Friday, May 3, 2013
Recruiting notes: QB Harris likes TAMU
By Sam Khan Jr.
With the spring evaluation period fully underway, Texas A&M assistant coaches have been visiting high schools throughout the state and the country to check in on commitments, current targets and potential future targets in recruiting.
One of the most notable stops of the week occurred when Aggies' quarterback coach Jake Spavital stopped by Bossier City (La.) Parkway High School on Tuesday to see 2014 quarterback Brandon Harris.
Four-star quarterback Brandon Harris was offered by Texas A&M this week but he's not in a hurry to choose a school.
Considering that the first quarterback that Texas A&M offered in the 2014 class, ESPN 150 prospect Justice Hansen, committed to Oklahoma last month, the Aggies' movement on Harris was key. There's only one other quarterback in the 2014 class that held an A&M offer before Harris got one and that's Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain four-star prospect and ESPN 150 quarterback Kyle Allen.
As for Harris, a four-star prospect who is the fifth-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country, he was delighted that the Aggies officially threw their hat in the ring.
"That's one of the ones I wanted to land. I did want an offer from Texas A&M," Harris said. "I think it's a fantastic program. I've talked to Coach [Kevin] Sumlin a handful of times, me and my dad. He's a great coach. You can feel the energy just by talking to the guy on the phone. You can tell he loves football and you can see why players speak so highly of him."
Harris also is developing a relationship with Spavital and seems to like the young, up-and-coming co-offensive coordinator.
"Spav's a cool guy," Harris said. "He's a young dude, really cool guy."
The offers are coming fast and furious for the quarterback at the moment. Parkway has been a revolving door for college coaches in the last week as a considerable number of them have stopped in at spring practice to see Harris throw. Several have offered lately, including Ohio State, Auburn and Mississippi State on Thursday.
Because the offers are rolling in, Harris is not rushing into a commitment yet and still is doing his homework on schools. Harris stated that he wants to know or have an idea of his destination by July 5 and that he'll be committed to a school no later than July 18. After spring practice wraps up for Parkway, he'll narrow things down some.
"For me it's just continuing to do the evaluation process," Harris said. "Everybody's equal, all the way down to McNeese State. The deal is, all those coaches make you feel wanted. We try to do our due diligence as much as we can and I continue to build relationships with these coaches. After spring is over with, I'm sure I'll make it down to five schools."
Will Texas A&M remain in the thick of the race for Harris? It appears the Aggies will have a good shot. Harris said he likes the Aggies' offense and that he feels it fits him well. He likes the Aggies' coaches and though he hasn't visited campus yet, he intends to.
"Obviously I'm not committing anywhere anytime soon," Harris said. "Texas A&M will be one of the schools that I visit this summer so I can meet Coach Sumlin personally. Me and my dad will do our evaluation process. Coach Spav, he's a great guy. Coach [Clarence] McKinney is a great guy. Talking to Coach Sumlin, he's a great guy, talking to Coach [Terry] Price, he's a great guy. There's a lot of great guys on that staff. Could I see myself waking up at 5:30 every morning and going to workouts for Texas A&M? Absolutely."
2014 OT Martin talks tackle, Aggies and more
Manvel (Texas) High School 2014 prospect Koda Martin continues to be one of the most hotly-pursued prospects in the state, with Alabama, Baylor, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M all in the chase for the versatile prospect.
As he mulls his options, Martin said he enjoyed watching the NFL draft last week, knowing that it wasn't long ago that he spent time talking face-to-face with former Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel, who was chosen No. 2 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Martin visited with Joeckel during an A&M practice in March while Martin was in Aggieland with his father, Manvel coach Kirk Martin, who was attending a high school coaches' clinic at Texas A&M.
"It made it a lot more fun to get to watch it," Koda Martin said. "I thought for sure [Joeckel] would be picked first and then he's picked second and somebody posted an article about how he's going to use it for motivation. Just use it to his advantage to prove to everybody that he should have been the first pick.
"He's a great guy and it was crazy watching TV and thinking 'I've spent time with this guy. I've talked with him, I know him a little bit.' It made it interesting and a little more real to me that all this is something that I've experienced and not a lot of guys can say 'Hey, I've talked with that guy before that just got drafted and that got $6-7 million to come play football. It's nuts."
Martin said that in his initial reaction to the idea of playing tackle, he took into account his blocking experience and the potential for an NFL future.
"It's something that I've never done before so I just thought about how it would be different and I don't know a whole lot about that, but then I started thinking about how I love tight end and I love blocking and I started thinking about the pass rush a little bit and I know a lot about the other side of the ball with defensive end," Martin said. "So I think those things could definitely help me a lot. Here recently watching the draft and the first two picks are offensive tackles and so is the fourth one and they're all getting $6-7 million signing bonuses, so I'm like 'Wow, that's crazy.' O-linemen definitely make a lot of money in the league and it looks like a fun position. I've had some great players that I've played with that just really loved the offensive line position and love being mean on the football field and pancaking people and just being aggressive."
Martin said the unique bond that offensive linemen share also is intriguing to him.
"Another thing with O-line is that it's almost a team within a team," Martin said. "The camaraderie, they seem to be like brothers, real close, closer than any other set of positions on the team. That's another part of the O-line that's unique."
He also made an impromptu trip last month to Aggieland for the Maroon-and-White spring game. With the Aggies, Longhorns, Crimson Tide, Sooners, Tigers and Bears rounding out his top six, he is now taking additional looks at schools in his top group as he nears a late spring or early summer target for his decision.
"It was great," Martin said. "Just being around that atmosphere and those coaches a little bit was awesome. It's definitely a great program and somewhere that I'm sure would be a great place to go. So we'll see."
2015 WR Kirk talks offer
Before he checked in on Harris, Spavital was on the western part of the country along with Texas A&M special teams coordinator Jeff Banks checking on the Aggies' targets in Arizona. One of those was 2015 receiver Christian Kirk, who was officially offered by the Aggies on Monday.
The stock is rising quickly this spring for the 5-10, 190 Kirk who also holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, UCLA and Wisconsin. Kirk already visited Aggieland, taking in College Station, Texas in April when he spent three days there the weekend of the Maroon-and-White spring game.
Though Kirk visited Texas A&M, the Aggies coaches had yet to see him in person until Monday when Kirk wowed Spavital and Banks.
"They said when they were watching me, they thought it was one of the most impressive debuts that they've seen," Kirk said. "They were really impressed so they decided to offer."
Kirk's visit last month was a positive one.
"When I came down and visited, I was really excited about it," he said. "I met the coaching staff and saw all the facilities down there and the environment....just the tradition. It was crazy, everybody down there is behind the football program. That's all they talk about."
Kirk put on a show in practice. Kirk tweeted on Tuesday that Spavital compared him to former West Virginia receiver Stedman Bailey, whom Spavital coached. Bailey was a third-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in last week's NFL draft.
Kirk said what initially piqued his interest in the Aggies was their scheme and conference affiliation.
"Definitely their offense and being in the SEC," Kirk said. "I really like that part. Most of these SEC schools are running the ball and being in the spread, they told me what position I'd play, how I would fit in and that they would give me the ball a lot during the games so I really liked that part."
2015 DT Lampkin one to watch
Houston Cypress Falls has been home to some notable prospects in recent classes and one of the latest talents that is emerging as a player on many schools' radars, including Texas A&M's, is 2015 defensive tackle Du'Vonta Lampkin.
He didn't play full time last year but he will have a significant role on the Golden Eagles this fall. Plenty of coaches have come through Cypress Falls in the last week to see Lampkin, who has already visited Texas and Texas A&M this spring.
He took in Texas sophomore day then in April made back-to-back trips to Texas A&M for the "Friday Night Lights" scrimmage and the Maroon-and-White spring game.
"Right now it feels good," Lampkin said. "I'm getting myself into this new position that they have me playing. It feels good and I just hope something comes in spring ball or during camps in the summer. I'm just working harder every day."
The Golden Eagles are working the 6-3, 291-pound Lampkin at nose tackle this season after he spent most of his time at defensive end last year. His trips to Aggieland left him impressed.
"I liked the coaches and the players and how they interact with us," Lampkin said. "Knowing that Johnny [Manziel] will just come up to you and have a conversation with you, that meant a lot. There was no cockiness coming in between them whether they were big [time] or not. The surroundings were great. The players, the fans, the love they showed to you, even if they really don't know you. It was all good."
He said he also received positive feedback from defensive line coach Terry Price.
"He just told me to have the grades and he'd be up to offer me in the spring if he likes what he sees when he evaluates me," Lampkin said.
Lampkin also spoke with coaches at Oklahoma this week and Mississippi, Oklahoma State and SMU were among the schools that came by Cypress Falls this week. He is just focused on getting better so that he can start gaining offers.
"I'm just working hard every day and hopefully will pick up as many offers as I can," Lampkin said. "Just help out the team and be myself."
Aggies continue pursuit of Thompson
Orange (Texas) West Orange-Stark 2015 safety Deionte Thompson committed to Alabama in February but schools are continuing their pursuit of him, including Texas A&M.
Thompson, who recently visited Alabama for "A-Day," said he has been hearing from Texas A&M defensive line coach Terry Price a lot.
"Coach Price at Texas A&M has been hitting me up," Thompson said. "He's great. He loves coaching, he loves doing what he's doing. He has a passion about it so he's a great guy."
Thompson visited Aggieland for Friday Night Lights on April 5 and picked up a Texas A&M offer that day. He said he liked the experience.
"It was nice," Thompson said. "Great practice atmosphere, had a lot of fans out there. Guys were playing physical, Johnny Manziel was making great throws as always. It was just a great experience for me and my family."
Thompson will plan to hit college camps this summer and mentioned Alabama and Texas as two schools where he wanted to attend camps.