Sanford Scouting Reports

Scott breaks down three SMU prospects in his latest Sanford Scouting Reports!

La'Darren Brown

2016 RB/ATH, DeSoto HS (DeSoto, Tex.)

Speed and Agility: Brown, given he is also a track star, runs very well. The DeSoto product has the ability to break away from defenders with his blazing speed, while also adjusting to find the open holes in defenses. Brown runs hard, and he does a great job of cutting to find openings and make defenders miss.

Balance and Athleticism: Brown maintains a solid base when running through traffic. His combination of speed, agility and vision make him a tough back to bring down. Brown is not the type of running back who’s going to try and run over every defender he sees, but his quick feet allow him to adjust his path quickly and make defenders miss.

Pass-catching: While Brown is being recruited as a running back, he can do much more than just carry the ball out of the backfield. The rising senior has the ability to run smooth, concise routes out of the backfield, and he shows he can adjust to passes and haul them in. Brown isn’t a one-dimensional player, and his overall play-making ability would fit well in Chad Morris’ explosive offense. To top it all off, Brown has the athleticism and hand-eye coordination to return punts as well.

Offers: SMU, Oregon State, Oklahoma State and Arizona State.
HT: 5-10
WT: 175 pounds

LaDarren Brown Highlights


Peytton Pickett

2016 RB, Sam Houston HS (Arlington, Tex.)

Speed and Agility: Pickett is another back who SMU is targeting with good speed. The rising senior hits the hole quickly and has the ability to immediately break off a long run if he gets through. Pickett is also a threat on the inside and on the outside. The back’s quick feet give him the ability to cut on a dime when maneuvering through traffic, but Pickett also has the speed to get to the outside and turn up field. There’s no questioning Pickett’s ability to run the ball, but I’d like to see him develop the pass-catching dimension of his game some.

Tenacity: Pickett isn’t a big, Jerome Bettis-type back, but his compact and strong frame allow him to run physically when the time is right. Pickett’s first move is to try and make the defense miss, but when his only option is to put his head down, he’s not going to shy away from a head-on collision. The running back’s strong lower half makes it hard for defenders to bring him down, and most arm tackles won’t bring him down.

Athleticism and Balance: Again, Pickett’s compact frame gives him a nice advantage and allows him to stay low to the ground while maintaining his balance. In terms of his athleticism, there’s no questioning Pickett’s speed or agility, but learning to catch passes out of the backfield would prove the back has another dimension to his game that doesn’t currently exist.

Offers: SMU
HT: 5-8
WT: 190 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.69 seconds (Scout Verified)

Peytton Pickett Highlights


Cody Mitchell

2016 TE, Jasper HS (Jasper, Tex.)

Athleticism: While Mitchell will need to put on some weight before he’ll be able to play like a true tight end at the collegiate level, I love the combination of speed, size and physicality Mitchell brings to the field. Because he’s only 225 pounds, Mitchell runs more like a receiver than a tight end. The rising senior has great hand-eye coordination to find the ball when he’s running up the seam, and he does a great job of adjusting his route off the line of scrimmage so that he gets his release with little resistance from the defense.

Blocking: Most tight ends look at blocking as a secondary responsibility, which is why most struggle with fundamental blocking guidelines. Overall, I like Mitchell’s base set of blocking skills, but there are a few things he could improve on. The tight end does a nice job of keeping his feet moving once he’s engaged with his opponent, but at the same time, he also tends to bring his feet together for a narrow base. His narrow base hurts him in terms of maintaining a strong and sturdy base. That narrow base also leads to Mitchell losing his leverage on his opponent. Mitchell doesn’t hold back, however, so a lot of the time his motor helps make up for these smaller errors.

Pass-catching: To go along with his athleticism, Mitchell has great hands. You can tell by the way he catches the ball that he has soft hands, and he watches the ball all the way in, which even some receiver forget to do. After the catch, Mitchell’s big frame also makes it hard for opponents to bring him down. You aren’t getting a one-dimensional player with Mitchell, that’s for sure.

Offers: SMU, Florida, Missouri, Lamar, Texas State, Illinois, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana Tech.
HT: 6-5
WT: 225 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.62 seconds (unofficial)

Cody Mitchell Highlights


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