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Monday, April 29, 2013
Bayou City Beat: Recruiting nuggets

By Sam Khan Jr.

Each week this spring, GigEmNation reporter Sam Khan Jr. will bring you notes and nuggets from watching and visiting with high school football prospects in the Greater Houston area that week, including observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players that catch his attention. Here's this week's installment:

SPRING, Texas — While many schools in Texas are starting spring football practice this week, Spring (Texas) Klein Oak was one of the handful of schools to get an earlier start, kicking off spring drills on April 22.

There are a pair of Texas A&M targets on the Klein Oak defense, 2014 inside linebacker Josh Mabin and 2014 outside linebacker Ja'Von Shelley.

Mabin recently visited Texas A&M for its "Friday Night Lights" scrimmage and attended LSU's spring game on April 20. Both of those schools are among those interested in Mabin but neither has extended an offer. Baylor, Colorado, Houston, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Washington State have.

The 6-1, 215-pound Mabin said the Aggies coaches have shown a lot of interest but want to come see him work out before offering. He suffered a knee injury as a sophomore and Mabin said that A&M is like a handful of others that want to ensure that his knee is absolutely 100 percent.

Mabin said he feels fine.

"I feel amazing," he said.

Watching him during Klein Oak's spring practice, Mabin seems to move just fine and looks 100 percent at first glance. If the Aggies like what they see when Jeff Banks and Mark Hagen stop by Klein Oak, they could offer.

Shelley, who visited A&M for the Maroon-and-White spring game and said he talked to Hagen shortly thereafter, spent most of Klein Oak's first practice of the spring lining up at defensive end. Shelley said he could play either defensive end or outside linebacker for the Panthers this fall.

He received his first offer last week, from Houston. The Aggies will also take a closer look at Shelley during the spring evaluation period.

Speedy CB Hardeman remains strong with Tigers
One thing's for sure when it comes to 2014 cornerback and LSU commitment Chris Hardeman: he doesn't lack speed.

Chris Hardeman
LSU commit Chris Hardeman is a solid commit.
The four-star cornerback, who is ranked 35th overall in the state and 22nd nationally at his position, showed as much by running a strong anchor leg for the Houston Alief Taylor 400-meter relay squad on Friday at Turner Stadium in Humble, Texas. In the preliminaries, Hardeman's strong finish helped the Lions earn the best qualifying time for the finals of 41.22 seconds. The squad will go for the Texas Class 5A Region III title in the event today.

Hardeman, who recently attended the Tigers spring game, said he remains 100 percent committed to LSU commit even though suitors continue to call and recruit him. Florida receivers coach Joker Phillips stopped by Alief Taylor last week.

Several interested in 2014 QB Sharp
He doesn't have to use them often on the football field, but Houston Summer Creek quarterback Aaron Sharp showed over the weekend that he has some wheels.

The 2014 signal-caller helped team to a Texas Class 4A Region III track and field championship with his sprinting efforts. He ran a strong 21.19-second 200-meter dash and ran on two relays, including anchoring the 1,600-meter relay, holding off renowned sprinter Cameron Burrell to lead Summer Creek to a win in that event.

Sharp, who has offers from Houston, Utah, UTEP and Toledo, led Summer Creek to a district football championship and an 11-1 record by throwing for 2,954 yards and 38 touchdowns with just six interceptions.

Other schools showing interest in Sharp are Colorado, Kansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Wake Forest. Sharp said he expects Colorado and Wake Forest to stop in during Summer Creek practice this week to watch him throw.

Baylor WR commit turns in personal best
Baylor is getting a fast one with 2014 receiver commit Chris Platt.

The Willis (Texas) High School receiver won the Class 4A regional championship in the 400-meter dash, running a personal-best time of 47.01 seconds. He was shooting for a time in the 46-second range, but he'll have to wait until the state championships to have another shot at it.

Platt said he has been focusing mostly on track season, but was able to get to a spring practice in Waco. He said he remains a solid commit to the Bears, in large part because of their coaching staff, particularly head coach Art Briles and receivers coach Kendal Briles.

Baylor's plan for the 5-10, 157-pound Platt is to line him up as an inside receiver, he said.

2014 WR Zamora picks up offers
A rising receiver prospect in Houston who is gaining offers is Houston Elsik's Ishmael Zamora.

The 6-4, 201-pound receiver showed off his speed and athleticism Friday in the Texas Class 5A Region III track and field championship preliminaries. Zamora, who participates in the hurdles, had the best qualifying time of his fellow 5A regional competitors in both the 110-meter hurdles (13.78 seconds) and the 300-meter hurdles (38.47 seconds). He'll go for the regional championship and a berth at the state meet in both events during the running finals today.

Zamora recently picked up an offer from SMU receivers coach Jason Phillips. It was Zamora's third offer, joining the Utah and Northern Colorado offers he already had. Colorado, Houston and Iowa State have all shown interest in the tall, fast Zamora. Elsik begins spring football this week and Zamora said Colorado receivers coach Troy Walters is expected to stop by.

2014 safety to keep an eye on
One player who doesn't have an offer yet but is picking up some momentum in the Houston area is Pearland (Texas) High School safety Marlon Walls Jr.

The 5-foot-10, 186-pound defensive back has been getting interest from several schools since the spring evaluation period began. During the first week of the period, Nebraska linebackers coach/special teams coordinator Ross Els and Houston secondary coach Zac Spavital have stopped in at Pearland.

Walls said he is expecting Arkansas State safeties coach Blake Baker at Pearland practice this week.

Under the radar names to know
Klein Oak, Texas, is known for pumping out Division I recruits annually. There are a few others names from the program north of Houston that are worth knowing for the future.

2014 quarterback Jordan Davis has plenty of height (6-4) and will be the primary signal caller for Klein Oak this fall after sharing time last season. During Panthers practice, Davis appeared capable of delivering the ball accurately and on time to his receivers. He said he recently spoke with North Texas offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Canales and the Mean Green are showing interest. Davis said he plans to camp at North Texas, Louisiana-Lafayette and perhaps Boise State this summer.

2015 linebacker Josh Shantz will be playing linebacker full time for the first time this season. Last year, the 6-2, 208-pounder spent time at tight end and played two games at linebacker, but this fall, his primary duty will be to line up next to Mabin. Klein Oak coach David Smith likes Shantz's size and athleticism (he also has been a basketball player but is debating whether to continue on the hardwood) and he'll still be used on offense as well.

2016 running back J.T. Smith is a name to know for the future. At 5-10 and 160 pounds, Smith brings plenty of speed: He ran on two of Klein Oak's relay teams that competed in the regional championships this weekend, including the winning 800-meter relay squad. This will be Smith's first varsity season in football; he scored 30 touchdowns on the freshman team last season and coach David Smith likes his potential.