COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Under the watchful eyes of countless college coaches, including Oklahoma's Kevin Sumlin, several Sooner prospects shined yesterday during the NIKE Football Training Camp at Texas A&M.
Besides required height and weight measurements, the camp also featured several optional tests (40 timing, 20-yard shuttle, bench press, vertical jump). Upon completing the tests, prospects could choose whether to keep or scratch their results.
Other camp activities included a variety of agility drills, position specific drills and extensive one-on-one drills. The camp was also a homecoming of sorts for Sumlin, who served as an assistant coach at Texas A&M from 2001 until R.C. Slocum's dismissal in December.
However, Sumlin, like all other college coaches in attendance, was not allowed to talk prospects under the NCAA's spring evaluation rules. College coaches are only allowed to evaluate an athlete twice between the dates of April 15 and May 31, but not on Sundays.
That being said, after the dust settled Saturday, the following players (which are listed in alphabetical order) either emerged as potential OU recruits or further established themselves as future Sooners.
Tory Degrate, WR, Waco (Texas), 6-0, 170, 4.5: Didn't see much of this speedster, but he blazed through the camp's agility drills. Made several sensational catches during one-on-one action, including a tough snag on a deep pattern, while shielding off a defender helplessly hanging from his body. If Texas offers, it'll likely be another Red River Shootout for his commitment.
Last year's statistics: Caught 41 passes for 716 yards and 10 TDs.
Offers: Arkansas, Baylor, Brigham Young, Louisiana State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech.
Favorites: "Oklahoma and Texas."
Camp Plans: NA
Degrate on Oklahoma: "I like both (Oklahoma and Texas) of them a lot. Nothing separates them right now. The difference will be what they think about me."
Herman Johnson, OL, Denton (Texas), 6-7, 345, 5.53: An absolute man-child whose hand seemingly engulfs your entire arm with a simple handshake. Showed decent quickness, dominating strength and finished blocks with authority. An intimidating force with a nasty streak, Johnson is letting Louisiana State and Oklahoma slug it out for his services, yet the Sooners appear to have a slight edge at this time.
Last year's statistics: NA
Offers: Arkansas, Baylor, Louisiana State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas.
Favorites: "LSU, Oklahoma, Texas A&M."
Camp Plans: NA
Johnson on Oklahoma: "They've got my attention, but so does LSU. I'll just have to see what develops (this summer)."
Damahco Ousley, WR, Tulsa Washington, 6-2, 199, 4.46: Hauled in a diving, fingertip catch during one-on-one action that left many coaches shaking their heads. Fluid runner with good hands and tremendous body control. Runs routes with precision and is very physical at the line of scrimmage. Likely to play wideout in college, but could also be a cornerback. A top in-state target, he favors Oklahoma, but wants to play his field of suitors for awhile.
Last year's statistics: NA
Offers: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Texas A&M.
Favorites: "Oklahoma, Michigan State, Texas A&M, USC."
Camps: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech.
Ousley on Oklahoma: "I'm just not ready to make that move (committing to Oklahoma). I like it there, but I just want to wait and see what happens with all my visits."
Bobby Reid, QB, Galena Park North Shore (Texas), 6-4, 220, 4.41: This multi-dimensional signal-caller absolutely sizzled during position specific drills. He demonstrated solid footwork, good field vision and superb arm strength. A legitimate college quarterback, he ran and passed with ease. Hadn't heard from Oklahoma entering NIKE Camp, but will now after impressive performance. Drastically improved stock, so much that he will be strongly encouraged to camp at OU.
Last year's statistics: 1,169 yards passing on 66-of-113 with 11 TDs and 6 INTs; 496 yards rushing on 83 carries with 14 touchdowns.
Offers: Arkansas, Iowa State, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Wisconsin.
Favorites: "It's wide open. I like all the schools."
Camp Plans: NA.
Reid on Oklahoma: "I'm interested, but they haven't shown me any (interest). I like Coach Stoops and the type of offense he runs."
Michael Tate, DE, Tulsa Washington, 6-2, 235, NA: Displayed solid instincts, explosive speed and fights off blocks well. One Big 12 coach was concerned he might be somewhat undersized to play defensive end in college, mentioning him as a linebacker, but that same coach later praised his speed and quickness. Made several big plays during on one-on-one drills, beating several linemen. Won't admit it, but Sooners top his list, even though they haven't offered. Would probably commit if Oklahoma offered.
Last year's statistics: NA
Offers: Arkansas, Nebraska.
Favorites: "All Big 12 schools."
Camps: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State.
Tate on Oklahoma: "If Oklahoma were to offer (me), they'd probably be on the top of my list. My sister also goes there, so that helps too. I'm just waiting for that (offer)."
Ramonce Taylor, ATH, Belton (Texas), 5-11, 185, 4.3: An all-purpose burner, he's the first cousin of current Sooner free safety Brandon Everage (Everage's father and Taylor's father are brothers). He reportedly ran a 4.35 and flashed that speed throughout agility drills. A definite ‘sleeper' who hadn't received any interest from Oklahoma prior to camp, but should receive significant attention now, even if it's not from the Sooners. Despite the lack of interest, OU still leads Texas A&M for his services.
Last year's statistics: 1,529 yards on 218 carries with 24 TDs; 13 receptions for 338 yards with four TDs.
Offers: Brigham Young.
Favorites: "Arkansas, Brigham Young, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA."
Camps: Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M
Taylor on Oklahoma: "They've got an exciting team and my cousin likes the school's academics. Tell them (Oklahoma) to give me a look, because I'm definitely interested."
Coppell's Cameron Schacht, a solid OU verbal, participated in the testing and agility drills before cutting out of camp early. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound offensive tackle told us he never planned on attending the camp, but did so at the urging of his teammates. He also told us he plans to take two classes (English and math) this summer, so he can graduate from high school early next year, probably in February. He's already informed OU's coaching staff of his decision, which may or may not give him enough time to enroll and participate in spring drills. If he can't enroll, he still plans to move to Norman early to start working out and prepare for summer school. "I'm already tired of high school," said Schacht. "I'm ready to move on and officially become a Sooner."
Besides Oklahoma, we saw tons of other schools at the camp: Army, Arizona, Arizona State, Brigham Young, Colorado, Florida State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisiana State, Nebraska, New Mexico, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Southern Methodist, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas-El Paso, Tulsa, UCLA, Utah, Vanderbilt and Washington State. Missouri, UCLA and Vanderbilt appeared to be the most represented schools at the camp. All three teams sent five coaches. Needless to say, Alabama wasn't at the camp due to Mike Price's firing, prompting one coach to say, "He must feel like the Dixie Chicks."
An exchange heard between a Big 12 assistant coach and Pac-10 assistant coach at the camp: "Take him (Galena Park North Shore quarterback Bobby Reid), so another Big 12 school can't get him. We don't want to have to play against him every year."
We only saw Texas A&M's Dennis Franchione once all day, but the silver-haired coach conveniently appeared at Kyle Field just minutes before all 326 of the camp's players closed out the day near midfield.
Cliche of the day: A handshake, followed by "I can't talk to you." — most coaches' response to players trying to start conversations.
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