You could have a healthy debate about who the top wideout was at last weekend's Shootout of the South although Razorback commit Cruz Williams was tabbed as such, but the best tight end there wasn't really up for much discussion.
Rogers tight end Jake Byrne (6-5, 240, 4.6) showed why the University of Arkansas and others covet his signature by displaying his great route running, hands and instincts during the 24-team, 7-on-7 passing event in Little Rock.
"I just try to go out there and do what I do best," Byrne said. "I have great teammates that that really help me and I feel very fortunate to have them around me and help me make plays."
Byrne had 16 catches last season for over 300 yards – both numbers that should skyrocket this season as he becomes the Mounties No. 1 target.
"He's just a great kid and a great football player who does a lot of things well," Rogers head coach Ronnie Peacock. He is a good blocker, he can get in the middle and make great catches and he also has very good speed and a lot of linebackers can't cover him. He's a good one to have around – I can tell you that."
He reminded onlookers of some of the NFL's best pass-catching tight ends – such as Dallas' Jason Witten - with his talent and ability to get open during the two-day tournament in which Rogers went 3-4.
"Jason Witten is a great example to try and be like because he does a great job catching passes and blocking and I want to be very good at both and not just one of them," Byrne said. "Jeremy Shockey is another one that runs amazing routes for a guy his size and Tony Gonzales is another. I just look up to all of them and know that I will have to work very, very hard to some day hope to get close to that level."
To that end, he is trying to work on some very specific criteria this summer.
"I am working on my speed because while I am at a 4.6 now I think I can get it down to a 4.5," Byrne said. "I think if I can do that while putting on some more weight that I can be both a very good possession receiver and an exceptional blocking tight end as well."
Arkansas gave Byrne his first offer and he has favorable impression of the Razorbacks.
"I think Arkansas is an amazing school," Byrne said. "It was such a honor for a student-athlete as myself to get an offer from them and they have tons to offer. I am really looking at them because it is close to home, I think they have a great program and there would be some great coaches there to play for."
Byrne, who also has offers from Tulsa, Kansas and Mississippi State, will be taking an unofficial visit to Wisconsin this week and is also getting interest from Georgia Tech.
"I am going to try and visit all the schools that have offered me over the summer," Byrne said. "I am just trying to find time to fit that all in around our 7-on-7 schedule. I am just trying to figure out what is the best decision for me."
He would like to commit to a school before his senior season starts.
"I would like to get it over with before school starts," Byrne said. "That why I wouldn't have to worry about it during my senior season. But if it took me until February to make my decision, I would do that. I've just got to make sure it is the right one."
…Williams was named the top wide receiver in the event, which also featured four other wideouts that Arkansas has offer in CAC's Joe Adams (6-1, 180) and the Warren trio of Jarius Wright (5-11, 180, 4.4), Greg Childs (6-4, 195) and Basmine Jones (6-0, 195), who is most likely destined for cornerback on linebacker in college.
...Adams will take unofficial visits to USC this week and Florida in July and will attend Arkansas' Senior Only camp on July 21.
"I am really trying to commit before the season starts," Adams said. ."That's my goal. But I guess if I don't I will still be out visiting."
…Oklahoma City's Heritage Hall downed Texas power and defending champ Allen 23-21 in the championship game on Saturday.
Making it Byrne
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