Embody Evaluations

Publisher Billy Embody breaks down three SMU prospects in his latest Embody Evaluations!

Carlos Strickland- 2015 WR, Dallas Skyline HS (TX)

Route Running: Strickland is a smooth, long-strider, who can breakaway on long passes for the touchdown. Strickland is smooth in and out of his routes, never letting his feet get ahead of his body. Strickland isn't afraid to go over the middle and grab the ball in the redzone or over the middle on a post. Strickland uses his arms well to keep defenders off of him at the line of scrimmage and for a big man doesn't let his size make him play high too often.

Hands and Technique: Strickland looks the ball in well and has strong arms and hands, allowing him to grab balls with defenders draped on him. His body control helps him make over-the-shoulder catches well and that adds to his big play ability. At nearly 6-5, 200 pounds Strickland has the strength to box out opponents and not let them make a play on the ball.

Big Play Ability: Every single catch it seems like is a highlight reel catch for Strickland. Strickland is definitely a solid redzone target for any quarterback because of his size and willingness to go get the ball anywhere on the field. Strickland made multiple leaping grabs over defenders and definitely has more than his reported 28-inch vertical at his disposal.

Side Note: In his junior season Strickland caught 29 passes for 669 yards and nine touchdowns.

Offers: Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, LSU, North Texas, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Texas Tech, UCLA and UNLV.

HT: 6-4
WT: 195

40-Yard Dash: 4.48

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.28

Vertical Jump: 28.7"


Kyle Kearns- 2015 QB, Pleasanton Foothill HS (Calif.)

Accuracy: Whether it's on the run or from his dropback, Kearns displays great accuracy. On deep balls, he can drop it well to his receivers on time, but sometimes throws it up with pressure in his face. On short passes, Kearns does a great job of putting it right in between the numbers and he does a nice job throwing on time. One thing that really impresses me is his ability to turn on his arm to stick some throws in between the defensive backs and safeties with accuracy.

Release/Arm Strength: Can surprise you on some of his throws with some extra mustard on the ball. Kearns displays a nice over-the-top release that is quick enough to beat pressure and the blitz. Kearns does a solid job keeping his eyes down the field so he is ready to get rid of the ball when his receivers make their breaks. The ball doesn't fly off his hand, but he is capable of making all of the throws necessary.

Footwork/Technique: Kearns will surprise you with his mobility especially for a traditional dropback passer. Kearns doesn't spend much time in the shotgun and is solid in his multiple formation offense. His quick release is what impresses the most, but he is quick to get back to the top of his drop from under center. Kearns works on a lot of rhythm drops out of the gun, getting rid of the ball on time out of the gun.

Side Note:Kearns threw for over 2,400 yards, 19 touchdowns with a 65 percent completion percentage all while making a 3.5 GPA in school.

Offers: SMU

HT: 6-3
WT: 185


James "P.J." Locke- 2015 DB, Beaumont Central HS (TX)

Ball Skills: Locke can also play safety and does a great job trying to go up at the highest point to get to the ball. Locke doesn't go for the ball exclusively and will take a more conservative approach if he needs to just knock down the pass. Locke is also skilled on special teams and on offense with his elusiveness.

Technique: Locke is a fearless hitter that is extremely comfortable playing over the slot receiver, breaking up bubble screens well and laying the wood while doing it. With his compact size, Locke can get low on ball carriers and does a solid job wrapping up. Because of his solid ball skills and comfort at the line of scrimmage, his coaches move him around all over the field and that will help him at the next level.

Coverage: Locke's versatility is one of the reasons why he's one of the top prospects in the defensive backfield this year. Locke is a head hunter over the middle and is patient enough not to get beat while doing so. Locke is extremely physical on receivers with blanket coverage.

Side Note:Locke recorded 82 tackles, an interceptions and 17 passes broken up this past season.

Offers: Alabama, Arizona State, Baylor, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, Missouri, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oregon State, SMU, Stanford, TCU , Tulsa, UCLA, Wake Forest and Washington State.

HT: 5-10
WT: 190
40-Yard Dash: 4.52
Vertical Jump: 34.4"

P.J. Locke Highlights

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