HD Roundtable

Question: Who has been the biggest surprise - Longhorns player or recruit - that you've seen or heard of since fall camps started at the college and high school level?

Chip’s Take

We knew WR Armanti Foreman was lighting it up in summer workouts. But the guy who has really surprised and impressed me is freshman S Jason Hall, who is rapidly making the case to be a starter.

Hall is only 6-3 and 207 pounds and runs really fast. He's also a thumper in the mold of Calvin Pryor, who just left Louisville as a first-round draft pick of the New York Jets after arriving as a 3-star recruit.

From what I heard Bruce Chambers realized he needed to go check on Hall at South Grand Prairie after Hall committed to Nebraska. After Chambers went to see him practice, Duane Akina made the trip to see Hall, and Texas was all in. Fortunately for Texas, Hall grew up a Texas fan and is an excellent student who has visions of a Texas degree helping him become the CEO of a company one day.

I was told Charlie Strong's staff came in and looked at the secondary and asked why a bunch of former high school quarterbacks have been playing safety? That's when Mykkele Thompson started getting looks at cornerback, Josh Turner was demoted and walk-on Dylan Haines started getting reps with the first team at safety.

Hall is making very few mental mistakes while running with the first team. It appears Texas is finally going to have a safety who looks like a safety and brings some pain right up the middle of the defense.

Gabe’s Take

As far as players already on campus, the reports from the HD staff on Jason Hall have really stood out to me. Obviously, he has the size and athleticism to be a difference-maker, but to perform as well as he has as early as he has, that's something Texas fans should be fired up about.

Now, concerning recruits, the news I got Friday night from a couple of reliable folks about how dominant Demarco Boyd played in Gilmer's scrimmage at Whitehouse really got my attention. That news didn't surprise me as far as the 2016 running back/linebacker performing to a high level; rather, hearing that he was clearly the best player on the field in a scrimmage that also featured his older brother (2015 4-star cornerback Kris Boyd), 4-star Baylor-committed teammate Blake Lynch, and 4-star Texas A&M-bound safety Justin Dunning of Whitehouse had me raising my eyebrows around 11:30 p.m. Friday as I got those texts.

Boyd ran for two touchdowns (8, 17) and recorded three sacks and a forced fumble playing outside linebacker in Gilmer's 3-4 scheme. Those stats on both sides of the ball are encouraging considering Boyd will very likely be a running back or a linebacker at the next level, positions he didn't get to play as a sophomore in 2013, when he led Gilmer's defense from the -- get this -- nose tackle position at the middle of that odd-man front. To the Gilmer coaches' credit, Boyd's suddenness, physicality, and aggression fit the position well.

So the question is, who will be the first school to offer Demarco Boyd? He's said all summer that Texas and Florida State have shown the most interest. At this point, it's obvious his recruitment is tied to Kris'. If a team can land both of them, that's quite a duo, even if they have to wait an extra year to get Demarco on campus.

William’s Take

I hate to sound like a broken record here but I’ve got to go with Armanti Foreman.

I’ve been singing his praises weekly lately but with good reason. He’s really stepped up at a crucial time at a position that really needs to establish depth.

I’d be lying to you if I told you prior to camp that Foreman would be making this type of impression on the team this early. But you’ve got to give him credit for stepping up to the challenge set by Charlie Strong, Les Koenning and the rest of the staff to these freshmen that they will have a chance to play at certain skilled positions due to injury, suspension, dismissal, etc.

What I like the most about Foreman doesn’t have so much to do with his abilities as a receiver but the toughness he’s shown in the “Bull in the Ring” drills. Everyone should be able to catch at this level, that’s why you are on scholarship as a receiver. But you can really separate yourself as a young player if you show the ability and willingness to stick your neck out for a block. He’s done that.

There’s not a whole lot not to like about what Foreman has shown so far. Now, we’ll see if his brother can catch up to speed.

Annabel’s Take

I'm going to have to go with true freshman safety Jason Hall.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound prospect was a 3-star recruit coming out of Grand Prairie (Texas) South, but after a short few months, is already working out with the first team and will likely garner serious playing time this season.

He's been working out with senior defensive back Quandre Diggs and could be a key player this fall as Josh Turner is indefinitely suspended and Chevoski Collins was dismissed.

With the highly-touted signees in the 2014 class, I name Hall as the surprise because I believe he's already made the biggest leap in this class from where he was a year ago getting ready for his senior season.

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