January 1, 2009

Mid-week review of the Army Bowl workouts

SAN ANTONIO - It's already been a good week for the Texas Longhorns this week with Calvin Howell coming back strong after a Monday scare but there has been plenty to feel good about this week.

Alex Okafor has been all over the backfield in practice for the West and Howell is one of the most vocal and well liked players on either squad. Yesterday one player on the West squad stated Marcus Davis was the best defensive back on the field.

It has been a good week for all the Texas commits down in the Alamo City but who has done the most so far? Here's a few thoughts on how they stack up through the first three days.

1. Alex Okafor - DE - Pflugerville - He is the quickest d-lineman off the ball and is consistently in the backfield and around the ball. Howell said yesterday the Pflugerville d-end was the fastest he's seen. I have to agree - Okafor is scary fast.

2. Calvin Howell - DT - San Antonio Warren - Howell has mixed it up well inside for the West squad. He does a good job of taking on blockers, staying low, and getting penetration, and getting to the ball. He has been a load this week for the West o-line and gets bonus points for his enthusiasm.

3. Marcus Davis - CB - Clear Creek - What Davis has done better than anyone on the West Squad is staying consistent. He hasn't really made big jaw-dropping plays, but he continues to be in position to make a play and keep big plays from happening.

4. Greg Timmons - WR - Aldine Eisenhower - I have to be honest, Timmons would have been further down this list but he made a strong move on Wednesday and I would only put him slightly behind Davis, who he made a few big grabs over today.

5. Tariq Allen - LB - Irving MacArthur - There is no question Allen has some big ability and he has shown some flashes, but his lateral movement has been challenged. Of course, with the talent on offense it's going to be challenged.

6. Garrett Porter - OT - Odessa Permian - Porter has worked mostly behind D.J. Fluker but he has done well with the time he has been given.

7. Chris Whaley - RB - Madisonville - Whaley seems to be the third option right now at running back but today put together a few good runs.

Wednesday's West Scrimmage Standouts

On Wednesday afternoon, both teams hit the turf inside the Alamodome for the first time and the West was up first right after lunch.

The day saw a few firsts, one of those being Tyrik Rollison heating up a little bit and then there was Timmons hitting his stride as well.

There were also a few who continued to do just what they have done all week.

1. Vontaze Burfict - LB - Corona (CA) Centennial - USC - This future Trojan got things popping quickly for the West defense. He was in the backfield on a blitz on the first play and intercepted a screen pass on the second. Then he shut down a toss play to Christine Michael seven yards deep into the backfield.

2. Alex Okafor - DE - Pflugerville, TX - Texas - It did not matter who they put in front of him Okafor was a menace to the offense. He was all over the place and continues to show off that quick first step.

3. D.J. Fluker - OT - Foley, AL - Alabama - He just continued to do what he has done all week and that's be the best lineman on either squad.

4. Greg Timmons - WR - Aldine (TX) Eisenhower - Texas - Mr. Timmons had his coming out party Wednesday unfortunately a couple of his biggest plays were against future teammate Marcus Davis.

5. Tyrik Rollison - QB - Sulphur Springs, TX - Undecided - The East Texas standout has been inconsistent to say it kindly to this point, but today he connected with Timmons and both seemed to see things move in a very positive direction.

6. Cliff Harris - CB - Fresno (CA) Edison - Undecided - He's small, but who cares, he is the top cornerback on the West from what I've seen.

7. Christine Michael - RB - Beaumont (TX) Westbrook - Texas A&M - When he got a hole he was fun to watch. He hit the hole with a burst and was able to make moves and keep his speed.

8. Nick Kasa - DE - Bloomfield (CO) Legacy - Florida - He continues to work over whoever is put in front of him on the defensive line.

My man crushes

Over the course of the week there are have been a few players that are hard not to love. Here are a few non-Texas commits:

1. D.J. Fluker - OT - Foley, AL - Alabama - What's not to like about this man-child beast of a man. His future is bright and so is that of the quarterback he is protecting.

2. T.J. McDonald - S - Fresno (CA) Edison - USC - He's the son of former pro Tim McDonald and he is what a safety should look and play like.

3. Vontaze Burfict - LB - Corona (CA) Centennial - USC - It doesn't take long to find Mr. Burfict on the field, just look for the guy standing over the de-cleated ball carrier. He's nasty and at linebacker that's what you want.

4. Cliff Harris - CB - Fresno (CA) Edison - Undecided - He's not big, but what can you say I'm a fan of the little guy for some reason. He is going to have to add some weight but he has everything else you look for in a cornerback.

5. Sheldon Richardson - DL - St. Louis (MO) Gateway - Missouri - He's a tight end but has been practicing at defensive tackle all week and if he has a desire to play d-tackle he could end up being an even more special talent than he already is.

Notes:

-This morning during the skill challenge there were a lot of scheduled events but during the obstacle course a dance off was started and players crowded quickly to join in.

Chris Davenport was doing his best to keep his teammates hyped and going and that's when the challenge started.

Greg Timmons was the lone Longhorn involved in the competition that led to the ,ost more laughs, smiles and excitement of the morning event.

If they played today…

…the east would take out the West. Both teams are loaded with talent but the East has the edge on quarterback play and after watching both practice for the first time all week the East seems to be practicing more intensely as a team.


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