When WR Stanley Lambert of San Antonio Marshall made his way up I-35 to Austin Saturday afternoon, he had one goal in mind – simply to see how well he could perform against the competition at Texas' elite Under The Lights camp.
“I arrived in Austin excited and anxious for the upcoming camp,” Lambert told Horns Digest. “The staff was extremely nice, but also had the attitude like, 'We are going to compete today.'”
Little did Lambert know, his performance would soon catch the attention of the Texas staff.
“I came to this camp to see how I would do. I guess I did great,” Lambert said with a huge smile plastered across his face.
“I didn’t even think I was going to get an offer.”
Until two years ago, Lambert, who will be a junior at SA Marshall this season, played several sports and wasn't focused on football. He didn't even spend time watching college or NFL games until two years ago.
That's when Lambert started growing into the 6-foot-3, 208-pound frame he has now. The more time he spent focusing on the game and catching passes, the more he realized he could make plays and maybe one day play football at the college level.
Under The Lights was one of Lambert's first chances to see how his skills measure up against talented 2018 defensive backs. But he was nervous after seeing the list of talented players he'd be facing at UTL.
With his Twitter timeline filling up with the names of ranked recruits en route to Austin, Lambert’s anxiety increased. His nerves stayed with him as he walked onto the field at DKR with loud music thumping through the stadium. But after getting off the line and gaining separation from DBs the first couple reps, the nerves began to subside.
“I was on Twitter and I saw all of these ranked 2018 DBs, so I got kind of scared. But I just put that aside and did what I had to do,” said Lambert, whose only offer up to that point was from UTSA.
“During one-on-ones, I followed the instructions they gave me about getting off press and getting depth with my routes.
“I soon figured out during one-on-ones and going against the top prospects that it was kind of easy. After that I just felt confidence.”
The Longhorns’ staff took notice of his skills and expressed their interest in recruiting the big, physical, rising junior receiver.
The news was an answer to his family's prayers.
“I was shocked and blessed," Lambert said. "My family also felt blessed. They have been praying for me.
“I’ve worked hard. I believe all those 6 am to 8 am, 8 am to 10 am and 5 pm to 7 pm workouts paid off.”
Lambert had a glowing review of his overall experience at UTL. The 2018 receiver enjoyed the chance to talk to the large number of current Texas players who were present, observing the camp and offering support - particularly from the Longhorns' 2016 signing class.
“I kind of was surprised (at the number of true freshmen at camp),” he said. “I spoke to some (2016 guys), and really most of them were giving me props, because I'm still young at the age of 16 and was putting in work against upper classmen.”
At 6-foot-3, 208-pounds, Lambert believes his speed, athleticism and ball skills are his strengths. He claims his biggest weakness is creating separation against press coverage.
This summer was the first time the 16-year-old has ever attended college football camps - a circuit that included Mary-Hardin Baylor, Trinity, Texas State, UTSA and, of course, Texas Saturday night.
With UTL being his final camp of the summer, Lambert will now focus his attention on his schoolwork and the upcoming season. San Antonio Marshall didn't win a game in 2015. Lambert is determined to help his team change that this season.
“Us going 0-10 was devastating," he said. "But it changed my mindset. I am focusing on my work ethic, and I've been working hard for a better season.”
Lambert said he's even more motivated following the excitement of being offered by the Longhorns. He hopes to return to Austin this fall to catch a UT home game and fully experience the Texas football tradition.
(Jason Higdon contributed to this story.)
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