocking for Barnett in the future. He also said he’s hoping to gain new skills from The Opening that he can use at his high school.

Second time a charm for Texas A&M TE commit

Texas A&M tight end Jordan Davis remembers how he felt about this time last year. He said he participated in the NFTC but didn’t have a happy conclusion.

This year, Davis wanted a different storyline. He ended up with an invite to The Opening.

“Last year, I was younger and didn’t do everything I wanted,” said Davis, who measured at 6-5 and 255 pounds. “This year, I wanted to make a big impact on everything I did. I came out here last year, and there was a lot of good talent, but my main goal this year was just to go get that invite.”

Davis said he’ll make the trip to compete in Oregon but doesn’t have any college unofficial visits set. He added that he was solid with his Texas A&M pledge.

With offers from Alabama, Baylor, LSU, OU, Texas, Texas A&M and Wisconsin, J.W. Ketchum is anxious to talk with the coaches before making any decision.
Ketchum pumped about spring evaluation period

ESPN Junior 300 prospect J.W. Ketchum is excited about the upcoming spring evaluation period. The 6-foot, 201-pound quarterback/athlete already has a slew of offers, including ones from Alabama, Baylor, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Wisconsin and others, but he said he plans to get serious with coaches when they can call him in April and May.

"I'm really looking for how their conversations differ," said Ketchum, who refused to name a favorite but in the past has indicated Texas, Baylor and Texas A&M were high on his list. "I don't want the conversations to sound the same -- or to have somebody give me the runaround. When it comes time to make a commitment, I’m going to focus hard on what they’re saying and how they treat me."

And Ketchum wants to hear that he can play quarterback on the next level. Even though he's projected by many as an athlete, Ketchum felt he had a strong performance at Sunday's camp and showed he's able to be an elite college quarterback.

Lampkin “92 percent” solid with Sooners

Exactly how solid is ESPN Junior 300 defensive tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin on his commitment to Oklahoma?

“About 92 percent,” he said, smiling.

And why not 100 percent? The 6-4, 307-pound tackle understands that circumstances may come up. He plans on signing with the Sooners, but he's keeping his recruiting door ajar serves as a security blanket of sorts. Lampkin said he’s still hearing from Michigan, LSU, TCU and Baylor.

“To be able to go to OU on a scholarship, it’s really nice,” Lampkin said, “but I wouldn’t say I’m completely shutting things down. A coach could leave or something like that, you never know. But if nothing happens really bad like that, I’m going to go to OU.

Lampkin said he will be in Norman on Saturday for the Sooners’ spring game.

Humphrey looking to make summer trips

Wide receiver John Humphrey Jr. has the one thing college programs from around the country covet -- pure speed.

Humphrey, 5-11 and 162 pounds, was reported to have run a 4.31 40-yard dash at the event and has more than 10 offers headed into the spring evaluation period.

“I’m just going around enjoying the whole recruiting process,” Humphrey said. “I’m getting to know the coaches and seeing the campuses and stuff. I’m planning to make unofficial visits this summer.”

Humphrey said Notre Dame, Baylor and Oklahoma are coming at him the hardest, and he wants to visit Notre Dame, Alabama and possibly Oregon this summer. His offer list also includes TCU, Missouri, Arkansas and Ole Miss.

The one program that every suitor will have to beat out is the fast-paced Big 12 champions.

“They treat each other like family. I just love Baylor,” he said. “They are always positive and moving forward. They are the school that is always in contact with me, and Notre Dame.”

Deontay Anderson
Deontay Anderson, rated the No. 2 safety in the 2016 class, has received recruiting attention throughout the Big 12.
Offers later, honing craft now for DB MVP

Class of 2016 safety Deontay Anderson walked away with the camp’s defensive back MVP award on Sunday. Anderson beat out some big-time players, including ESPN Junior 300 cornerback Holton Hill, fellow 2016 safety standout Brandon Jones and Thompson, the ESPN Junior 300 Alabama safety commit.

Anderson, at 6-1 and 192 pounds, is still looking for his first big offer, but that isn’t his main focus. Becoming a well-rounded defensive back and being considered the best at his craft take precedence.

“It’s crazy, but I’m just focusing on being the No. 1 prospect,” Anderson said. “That’s very important to me. If I don’t get it, it’ll just go to heights that I never thought I could get.

“I’m just trying to get more explosive in all areas and also stay on my grades. The little stuff like that will help me be a better leader, be more vocal and get stronger. The offers will come later.”

Anderson said he is looking to attend Oklahoma’s spring game on Saturday.

2016 DB Jones adding offers

One of the many class of 2016 prospects on hand was safety Brandon Jones. The 5-11, 180-pound, hard-hitting safety with 4.5 speed has double-digit offers with hopes of adding four more big ones.

“I have offers from Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Washington State, LSU, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Florida State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU,” Jones said. “For sure, I hope to add Oregon, Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State.”

While the speedy, East Texas prospect likes the thought of venturing far away from home, he admits his mother has a different idea.

“Up toward Oregon and that part of the country, my mom has said that is too far for me to go … so I will probably plan on staying in the Texas, Alabama and Florida area,” he said.

Jones is being recruited as a safety and wide receiver with safety being the desired position on the next level.

Quick hits

Texas Tech running back commit Corey Dauphine continues to be a “soft commitment” to the Red Raiders. He has offers from Utah, TCU, Houston and Washington State in addition to Texas Tech and said he plans to make official visits to Utah and Washington state during his senior season. … While he didn’t win the running back MVP award, Arizona 2016 commit Trevor Speights -- a resident of McAllen, Texas, which is on the southern tip of the state -- said the six-hour drive to Houston was well worth the trip. “I’m pretty much underestimated, because I stay in the [Rio Grande] Valley,” he said, “but I wanted to turn some heads and show what I’m about. … Oregon State is the latest to offer the 2016 running back Kameron Martin bringing his total to 23. Of the schools that have offered, national champion Florida State stands out. … Cornerback Jordan Tolbert remains committed to Houston, but Baylor, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma and Washington State are coming hard after him. Baylor, Texas and Colorado have offered, and TCU and Oklahoma are thought to be close. Tolbert plans to visit Texas, Baylor and Houston this summer.

Jeremy Crabtree and Gerry Hamilton contributed to this report.