SAN ANTONIO – The biggest news of the day involving the seven Longhorns commits came before the whistle blew to start practice.
San Antonio Warren defensive tackle Calvin Howell left Monday’s practice on a cart after he hit, knee-first, a water cooler that was set up just a few yards behind a pass rush drill at the West practice field. Howell, who said that x-rays on his knee were negative after some believed he could have a broken kneecap, ran around on the practice field before deciding to participate with no limitations in two full pad practices for the West team at the Blossom Athletic Center.
Howell had another good practice on Tuesday, one of several Longhorn commits that has continued to shine through the first two days.
2009 Texas Commits:
Tariq Allen, LB, Irvin MacArthur
Allen received a lot of compliments from the West coaching staff during both practice sessions for his ability to read, react and get to the football. Allen has been solid in both inside run drills and during 7 on 7 action, but the play of USC commit Vontaze Burfict and Stevenson (Alabama) North Jackson prospect Tana Patrick has been outstanding and has overshadowed Allen’s steady performance.
Marcus Davis, CB, League City Clear Creek
Texas fans that have not seen Davis play yet will fall in love quickly with his style of play once he arrives in Austin next semester. On Tuesday he showed once again that he excels in one-on-situations and in addition to being physical at the point of attack, his ability to turn and run, locate the ball and make a play on it is uncanny. Davis has been arguably the most consistent defensive back for the West team, which says a mouthful because the West is absolutely loaded in the secondary.
Calvin Howell, DT, San Antonio Warren
The fact that Howell even practiced today shows how tough he is, considering how much pain was on his face when he left practice Monday. Howell said he was scared, but he was back to enjoying himself at practice and has one of the best personalities of any of the prospects at the event – players regardless of choice of school seem to gravitate towards him. As far as on the field, the only thing that has separated Howell from Jamarkus McFarland is McFarland’s technique. McFarland consistently fires off of the ball with a low pad level and can go to either an inside swim move or an outside rip. Howell on the other has shown tremendous explosion and strength off of the ball, which has looked just as good or better than that of the Oklahoma-bound McFarland, and he is most successful when he uses the bull rush. Generates a lot of leg power and he has not lost his quickness despite adding muscle as a senior.
Alex Okafor, DE, Pflugerville
Okafor continued to show on Tuesday that he has the tools necessary to not only start, but make an impact as a true freshman beginning this spring. He has been continually disruptive during pass protection drills and has been engaged in some high profile matchups against Alabama commit D.J. Fluker. Fluker got the best Okafor the first time the two locked up, but after that Okafor was the only defensive lineman from the West team that was able to get by him, giving him a nice inside rip move on one occasion. It cannot be understated just how good he is at shedding the block, locating the ball, and getting down the line to make a play.
Garrett Porter, OL, Odessa Permian
Porter continued to cross train between left tackle and right guard on Tuesday. Overall Porter had a solid day, but not a great day. His one notable moment came during a pass protection drill in which he looked to easily handle Jamarkus McFarland. Porter has been good in running drills and in pass blocking situations, but his only real problem has been trying to fend off speed rushers coming hard off of the edge.
Greg Timmons, WR, Aldine Eisenhower
A combination of an outstanding group effort by the West secondary and erratic quarterback play have contributed to Timmons and the rest of the West receivers getting off to a slow start. Timmons however has been consistent in pulling in the catchable balls and he made to two very nice grabs down the sideline, although one he pulled in out of bounds but his body control and ability to pluck the ball out of the air are noteworthy. He doesn’t waste movement in his routes and has been arguably the best receiver on the West team at avoiding getting jammed at the line of scrimmage.
Chris Whaley, RB, Madisonville It’s not that Whaley has looked bad through two practices, it is just that Christine Michael has looked very, very good and has overshadowed Texas’ lone running back commit in the 2009 class. Whaley has above average quickness and doesn’t dance behind the line of scrimmage. He is a true one cut and go back. Michael has drawn high praise from the West coaching staff and at the point Whaley and Cierre Wood are fighting it out for the No. 2 spot behind the Texas A&M commit.
2009 Texas Targets:
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Gadsden (Alabama) Gadsden City
After sitting out Monday’s afternoon session with an apparent groin injury, Kirkpatrick was back out on the field on Tuesday morning. He has a long frame and his best attribute seemed to be his ability to plant his feet and drive off of his back foot to make a play on the ball. He is the textbook definition of a bump-and-run corner and has outstanding recovery speed when running with a receiver down the field. He also has very fluid hip movement for a corner with his size. The only down part of his day was that he missed the afternoon session with an injury to his right hand. In the very limited time he has been on the field, he has lived up to his lofty billing.
Jarvis Jones, LB, Columbus (Georgia) Carver
Once again Jones was tough to evaluate on Tuesday because the East team was practicing in jerseys and shorts. The best evaluation of Jones will come on Wednesday during the skills competition and the Intra-Squad Scrimmage at the Alamodome.
Also see: Army Bowl Practice Report: Day Two