Pool A — Lake Travis, Belton, Georgetown, Cedar Ridge
Player To Watch: TE Durham Smythe, Belton (2013)
Pool A should give Texas fans at least one matchup to watch in the morning's first game, when Lake Travis takes on Belton. Belton boasts arguably the top 2013 prospect in attendance in Texas commitment Durham Smythe at tight end. And Lake Travis has a 2014 Texas target in running back Shaun Nixon. Smythe will be interesting to watch, just to see how much Belton uses the 6-foot-6 weapon in a 7-on-7 setting. And Lake Travis can certainly relate to the advantage that kind of player can provide. The Cavaliers were a force in 7-on-7 last year, and won a state championship, with a 6-6 pass-catcher in Griffin Gilbert, now at TCU. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't list Baker Mayfield, who was excellent at last week's Round Rock SQT.
Pool B — Copperas Cove, Austin Bowie, Round Rock Westwood, Leander Rouse
Player To Watch: QB Bear Fenimore, Round Rock Westwood (2014)
Fenimore led Westwood to the championship of the Round Rock SQT, toppling local power Lake Travis in the process. The amazing thing is that Fenimore is just starting to scratch the surface of what he can do. He was economical last week … now we'll see if the ensuing confidence boost has him taking more chances this week. Also keep an eye on Cove linebacker Darius McClinton.
Pool C — Austin High, Pflugerville Hendrickson, Vista Ridge, Hays Consolidated
Player To Watch: WR Isaiah Jones, Austin High (2013)
Why Isaiah Jones? Because his body type is starting to look less like the sub-6-foot slot receiver that he played last year and more like that of recently graduated brother Cayleb Jones. Texas could likely fill up on wide receivers quickly, but the Longhorns' loss could potentially be another Big 12 team's gain. After all, who wouldn't want a 6-2-plus wide receiver with great hands, outstanding body control and route running? I'll also be keeping an eye on Hendrickson after its big week last week. The school has a great chance to punch its ticket to State 7-on-7 in this field, especially with Lake Travis and Round Rock Westwood missing from the semifinals because they've already qualified. Considering Hendrickson is playing all summer without star running back Samaje Perine, that's a pretty good start.
Pool D — Round Rock Stony Point, Cedar Park, Dripping Springs, Austin McCallum
Player To Watch: RB Thomas Middleton, Cedar Park (2014)
Middleton is an interesting choice here in that he's a bit of a 'tweener at this point. He plays like a fullback, but is built like a bigger tailback. Of course, with Middleton being a 2014 prospect, the latter part of that equation is still open to change. It's clear that the best part of his prospect profile — how hard a runner and blocker he is — won't be on display. But that doesn't mean we can't learn anything from watching him. I'll be looking at two things. First, I want to see his frame, and whether he's added good weight since last year. And second, I want to see how fluid he is. He did a nice job catching the ball out of the backfield for Cedar Park last year, and if he can make himself into a well-rounded fullback, he'll fare well at the next level.