Inaugural ETCA Combine Showcases Top East Texas Talent
KILGORE -- They came from all over.
Kilgore's indoor practice facility filled with players eager to prove themselves Thursday. The inaugural East Texas Coaches Association Combine took place.
John King, the coach at Longview, organized the event along with Pine Tree coach Kerry Lane and other coaches throughout East Texas. Players ran various drills, sticking with their position groups the whole way.
Toward the end, skill positions got a chance to show off as they went head-to-head with defensive backs in a one-on-one drill.
Lane said he was pleased with the turnout and the initial goal of creating more exposure for East Texas prospects was met.
"With the changes of satellite camps and the regional camp costs, we just wanted to do something," Lane said. "I just tried to help do my part and help keep things organized. But it was really just to help East Texas kids."
Some of the most coveted recruits were in attendance. John Tyler receiver Ke'Andre Street, Pine Tree ATH Keshon Williams and Lufkin DT Carl Williams were among the biggest names in attendance.
Tyler Lee quarterback Mark Patton, who moved from Malakoff, impressed with his accuracy during the one-on-one drills. Waskom's TK Hamilton, a running back who is only beginning to see offers, impressed with his speed in the individual drills.
Javasia Brunson, a DE from Lufkin with several FBS offers, was another standout in attendance. He said he enjoyed the experience and recommends any players that didn't attend this year do so next season.
"It was a great event," he said. "The turnout was good. I like the competition of East Texas. The boys play hard. They need to keep it going and get some of these East Texas guys out of here."
Brunson had several teammates along with him, including fellow defensive linemen Carl Williams and Breylon Garcia. Together, the group comprises perhaps the most menacing defensive line in East Texas. Brunson said the trio feeds off each other during games.
"It's good for me," he said. "The offensive line might slide Breylon's way, then it's good for Breylon because they might slide my way. We're both pass rushers. It makes it hard for teams to gameplay against us. They've got to pick one every week."
Kelvontay Dixon was another player that stood out. Dixon, the younger brother of former Carthage running back Keaontay Ingram, is recovering from an ankle injury but didn't appear hobbled Thursday. He breezed through the one-on-one drills, showing off speed and ball skills.
It's unclear what position he will play for the Bulldogs next season yet, but expect him to pick up plenty of the slack left over from Ingram's graduation.
The coaches hope to make the combine an annual tradition in the football offseason. Lane said Thursday lived up to his expectations and though the bar is now set high, the coaches will look to find ways to improve it with each year.
"I thought it went really well," he said. "We did a lot of asking around from college coaches about what they wanted to see. So we got our ideas from that. The biggest part was all of the coaches from local high schools coming together to make it work. You've got coaches out here coaching football, that makes it awesome. They coach them just like they're their own kids. That's what really made today successful."