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March 14, 2013

Texas Rivals Camps Stocked with Potential Sooners

Ever since the news came out just a few short months ago the new Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour created a lot of excitement and enthusiasm but it's unlikely that anyone might have anticipated the type of response it's drawn from coast to coast with one after another of the nation's top prospects heading to their regional camp with hopes of earning an invite to the RivalsChallenge later this summer.

Last year's Challenge, in it's first year of existence, featured a previously unheard of eight of the top 10 players in the country on the same field and this year's group could bat a perfect 100 as the regional camps are already off to a fast start following last weekend's first two camp events in Phoenix and Los Angeles.

This weekend the focus ships from Pacific to Lone Star time with camps coming on Saturday and Sunday in Houston and Dallas, respectively. SoonerScoop.com will be out in full force at both events with SCOOPHD cameras seeing all three of Oklahoma's current commitments and numerous Oklahoma offers. In fact with a list so long it's impossible to preview the event without simply going position by position breaking down the talent expected.

So without further ado, here is what we'll be watching this weekend.

Quarterback

Offer: Justice Hansen (Dallas)

Targets: Foster Sawyer (Dallas)

Names to Watch: Cody Ennis (Houston), Jarrett Hildreth (Houston), Jacob Lewis (Dallas)

The Breakdown: Hansen is obviously the focus here and will be should he choose to work out - which is still a bit up in the air. Assuming he will though Hansen is almost undoubtedly the highest rated player on hand at the position, though Sawyer is making a real move nationally, and it will be interesting to see how he has progressed over the last year - after a performance at last year's NIKE camp that he called 'disappointing'.

Another Oklahoman that will be interesting to see is Lewis who isn't nearly as well known but that's not because a lack of production - the question for Lewis is whether or not he is a quarterback or an athlete who could play several positions.

Running Back

Commitment: Samaje Perine (Houston)

Offer: Devon Thomas (Dallas)

Targets: D'onta Foreman (Houston), Marquiz Simpkins (Dallas), Rawleigh Williams (Dallas)

Names to Watch: Dedrick Scrivens (Houston)

The Breakdown: Perine will be just days removed from his commitment to Oklahoma and will be an incredibly interesting player to follow. Camps like these are usually more well suited to smaller more 'spread' type of running backs. However Perine is familiar with the camp circuit and should be more than capable of holding his own with a quality group of linebackers on hand. But the question is, can he push himself toward a RivalsChallenge invite this June?

In the class of 2015 things get really interesting with the highly productive Simpkins and Williams - who already holds an Ole Miss offer, and Scrivens who Scoop's staff has seen before and feels he is just some playing time away from real notoriety in the recruiting world. They'll all be on the same field and it will be interesting to size them up next to one another.

Wide Receiver

Commitment: Armanti Foreman (Houston)

Offers: Nick Alexander (Dallas), Keenen Brown (Houston), KD Cannon (Dallas), Dorian Leonard (Dallas), Jeffery Mead (Dallas)

Targets:Jalen Adams (Dallas), Cameron Batson (Dallas)

Names to Watch: Akilian Butler (Dallas), James Proche (Dallas)

The Breakdown: In the pass crazy Big 12 region it should be no surprise that there are so many talented wide receivers taking part in these two Lone Star state camps. Cannon is the most highly rated and regarded but almost undoubtedly some of the best Texas and Oklahoma have to offer will be on hand this weekend to push him. Brown and Foreman are clearly the class of the Houston bunch but this could be a big chance for both Leonard and Mead to establish themselves as four-star prospects and start pushing their way into the Rivals250 - a possibility that would seem to exist for both based on their impressive junior highlight reels. Mead is of particular interest, how will his long and lean frame stand up amongst such a loaded group of defensive backs?

Foreman is a player who figures to dominant in a setting like this and after a somewhat sluggish camp a few months ago this will be a big chance to confirm his status as one of the nation's elite slot receivers - a level of play he shows on his Rivals.com highlights.

Don't sleep on the other two Oklahomans on the list, Adams and Batson, both of whom would be getting more notoriety were it not for a stellar year for receivers in the area. Meanwhile, Proche is one of the best sophomores receivers in Texas, and perhaps in the country.

Tight End

Targets: Jordan Davis (Houston)

Names to Watch: Dimitri Flowers (Houston), Marvin Saunders (Houston)

The Breakdown: Davis is just a 2015 prospect but is already drawing rave reviews and is a very possible candidate for an Oklahoma offer at some point in the future - particularly should the Sooners choose to get involved with his 2014 teammate Blake Blackmar. Flowers is an interesting h-back/tight end type of player who seems like a guy that Oklahoma might take a shine to. Meanwhile Saunders is the almost annual conversion from undersized basketball big man to tight end star - as evidenced by his two offers from Florida State and Mississippi State.

Offensive Line

Offer: Ty Barrett (Dallas)

Targets: Jalin Barnett (Dallas), Jacob Bragg (Houston), Terrell Cuney (Houston), Brad Lundblade (Dallas), Josh Wariboko (Dallas)

Names to Watch: Madison Akamanonu (Dallas), Marvis Brown (Houston), Jess Jenkins (Dallas), Kristopher Thigpen (Dallas), Anthony Woods (Dallas)

The Breakdown: Barrett will have his hands full on Sunday in Dallas with a seriously talented group of defensive lineman on hand but while most know what to expect from the well-seasoned Skyline offensive tackle there are some younger players and interior lineman that have piqued a lot of interest.

In-state standouts Barnett and Wariboko along with Texas products Akamanonu and Jenkins all seem like players who could eventually pick up Oklahoma offers with Barnett seeming as much a certainty as any player can be before the end of their sophomore year.

Defensive Line

Offers: Deondre Clark (Dallas), Courtney Garnett (Houston), Zaycoven Henderson (Dallas), Trey Lealaimatafao (Houston), Daylon Mack (Dallas)

Targets: Grant Blankenship (Dallas), Jordan Brailford (Dallas), Sekou Clark (Dallas)

Names to Watch: Andre Dowuona-Hammond (Dallas), Marquise Overton (Dallas), Dequone Shaw (Dallas), Gerald Willis (Houston)

The Breakdown: Undoubtedly one of the primary focuses of the SoonerScoop staff will be along the defensive line. There are just too many great storylines to follow.

Will Clark and/or Henderson change their mind and give the Sooners a look?

How does Lealaimatafo stack up with some of the region's best?

Is Mack Texas' next great defensive tackle? Is Overton Oklahoma's?

That and so many more make this one of the more interesting groups to watch over the weekend as there aren't a lot of big name defensive lineman in the Big 12 region but there are several that will attract attention going forward as more and more people take notice. Two of the most notable of that group are Garnett and Lealaimatafao who are a bit undersized but highly active - the question is can they hold up against the bigger offensive linemen they'll face this weekend?

Two 2014 names to really keep an eye on are defensive ends Grant Blankenship and Jordan Brailford. Both have picked up a lot more attention over the past few weeks and both have visited Norman in the past few months.

Linebacker

Offers: Gyasi Akem (Dallas), Malik Jefferson (Dallas), Josh Mabin (Houston), Christian Sam (Dallas)

Targets: T'Kevian Rockwell (Dallas), Ja'Von Shelley (Houston), R.J. Williams (Dallas)

The Breakdown: It's not crazy to think that over the next two years Oklahoma has a very reasonable chance to land every single player among their offer list and potentially even some of the targets. Akem and Mabin are nationally ranked in the top 250 players while Jefferson is one of the nation's elite 2015 prospects with several quality offers already in hand. Meanwhile Sam is a player that has a lot of diversity in his game and could be yet another 'linebacker of the future'.

Rockwell and Shelley are players who could figure into Oklahoma's offer plans in the foreseeable future as Oklahoma has had plenty of contact with both but they are an interesting question in regard to where Oklahoma addresses their linebacker plans. Shelley is something of an outside 3-4 linebacker who can pass rush and Rockwell is more of Oklahoma's traditional 4-3 outside linebacker - could they be an indicator for which direction may intend to move permanently.

A fun note? Not only Williams is Williams extremely talented but is a Hooks, Texas native - the hometown of Sooner legend Billy Sims.

Defensive Back

Commitments: Vontre McQuinnie (Dallas)

Offers: Jamal Adams (Dallas), Tony Brown (Houston), Darrion Johnson (Houston), Steven Parker (Dallas), Jermaine Roberts (Houston), Arrion Springs (Houston)

Targets: Cedric Dale (Dallas), Derrick Dixon (Dallas), Dylan Harding (Dallas), Jyaz Jones (Dallas), Dillon Lohr (Dallas)

Names to Watch: Terrence Alexander (Houston), Adim Chukwurah (Dallas), Justin Dunning (Dallas), Payton Hendrix (Dallas), Mattrell McGraw (Houston), Alfonzo McMillian (Dallas), Markale Moses (Dallas), Larry Pryor (Dallas), Will Sunderland (Dallas), Courtland Sutton (Houston), Deionte Thompson (Houston), Verkedric Vaughns (Dallas), Donovan Wilson (Dallas)

The Breakdown: In a legendary class of talent in the Big 12 region, and Texas in particular, it's no shock that this is the most loaded group around.

The Scoop staff is particularly excited to get a long look at Oklahoma's defensive back commitment, McQuinnie. Though we saw him briefly last year against Dallas Kimball the focus was on a few other players and there wasn't enough time to watch the talented defensive back. McQuinnie is big and physical but what can be done about working in one on one situations? As Oklahoma sees him as a safety, can he handle working on slot receivers or out in the flats? We'll find out on Sunday.

Oklahoma has six other offers at the camp with Adams, Johnson, Parker, Roberts, and Springs all giving Oklahoma a real look. Adams dominated last summer at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge and it's likely he'll do so again. Johnson is one of the nation's most gifted cover corners the chance to watch him live is something everyone is looking forward to and it should be the perfect setting for an athlete with his size and natural athleticism.

Parker, Springs, and Roberts are well known but have rarely been seen playing against this level of competition - what will they bring to the table? A trip into the four-star ranks, and even Rivals100 for Parker could be possible with a strong showing.

There is something of a rivalry brewing on the east side of Oklahoma City as both Carl Albert and Midwest City have safeties they are quite proud of - Dillon Lohr and Will Sunderland, respectively. Lohr is a huge safety who was last seen doing an admirable job with the 2012 state player of the year, Stanvon Taylor, in the 5A state championship game and Sunderland is what some Bombers seem to believe tone of the elite prospects the elite program has produced in quite some time.

After a stellar showing at the Army combine in January don't sleep for a second on Donovan Wilson, he could be the type of player that sees his recruitment take off during spring evaluations.



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