Behind-the-scenes: "Under The Lights"

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at what went down at Texas' "Under The Lights" camp on Friday night.

One of the most difficult things about attending a camp such as this is you can only watch a few things at a time.

The great thing about a camp such as this is if you know what to look for you can see just about all you need to see.

For me, the most important thing to do is follow Charlie Strong. No one person can follow the entire camp and have an accurate overall feel for the camp. It’s simply impossible because you miss so many reps during the one on one portion of the camp.

However, there are about 20-plus staff members working as the eyes and ears for Strong during an event so I decided to follow suit.

I think it’s a toss-up as far as which recruit received the most amount of attention throughout the night. Strong was all over the place watching and talking to these kids. He spent a great deal of time throughout the night with more than a few players, including Holton Hill, Darrion Daniels and 2016 DT Michael Williams.

Strong also spent a great deal of time with Reggie Hemphill’s mother and Kai Locksley’s father.

Team Participation?

One of the most positive things recruits talked about after the camp was how awesome it was to have so many current Longhorn players out at this event.

Not only were they at the event but they were working with every single position group throughout the entire event. They are starting to buy into what Strong is selling and that is a great sign.

Rain, rain went away

I am not sure of the overall numbers of tonight’s campers but it had to be close to 150 players by the looks of it.

The weather was perfect for a night of football under the lights. For just about all of these players it was the first time they had participated in a camp setting such as this and they were not disappointed in the least prior, during or after the event.

Keeping in touch

I spent time with numerous players throughout the day including 2017 QB Shawn Robinson, DeShon Elliott, Charles Omenihu, John Humprhey, Darrion Daniels, Du’Vonta Lampkin, Michael Williams, Zach Gentry, Kai Locksley and a few others.

QB Overload

It is very clear that the QB class for 2016 is absolutely loaded.

I have watched all of these kids on film but this was my first time seeing Robinson, Locksley, Gentry, Jalen Hurts and Breenen Wooten in person and they all at some point throughout the event point on a show.

I really like what Gentry brings to the table. He is much bigger in person than you can imagine and is every bit 6-foot-6 right now. He has a big arm, quick feet and is a student of the game. Texas fans should be very happy with the future of the QB position in Austin, Texas.

I have heard different things from people regarding the ability of Locksley. What no one can deny is his athletic ability. As his father, Mike Locksley told me prior to camp, “Kai has not even scratched the surface of his potential.” The relationship between Mike Locksley, Strong and Shawn Watson goes much deeper than people realize.

Coach Watson spent a ton of time with Mr. Locksley after the camp was over and Strong spent just about more time with the elder Locksley than any one person throughout the day. At this point in time I would just about be stunned to see Kai Locksley end up anywhere other than Texas.

I was just as impressed with Locksley and his arm as I was any one thing throughout the entire camp. He shows great movement in the pocket, very quick and athletic feet, quick release and was throwing the ball with great zip and velocity tonight.

Locksley has the potential to be a great player down the road in the right system and with the right coaching staff. The Locksley family does have ties to Florida State and the younger Locksley does like the Noles but look out for the Longhorns.

Relationship often times win out in the end and I do not see stronger relations than the ones between the Locksley and Strong family.


I do not believe you will see any new offers go out based on recruit’s individual performances.

Packed sidelines

What was not to like about the camp? Things that were out of control of the coaching staff such as more than a few top kids not working out: J.W. Ketchum, Holton Hill, Ryan Newsome, Darrion Daniels and Du’Vonta Lampkin to name a few.

Commitments shine

Most impressive overall defensive back today by far was Keivon Ramsey.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Ramsey showed great versatility, back pedal and is explosive with the ball is in the air. The biggest strength might be his change of direction.

He is underrated by most services but that is a mistake based off what he showed this evening. Very impressive looking defensive back. The defensive coaching staff is thrilled with the way he showed tonight.

Most impressive offensive lineman by far was Texas verbal commitment Patrick Vahe.

The No. 8 overall offensive guard in the country might need to move up some in the rankings. He was that good tonight.

He is not overly impressive as far as straight size goes, but make no mistake about it, when this kid gets his hands on you it’s over. He lost one rep the entire night and that was against Williams, who I thought was very impressive and one of the best players in attendance.

Collin Johnson was also incredibly impressive. He caught everything thrown his way and really seemed to build a strong bond with Gentry.

Rumphing it up

Most intense coach? This one is easily defensive line coach Chris Rumph.

He was REALLY getting after this group throughout the night. He is ONE intense coach and will instill a sense of toughness in this team moving forward it has lacked over the last several years.

I loved the way DB coach Chris Vaughn and DC Vance Bedford worked with each other. They had an incredible energy about themselves and fed off each other throughout the camp and the kids picked up on this early and often and really started to get after it because of the attitude of the coaches.

Stars of tomorrow

Keep an eye on the following 2017 players because these kids will be recruited by everyone in America if they are not already.

These three players, if they continue to develop, could combine for over 90 offers before National Signing Day of their senior season.

QB Shawn Robinson, Guyer (TX)

OL Walker Little, Episcopal (TX)

DL Marvin Wilson, Episcopal (TX)

One player who handled himself with tremendous class on and off the field was Williams.

The 2016 standout from All Saints Episcopal (TX) has a tremendous amount of upside and loved every minute of this camp. He is a player to watch out for that will be heavily recruited by Texas coaches moving forward.

Surprise of the night was defensive end Charles Omenihu.

He is long and lean and I was not expecting to see him have success against much bigger players such as OT Toby Weathersby. Not only did Omenihu have success but he won every one on one battle I watched and I was with that group most of the night.

Most physically imposing player on the night was 2016 DT Kendell Jones.

Rising sophomores are not supposed to look like that. However, he struggled during the one on one portion. Against very good OL players he needs more than a bit of work from a technical standpoint.

Camp gets an A+

Overall Impression? No question about it I would give Texas an A+ from top to bottom.

This event will grown in size and stature and I promise you on NSD you can look back to this event and you will see the majority of the kids who sign with Texas will have attended this camp.

I look forward to coming back next year.

Saturday I will have one on one conversation with Humphrey, Williams, Daniels and Hill.

Did not know

Standout defensive tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin has a grandfather that attended today’s visit. He has lived in Austin (TX) for just under 30 years. Lampkin's uncle is a diehard Texas fan.

Keeping with my tribute to grandparents I also met the grandfather of Shawn Robinson. His grandfather told me it was his dream to have Shawn go to Texas. The elder Robinson has Charlie Strong as his hero.

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