Nick Krueger's Week 3 Texas Wrap-Up
This past week was a pretty exciting one for me as Friday I was out to catch Odessa-Permian at Southlake-Carroll. This was the first time that I had the chance to see the storied Permian Panthers in person, and as it turns out, such was the case for several other recruiting reporters that were there in attendance as well. I was also impressed with with the atmosphere around Dragon Stadium before the game. I’ve seen a couple of teams put together a good tailgate scene ahead of games, but fans really got after it out there ahead of this one. After yet another weather delay, Permian came up just short in what was a near miraculous comeback effort to lose to Carroll, but the game was one of the more entertaining ones that I have seen so far this season.
TOP 10 PLAYS FROM THE WEEKEND
THOUGHTS ON PROSPECT FROM LAST WEEK'S GAMES
The player that I was most interested in seeing last weekend was Permian athlete Peyton Powell, who had pushed back his commitment to the end of this month and is thought to be down to a decision between Ohio State and Oklahoma. After the disappointment of not coming away with the win on Friday, he wasn’t much in the mood to talk, but did mention that he is still considering closer to four-or-five teams. I’m not sure how much I believe that, as he stayed in the Dallas area to watch Ohio State’s win against TCU on Saturday night - amid whispers that he would actually be in Austin for Texas’ home win against USC - but we’ll get better caught up with him this week.
Rockwall quarterback Jacob Clark is one of a couple passers that, coming into the season, I had earmarked as potential four-star candidates. The Minnesota commit made a good case for himself on Thursday night in a shootout win against Arlington-Bowie. Even though Rockwall very much runs a pace-driven offense that is largely predicated on quick, timed passes, he had enough opportunity to show his resourcefulness in the game and was strong and fluid delivering his passes. I would say the only blemish on his night was an overthrow on a deep pass to JJ Williams that would have been a sure touchdown. Otherwise, he threw for 377 yards and four scores and ran for two others in the game. Clark also said that everything remains strong in his commitment to the Gophers and has no plans of looking at anyone else this fall on the recruiting front.
If there was any question about whether or not Vanderbilt commit Anfernee Orji is destined to become a linebacker or remain a safety in college, I think his performance pretty well answered that question of that on Thursday. He looks like he should be a Rivals250 linebacker, but has always insisted on playing defensive back in every camp of game I have ever watched him in. Even though Malcolm Mays is a relative unknown as a prospect, the Bowie quarterback out-gained Clark in passing yards in large part because he was able to just loft deep passes out in front of receivers that simply just ran under them after getting behind Orji downfield. Although he had a rough night in pass-coverage, the thought of him lining up at linebacker alongside his older brother, Alston Orji, at Vandy is still a pretty terrifying thought for SEC running backs.
A couple of other thoughts from Rockwall/Bowie: 2020 Rivals250 wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba was pretty impressive and made Clark’s job easy on Thursday night for Rockwall. I was disappointed to see Arizona State commit Ty DeArman out of the game in the second half. Looked like he tweaked his neck or shoulder making a hit in the first half and, understandably, didn’t want to press his luck. However, I remember him being hurt in the offseason as well and now I am starting to get concerned about his durability going forward. I was hoping to be more impressed with Missouri offensive line commit Thalen Robinson. He’s a really big guy and an enthusiastic player, but kind of whiffed on making several blocks I thought he was going to crush guys with. Finally, two defenders from Bowie I thought had a really nice game and are worth keeping an eye on: Linebackers Jadyn Landrum and Anthony Strather were both really impressive stopping the run and getting off blocks.
Outside of Powell, the two big names to know were Baylor commits Matt Jones and Landon Peterson. Jones has the look and persona I was hoping to see in a edge hybrid linebacker/defensive end type. What I’m not sure about is whether his defense against Carroll's read options were due to what his coaches were telling him to do, or just his own tendency to always crash down on the running back. TJ McDaniel had another huge game for Carroll, but Jones only seemed keyed-in on stopping him rather than respecting a potential pull and keep from quarterback Will Bowers. Peterson also had his struggles at times with the much smaller Carroll defensive ends and linebackers. The biggest problem he had was setting his angles against rushers and having to reach one way or the other and lose his balance. When was able to anchor-in and get his hands on guys, he was a successful and effective pass-blocker.
A FEW THOUGHTS FROM THE WEEK 3 COLLEGE ACTION
›› Saturday’s game was a tough one to watch for Arkansas fans. That was a game that should have been more competitive considering Chad Morris should have had more familiarity with what North Texas was going to try to do to the Razorbacks defensively. I wasn’t expecting Arkansas to have a lights-out day on defense, but I certainly thought it would do more on offense to keep things closer. Arkansas needs better play from its offensive line and I am going to be a little bit sad for UNT when head coach Seth Littrell and offensive coordinator Graham Harrell leave for a bigger program after this season.
›› When Alan Bowman won the quarterback MVP of the Dallas Rivals Camp Series presented by adidas in 2017, he threw as sharply as any quarterback I’d ever seen in a camp setting. When I saw him in the fall, it was in a loss to Colleyville Heritage where he and the Grapevine offense had a meltdown trying to keep pace scoring and he threw a number of bad interceptions en route to a loss. He looked like he had a hitch in his delivery that I hadn’t seen in the spring and even though he only had a handful of offers, I should have considered his potential a little harder. He ultimately remained a three-star, but he’s the perfect fit at Texas Tech and was dynamite this week against Houston. In hindsight, his potential to flourish under Kliff Kingsbury was something I probably could have weighed more heavily.
›› I was expecting the Boise State and Oklahoma State game to go over on the listed point total - which it did - but I really thought the Cowboys defense was fun to watch. Considering this was their first real big test this season, I thought that they were aggressive and effective up-front and really helped set the tone for what was ultimately a pretty nice win. Not sure I loved what I saw from Taylor Cornelius, but he stepped up to make a couple of tough plays to keep momentum on the Cowboys side in some big moments as well.