Monday, April 8, 2013
Finding the Future: Dallas NFTC
By William Wilkerson
Editor's note: Finding the Future is a RecruitingNation feature that will appear throughout camps and combine season, ranking prospects strictly on their on-field performance at the particular event. It does not reflect where each will land when the class is ranked by ESPN.
ALLEN, Texas -- Some of the nation’s top upperclassmen flocked to Allen High School’s $60 million football stadium on Sunday to take part in the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp.
It also featured many of the top underclassmen around who proved they could not only hang with the older competition, but also outshine them in some instances.
Alabama commit Deionte Thompson stepped up at the Dallas NFTC, showing why Nick Saban thinks so highly of him.
Here is a look at five of those prospects who really excelled:
1. 2015 DT Bryce English 5-foot-11, 312 pounds
DeSoto (Texas) High
Considering: Committed to Texas
What we learned: Anyone thinking the Longhorns offered English solely because he's the godson of Texas’ tight ends coach, Bruce Chambers, is sorely mistaken. English, who committed to Texas on March 29, is built low to the ground, which makes him extremely tough for offensive linemen to gain an advantage in the all-important pad level battle. English put in work on Sunday and, not that he needed to, justified his offer.
Tom Luginbill's take: "Explosive, great leverage, lacks height but can anchor. Really active and plays with a motor. Size is a question."
2. 2015 QB J.W. Ketchum 6-foot-1, 190 pounds
Fort Bend (Texas) Marshall
Considering: Offers from Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M
What we learned: Ketchum is just a football player. He can do a whole lot of good wherever he is lined up, especially at quarterback. Camps like these aren’t always the best representation for a dual-threat signal caller, but Ketchum looked comfortable in the pocket in 1-on-1 drills, throwing against a stout group of defensive backs.
Luginbill's take: "May be an athlete type, lacks ideal measurable for the QB spot. May need to be a zone-read run presence in order to remain at QB. Could be a WR/DB."
3. 2015 WR DaMarkus Lodge 6-foot-1, 175 pounds
Cedar Hill (Texas) High
Considering: No offers
What we learned: He may not have any offers right now, but that shouldn't be the case for long. Not if Lodge continues to excel like he did on Sunday. Lodge’s recruitment has really taken off over the past few months, and he showed why at the NFTC. He only had six receptions in 2012 but is expected to be the go-to WR now that Quincy Adeboyejo (91 catches for 1,265 yards and 17 touchdowns) is at Ole Miss.
Luginbill's take: "Good length and fluid with natural separation skills. Under-the-radar guy that should emerge significantly now as a go-to guy."
4. 2015 S Deionte Thompson 6-foot-3, 172 pounds
Orange (Texas)/West Orange Stark
Considering: Committed to Alabama
What we learned: There has to be something pretty special about a recruit with two years of high school left and a few states away for Nick Saban to offer. Thompson has plenty of those qualities. He’s tall with a frame that can add muscle, can run with slot receivers and packs a punch like a linebacker. The group of defensive backs was easily the best at the camp and Thompson more than held his own.
Luginbill's take: “Typical Alabama-type safety. He’s tall, long arms, lots of range. He can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. He kind of fits the mold of what they want in a safety prospect.”
What we learned: There are plenty of guys who can pass an eyeball test in shorts and a T-shirt like the participants wore at the NFTC. But there weren’t many who cause double takes more than Wheeler. Another in a long list of prospects from perennial power Skyline, Wheeler had no problem holding his own with the upperclassmen.
Luginbill's take: “Typical Skyline player with great size and speed. He actually reminds us of Raekwon McMillan out of this class, out of Georgia. He’s physical and big. Certainly one of the things you are always going to have to track with those guys is how well they play in space. That’s one thing I’ll continue to evaluate with him.”