One hour into Friday and it was clear that Thursday was going to be the coolest day in July. With a heat index in that 110-112 range, it was too hot for an Al Gore speech on Global Warming.
The action on the field was sizzling from the get go too as the ultra talented Whitehouse team led by juniors Trey Metoyer (WR), safety/receiver Quincy Aldridge and quarterback Preston Conder. Whitehouse has the appearance of well-oiled offensive machine in 2009, but fellow junior running back/corner Dejuan Shelton appears to be lost for the season after problems following knee surgery.
Aldridge was dynamite on both sides of the ball. Hard to not recruit the 6-2.5, 180-pounder as a safety after watching him break on two or three passes. The cousin of Kevin Aldridge and Jami Hightower turned in the best performance early on Friday.
DeSoto was easy to spot…green, gold and speed to burn. It will be addressed later, but Texas commit Darius Terrell took issue with his ranking. Call me crazy, but it's a good sign he cares enough to point it out.
Tyler Lee had an impressive group of athletes on both sides of the ball. East Texas is always the most impressive area of the state to me. East Texas features great football in all classes and a lot of speed and toughness. Keep an eye on 2011 receiver Marquis Mosley. At 6-3.5 and 185 pounds with good timing and foot quickness, he will likely be nationally recruited. Mosley camped at Texas June 7.
Then there is the versatile Herschel Sims of Abilene. What is not to like about the 5-8, 185-pound running back. If there is a better playmaker in the passing game at running back in the 2011 class, it can only be Bradley Marquez of Odessa. Oklahoma has offered Sims. He has some burst and terrific feet.
Future Longhorn Carrington Byndom is cut from a different mold for a defensive back. The 6-0, 170-pounder refused to be brash and talk smack, but was complimentary of every opponent and player gone up against. It was almost the feeling of a PGA Tour player media session save the whining Sergio Garcia. Byndom can play though and has bulked up from 162 during his junior season.
Byndom said Texas is talking corner at the next level. He will play safety for Lufkin as the defensive leader in 2009. A leadership role is a perfect fit for the two-sport star.
Instead of the normal chatter about the event, we are going to hand the Burnt Orange Beat 7-on-7 state tournament awards.
Best Pre-game Talk
The Pearland 7-on-7 coach (it is important to note the high school staffs can't coach) told his team that they were the fastest team in state. He said it loud enough that the Whitehouse team sitting fifteen feet away could clearly hear. The Whitehouse player's reaction was one of laughter and a few made "Did you hear that?" comments to teammates.
One problem, while Pearland is a talented group, their first round opponent was Tyler Lee sitting across the field. It became clear pretty quick the 7-on-7 coach was mistaken.
This one was over at first glance without a second thought. Carrington Byndom wins with a white dry fit under the Pack's purple uniforms. The dry fit had one sleeve long on the left arm and one cut above the elbow on the right. Throw in eye black that read 200 in purple for the Lufkin slogan "200%" and he won the award.
What a talent though as Seastrunk caught an intermediate route, made one juke and took off down the sideline for a score. In 7-on-7 when it all it takes is a touch, nary a defender could grab the Auburn shorts and were left diving at the USC socks.
This one was the easiest choice of them all, Jaxon Shipley. Well after Brownwood was knocked out of the tournament, the junior was taking in games and catching punts from a machine set up to challenge the players. While his father was helping run the event, there is little doubt Shipley is a "gym rat". If he could play football 24/7, there is little doubt he would.
Most Accomplished 7-on-7 Coaching Staff
This one goes to Lake Travis. With Gale Gilbert and Robert Brewer calling the shots, this one wasn't close in terms of football. Throw in former Texas coach Hardee McCreary watching Lake Travis and that is an impressive trio.
And yes, Garrett Gilbert was on hand to watch his former teammates and younger brother, Griffin Gilbert.
Most Vocal Coaching Staff
This one has to go to the Lufkin 7-on-7 coaching staff. This group brought a lot of energy, took a lot of issue with every flag thrown and were vocal from start to finish holding nothing back. There is little doubt they love the "Pack".
Daniel Lasco of The Woodlands wins this one. After a trip to Florida, which began with vacation in Key West, followed by stops at Miami (The U and beach), Florida and Florida State, Lasco said, "The girls in Florida are better looking than Texas". I'm quite sure there will be some disagreement here.
On Lasco's recruitment, he's looking out of state at this point. He wants to play early. Watch out for the Hurricanes on this one.
Lasco's cousin is former Texas A&M standout Sammy O'Bryant.
My Cousin has a National Title Ring
Tyler Lee junior receiver Marquis Mosley is the cousin of former Texas player Nic Redwine. Mosley hasn't tried on the ring, but did camp at Texas June 7.
This one was close with Daniel Lasco, but Case McCoy wins. McCoy is always a fun interview. He has a confidence about him, but at the same time understands what is in front of him. When pressed with the question if he looks for more advice on the quarterback position, he sat squarely on the fence before leaning to dad mentioning he lives in his house. He did mention that Colt is his best friend and relishes learning from his big brother.
Prospect Most Opposed to his BOB 125 Ranking
Darius Terrell is looking at the rankings, that much is known after Terrell asked Bragg what's up with his ranking. For me, the pride and caring enough to want to prove the village idiots at BOB wrong is impressive.
Is it wrong to doubt a state champion that is a winner?
Prospect on the Rise
Quincy Aldridge was awesome Friday. If the top national programs in the Big 12 and nation don't offer this guy it will be a surprise. Aldridge looks terrific physically and made play after play on both sides of the ball. BOB likes Aldridge at safety long term. He is a real ball hawk. Not many guys read and break on the ball like the Whitehouse junior.
UFC, If Not Football
Donovonn Young has a future in football at the college level for sure, but if his career ends in college, he might give UFC a shot. Not because he's an instigator and looking for a brawl, but because there aren't many people blessed with a powerful body and strength like Young. Throw in a ton of athletic ability and flexibility and a little training could go a long way. At 5-10.5, 213, Young was the best looking physical specimen on hand.
Remember this Name in 2011
Pearland High is home to 2011 defensive end/ath Sam Ukwauchu. "UK", as his coaches and teammates refer to him, is 6-5, and 195-200 pounds and runs in the 4.55-4.6 range. He was playing some receiver on Friday and is a very good looking young prospect. He's blessed with very long arms and the frame to carry 240 or more pounds down the line. Most college programs like him at defensive end right now, but tight end may not be out of the question.
Ukwauchu was quick to point out he had a sack against Hightower in the playoffs last year.
The Longhorns and many others are recruiting the rising junior.
Burnt Orange Beat publishers Gerry Hamilton and Bobby Bragg nominated and voted on all of the above awards.