Some of East Texas’ Top Talent on Display at Wednesday’s Texas Tech Camp at Longview High School
LONGVIEW — Traveling the 480 miles from Texas Tech’s Jones Stadium in Lubbock to Longview’s Lobo Stadium was worth it for the Red Raider staff.
A large contingent of the top high school football talent in East Texas attended Texas Tech’s Wednesday afternoon camp at Longview High School. Several dozen athletes overall showed up, including more than a dozen players in the 2014 and 2015 classes with at least one FBS offer.
“Really just the overall talent level is incredible,” said new Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who arrived at Tech in the offseason after serving as Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator. “Texas high school coaches do such a great job with their programs. They’re always competitive, well-mannered, great kids that come out and really put on a show. I’ve been out here the last five years, and when I got to Tech they hadn’t had one out here, and that’s one of the first things we said. We’ve gotta get back to East Texas. Love it out here and the kids do a great job.”
The 33-year-old Kingsbury and his relatively young coaching staff have created some of the most online buzz in recent months thanks to their social media presence. Along with Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and Baylor’s Art Briles, Kingsbury and the Red Raider staff have made big recruiting strides thanks to their visibility on Twitter.
Kingsbury said having a presence on Twitter is a must in today’s recruiting world.
“I think you have to. That’s where kids get all their information these days, so you’ve gotta keep up with the Joneses, so to speak,” Kingsbury said. “Our staff is a little younger in age than most, so I think we’re pretty familiar with that type of demographic.”
Texas Tech has been extremely active recruiting East Texas in recent weeks and months. Kingsbury and the Red Raiders have offered 14 players in the region’s 2014 and 2015 classes, including Whitehouse 2014 quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has committed to Texas Tech. Mahomes, Pine Tree’s Caleb Chumley (2014), and Longview’s Dezmond Chumley (2015) were among the quarterbacks performing at Wednesday’s camp.
One player the Red Raiders got a good look at was Sulphur Springs 2014 athlete Willy Ivery, who was among the region’s scoring leaders in 2012. As a junior, Ivery ran 86 times for 914 yards — 10.6 yards per carry — and 22 touchdowns. He caught 54 passes for 674 yards and six scores while averaging 28.3 yards per kickoff return as Sulphur Springs finished 8-3 with a District 14-4A championship and first-round playoff appearance.
But Wednesday’s camp saw the 5-foot-8, 180-pound speedster working on the other side of the ball.
“(Texas Tech safeties) coach (Trey) Haverty told me to try out for a little bit of corner and get evaluated,” Ivery said. “I’ve been working on it and see if I can get evaluated and probably get a scholarship there at corner.”
Ivery holds five offers: Colorado State, New Mexico State, North Texas, Texas State, and Toledo. But he’s hoping to hear from a BCS conference team soon.
“I’m pretty open, but hopefully for a Big 12 school that comes around,” he said. “If a Big 12 offer comes around I might take it.”
Another East Texan who impressed spectators was Palestine’s Jarrell Owens.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder played running back in a hand full of games in 2012, when a nagging injury limited his playing time. Now at full strength, Owens is being recruited as a defensive end and/or linebacker.
He received an offer from TCU on Tuesday. The Horned Frogs join Texas Tech, Texas State, and ULM as the schools to offer him so far. Oklahoma and Baylor have also shown interest.
“(Recruiting) is going good. I’m just trying to keep going hard and work harder and hopefully more offers will come around,” said Owens, who has no favorites at this time. “I’m just trying to take it slow.”
Among the biggest names participating in drills were Mahomes, as well as 20-plus-offer receiver K.D. Cannon of Mount Pleasant, who is considered the top player in East Texas’ 2014 class by 247Sports.com, Rivals.com, and ESPN.com.
Sulphur Springs 2015 safety Larry Pryor (seven offer) and Longview 2015 running back JaMycal Hasty (four offers) also participated. Standouts in the 2015 class such as Gladewater defensive tackle Daylon Mack and Whitehouse safety Justin Dunning — owners of seven and five offers, respectively — watched but did not participate.
East Texans With Texas Tech Offers
- K.D. Cannon, WR, Mount Pleasant, 6-0, 160 (participated Wednesday)
- Terrell Cuney, C, Jasper, 6-3, 260 (committed to Texas)
- Davion Hall, ATH, Liberty-Eylau, 6-2, 191 (committed to Baylor)
- Zaycoven Henderson, DT, Longview, 6-1, 287 (committed to TCU)
- Dorian Leonard, WR, Longview, 6-4, 200
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Whitehouse, 6-3, 203 (committed to Texas Tech; participated Wednesday)
- Jarrell Owens, LB/DE, Palestine, 6-3, 238 (participated Wednesday)
- Kevin Shorter, RB/S, Newton, 6-0, 190
- Josh Walker, RB/LB, Gilmer, 6-1, 220 (committed to Texas A&M)
- Key’Vantanie “KeKe” Coutee, ATH, Lufkin, 5-10, 160 (committed to Texas)
- Justin Dunning, WR/S, Whitehouse, 6-4, 200 (watched Wednesday)
- JaMycal Hasty, RB, Longview, 5-9, 181 (participated Wednesday)
- Daylon Mack, DT, Gladewater, 6-2, 310 (watched Wednesday)
- Larry Pryor, S, Sulphur Springs, 6-1, 185 (participated Wednesday)
East Texans With One Or More FBS Offers
Who Attended Wednesday’s Texas Tech Camp
Class of 2014
- K.D. Cannon, WR, Mount Pleasant, 6-0, 160 — offers from Arizona, Baylor, Clemson, Florida State, Houston, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia, West Virginia (21)
- Caleb Chumley, QB/ATH, Pine Tree, 6-5, 220 — offers from Houston, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, North Texas, Oregon State, Texas State (7)
- Joseph Clark, RB/S, Chapel Hill, 5-9, 175 — offers from Air Force, Texas State (2)
- Tee Goree, WR, Carthage, 6-2, 168 — offer from Louisiana Tech, Memphis, ULL, ULM (4)
- Willy Ivery, ATH, Sulphur Springs, 5-8, 180 — offers from Colorado State, New Mexico, North Texas, Texas State, Toledo (5)
- Dorian Leonard, WR, Longview, 6-4, 200 — offers from Florida State, Oklahoma, Oregon State, San Diego State, Texas, Texas Tech (6)
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Whitehouse, 6-3, 203 — committed to Texas Tech; additional offers from Houston, North Texas, Rice (4); also has Arizona, Arkansas, Houston baseball offers
- Jarrell Owens, LB/DE, Palestine, 6-3, 230 — offer from TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech, ULM (4)
Class of 2015
- Kris Boyd, ATH, Gilmer, 6-0, 175 — offers from TCU, Texas (2)
- *Justin Dunning, WR/S, Whitehouse, 6-4, 200 — offers from Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech (5)
- JaMycal Hasty, RB, Longview, 5-9, 181 — offers from Baylor, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech (4)
- *Daylon Mack, DT, Gladewater, 6-2, 310 — offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech (7)
- Larry Pryor, S, Sulphur Springs, 6-1, 185 — offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, (7)
* — did not participate in camp drills