Rivals Camp Series Dallas: Thoughts from the sideline
COPPELL, Tex. -- The Rivals 3 Stripe Camp Series presented by adidas made a stop in North Texas this past weekend, with top talent from the Lone Star State descending on the city. Three members of the Rivals.com National Analyst Team were on hand and each provides their thoughts on the day’s proceedings.
ROB CASSIDY, FLORIDA ANALYST
The shine has not worn off of Jimbo Fisher in the slightest. The Texas A&M head coach was a major topic of discussion on Sunday. Dallas-area prospects mention his name any time A&M comes up in conversation and seem to already have a high level of trust in his approach. Players were asked which in-state head coach seemed the coolest as part of a survey, and Fisher’s name was mentioned early and often during that exercise. And while none of that matters when it comes to predicating Fisher’s level of success in College Station, the fact that his allure is stronger than ever is certainly notable.
No one likes being a back-up choice. I overheard a conversation between a number of prospects bemoaning certain schools that have a reputation for offering late in the process. The talk quickly turned into what it’s like to find yourself as a backup option for a school and how much that can hurt said program in the eyes of a student-athlete. Opinions on the subject differed, but the group seemed to agree that schools such as Clemson and Alabama are more able to get away with coming in late. Other schools, however, can shoot themselves in the foot.
“Those late offers turn us off for sure,” said defensive end Prince Dorbah. “I want to go somewhere the needs me, not somewhere that just kind of wants me.”
Blight of scooters hits Dallas. I was nearly run over by a person riding a Bird Scooter on two separate occasions over the weekend, as Downtown Dallas has been absolutely taken over by these motorized atrocities. Riders ride them on the streets, sidewalks and anywhere they please without recourse. And while, scooter or not, I’d never intentionally clothesline another human being, I’d certainly laugh if somebody else did so in my field of vision. Something has to be done about these urban cancers and I’ll vote for any politician that promises to outlaw them.
JOSH HELMHOLDT, MIDWEST ANALYST
There's a strong Arkansas buzz around "The Trio." Oklahoma class of 2020 prospects Javian Hester, Sevion Morrison and Myles Slusher have been dubbed “The Trio,” and are outspoken about their desire to play together in college. Although they attend different high schools in different cities, Hester, Morrison and Slusher have known each other since they were 5-6 years old and remain close friends to this day. Remarkably all three are ranked among the top six prospects in the state of Oklahoma’s 2020 class and have many of the same offers. Talking with other state of Oklahoma prospects, Arkansas was a school that was probably the school most often mentioned as a landing spot for “The Trio.” Slusher included Arkansas in his recent top ten, and Morrison and Hester both acknowledged strong Razorback interest on Sunday.
Keithan Alexander has the brightest future. I can understand the argument for Tommy Brockermeyer having huge potential, and certainly do not disagree. He is a young offensive tackle prospect with great skill and physical gifts. However, if I had to bank on one prospect reaching five-star status before his high school career is out, freshman defensive tackle Keithan Alexander would be my pick. The defensive line MVP from Sunday’s event already looks like a college player physically, and he naturally brings two key athletic elements – quickness and strength. When Alexander sharpens the finer points of technique and fundamentals, I am not sure how interior offensive linemen will be able to effectively handle him.
Memorable collection of quarterback talent. Almost 10 years ago there was a camp that featured future Heisman Trophy winner Jamies Winston along with notable quarterbacks like Chad Kelly, Patrick Towles, Austin Appleby and Gunner Kiel. I often think back to the collection of talent I saw at that event, and came out of Sunday’s camp thinking I may feel similarly 10 years from now about the collection of talent who showed up in Dallas. Although there were just 14 quarterbacks who were throwing, a high percentage showed the potential to be Power Five starters one day. Ken Seals was the MVP, but Iowa commit Deuce Hogan, three-star 2020 dual-threat Brendon Lewis and 2021s Garrett Nussmeier and Shadeur Sanders all had performances that could have won MVP honors at other stops on the tour.
Booker T. Washington reloads. Five-star Daxton Hill has played out his high school career and is headed off to the University of Michigan. The Booker T. Washington football program will miss a player of his skill and ability, but not like most high school programs that lose a five-star prospect. A half dozen prospects from the Tulsa-area program participated in Sunday’s camp and the headliner, Rivals250 wide receiver Javian Hester, earned an invite to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas with his performance. However, Hester was not the only standout from Booker T. Washington. Unheralded 2020 linebacker Krishawn Brown won linebacker MVP honors, while class of 2021 defensive back Keuan Parker and class of 2020 prospects Gentry Williams and Korbyn Green also showed potential.
SAM SPIEGELMAN, TEXAS AND LOUISIANA ANALYST
Texas still produces the nation’s best quarterbacks. When you think of Texas, you can’t help but think of famous quarterbacks like Drew Brees or Patrick Mahomes. The Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Dallas reminded us that this is still a pass-friendly state with plenty of talent in the 2020 and 2021 recruiting cycles. Ken Seals was our quarterback MVP and put on a clinic. He was crisp, smooth and on the money on a routine basis. The same goes for Deuce Hogan, an Iowa verbal who exhibited confidence and matched it with a handful of “wow” throws and excellent ball placement. Behind them, the 2021s were equally as spectacular. Shedeur Sanders proved he’s an athletic signal-caller, exhibiting zip on his throws and a cannon of an arm. Garrett Nussmeier also flashed a ton of arm strength and outstanding ball placement on the move. It looks like Texas will remain a quarterback factory.
Dallas remains a meat market. Some of the state’s top offensive and defensive linemen were unable to attend Sunday’s camp, but those who did show showed out. Tommy Brockermeyer and Nate Anderson were outstanding offensive tackles. Anderson has nimble feet and good athleticism out on the edge, and he can play at a very high level. Brockermeyer will be a junior next season and flashed the upside of a true left tackle. He’s strong, quick and invites the physicality. He’s the kind of lineman that quarterbacks want protecting them. On the defensive side of the ball, Prince Dorbah flashed the lightning quickness that Big 12 and SEC teams covet. We were also introduced to Keithian Alexander, affectionately nicknamed “Big Bear,” a 2022 defensive tackle who bull-rushed everyone and anyone. It was a promising reminder that Texas trench battles remain second to none.
Expect a shuffle in the Texas defensive backs. As the regional analyst in this territory, it’s always exciting to see how camp performances match up with the film. Ranked defensive backs in North Texas included Darius Snow and Lorando Johnson, but Jalen Kimber was the top performer at cornerback from my standpoint. He measured in a 6-foot and 170 pounds with 35-inch arms, and he used that build to stifle receivers all day. He moves very well and made a ton of noise again the top receivers. Snow, the lone ranked safety in attendance, started off slow but was dangerous once he found a rhythm. He may be the smartest safety I’ve seen on the camp circuit so far and has the physical tools to match it. There is a lot to consider as Rivals.com braces for a rankings update later in the spring.