Checking in on Talent on the Coastal Plains

Andrew McGowan (Eric Nahlin/IT)

Andrew McGowan (Eric Nahlin/IT)

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Increasingly football has become a year-round sport, and with it having the most scholarships to offer, that only makes sense.

Gone are the days when athletes would show up to camps saying they were rusty, or haven’t thrown a football in two months because they were playing baseball. Even as athletes participate in secondary and tertiary sports like basketball, baseball, and track and field, increasingly they stay involved with football whether it be through 7 on 7, or by working with skills trainers.

Correlating to football occupying the full calendar, skills trainers are becoming a more prominent feature of covering football and recruiting. These trainers can be found in Houston, Dallas, and East Texas, but because football players can be found anywhere in this talented state, increasingly so to can trainers.

A member of this site introduced me to Quincy Whittington who works out of Victoria. Not known as a hotbed of football talent, I was excited to hear about the group Whittington is working with.

A former star athlete at Cuero who earned a scholarship to SMU, Whittington was a receiver on the same roster as Emanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley. Upon leaving The Hilltop, he looked for his calling and has found it. As he mentioned, it’s tough to adjust to life after football, but this keeps him involved.

He’s equal parts mentor, motivator, and trainer, and in order to further feed his inner competitor, he’s a bodybuilder as well. As he mentioned while covering receivers in drills, “you’re lucky my muscles are all tight, if I was training for football you wouldn’t have a chance [catching passes on him].”

Only 26 years-old, and in an area not known for producing top-flight talent, the Bob Sanders body-double has a nice list of athletes. Ultimately, though, as Quincy stated, it’s not about him, it’s about the players.

His first clients, since they were in the 8th grade, were Joshua and Jordan Moore from nearby Yoakum, both high profile recruits in 2018. Joshua attends famed IMG and has offers from nearly every school of note. Jordan chose Texas A&M over numerous suitors.

Perhaps the best advertisement, though for Whittington, is his brother Jordan (also from Cuero). Jordan is an extremely polished receiver who has been picking up quality offers since he was a freshman. Still a sophomore, Jordan is a household name in recruiting circles. Him being so refined is a testament to the coaching he’s received from his big brother. Also, he’s already built better than most college underclassmen.

Jordan’s teammate Bralen Taylor is another pupil, and about as uncommon a football player as you’ll find in high school. Standing in the 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8 range, and weighing 220 pounds, Taylor has seen his stock rise after fairing well at the Nike Opening Regional. Still extremely raw, Whittington worked with him on staying low and under control, while exploding out of his breaks. You want big receivers who can play small and small receivers who can play big. Taylor’s height will always be something that hurts as well as helps him, but if he continues to work hard he’s going to have extraordinary receiving skills for a tight end.

The first player I asked Quincy about was Andrew McGowan from Sinton. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds his frame for a receiver really stands out. He has good ball skills and body control, and does well to catch away from his body. Nice catch radius. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but if he continues to hone his route running, he should do well to create separation. He has the coordination and fluidity to become a technical route runner. He’s committed to UTSA and should move the chains with frequency for them.

Daryl French (Eric Nahlin/IT)

Daryl French (Eric Nahlin/IT)

A guy I spent a ton of time watching and wondering about was McGowan’s teammate, Daryl French. French was working pass rush drills and looking quick doing it. At about 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, I was projecting him everywhere. I even thought H-back and sure enough, later in the day he looked good in receiving drills. After watching his film my view is his ceiling is as a stand-up, outside linebacker who rushes about as much as he drops. He’s quick off the ball and has powerful hands, which lends itself to the pass rush and setting the edge, but he’s fluid and athletic enough to drop into coverage as well. He’s already well built, but has room for more growth. It’s only a matter of time before offers start coming in, and I think he can play in the Big 12.

I wasn’t able to put eyes on him yesterday, but Quincy asked me to take a look at Johnathon Whitby’s film and that was 3:30 well spent. I love safeties who come downhill from a deep position and lay the wood and that’s what Whitby does. He shows great closing speed as well as an eye for taking the quickest route to the ball carrier. He’s an explosive hitter who looks to have above average speed. Film doesn’t give you a great idea of his coverage ability, but he’s an obvious prospect for a great many schools. Whitby holds no offers and doesn’t have a recruiting profile. Expect all that to change. Whitby looks like a Big 12 player.

Another player I wasn’t able to see but was hoping to is Hallettsville’s Scooter Adams. Adams has a pinch of Rex Burkhead to his game as a player who can play running back or safety on the next level. To this point Adams only has a Howard University offer but I think if he really hits the Summer camp circuit and rips off some more hand-timed 4.4’s like he did at Texas, he’ll go on a run of offers at some point. He’s a D1 player for sure.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Tre Wolf from Victoria East. He’s 2017 and time is running out for him, but he’s still working and holding out for his shot, so hopefully someone at a smaller school sees this. He’s sinewy of build at about 6-foot, 165, but he catches everything and aside from Jordan Whittington, ran the most consistently clean routes. As a senior he had 55 receptions, for 1374 yards, as well as 16 touchdowns and three interceptions on defense. He’s a good player who can definitely play somewhere, and I hear he scored a very solid 24 on his ACT.

I enjoyed seeing Quincy give no quarter to any players; whether it was a star recruit he’s related to, or to an 11 year-old named Cain Hayden who struggled to get off the line versus a 26 year-old ex-college football player turned bodybuilder. Don’t worry about it Cain, when you’re 16, you’ll be that grown man on the field because of days like Monday.

It’ll be fun to see where Whittington and Taylor ultimately decide to attend (more on them tomorrow), but I’m just as excited to see what happens to the others, especially the ones waiting on that first offer.

Thanks to owner Nick Green at The Heat Fitness for all the things he does to help parents and prospects through their recruiting process.