Cowboy Targets: Linebackers & Secondary

The "Cowboy Targets" series is actually a story that will appear in the 2012 Football Preview Edition of Go Pokes Magazine. But we decided to make it an early summer series for's Premium subscribers. This is the third and final installment which includes linebackers and the secondary.

Previously released were the Cowboys three current commitments, offensive skill position players (May 13) and offensive and defensive linemen (this past Tuesday).

Cowboy Commitments
Marcell Ateman, WR
6-4, 190, 4.5
Wylie (East), Texas
He had to be one of the top choices at the wide receiver position as he shows the ability to get wide open and at the same time is a big target. The other plus in watching him in action is he is good both in the short passing game with yards after catch as well as the vertical passing game. He plays hard even when he is not the primary receiver on the play and he is seen making effective blocks downfield. He visited Oklahoma State and was sold, choosing the Cowboys over the likes of Arkansas, Baylor, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas Tech, and Washington State. You always like getting a receiver that Mike Leach wanted.

Jack Kurzu, OL
6-5, 302, NA
St. Louis (Mary Institute), Mo.
He is a Joe Wickline-type of inside linemen as he is shown on tape overpowering blockers one on one. He is really adept at run blocking and is good on his feet in pulls and folds. He will need work on pass protection, but show me a high school offensive lineman that doesn't need work on pass blocking. The Cowboys got him when he had a few offers but Florida, Georgia Tech, and Stanford were on the verge. He is an honor student at a brilliant academic school.

Fred Ross, WR
6-0, 180, 4.5
Tyler (John Tyler), Texas
The Cowboys' first commitment in February, he was as good as any first commitment in recent memory. Ross is great with the ball in his hands and he can play in open spaces and go all day. That said, when he is fully developed he will be good sized and will be strong. His stats are awesome with 99 receptions as a junior for 1,335 yards and 15 touchdowns. Oklahoma State won over Baylor, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, and West Virginia.

Raaquan Davis
6-2, 195, 4.55
Rockwall (Heath), Texas (AzSt, Bay, UConn, CU, Iowa, Miss, UNC, UNT, NW, OSU, Pur, Tulsa, Wake, WashSt)
Another linebacker prospect that has "star" quality, meaning he fits perfectly for the hybrid linebacker position in the Cowboys' defense. Davis with his 6-2 frame is likely to get bigger and could grow into a full size linebacker on the weak side. Davis combines speed with great instincts and a good physical attitude about playing defense. He is every bit as good coming up to stop the run as he is in pass coverage. One of his best attributes is that he doesn't miss many tackles. If he gets a grip then the ball carrier goes down.

Corey Irwins
6-3, 220, 4.6
Mustang, Okla.
(Ark, OSU, Tulsa)
Very little on record for Irwins as he has had bad luck with injuries, but Mustang High School coach Ty Prestidge will tell you he is a real talent. He has all the physical tools and plays on both sides of the ball for Mustang. He is really a prototypical "star" linebacker for Oklahoma State but looks like he will grow more and end up being a weakside linebacker. Tape on him when he has played shows an excellent athlete who plays physical. He shows his burst on offense when he has the ball in his hands. On that side of the ball he would make a stout inside receiver.

Brett Wade
6-2, 215, 4.7
Kennedale, Texas
(Az, AzSt, Clem, CU, Duke, UH, KSU, MU, Miss, UNC, OSU, Tech, Tulsa, Wake, WVU)
Wade is a weakside linebacker prospect who explodes off the tape because of his ability to get to the ball in a hurry, and be in really good tackling position when he arrives. Technically sound, Wade is athletic and he shows student of the game instincts. He has good speed but he combines it with instincts to arrive at the ball earlier than you would predict. He is really good at run defense and is getting better at pass coverage. But you can tell he loves to rush the passer as evidenced by his five sacks to go along with 130 total tackles last season.

Defensive Backs
Dakota Austin, CB
5-11, 165, 4.5
Lancaster, Texas
(Bay, LSU, OSU, OU, Tech)
A dynamite athlete who shows all the skills from speed to explosive vertical to go battle for the football, Austin has been blowing coaches and observers away with his off season and combine exploits. He looks really good in those competitions, but if you watch tape of him his skills match up and carry over to the football field. Austin has a good attitude and is a well-spoken young man.

Darius Curry, CB
6-1, 190, 4.5
Flowery Branch, Ga.
(Aub, Clem, UF, UGA, GT, LSU, MU, OSU, Purdue, Tenn)
Curry has all the physical skills and tops them off with great ball skills. It is not unusual to see him on tape and feel like he is the receiver when he is covering a player. He truly carries the attitude that when the ball in the air, it is his. His father, who is now his defensive coordinator, is a former safety. The young man has outstanding fundamentals. The other thing coaches love about him is how strong he comes up to support the run defense. He is certainly a corner that knows how to play downhill.

Tre Flowers, S
6-2, 175, 4.4
Converse (Judson), Texas
(Bay, BYU, KSU, MsSt, Pur, OSU, Tech)
Flowers is a versatile defensive back who can play both safety and cornerback. On video he shows he is a very aggressive player in coverage that often takes the angle and shot to run through the receiver with the idea of picking off the pass. A standout in track as well, he made state in both sprint relays and long jump. He was offered by the Cowboys during the May evaluation period.

Tavares Garner, CB
6-0, 170, 4.45
Manvel, Texas
(Tech (soft commit), Bay, UH, ULL, Miss, OSU, WVU)
Garner shows more on the offensive side of the football where he has racked up a number of rushing yards in the backfield, but he is likely destined for the defensive backfield as had 48 tackles with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries as a junior. Garner has great athleticism to go with his speed. He is strong and can really jump making him a threat to out-battle opposing receivers for the football.

Torii Hunter, WR/CB
6-0, 160, 4.45
Prosper, Texas
(Ark, OSU, OU, UT, A&M, Tech)
Yes, he is the son of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder. And yes, he is every bit as fast as you would think he is. The tough part of the recruitment of Hunter is whether you talk up playing him on offense or defense. Our opinion is defense because on video he is so much more explosive on that side of the ball. He comes screaming across the field or down the sideline to make a play, and we're talking about defending a pass that is not his to defend. He gets to plays he would not be expected to make. Yes, he can play offense too as he had 43 receptions for 749 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.

Austin Jupe, S
6-2, 190, 4.5
San Antonio (East Central), Texas
Jupe was flying just a little under the radar and had an offer from hometown Texas-San Antonio before Oklahoma State became the first current major Division I school to offer. He is a big safety in high school who is also a track athlete. He plays physical and has good cover skills but is also a solid tackler. He brings it like a linebacker in coming up to play the run. OSU assistant coach Van Malone coached Jupe's uncle at North Texas giving OSU a good family connection.

Taylor Lewis, CB
6-0, 180, 4.5
DeSoto, Texas
Lewis is an up-and-coming corner prospect who is getting noticed thanks to so many of his DeSoto teammates that have been on the radar screen of college recruiters. He has excellent speed and is a promising prospect that earned a starting role for the Eagles. He also has excellent size for a corner.

Jerel Morrow, CB/Ath.
6-0, 180, 4.45
Emporia, Kan.
(Army, KU, KSU, ISU, Minn, MU, Neb, OSU, Tulsa)
One of my favorite players to talk to in this recruiting season, Morrow is smart, well-spoken, and you can tell the way he talks that he truly loves playing football and can't wait until he knows where he will be playing it in college. He has excellent speed and instincts and is fun to watch on video. He makes plays in his area, but also gets to many he wouldn't be expected to. Equally good in coverage and coming up to support the run defense. He is excited about the recruiting process, and when an offer comes from a school that he knows is really strong you can tell it impresses him.

Maurice Smith, CB
6-1, 175, 4.5
Fort Bend (Dulles), Texas
(Ala, Ark, Bay, LSU, Neb, ND, OSU, OU, Ore, UT, A&M, Tech, Utah, Vandy)
What old school football coaches call a "ball hawker," Smith simply comes up and steals the ball. He does it all the time in his video. He has good hands, but really strong hands that he uses to reach in and take the ball from receivers during the catch process. One of the best plays he had last season was when he comes in from behind the receiver on a short slant, takes the ball and goes the distance for a touchdown. Once he has the ball he is a natural ball carrier and a real threat to score. He had 63 tackles and three interceptions as a junior, but on returns and spot duty on offense combined with his defensive touchdowns he had 13 scores in all.

Steve Wesley, CB
6-0, 175, 4.4
Arlington (Bowie), Texas
(OSU, TCU, Wake, WVU)
Wesley is best known for his speed as he is a track blazer who brings that to the defense. He is very difficult to beat on vertical routes, and he has good hips so he can come out of the back pedal and be almost full speed right away. He is great at the point of the catch in battling for the ball, but is not as physical on run support. He will get bigger and stronger.

George Baltimore, S
6-0, 195. 4.5
Mansfield, Texas
(Bay, MichSt, OSU, OU, UT, A&M, Tech, TCU)
We're going to take a shot here and guess that Baltimore really made a high grade in geometry because on the football field he is a master of angles. He makes several interceptions just because he knows he can take the right angle and run through the receiver and get the ball. It is a gamble, but one he wins. He is also effective against the run and as a safety blitzer. He plays physical and confident.

Vonn Bell, S
6-1, 190, 4.55
Rossville (Ridgeland), Ga.
(Ala, Ark, Aub, Clem, UF, UGA, GT, Md, Miss, ND, OSU, OhSt, Tenn, UT, UCLA, Vandy)
Bell is one of the top defensive prospects in the nation and at the head of a lot of lists on boards in college football. He reads offenses extremely well, like a veteran college safety. He prefers to play a centerfield-type of safety in a cover one or cover two. He seems to direct his fellow defenders well and is a strong communicator. All those things are said as the physical tools are a given. Last season had an incredible 180 tackles with 119 of them unassisted. He picked five passes and also caused and recovered three fumbles. He played offense too and scored six touchdowns.

Kameron Miles, S
6-2, 212, 4.5
Mesquite (West), Texas
(AzSt, Ark, Bay, UConn, CU, Ill, KU, KSU, Miss, NW, OSU, OrSt, Rice, SMU, Stan, Tenn, TCU, Tech, UCLA, Vandy, UVA, Wake, WVU)
Miles has the jumbo size you love combined with the track speed which makes him a dual threat to crash down on the run like a linebacker or cover wide outs and even cover tight ends because of his physical nature. He has good hands, reads the receiver and the offense well. I also like his form tackling style. It is old school. As a junior he had 101 tackles with five interceptions.

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