One play, completely missed by most due to the fact that the first team offense was on the other side of the playing field and garnering the attention, gave the few watching a glimpse of what might be in store for the Raiders in the coming years. Vincent Meeks, in-coming running back, sprinted down the sideline and caught an over-the-shoulder pass from Cody Hodges, the 3rd string red-shirt freshman quarterback. The reception was about thirty yards in the air, and Meeks, catching it in stride, took it to the house.
Another play revealing the talent of the newcomers involved Meeks again, but this time he was on the receiving end of a vicious hit. During 11-on-11 drills, in-coming middle linebacker Scott Lee read the play, dodged an offensive lineman, and stacked up Meeks at the line of scrimmage while driving him back several yards.
Chris Hudler, an incoming defensive lineman from Mesquite, got into a minor scuffle with one of the offensive lineman during lineman drills. Much to the excitement of several of the veterans, Hudler won the battle by throwing the unidentified lineman to the ground.
Two of the invited walk-ons are looking sharp. Brent Slaughter from Wimberly made several great catches during 7-on-7 drills. Chase Mock, center from The Woodlands and younger brother of UT backup quarterback Chance Mock, was seen working as a deep snapper. With current deep snapper Eric Bartee being a senior, the 280 pound Mock might be the next walk on at Tech to contribute significantly.
Jarrett Hicks, one of the two 6'3 wide receivers signed in February, sprinted past starting corner back Ricky Sailor and caught a beautiful forty yard pass in stride from backup quarterback B.J. Symons. Hicks, a sprinter in high school, will be a deep threat for the Raiders with his long strides, height, and soft hands. 6'4 tight end recruit Gabe Hall made several fine catches during 7-on-7 drills as well, though he did appear to slightly favor the knee he had surgery on this past year.
Of the two Juco safeties brought in the past two years, Raymond Pierce seems to playing at a higher level than Josh Rangel. Pierce and junior Marcus Boyd are the current backups at safety.
Former Red Raider C.J. Johnson was at practice today helping out the Ivory McCann transition from offense to cornerback. McCann received tons of repetitions today on the starting defense, and the entire first team appears to be taking him under their wing and helping out. With his closing speed and natural quickness, when he learns the position, McCann will be a dangerous cornerback.
Backup cornerback Damian Chandler continues to impress. He broke up several passes today, including one deep strike from Kliff Kingsbury on the sideline.
Two recruits who are likely to see a lot of playing time on the defense in the future are defensive back Micah Sweats and outside linebacker Fletcher Sessions. Both bring a more athletic presence to the defensive side of the ball, and Sweats is holding his own during 7-on-7 drills.
Running back Taurean Henderson received most of the play with the starting offense. He had several nice-looking 10 yard gains where he pierced the front seven, but most of these runs were not between the tackles. Instead, most of his impressive runs came when he broke it outside and utilized his great ability to make defenders miss.
The Punters got a lot of work in today. Clinton Greathouse has improved his hang time immensely. He consistently punted the pigskin well over 45 yards this morning. Wich Brenner also got a lot of punts in. His punts rise quicker, but his did not have the distance nor were as consistent as Greathouse's punts.
The offensive line continues its rotation, making it impossible to create an accurate two-deep. Toby Cecil was observed playing both Guard and Center. With several of the lineman capable of playing several positions, it appears that the coaches are trying to see which of the younger lineman are going to step it up.
Many of the backups are redshirt freshmen and redshirt sophomores, but that group will be good in a few years. Redshirt freshman E.J. Whitley played well at center, and Bryan Kegans continued his dependable play at tackle. Backup guards Jon Rodriquez and Cody Campbell are expected to see a lot of action this year, especially if Cecil switches to center and Rex's health remains in question.
The defensive line punished the offensive line throughout practice today. Both sides had starters missing, so a lack of personnel should not have been an excuse. Juco defensive lineman Patrice Majonda-Mwamba was spotted today during lineman drills. The transfer is 6'3, and he has a serious motor. His speed was astonishing.
Starting Free safety Byron Johnson is looking vastly improved from Spring practice. He is securing his position through consistent play and few mental errors.
Tim Norman, no relation to the Norman trio also of Midland Lee, has been receiving a lot of repetitions at corner back. Some of the veteran wide outs have taken advantage of him still learning the system, but he has performed well nonetheless.
The linebackers are a lot more athletic this season, and with Jason Wesley starting on the outside now, athleticism is at an all time high. Geremy Woods and John Saldi both continue to make plays on the second team.
Notable players not suited up were Rex Richards, Anton Paige, Clayton Harmon, Nehemiah Glover, and Jon Rodriquez.