ALLEN, Texas -- One day after the Dallas Elite 11 camp at the Cowboys Facility in Irving, many of the top prospects in the state of Texas and neighboring states showed up at Allen Stadium to showcase their talents during the Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday.
Prospects participated in SPARQ testing, a dynamic warm-up, positional drills, and finished the day with some 7-on-7 for the skill positions, and one-on-one competition for all positions.
Several prospects earned invites to The Opening as a result of their performances, including Overall MVP and Elite 11 finalist David Cornwell, a pro-style quarterback from Norman (Ok.) North, LSU commit Edward Paris, a defensive back from Mansfield (Texas) Timberview, Kavin Alexander, a cornerback from North Little Rock (Ark.), Solomon Thomas, a defensive end from Coppell (Texas), New Orleans (La.) John Curtis wide receiver Malachi Dupre, and Beaumont (Texas) Ozen cornerback Tony Brown:
The region is known for producing some of the top football talent in the country, and the group lived up to that billing. In fact, Alexander posted the second-highest SPARQ rating in the history of the NFTC, ranking right up there with elite athletes like Landon Collins and Mike Mitchell.
The highlight of the day, however, might have been a race between Brown and Dallas (Texas) Skyline sophomore running back Jordan Stevenson, which drew a big reaction from the crowd. Stevenson was impressive, able to hold his own against one of the fastest hurdlers in the country for his age group in Brown, who plans on participating in track in college as well.
Several defensive backs stood out during position drills, including Adams, who is a little bit taller and significantly stronger than he was last summer, but he's still a superlative leader, helping to encourage and coach up the players who were going through position drills with him.
He was also one of the defensive backs who showed the best ball skills during a drill that forced them to backpedal and then high-point the football. Paris also did well in that drill, as did San Antonio Roosevelt defensive back Arrion Springs, a player who nearly broke the 4.4 mark in the 40 and earned invites to the US Army and Under Armour games on Monday.
Among the quarterbacks, Cornwell once again stood out, showing that whatever accuracy issues he had on Saturday were more a result of tired receivers not in the right spot than poor passes, a problem that was rectified with fresh wide receivers who weren't worn down from running a hundred or more routes.
And once again, Katy (Texas) Taylor quarterback Clay Holgorsen continued to serve notice that his name is one to know in recruiting moving forward with more beautiful passes thrown with the tightest of spirals. Elite 11 coach and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer spoke with SB Nation Recruiting about the value of loading the wrist and snapping it upon release, and said that Holgorsen is a perfect example of how strong mechanics in that area can help smaller quarterbacks overcome their size and leverage limitations to spin the football with the most prototypical passers.
Additionally, one can throw Carrolton (Creekview) quarterback David Blough into the mix as another quarterback who impressed on both days and made his case to pick up his first offer.
Other than the race between Brown and Stevenson, the high point of the day was the one-on-one drills between the defensive lineman and the offensive linemen.
Nacogdoches (Texas) interior lineman Jacob Bragg was the MVP for his group and one of the few who consistently had success against his opponents in drills that heavily favor the defense. Bragg's overall strength and ability to anchor really helped him, especially against bull rushes.
The overall standout though was Thomas, who put himself in the mix as the top overall performer with absolute dominance on his reps. He also might challenge for five-star status after the event because he was unstoppable as an edge rusher and showed some advanced technical ability while doing it. Accomplishing all that would have been impressive enough even without considering that he typically works inside the tackles in high school.
If there was any doubt that Thomas can play defensive end in college, quite possibly at a high level, it was dispelled on Sunday.
Other prospects who also had strong moments were Texas commit Trey Lealaimatafao, whose leverage was an asset in this setting, just as it is during the season, Dallas (Texas) Skyline defensive end Victor Evans, who ended one monster rep by putting his opponent on his back with a one-handed finish to his quick and powerful bull rush, and Cedar Hill (Texas) defensive end Xavier Washington, who used a spin move and another inside rush to win both of his reps.
In the 2015 class, Houston (Texas) Cy Falls defensive tackle Devonta Lampkin was impressive physically with a big, relatively lean frame and showed off some strength beyond his years in his reps. DeSoto (Texas) defensive tackle Bryce English, a recent Texas commit, also flashed with some strong rushes that got underneath the block attempts of opponents -- at 5'11, he was one of the shorter defensive tackles at the event, but he held his own in one-on-one drills anyway.
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