Dallas NFTC recap: Offense
Which offensive players stood out at the Dallas NFTC?
Unsual cold April weather didn't stop over 300 quality prospects from across the south from convening at DeSoto's Eagle Stadium for the annual Dallas Nike Football Training Camp.
Here is a look at some of the offensive standouts from the event.
Lodge dispels rumors
Last week, a report stated that Cedar Hill wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge had a top three of Clemson, LSU and Ole Miss.
But that’s just not the case.
Lodge, considered the top wide out in the state, said every school in his top ten, which he released in January, is still in the running for his services. The rumored top three was simply a misunderstanding.
“It wasn’t a top three of my favorites. It was a top three of schools that are showing me the most love,” Lodge said. “I probably mixed up a couple of words in that interview. I want to clear up that the reporter put out nothing that was false. But it wasn’t my top three favorites.”
So that means in-state schools Baylor, TCU and Texas A&M are very much alive. Lodge doesn’t have any visits plans for the spring but knows he will be taking an official visit to Oxford in October to see Ole Miss host Alabama.
“I’m excited for both schools. Of course, my old teammate Quincy Adeboyejo is down at Ole Miss. He’s on me hard, and I really like the spirit they have,” Lodge said. “Bama has great tradition. I’ve been talking to Coach (Billy) Napier a lot. I haven’t talked to Coach (Nick) Saban, but hopefully I will soon.”
Lodge showed why he holds around 40 offers at the Nike Football Training Camp as he blew by defensive backs and made eye-popping snags. At 6-foot-3, 190-pounds Lodge is a matchup nightmare for opposing corners.
As one of the top overall performers, Lodge earned an invitation to The Opening in Oregon this summer.
“The camp was crazy. There was a lot of great competition. It was a crazy environment. I was pumped up about being here,” Lodge said. “I’m really happy that I got the invitation.”
With no visits on the slate and an invite to Nike’s most prestigious recruiting event, Lodge is now focused on making a high score on his ACT and helping his team get better this offseason.
Last year, Lodge had a breakout campaign with 72 receptions for 1,255 yards and 22 touchdowns and helped Cedar Hill defeat Katy in the 5A Division II state championship game.
“I want to repeat. I’m not going to say that we are because we have a lot of people that have to grow up and learn their roles,” Lodge said. “We have to create a family bond. Everybody is working out, and we’re creating a team.
“You don’t win your championships during the season; you win your championships during the offseason. I’m just stepping up by being a leader and making sure everybody busts their butts and makes good grades and gets in the weight room.”
Newsome impresses, talks visit plans
If you want to talk about an explosive athlete Aledo’s Ryan Newsome is your guy.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder is a jack-of-all-trades that can play everything from quarterback to wide receiver to cornerback. Newsome, who amassed over 1,500 yards of total offense and scored 26 touchdowns, helped Aledo capture the 4A Division II state title and set national records last season.
And he hopes to do the same in 2014.
“I think we can repeat. We got a pretty good team. But we’re pretty young, so we’ll see how it all ends up,” Newsome said. “The thing about us is that we work really hard in the offseason. But we just have to see how it falls and hopefully we can win it again.”
Newsome showcased his talents at wide receiver at the Nike Football Training Camp. His route running was impressive, but it was his speed and quickness that set him apart from the other wide outs in attendance.
It appears Newsome is destined to be a slot receiver at the next level. If he can polish up a little bit, there is no reason to believe he won’t be lethal weapon in a spread offense.
“I’ve been running track, so I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for this. But I ran a 4.54 and turned around and did a 34-½ vertical jump,” Newsome said. “My power ball was one of the strongest out here with a 36, so it was pretty good. I just wanted to showcase my talents against some of the best.”
In terms of recruiting, Newsome is one of the most sought after prospects in the state. He holds over 20 offers from the likes of Baylor, Clemson, Ole Miss and Notre Dame, where he will be making an unofficial visit next week.
“I’m going to Notre Dame next week with (Allen wide receiver) Jalen Guyton. He’s one of my good friends, and he’s going to be up there,” Newsome said. “I really like their tradition. I just want to see how everything goes and how they plan to use me.”
Newsome added that he knows he will be making an official visit to Oregon, and Florida State could receive one as well. Newsome said he just wants to ‘take things in stride and see what all these out-of-state schools have to offer.’
But that doesn’t mean Newsome has forgotten about schools close to home. Texas is still coming at him hard, and he stated that he likes the new staff better that the old staff. He’s also considering Texas A&M but said that may change if the Aggies don’t offer soon.
Offensive quick hits and tidbits
- Allen’s Kyler Murray and Stephenville’s Jarrett Stidham were without a doubt the top two quarterbacks at the camp. Murray was named the QB MVP and earned an invite to The Opening. He made every throw on the run and was extremely accurate. Stidham has a great release and a powerful arm. The Texas Tech commit will excel in Kliff Kingsbury’s pass heavy offense.
- Jesuit quarterback Bo Schneider has been garnering a lot of attention after receiving offers from Houston, Tulsa and Southern Miss in the last month. He had an up and down day, but did make some great throws in tight windows and showed improved footwork. Schneider said he would be visiting Duke, Georgia, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest next week.
- In the Class of 2016, keep an eye on Mansfield Timberview quarterback Devin Williams, who just transferred from FW Southwest this spring. Williams has a great release and pretty much every ball was a tight spiral. He’s getting early looks from Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M.
- The best way to describe Longview running back JaMycal Hasty is FAST. Hasty blew by helpless linebackers in one-on-one drills and earned the camp’s RB MVP. Hasty recently committed to Baylor, where he will be a dangerous weapon in an already explosive offense.
- Sachse’s Devine Ozigbo and Kennedale’s Juwan Washington also impressed in one-on-one drills against linebackers. Ozigbo is shifty for being a bigger back and made people miss with ease. Ozigbo holds offers from Miami, Iowa and Utah. Washington, who has an offer from Houston, is only 5-foot-6, but he can juke defenders out of their shoes.
- Argyle running back Nick Ralston has a great stutter step move and gets up the field in a hurry. The Arizona State commit is one of the most underrated backs in the state and has quietly rushed for over 3,500 yards the last two seasons. Cedar Hill running back Aca’Cedric Ware also had a nice little juke move that left defenders standing still. Ware, who holds numerous BCS offers, will be visiting Auburn and Iowa later this month.
- As mentioned Lodge and Newsome both had terrific camps. Newsome was virtually unstoppable in one-on-one’s and won just about every battle. Lodge’s most impressive play was a simple go route, where he flew by Texas commit Jalen Campbell for an easy touchdown grab. It earned him ‘too easy!!!’ chants.
- Prime Prep wide receiver James Proche also had solid camp. Proche is a solid route runner and has some of the best hands in the state. At the moment, he only holds five offers, but expect that list to grow exponentially after this performance. Proche will be announcing his decision on August 29.
- If you’re looking for some sleepers at wide receiver, check out Cedar Hill’s D’Aundrey Bradley and Rockwall’s Xavier Castille. Bradley, who transferred from Dallas First Baptist to Cedar Hill this offseason, stretched the field and was never affected by jams at the line of scrimmage. Castille has 4.4 speed and was one of the best route runners at the camp. As ESPN’s Damon Sayles put it, Castille is the best receiver you’ve never heard of. Both prospects are still looking for their first offer.
- Euless Trinity guard Patrick Vahe was named the OL MVP and earned an invitation to The Opening. The Texas commit went unbeaten in his final five reps and displayed great body quickness. Rockwall-Heath tackle Trevor Elbert (Texas A&M commit) and Arlington Bowie tackle Madison Akamnonu, who holds nine offers, were other offensive lineman standouts.
EJ Holland is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.
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