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Sunday, May 19, 2013
Lessons learned: ETSN Combine

By Damon Sayles

TYLER, Texas -- East Texas often is considered one of the nation’s most underrated areas in finding elite talent when it comes to college football recruiting. Sunday featured the inaugural East Texas Sports Network combine, which showcased more than 100 players from East Texas.

The event took place at the Accelerate Performance Enhancement Center (APEC) training facility, which has trained professionals such as quarterback Graham Harrell, running back Kendall Hunter and pro baseball pitchers Phillip Humber and Josh Tomlin.

Daylon Mack doesn’t disappoint

Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater) was the primary target at defensive line -- and rightfully so in the eyes of many. The 6-2, 307-pound lineman is considered one of the top 2015 players in the country. Mack didn’t disappoint, as he was named the defensive line MVP and then the overall defensive MVP.

“It was a good experience. I was able to get a couple of good measurables out of it,” said Mack, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds, recorded a 30.5-inch vertical and bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times. “It makes me feel good competing against the best in East Texas. I really wanted to come out and see where I stood.”

Mack is nearing double-digit offers and said his latest offer is from Baylor. Mack also is entertaining offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and others.

A new Santos to watch

Texas linebacker Dalton Santos was once a standout 2012 player and an Under Armour All-American. Now, the recruiting world will have another Santos to follow. Little brother Wyatt Santos (Van, Texas/Van), a 2015 offensive guard, put on a show and was one of the few players to contain Mack during lineman drills.

Santos was named co-offensive lineman MVP along with Jacob Bragg (Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches), who has Kansas and Louisiana Tech offers.

“Seeing the competition from Daylon and others, it was awesome,” said Santos, who has early interest from Texas A&M, UTEP, SMU, North Texas, Houston and -- of course -- Texas.

Santos, a 6-foot-2, 331-pound guard, showed his blocking ability and showed excellent footwork against older competitors. He said he has been using his older brother's advice of working hard, being respectful and maintaining focus.

“I think I've got a chance to do something special,” he said.

2015 RB Hasty delivers

There were few events where 2015 running back Ja'Mycal Hasty (Longview, Texas/Longview) didn't dazzle those in attendance. His efforts earned him not only the running back MVP award but also the overall offensive MVP award.

A 5-foot-8, 184-pound back, Hasty recorded a vertical of 39 inches and had back-to-back 40-yard times of 4.39 and 4.40 seconds.

“This was what I wanted,” Hasty said. “I feel good about what I did.”

Hasty’s athleticism and speed make him one of the most intriguing 2015 players in the Lone Star State. Texas Tech was the first school to offer him, but he has looks from Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, USC and a host of other programs.

Illness doesn't deter Blake Lynch

Not even a stomach virus could slow down 2015 quarterback Blake Lynch (Troup, Texas/Troup) -- literally. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound quarterback ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds, recorded a vertical leap of 34 inches and bench pressed 185 pounds 16 times en route to being named the quarterback MVP of the combine.

Lynch didn’t say much throughout the event -- aside from a quiet “no” when asked if he felt OK -- but he managed to put up respectable numbers and show he was a gamer. Lynch doesn’t have an offer yet, but he does have interest from Alabama, Texas, Baylor, Mississippi State and Texas Tech.

2015 safety Dunning shines

2015 safety Justin Dunning (Whitehouse, Texas/Whitehouse) has been impressive throughout the spring, and he continued to shine at the combine, taking home the defensive backs MVP award.

Dunning recorded back-to-back 40-yard dash times of 4.44 and 4.41 seconds. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound defensive back also showed his leaping ability with a 40.4-inch vertical.

Dunning recently picked up a Texas Tech offer, and he also has looks from Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, TCU, LSU, Oklahoma and several other schools.

Side notes

Kade Clayton (Tyler, Texas/Grace Community) was named the wide receivers MVP of the combine. Clayton, a 6-foot, 179-pound athlete, has an offer from Texas State.

• Wesley Thompson (Tyler, Texas/Chapel Hill), a 6-1, 185-pound outside linebacker, earned the linebacker MVP award.

• Other notable names at the combine include Baylor wide receiver commit Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty Eylau), new TCU 2015 safety commit Johnny Shaw (Center, Texas/Center), Texas Tech quarterback commit Patrick Mahomes (Whitehouse, Texas/Whitehouse) and Texas A&M wide receiver commit Jamal Jeffery (Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin).