Houston NFTC: Top Surprises

Scout.com takes a look at some surprises that took place at the Houston Nike Football Training Camp. Whether it is an ongoing quarterback debate, a stud freshman lineman or the welcoming rooster, here are our surprising thoughts of the day.

To QB, or not QB?
It doesn't matter the camp or setting, the talk about J.W. Ketchum will always be a talking point amongst fellow media members. 

"Is he a quarterback or not?" 


Is this really still a question being discussed? Just before the one-on-ones took place, Ketchum did some individual drills with one of the coaches associated with the camp. At that time, he made some good throws. Once the teams broke out to seven-on-seven drills, Ketchum did show flashes of some tight passes. So what was the verdict?

Many had an opinion on this, but the bottom line is this…you take him, as is. Quarterback, receiver, secondary or return specialist, it matters not. Bring him in as a quarterback, work him out and go from there. As one coach, whom we trust, said this of Ketchum, "I think he's a pretty good quarterback and I would try him out there. If nothing else, he is going to make plays for you at that position. When he's got the ball in his hands, he is better than every player on the field. He just makes plays seem so easy."

Enough said.

What Can Brown Do For You?
Last season, Katy lineman Derek Brown was one of the key pieces to a line that manhandled opponents all the way to the state game where Katy fell to Cedar Hill. At the Houston NFTC, Brown decided to put in some work at on the defensive side, and made mention that he may be on that side going into his senior year. As the day went on, Brown continually worked and got better with every rep. So it looks like he will give a programs choice, which will give him more options when college coaches come through to scout him.

Big Kid with a Cannon
There was quite a bit of size at the Houston NFTC, but not much of that at the quarterback position. That was until Clements signal caller Kolt Hartfield was next in line to throw. He looked pretty good on the day and was actually a topic of discussion with one of the coaches on hand. Hartfield made some nice throws on the day and looked the part of a traditional pocket passer, with a strong arm. When he planted and stepped into throws, he had lots of velocity on his passes. He will be a player who should get some looks this spring as he is a player who can put the ball in the air several times a game (check his numbers) and has the ability to make most of the throws needed to be a successful quarterback at the next level. 

Best Lineman a Freshman?
On a day when top names like Ed Oliver, Jerry Tillery, Tyler Moore and Josh Jones were on hand, could a freshman be the best amongst his peers? Well, perhaps Sunday was good showing, but it was the work he put in previously that wowed the most. Word is that Alief Taylor (offensive/defensive) lineman prospect Kobie Whiteside is one to keep an eye on. In fact, a member of the Taylor coaching staff was on hand and pulled out video of the 2017 Whiteside. All it took was four plays to see that this is indeed a man child and one who will have every Division I coach in the country wanting to sign. Go check the video out. The big eye don't lie. 

Remember the name: Choka
A few weeks back a coach made a point to direct attention to this linebacker prospect from Bryan, Texas. That player was linebacker Spencer Choka. At the time, Choka was a good looking prospect who moved well and was in a position to make plays. Then after leaving the camp to get a closer look at the tape, it was evident that the coach was spot on when Choka. He is relentless and plays with a quiet edge, which is basically aggressiveness without the loud and conceited attitude. What was shocking is that every time we've witnessed Choka he gets better with each camp, and really with each rep. At the Houston NFTC, he was named the linebacker MVP, and rightfully so. This is a player who fits on any roster as he will be great on the field and in the locker room.

Off Topic Observation:
Welcome From a Rooster?
Throughout the day, it was discussed amongst media members that there was a rooster sighting on hand at Kinkaid, randomly showing up on the football fields. What was made known later in the day was that the rooster was greeting the spectators coming into the stadium as the camp got started. By the end of day, it was back at its post by the opening gate.


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