Krueger's Takeaways: QBs and LBs impress in Dallas
COPPELL, Texas - The seventh even of the Rivals 3 Stripe Camps presented by adidas went off on Sunday and gave Rivals.com analysts one of the most competitive and exciting camps from this spring to-date. Every position group had its share of top-level talent battling for pride and MVP honors and four players were selected to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas to take place later this summer. Among all the impressive performances, several interesting themes arose during the afternoon.
QUARTERBACK CLASS MAY BE STRONG IN LONE STAR STATE
Outside of Grant Gunnell and Grant Tisdale, the overall perception of quarterback quality in Texas was a bit of a mystery heading into this spring. While Gunnell and Tisdale both performed well at camps over the last two weeks, the gap between them and the field in-state is starting to narrow. Jacob Zeno was very sharp in his performance last week, but in Dallas, Jacob Clark, Andrew Stripling and Maverick McIvor all had nice days as 2019 talents. Class of 2020 quarterback Ken Seals won the camp’s quarterback MVP award, and even some lesser-known passers like Nate Hayden and Shayne Lawrence - who was invited to return from Saturday’s Rivals adizero Combine - all were sharp on the day.
UP-AND-COMING LINEBACKERS ARE DEEPENING THE TEXAS TALENT POOL
Perhaps the position group looking hardest for players to step up within the state of Texas is linebacker. Bishop Lynch twins Gabriel and Grayson Murphy split co-MVP honors at the position after starting out with a bang in the open-field tackle simulation one-on-ones and seeing some early success defending passes against running backs. Bryce Robinson, who has a handful of offers already had a similar sort of day as a downhill-style inside linebacker prospect. Even more encouraging were the performances from 2020 prospect Ethan Barr and 2021 Mesquite Horn phenom Kendrick Blackshire - who is already built like a pickup truck and plays with the same sort of power.
SEVERAL WITHOUT OFFERS WILL END UP BEING QUALITY PICK-UPS
For the past two Rivals Camp Series events in Dallas, four-star running back Qualan Jones has been one of the most impressive running backs in attendance. He’s as physically impressive as any running back prospect in the country and though he looks as though he’s built to run through walls, he has become more and more comfortable running routes, getting open, and winning one-on-one reps against linebackers. The same could be said for three-star all-purpose back Andrew Henry, who made some of the toughest catches any skill player had to make during the afternoon and has been nothing short of special at every camp that he’s come out to compete in. Both are still looking for their first FBS offers and are well-deserving based on the talent they’ve shown. Interior lineman Izeya Floyd was also impressive in a big spot going up against a strong defensive line group.
SECOND WINDS PAID BIG DIVIDENDS
The offensive line vs. defensive line one-on-ones is always one of the most anticipated parts of any Rivals Camp Series event, but two players in particular salvaged what might have otherwise been somewhat disappointing days with strong second acts. After not taking too many reps to start the session, Shemar Pearl needed a few to get comfortable and get his legs underneath him. During the final reps, he got himself into more of the action and was found ways to use his athleticism to frustrate offensive tackles. Taurean Carter had somewhat of the opposite problem - coming off the snap with explosion and intensity, he wasn’t necessarily able to parlay that into wins against interior offensive linemen. As the afternoon wore on, he kept at it and his strength and hustle started producing more in the way of wins before the end of the competition period.
CAMP SEASON ISN'T EASY ON PLAYERS' HEALTH
This time of year, many prospects are fully entrenched in track seasons, 7-on-7 tournaments and any number of other things to demand their time and physical performance. Patrolling the track on Sunday were two of 2020’s best defensive backs in Lejond Cavazos and RJ Mickens, who were both nursing recent leg injuries. Also on the mend were Rivals250 wide receiver Kam Brown and three-star inside linebacker Chance Cover. Also not able to participate were Rivals250 wide receiver Dylan Wright and typically dynamic running back Ty Jordan, who both sustained minor tweaks in recent track outings. The commitments of the offseason have become as hectic as fall and with spring football right around the corner, for many of the athletes that were at the camp, rest and recovery has become harder and harder to regulate.