Monday, June 1, 2009
QB trio leads Rice offensive standouts
By JC Shurburtt
HOUSTON -- Three future Big 12 quarterbacks and some known and emerging talent at wide receiver highlighted the offensive prospects at the Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday at Rice University.
Texas commits Connor Wood (Houston/Second Baptist) and Case McCoy (Graham, Texas), as well as undeclared Jacoby Walker (Spring, Texas/Westfield), had solid outings.
McCoy enjoyed working with his future teammate and Wood.
"It's always fun to come out here and compete," he said. "We are all building relationships. It's good to be here with Connor and chill. We have four [or] five more years to compete and what a great guy to compete against. He's a good athlete and good quarterback and a great guy. I am getting to know him, and that is a great thing."
McCoy's performance was very similar to his showing at the Fort Worth Elite 11 workout in April. He makes quick decisions and has good feet. Those who have seen him play believe he can end up being the same type of quarterback as his older brother, current Texas starter and Heisman Trophy candidate Colt McCoy.
Wood has excellent feet and a big arm. He displayed good leadership qualities Sunday, congratulating his receivers when they made good catches. Most important, he knows where to go with the football. In the position drills, it was clear that he had above-average athleticism. He was one of the top quarterbacks in the one-on-ones, during which he was on the money with most of his passes.
Walker is a smooth athlete and passer. He showed Sunday that he is extremely accurate on short and midrange passes, but he was not quite as accurate on the longer throws. Walker boasts offers from Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Nebraska. He says the Jayhawks are still his favorite. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder would be an outstanding pickup for Mark Mangino's program.
Luke Woodley (Dallas/Highland Park) was named the quarterback MVP by the NFTC coaches. He threw for 3,746 yards and 41 touchdowns for Highland Park -- Matthew Stafford's former team -- last season. Woodley has a very good arm, showing it off on a number of deep balls. Although he has no scholarship offers yet, he should start to get looks this summer as he goes to camps at various colleges.
Like Woodley, Jacob Morgan (Austin, Texas/Stephen F. Austin) should have a better idea of where he stands with Division I programs in the summer camps. Morgan is a tall pocket passer who impressed in one-on-ones. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder has good size and a strong arm.
Although he won't sign college scholarship papers for two and a half years, a star was born Sunday. Class of 2012 standout Cayleb Jones (Austin, Texas) was nearly unstoppable in the one-on-one portion of the event. He took it to Under Armour All-American cornerback Toney Hurd Jr. (Missouri City, Texas/Fort Bend Marshall) twice, including once when the stout defensive back jammed him at the line of scrimmage but Jones fought through it and had enough body control to still make the catch.
"It was tough competition," Jones said. "I wasn't scared or intimidated coming out here, but I knew that some of these guys were very good players. My performance makes me more comfortable and makes me feel better when I go up against some of the older guys."
Six-foot-2, 180-pound Jones is the son of former NFL linebacker Robert Jones and the nephew of former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake, who addressed the participants in the camp after the completion of drills.
"It helps me have a mental edge," Jones said. "Those two played at the highest level, and I have learned a lot on how to be a smarter player. I may not be the fastest right now or the strongest, but I am smart about how I play."
Jones plans to camp at Texas and possibly Houston this summer.
Kevin Johnson (Houston/Cypress Ridge) has an extensive offer list. He impressed in agility and position drills and in the one-on-ones and was named the position MVP by the NFTC coaches. The 6-2, 180-pounder has excellent size, speed and hands. Those tools give him the potential to be very good at the collegiate level.
At tight end, Stanford commit Zach Swanson (Katy, Texas) showed off his athleticism, working with the receivers and running routes against corners and safeties. Swanson is known more for his blocking prowess, but he showed he can be an efficient route runner and receiver. He is a better athlete than some give him credit for.
Ryan Jones (Katy, Texas) is a sleeper. The 5-10, 180-pounder has been timed as fast as 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Marquis Fruge (Houston); Kyren Watts (New Waverly, Texas); Derwyn Lauderdale and Durwin Jones (Bellaire, Texas); SaQwan Edwards (Manvel, Texas); and Eric Thomas (Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian) also did some good things at this event.
Class of 2011 prospect DeAndre Washington (Missouri City, Texas/Fort Bend Marshall) was the best of the running backs. The 5-8, 180-pounder has good speed, vision, moves and hands. Although the state of Texas is loaded at the top at his position in the 2011 class, Washington has clear Division I potential. He was named the position MVP by the coaches.
Donte Clark (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins), another Class of 2011 prospect, displayed good speed and hands in one-on-ones.
Dontae Williams (Houston/Aldine) got hurt during drills and did not do much.
Other running backs who had some eye-catching moments include: Shawn Onyechi (Deer Park, Texas), Shedrick Davis (Baton Rouge, La./Central) and Jordan Wells (Round Rock, Texas).
Cutter Clinton (Carthage, Texas/Carthage) showed excellent toughness and flexibility in drills and one-on-one work. The 6-2, 292-pounder is a sleeper interior prospect who could see his stock rise this summer as schools become more aware of him. He was named the position MVP by the NFTC coaching staff.
Chris Hill (Houston/Yates) has a good frame and is athletic. He battles hard and has a chance to be a good offensive lineman in college.
JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.