South Central Spotlight: Defenders who would've benefited from camps
The Spring Evaluation Period and on-campus camp season has been wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. Sophomore and junior prospects across the country were counting on those opportunities to improve their recruiting stock. Below are 10 defensive players from the South Central region that would have benefited from the spring and summer camp circuit.
RELATED: Midwest defenders who would have benefited from camps | Southeast | East Coast | West Coast
CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
CLASS OF 2022: Top 100
Gray picked up notable offers from Virginia Tech and Northwestern this spring and gave a commitment to nearby North Texas. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound defensive end from Haslet (Texas) Eaton High School was certainly an unknown entering the spring, but his film was one that was intriguing to take in.
Gray has the size (6-foot-3, 235 pounds) and flashes at times on tape. He can rush from a stand-up position or with his hand in the dirt. He physically dominates in spurts and has exceptional bend and uses his length. With several of the Texas-based defensive ends taking their talents out-of-state, camp season might’ve opened the doors for bigger Texas programs to take a chance on the Dallas-area standout.
The 2021 crop of tight ends is loaded in the Lone Star State and Gumms was among the names on the radar for the group after his sophomore season. Gumms, a native of New Orleans, reeled in 10 passes for 144 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore that season, and the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder was an all-district selection on the basketball court, too.
Gumms began taking snaps at defensive end last fall and played both sides of the ball throughout the season. He had a handful of multi-sack games thanks to his athleticism, quickness off the line, good bend, disruptiveness and finisher’s mentality. Gumms holds early offers from both LSU and Texas, among others, but his ability to be a playmaker at tight end or defensive end would’ve certainly improved his stock if there was a camp season.
Rivals graded Ostroski as a three-star prospect and he plays like a bull in a China shop. Ostroki lines up at linebacker and strong-side defensive end and loves to thump whoever is in front of him and makes a ton of plays in the backfield. Ostroki is raw, but invites contact, is extremely disruptive and has some exceptional athleticism to make splash plays.
No Power Five program has offered Ostroki, yet, but he was a candidate to receive a lot of attention as coaches visited high schools this spring and invited prospects to camps in the summer. He’s a verified playmaker with major upside.
Henderson is one of the top overall prospects coming out of talent-laden New Orleans, but aside from early overtures from Colorado and Tulane, his recruitment never really took off.
The 6-foot, 200-pound do-it-all linebacker wears multiple hats for the McDonogh 35 football team — and that includes punting. Henderson is a hybrid strong safety/STAR type of defender with great sideline-to-sideline speed, can cover well and can make plays out in the flats. More exposure would’ve certainly allowed Henderson to catch a few more offers and attention from college coaches.
Much of the college football world has its eyes on Joseph Ossai as he enters what could be a breakout season on the Texas defense in 2019. His brother, KC, is deserving of some recognition as well.
Like his older brother, Ossai has size (6-foot-2, 212 pounds) and is a playmaker off the edge. KC does a good job of crashing in to stop the run, drops back into coverage and has some raw physical traits to develop into a capable pass-rusher. Arizona, UTSA and North Texas were among the teams to offer the Houston-area linebacker, but Ossai would’ve certainly seen his recruitment take off if more coaches witnessed his athleticism in person.
To be fair, Williams’ recruitment benefitted from a really promising, yet small sample size of his new role on the South Oak Cliff defense. The former wide receiver converted to outside linebacker midway through the 2019 season and finished the year with 8 tackles for loss and 5 sacks.
Williams is long (6-foot-2, 194 pounds) and boasts track times of 7.52 seconds (60 meters) and 23 seconds (200 meters). Texas, Oklahoma, SMU and, of course, Arizona State, all extended offers to the Dallas-area linebacker, but if he had an opportunity to work with position-specific coaches at camps this summer, he might have walked away with several more offers.
Emery is a smaller cornerback that committed to Houston at the top of the spring, but certainly would’ve garnered some added looks from Power Five programs if he was able to stay healthy last fall or at least show how impactful he can be at full strength this offseason.
Last season, Emery suited up for three games before missing part of the fall with an injury. Emery managed 42 tackles, seven pass deflections and two interceptions in that short sample size and has always been a ball-hawk despite the smaller stature. He also boasts great short-area quickness, excellent instincts, is a physical run defender and is a magnet to the football. If not for an unfortunately timed injury and no camp season, Emery’s offer sheet might’ve been even longer.
There is a wealth of talent in the Texarkana (Texas) Pleasant Grove front seven and Phillips is certainly one deserving of more looks. The state championship-winning big man measures up at 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds and has been viewed as a defensive end, offensive tackle and even tight ends by various college coaches.
The Arkansas transplant now at an East Texas powerhouse picked up an offer from the Razorbacks last September and smaller-schools have followed suit ever since. However, for a prospect with that frame that can play on the edge, battle in the trenches and is a major asset against the run would certainly open up more eyes with a camp season to promote his talents. Based on size, Phillips will likely sign as an interior defensive lineman or flip over to offensive tackle in college.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Randall was a top candidate to see his stock take off this offseason. He came in taller with a more muscular build and was coming off a breakout junior campaign in which he made a ton of plays in the secondary at both cornerback and safety while also playing a big role as Baker’s No. 1 receiver and return specialist.
Randall’s father played quarterback for Southern and he has some impressive testing numbers — a 7.76-second 60-meter time, a 57.57-second 400-meter time, a 4.57-second 40 last spring, a 4.33-second short shuttle time and a 33.7-inch vertical. Michigan State, Kansas State, Ole Miss, Indiana and Kentucky were among the bigger Power Five offers that rolled in at the start of the spring, but the safety could’ve become an even more sought-after commodity if he had the opportunity to display those skills in camp settings.
Boston College, Iowa State, Colorado State, Hawaii and FIU are just a few of the new offers that arrived for Onyedim this spring, and Onyedim committed to Iowa State this week. As a junior, the Richmond Foster defensive lineman managed 28 tackles, including four TFL, and a pair of sacks in an eight-game sample size.
Onyedim is a 6-foot-3, 275-pounder that played on a talented Foster defensive front last fall and is bracing to be the guy in 2020. He brings position versatility, raw power and strong hands to the position to make plenty of plays in the backfield. Based on size and potential alone, Onyedim would’ve been a must-get at camps this summer.