COPPELL, Texas - For Coppell head coach Joe McBride, he has good reason to look positively towards this upcoming season considering the players he has returning for 2010.
On both sides of the ball McBride has some youth, but also a few very talented players bringing the experience. On defense, Bennett Okotcha is a 5-10, 175-pound leader of the secondary. He brings experience at Coppell playing both safety and corner along with at slot and outside receiver. Okotcha could be the one Coppell prospect who has seen his stock rise the fastest this spring. He's gone to three scholarship offers with several big programs showing extensive interest.
Offensively, do-it-all athlete Cam McDaniel leads the way helping his team in a number of ways. He's also leading his team in scholarship offers as he's inching closer to double-digits. Also one to watch is a very young high school senior-to-be, offensive guard Oni Omoile who has added his first offer from UTEP.
"We're doing well," Okotcha said after Friday's practice. "We've got some young players on the team, we're almost rebuilding, but this team is still really, really good and talented."
McBride agrees. That's why he's still looking to see how these experienced seniors can help the team this fall. For instance, Okotcha who has early offers from Baylor, Minnesota, and Wake Forest, may be utilized at either corner or safety this year - two positions he's played in past seasons.
"I know Bennett - he's a complete football player," McBride said. "He understands coverages, he understands what the offenses are running with pass routes. You can do multiple things with him. Before it's all over, he may be playing safety. We're trying to get these young k ids going, and if they can't, he will be playing safety."
The three offers for Bennett don't adequately reflect how fast his stock is rising in the world of recruiting. Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas have all been by the school recently. The star defensive back says that he thinks the Bulldogs and the Sooners could be close to an offer.
"They just have sounded really interested," Okotcha said. "We talk a lot on the phone, and they've both come to watch practice a few times. I don't know, it's just kind of a feeling. It's when you talk to a coach and you can tell the different interest levels."
Oklahoma will be a camp stop in June and apparently so will another Big 12 program - Texas.
"[They] invited me to camp on June 6, so I'll definitely be attending that," Okotcha said. "That and the OU camp."
Minnesota and Wake Forest will also be two programs he tries to see this summer. Though he claims great relationships with all the coaches recruiting him, Okotcha added that Minnesota coach Tim Cross is the one that has stood out in one category.
"He's probably the funniest one I've talked to," Okotcha said. "He's not even my position coach, but I really like him."
McDaniel, who was seen carrying the ball in a number of ways during spring practice on Friday, has added two new scholarship offers to his list - Minnesota and Navy. The all-purpose prospect has also hauled in ones previously from Colorado, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Navy, Stanford, and Tulsa.
His head coach says sky is the limit on where he could fit in to a college program.
"I think majority of [colleges], they want him offensively somehow," McBride said. "Whether it's a guy that would be hard to personnel because he can get at receiver or running back, a guy who is a returner, or a guy that just can just run the ball. He's extremely durable and fast, and a great route runner. Some may be thinking, if that's not the situation, he's such a good athlete, he can play corner, safety, since he's physical, smart and quick.
"He'll fit somewhere - I think they're just trying to figure out what's best."
Also one to keep an eye on is the 6-3, 275-pound senior-to-be guard - Omoile. He has added his first scholarship offer from UTEP. What's amazing is not just his very solid frame being just a junior this spring, but the fact that he's got plenty of time to get a whole lot bigger.
"We had two sophomore starters, and he started as a junior, and he was younger than both sophomores," McBride said. "He played all 13 games last year as a 15-year old junior. This year he'll play all our games as a 16 year old. He's going to graduate barely being 17. He can run about a 4.8, 4.7 40 and he's just 6-3, 275. I think he'll end up being 6-4, 290 and not even have much body fat on him."
In 2012, keep an eye on defensive back David Busby who was working as a safety this spring, but could likely find his way in a number of different spots within that secondary by next year.