rantz by lantz – news and notes from the world of sports
written by Jessica Lantz
Approximately 75 of the region’s best young quarterbacks, along with their families, coaches and other supporters arrived on the TCU campus on April 4 to show off their skills at the Fort Worth EA Sports Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camp. Each player arrived on the 82 degree spring day with a sparkle in their eye, a spring in their step and a football in hand in the hopes of impressing the camp’s staff members, media and spectators, and-of course-their fellow participants.
Some participants were seen early on heading to the TCU Horned Frogs’ Amon G. Carter Stadium before heading over to the practice field, perhaps to envision themselves as the starting quarterback for a Top-25 program. Yet, after arriving at their final destination — the TCU practice facilities — and checking in with the staff awaiting their arrival, it was time to get to work with warm-ups and instructions and then by breaking off into small groups. Then, everyone moved through various indoor and outdoor stations to show off their skill sets and receive constructive criticism from the staffers. The drills had the athlete work on speed, agility, decision-making, route running, listening to instructions, accuracy and strength of body, arm and mind. All of which took place at a fast and rotating pace, ensuring that everyone was alert, attentive and at their best for the duration of the two-hour workout.
Although the pace was furious, the prep stars excelled in these drills, with few faltering and all giving 100 percent effort throughout the exhausting day. And even when shortcomings and opportunities for improvement were pointed out to the athletes, the spoken words of advice were taken to heart not only to improve and impress, but also to convert the dream of playing collegiate football into a reality.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the standouts on the day:
Trae Davis, the gunslinger for Mexia H.S. took the honors of winning the Golden Gun Accuracy Award at the camp. The award was given after the entire field of competitors was narrowed down to the five most accurate performers on the day. These young men then faced off head-to-head to see who could end the day hitting their stationary targets. After participating in the challenge and being required to take it to a ‘throw-off’, Davis actually stuck a ball into the final target, securing his victory and bringing aahhs to the crowd. Davis threw for 1,801 yards and 17 touchdowns in his junior season for the Black Cats.
Case McCoy, the younger brother to 2008 Heisman Trophy runner-up, Colt, was one of the most recognizable faces, in both stature and last name. Case shares an uncanny resemblance with Colt and will also don the burnt orange in the fall of 2010, as an early commitment for the Texas Longhorns. McCoy carries a small physique, but a very accurate throwing arm. In his junior campaign for Graham H.S. in West Texas he had a 59 percent completion rate (168-for-285), racking up 2,226 yards and 17 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions. McCoy also threw for over 2,000 yards his sophomore season, and is hoping he can make it three in a row.
Jameill Showers, from Shoemaker H.S. in Killeen, Texas has decided to take the two hour drive to Texas A&M to attend college. Showers showed off a strong arm that lasted for the duration of the camp, although not necessarily as a deep-ball specialist. His junior season stats show his prowess and versatility on the field, throwing for 2,054 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions, along with gaining 553 yards on the ground. Showers was named the 12-5A District Offensive MVP, selected as a first-teamer on the All District team and was recognized as the area offensive player of the year. Showers was easily the highest rated recruit at the camp as he is the No. 15 quarterback in the nation at the moment.
Brian Bell from China Spring H.S. near Waco, Texas hails from a family with deep football tradition, with a standout quarterback for an older brother (Shawn Bell, formerly of Baylor University) and a head coach for a father. Bell’s knowledge for the game was evident in his ability to adjust and absorb all that the staffers had to throw his way. In high school, Bell has stepped up to the pressure that the Bell family name seems to thrive upon by throwing for 2,362 yards, 26 touchdowns and a 61.1 percent completion percentage in 2008.
Matt Joekel stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 220 pounds, making him one of the taller and bigger athletes at the camp. This size showed as both a strength — Joekel’s height and strength were very noticeable on the field, and an opportunity for improvement — he must use this senior season to work on improving his agility, footwork and overall mobility in the pocket. He has a very fluid release and delivery and excels when it comes to slinging the rock, as he passed for 3,017 yards and 29 touchdowns last year for Arlington H.S., near Dallas/Ft. Worth. Joekel will compete with Showers for looks at Texas A&M after they both finish up their senior seasons.
Johnny Deaton made the trip to the TCU campus from Sand Springs, Okla. and has already made his college choice, verbally committing to in-state option Oklahoma State. Deaton has a quick release and solid arm strength, skills which are coupled with speed and down-field mobility, all of which add to his recruiting allure. These skills were evident a number of drills, especially during the segment of dropping back, practicing footwork forward and backward through the bags and culminating with a pass to a mid-range receiver. Last season, Deaton passed for 1,874 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 1,665 yards and 19 touchdowns, leading his high school squad to its first playoff appearance since 1997. He has already initiated plans to be a mid-term graduate and early enrollee at Oklahoma State.
Randy Price made the most of his day by showing his overall athleticism. Price plays calm under pressure, works hard to be successful at whatever he is in the midst of doing and shows confidence in his skill set. He will be entering his senior year as a three-year returning starter and will bring this athletic prowess and direction to the field in Waco. Price, a student at Waco’s University H.S. is not only a leader on the gridiron, but also on the basketball court, where he scored 45 points and was 10-for-11 from beyond the arc in a January game against Corsicana.
Javia Hall, from Dallas Skyline, was perhaps the biggest surprise of the camp, throwing with a degree of accuracy that was somewhat unexpected. Most are touting Hall as a great all-around athlete, likely to switch positions to cornerback or wide receiver to play collegiate football. But, at the camp, Hall showed that he has ample skills to be an excellent college quarterback. His arms and legs were impressive and his ability to listen and adjust to the instructors made this outing a success for Hall. He was one of the top-5 in the accuracy drills and even participated in a ‘throw off’ for the Golden Gun accuracy award, losing to Davis.
Other student athletes in attendance to make note of include Marshall Williams (a freshman to watch for at Flower Mound, Texas), Matt Brown (over 3,000 total yards and 40 touchdowns in 2008), James Franklin (2,464 yards and 23 touchdowns passing, 1,151 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing in 2008), Kollin Kahler (a multi-sport/multi-position athlete from Waco, Texas) and Tyler Gabbert (brother of Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert).