College Station Nike Camp Report

Anxious players, proud parents and curious coaches all descended on the Texas A&M campus Saturday to discover who could be the performers of tomorrow in college football.

For recuit-a-holics that attend every year, it's like Christmas, New Years and the Fourth of July all rolled into one, as athletes fly at you from all different directions. In fact, players from Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas were in attendance. Heck, even one lineman came from Massachusetts. And I'm certain we probably missed a state or two.

Likewise, college coaches from all across the country flew in to view this selective stock, including Colorado's Gary Barnett, Nebraska's Frank Solich and of course, new Aggie Boss Dennis Franchione.

We're going to hit the highlights in this report, but will follow up on players that attended this camp in the coming days and weeks, so if a name isn't mentioned right away, please be patient.

One running back that really stood out was The Woodland's Samson Taylor. This young man has terrific size and athletic ability. Smooth and fluid, he reminds you a lot of Eddie George. And you can tell he has that attitude of only wanting to become better.

Another impressive young man was Kerry Franks from West Orange Stark that is already committed to Texas A&M. He'll return at tailback for long time Mustang head coach Dan Hooks since season, but there's a lot of places he could play for A&M beginning in 2004.

Many terrific quarterback prospects were also on display Saturday. Galena Park North Shore's Robert Reid is one of the top athletes in the state. He displayed a nice, easy throwing motion, and while we won't disclose his 40-time just yet, it was blistering for a man his size.

Ditto for Brownwood's Kirby Freeman. Everyone knows he's a terrific athlete that can really run, but he also looked very comfortable and confident in the passing drills. Another QB that impressed scouts was Forney's Caleb Hanie. Receiving an offer from the Houston Cougars last week, Hanie displayed some great footwork in delivering the football. And this is one large young man for a state 3-A quarterback.

When you're behind one of the most prolific passes in Texas schoolboy history, it's difficult to accumulate any stats, but Brian Johnson told TheInsiders on Saturday that's he's up to the challenge. And with all the quarterbacks that Baytown Lee head coach Dick Olin has put into D-I, Johnson's certainly one to keep an eye on this season. And he only turned 16 in February.

Another QB on display Saturday was LaMarque's Larry Kerlegan. And while he'll return at quarterback for head coach Bryan Erwin after accumulating over 2,700 yards in 2002, Kerlegan, with his athletic ability, could play on either side of the ball in D-I.

Waco High's Tory Degrate attended the camp and he showed why he's one of the state's top wide receiver prospects. Caleb Hanie's teammate, Baylen Laury, opened some eyes with his ability. Laury rushed for 1,763 yards, caught six passes for 88 more, retuned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and scored 124 total points last season. With that said, he's likely to play corner in college, intercepting eight passes as a junior.

Coppell's Cameron Schacht was asked how he thought his testing went on Saturday. "It was OK," he said rather shyly, acting like he could have done better. Don't be deceived by this young man's modesty. He was impressive in both last year's camp and this year's.

As we've said, we'll be profiling many more of the players that attended Saturday's camp. For example, Dallas Skyline had 11 players in all to come down. So please be patient and we‘ll get to them.

We would be remiss if the we failed the mention the importance of the high school coaches across the country. Many of these kids would not have the means to attend these camps, if not for their high school coach and/or their assistants. These men are often both father and mother to certain players in addition to being their coach. They receive their share of criticism if they don't win enough games, but never enough praise for all the things that don't show up in a game summary. TheInsiders salute these men and say "thank you" for making it much easier to perform our job.


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