The NIKE Training Camps are many things to many people. For some players it's about testing themselves to see where they rank amongst their peers. For others it's a learning experience, and they take the knowledge back home with them to make themselves better players. For Plano (Texas) West cornerback Jordan Pugh it was all of the above – and then some.
"I learned a lot of things," Pugh, who is 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, said. "I learned from the position coaches that you have to be patient in coverage. Some times I'm not patient. They taught me that I'm going to be there with the receiver because I already have good technique, but they taught me to calm down and make sure to let the play develop before I pounce."
Pugh also said he learned how to get himself in even better shape.
"The SPARQ hurdles were something new that I didn't have a lot of experience with," Pugh said. "We usually do something like that at school, but the cones where you have to cut back and forth and then backpedal are things we don't do. That's something that's great for a corner to work on."
Pugh was one of the more impressive defensive backs at the camp, and he said that the talented group of receivers definitely tested him. But he also said like he felt like he more than passed the test.
"I'm a lot physical than most people in man-to-man," he said. "I'm one of those corners that aren't afraid to hit you."
Pugh said a lot of that can be attributed to working out with several NFL stars. He works with Everson Walls currently, and when he was in Cincinnati a few years back he trained all the time with Daniel Lofton, the son of NFL great James Lofton.
"Daniel and I are great friends," Pugh said. "We lived right next to each other before he had to move out to San Diego when his dad got the job with the Chargers. I ended up in Dallas, and now we're both being heavily recruited.
"He might tell you that he could get open on me all the time, but he's lying. I locked him down all the time."
Just like he did as a junior. Pugh was a first-team all-district and all-county pick in 2004 after racking up 40 tackles, three interceptions and 10 pass break-ups. He said his best game came against Allen last year when he locked down Houston-bound receiver Brennan Gleason.
When you combine that nose for the football, great coverage skill and the ideal body for a cornerback, you have a hot commodity. You add all of that together, along with a great performance at the NIKE Camp, you have one of the fastest rising players in Texas.
At this point he has already picked up four scholarship offers – Alabama, Kentucky, Purdue and Iowa State. SMU, TCU, UTEP, Texas Tech, Kansas and Missouri also appear close to extending scholarship offers.
Make no mistake about it, though, there definitely is a team to beat.
"I'm surfing Rivals.com now with my Alabama slippers on," Pugh said. "I'm from Cincinnati, but I'm more of an Alabama guy. My dad went there and he really engraved that on me. When I got the Alabama offer on (last) Thursday, my whole family went crazy.
"My cousins were telling me that the other schools don't matter and that I should go ahead and commit."
Pugh said he's not ready to do that quite yet. His mother did go to Kentucky and the Wildcats were the first school to offer him, and he also admits that he's keeping the door open in case others come knocking.
"I don't want to commit yet, just in case say Miami comes and wants to offer me," Pugh said. "I like Alabama and everything, but if a school like a Miami or a Tennessee showed me some interest, I'd have to give them a long look, too."
Pugh said he does want to major in business or business management and that he's looking for a school that's going to make sure and take care of academics first.
"I want to go to a school where I can get the best of both worlds," he said.