clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Opening in Dallas revealed a workout monster recruit from New Mexico, plus much more

Welcome to The Crootletter (sign up to get this in your inbox every morning!). I'm Bud Elliott, SB Nation's National Recruiting Analyst, and in this space I'll be sharing news, rumors and musings on the world of college football recruiting.

L to R: Baron Browning, Levi Draper, Anthony Hines
L to R: Baron Browning, Levi Draper, Anthony Hines
Bud Elliott

DALLAS, Texas -- More than 300 of the state's best players attended the Nike Opening Regional Camp on Sunday. Here are my thoughts, observations and scoop.

I can only see only about 20 percent of all the reps the players take, as there are typically five stations operating simultaneously. Someone could come away with very different observations than I did. To supplement, I confer with coaches at the event to see if the talent I saw flashing during one drill carried over to a drill I didn't get to see. All recruits discussed are from Texas unless otherwise noted.


The best quarterback I saw was Cam Roane of Colleyville Heritage. The 6'1.5 lefty has a quick delivery and threw a nice ball that was always on target. He's also pretty athletic, having rushed for over 1,000 yards as a junior. Roane is a bit of an unknown because he transferred to Heritage from Grapevine Faith Christian, a tiny private school. Roane's only FBS offer is Arkansas State, but he thinks Oklahoma State could be close. I bet the Cowboys won't be the last.

Chris Robinson of Mesquite Horn was neck and neck with Roane for most of the day, and ended up winning QB MVP honors. The Oklahoma commit showed consistent accuracy and knew where to deliver the ball during team work.

Avery Davis of Cedar Hill is a dual-threat whose skills don't show completely in this passing setting. I spoke with Davis about his upcoming trip to Notre Dame, as he is one of two passers the Irish have offered. "It's not a race. If that's the place for me, I'll have to go there and beat him out," Davis said. Colorado and Utah are running second. Davis wants to decide before the school year ends.

Keep an eye on Allen's Grant Tisdale, a 2019 prospect at a powerhouse who more than held his own with guys much older than him.

TCU QB commitment Shawn Robinson is tough to tackle in the open field.

A photo posted by SB Nation College Football (@sbnationcollegefootball) on

Running back

One of my favorite parts of covering the camp circuit is when previously unknown players emerge as studs.

O'Maury Samuels of Los Lunas (N.M.) earned an invite to Sunday's camp after an incredible performance at the Nike+ ratings event Saturday with a 44.5" vertical jump, 4.58 40-yard dash, 4.14 short-shuttle and a powerball throw of 43 feet. Samuels is originally from Louisiana. From the looks of it, he spends all his time working out. New Mexico State was his only offer, but after that score and his invite to Nike's The Opening, Samuels' Twitter follower list exploded with coaches from Alabama, Notre Dame, TCU, Baylor, Arkansas, USC and more. Welcome to the big time, O'Maury.

Eno Benjamin of Wylie East had a strong day and told me Iowa leads. He also has interest in Michigan State and Houston.

Kaegun Williams of Cedar Hill had a strong day, taking home MVP. Tennessee is his only Power 5 offer at this point.

Receiver/tight end

Sunday brought great battles between receivers and defensive backs. All players mentioned are four-stars on the 247Sports Composite.

Ole Miss commit D.D. Bowie of Morton (Miss.) earned an invite to The Opening's national event in Oregon. Tight end/receiver hybrid Kenny Nelson of Frisco Centennial earned MVP.

Omar Manning of Lancaster has a college-ready body and nice ball skills. Schools have been offering left and right, and the four-star is quite fond of TCU because the Horned Frogs give their receivers chances to make plays.

Charleston Rambo of Cedar Hill told me that if he had to make a top 10, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Miami and Michigan State would make it, and perhaps Ole Miss. I get the feeling Oklahoma is in good position. His teammate Camron Buckley is also quite impressive and is high on Miami, Texas, Ole Miss and Houston; early playing time is important to him.

Tyrell Shavers of Lewsiville ripped off a 4.38 40-yard dash, but the 6'5 receiver isn't just a size and speed prospect. He was able to bend and plucks the ball well. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Miami, Georgia and Texas A&M have offered, and Oklahoma might be close for the lefty who is also a good pitcher and outfielder. Shavers would like to commit at the end of summer.

Laviska Shenault of DeSoto says that if he had to name a top five, LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma State would be in.


I did not get to watch much of the line groups, but spoke to a few folks who did. Texas Tech four-star center commitment Jack Anderson of Frisco landed an invite to The Opening, as did Xavier Newman of Desoto. Newman is a three-star, but his offer list should expand.

Oklahoma commit Brey Walker, of Southmoore (Okla.) is an extremely impressive 2018 OT.

OT Josh Cooper of Haughton (La.) came in at a stunning 6'7, 355. He holds offers from Mississippi State and TCU and thinks LSU could be close, which would shake up his recruitment.


The linebacker group was special, with three earning invites to The Opening.

Baron Browning of Kennendale is as good as any I've seen this season. He was the best player at the event Sunday. At 6'4 and 229 pounds, Browning is as athletic as a lot of corners, and I'd estimate he won over 95 percent of his reps against elite competition. His closing speed and change of direction make him great in coverage, and the acceleration will make him an effective blitzer.

Browning has slowed his recruitment down since decommitting from Baylor and is interested in Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Notre Dame, UCLA, LSU, Stanford, Michigan and USC, as well as in-state schools like Texas,TCU and A&M. He will make his decision closer to Signing Day, and I expect him to soon have a five-star rating.

Brandon Browning of Texas is one of the best linebacker prospects in the nation. 6'4 229 and moves like a safety.

A photo posted by SB Nation College Football (@sbnationcollegefootball) on

Anthony Hines of Plano East also had a strong day. The four-star claims an incredible 85 offers. People around the event believe this is a battle between Texas and Oklahoma.

Speaking of the Sooners, OU commitment Levi Draper of Collinsville (OK) also had a nice day. He's active and breaks on the ball well. Hines and Draper appear accurately rated as four-stars.

Defensive back

This segment was loaded as well.

Jeffey Okudah, of South Grand Prairie is a special talent. He is proud of his versatility and worked mostly at cornerback, but I think his value will be maximized at safety at the next level. The four-star says Ohio State remains his leader, but he also has interest in Alabama, Florida State and Stanford.

Oklahoma cornerback commitment Tre Brown of Tulsa (Okla.) Union showed off good coverage skills. I was impressed with all of Oklahoma's four-star defensive back commitments, as cornerback Justin Broiles of Oklahoma City John Marshall was in the pockets of receivers all day, as was Southlake Carroll's Robert Barnes.

Okudah and Brown earned invites to The Opening.

I was also very impressed with Evan Fields of Midwest City (Okla.). Fields is a three-star safety who has the size to play weakside linebacker. He moved well and covered some very talented receivers. Fields said Houston, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Kansas State and Texas Tech could be close to offering.