It was the second practice of the UNLV's spring practices and the Rebels looked pretty good and full of energy, just like their head coach, Tony Sanchez. The Rebels practice started with the team doing individual drills and the tempo was set early with Defensive Coordinator Kent Baer barking at his linebackers to go harder and faster during drills. The same can be said for Jeff Eaton, the Strength and Conditioning coach, making sure the team stayed up beat and loose while he danced to music playing in the background.This is how head coach Sanchez likes it and wants it. It is fitting that the tempo of the practice was as fast and up beat as Sanchez, who was all over the field, going from drill to drill, to running down the field after a Darius Mouton interception and lastly speaking to two recruits taking their unofficial visits.
One thing that stood out to me was new quarterback Johnny Stanton's arm strength and ability to throw the deep ball. The ball really comes off his arm effortlessly and excellent zip which allows him to fit the ball in tight windows. Stanton also throws a very nice deep ball and he demonstrated that today on a couple occasions. But Stanton did struggle with his balls sailing on him and at times he looks as if he is thinking to much instead of just letting it go. Redshirt freshman Dalton Sneed doesn't have the arm strength Staton has, but he was really accurate and had great command of the offense. It will be interesting to see how both Stanton and Sneed perform once incoming Freshman Armani Rogers sets foot on campus.
The running back that stood out to me today was Lexington Thomas. He looked fast and showed that wiggle and burst he displayed at the end of last season. He really fits the offense and will cause match-up problems for opposing teams, especially in the passing game. Senior David Greene looks to be the big, bruising back in the Rebels offense. He showed some nice hands out of the backfield and toughness running the ball. He should pair with Thomas to form a solid 1-2 punch. The receivers had a tough day today holding onto the ball. A few of them missed some easy catches on well thrown balls early on, but to their credit, they picked it up as the practice went on. I was impresed with Devonte Boyd staying after practice to get some work catching balls on off the JUGS machine. He seems to be the leader of the receiver group so far. Kendal Keys and Brandon Presley also were impressive during the 7on7 portion of the practice. What I think the team lacks is a speed receiver that can take the top off the defense, something I know coach Sanchez is aware of and looking to add in the next recruiting class.
On defense I was really impressed with the secondary. Jay'Onn Myles looked really good and had a few pass break-ups that had his teammates and coaches excited. Mouton was also impressive intercepting a pass and taking back to the house that had the coaches and team going nuts. Safety Kenny Keys is impressive, and not just with his play, but he already has an NFL type body. His 6'4/200 pound frame is ready made for the NFL and he was doing a great job directing the backend of the secondary. The defenive line looks much bigger and stronger than last year and showed great "get off" against the offense.
There were two local players taking their unofficial visits today, Centennial High School (NV) quarterback Jamaal Evans and Centennial High School (NV) wide receiver/cornerback Bryce Hampton. Evans also holds an offer from Idaho and is poised to receive more offers as the season nears and the recruiting process goes on. Evans also has been playing receiver for a 7on7 team (A2G) and has showed natural ability there as well and said he is willing to make that switch if the school he attends asks him to and it would help the team win. He is a big kid (6'3/205) who is freakishly athletic. Hampton projects more as a corner back or free safety on the next level due to his great ball skills. He missed time last season due to an injury but had an excellent Pylon camp (also playing for A2G) over the weekend and has some schools going back and reviewing his tape. He also has good size (6'0/180) and has the build to add more weight. He is also attempting to get faster, which would only help him as he continues to look to build on a solid offseason.
Another top target for the Rebels is local wide receiver Savon Scarver from Centennial High School (NV). Scarver really was impressive at the Pylon 7on7 Tournament over the weekend and has the scouting community buzzing right now. Scarver looked uncoverable with his blazing speed and ability to get open. He was the fastest player at the tournament and made plays for (the Rhare Breed) 7on7 team. Scarver currently has offers from UNLV as well as Nevada, but according to sources, he will soon be offered by WAC, Mountain West, SEC and Pac12 schools. Scarver is also a state hurdle champion and is looking to drop his 4.4 forty speed to a 4.3 prior to the start if the football season. Scarver has the type of speed and big play ability that make him a threat any time he touches the ball and the Rebels crave at the receiver position not to mention Scarver can also return kicks and punts as well.