Joe Working To Improve

The scene at the Round Rock 7-on-7 SQT couldn't be described as "a passer's dream." Steady rain fell throughout the day, with some duck passes and dropped throws the result.

But the on-and-off rain didn't stop Texas commitment Lorenzo Joe from excelling and leading Abilene Cooper to the SQT semifinals, where Cooper fell to 7-on-7 powerhouse Lake Travis.

"For 7-on-7, you don't really expect to play in the rain. You're used to the sunny skies," Joe said, laughing. "But we weren't complaining because we know we've played games in the rain. So we enjoy this. The elements don't affect us, so we just come out here and have fun.

"This is just about getting the chemistry down with my receivers," Joe said. "We've got a bunch of young guys out here. This is your time to come out here and work, getting your timing down with these guys."

That's especially important for a team that has high postseason expectations like Cooper does.

"My expectations are really high," Joe said. "We have a great team coming back and we've got some players coming up from JV who are really going to have to step it up. I think they're going to do a great job. I have high expectations. I want to win that district championship and our overall goal is to win that state championship, too. So we're going to have some fun this year."

Joe helped Cooper have some fun last year — Joe's first at quarterback — when he led the Cougars to a 9-3 record and the second round of the playoffs. Included in that string was a season-opening duel between he and Ohio State signee J.T. Barrett, one that Cooper pulled out 43-36.

"Last year, going into quarterback, I was making the transition from receiver to quarterback, so everything was new for me," Joe said. "I was a little nervous. This year, I have a year under my belt, so I'm more comfortable. I'm calm. I'm a veteran, so I know what's going on, and I know the offense really well so I can just call it and we can have high tempo. It's good."

Another improved trait that was apparent at Saturday's 7-on-7 SQT was Joe's anticipation. Time after time, he made the throw before the receiver broke into the open, leading to easy plays and big gains.

"That's a big area I've been working on," Joe said. "I've been working on my timing. That's what the spring is for. Coming out of last year, I wasn't the best at it. Working over the year, right now, it's coming out of my hands really well."

But many have raved about the jump he's been able to make at his future position as well, including an MVP award at a stacked NFTC combine in Dallas.

"I still go in after practice sometimes and go in and get some balls," Joe said. "Our quarterback from my sophomore year, Clayton Nicholas, he's at Texas Tech right now. So he's back on summer break. He was back in town the other day and I got to actually run some routes and catch some passes. It felt really good getting out there and catching some balls.

"I've been working on my footwork and really using my hands well," Joe said. "I still need to go out there and get my [receiver] drills in there. I can't go out [to practice] thinking I'm just going to do straight quarterback. I'm trying to keep it fresh, to stay fresh at receiver."

Joe was Texas's first commitment for the Class of 2014, though he said he didn't rush into a decision.

"Texas growing up has always been one of my favorites. And when your favorite school offers you, it's kind of hard to pass that up," Joe said. "That's why I was so early to commit, because I was 100 percent with it. That's where I wanted to go, and I talked with my family about it. They were 100 percent behind me, so that's how we made our decision."

Since then, Joe said he hasn't regretted his early commitment, and said he has grown close with Texas receivers coach Darrell Wyatt.

"He actually came down during spring practices and watched us a bit," Joe said. "Coach [Bo] Davis has been down there a couple times. Getting down there, and I'm going to be down there next week, I've been talking with the coaches and getting close with them. I just need to keep growing that bond with them."

With Joe's positive attitude about the Longhorns, it's only natural that he has emerged as one of the program's best salesmen. And he said he's continuing to recruit not just for the 2014 class, but for priority 2015 players as well.

"Jamal Adams, we talk a lot," Joe said. "I always joke around with him like 'hey man, when are you going to commit?' He's one of those guys that wants to wait a little bit. Solomon Thomas is another guy. But it's not just me. Jerrod Heard and all of those guys are helping out with our class and trying to recruit. And there are some guys out here that I'm trying to help out with for the 2015 class at Temple, Chad President.

"But really, I just try to talk to those guys," Joe said. "It's what's best for them for the next four years."

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