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July 28, 2004Someone forgot to tell the players in the THSCA All-Star game last night that the Fourth of July was a few weeks ago.
With a few future Longhorn and Sooner stars leading the way, a fireworks display broke out at Rice Stadium on Tuesday, as the North team rolled to a 51-25 win over the South.
It was just a wild game that most never saw coming. Also, although I thought the North had a major edge in talent going into the game, I didn't think we'd see 80 points on the scoreboard and a 26-point butt-whipping.
Let's look at some of the standouts from last night's game.
QB - Rhett Bomar - I have to start with him because he was the MVP last night. Looked like the kind of prospect that everyone thinks he is and there's no question that there probably hasn't been a pure pro-style QB prospect like Bomar to come out of Texas since Shea Morenz. He's also a much better athlete than people give him credit for. The only question I have about Bomar is whether or not he truly has great field presence and the intangibles that the great ones have. There's no way to know right now, but he sure as hell looked great last night. As I said to one of the guys from our Rivals OU site that called me out on my comments about Bomar, I wonder if he's not the second coming of Chris Rix.
QB - Graham Harrell - I'm a big fan of this kid, but he's the anti-Bomar in many respects. He doesn't have that same live arm or the size or the pure physical upside, but in the right offense, he'll be awesome. Had a decent night last night, but he really was overshadowed by Bomar. If he had been playing for the South, I bet it would have been a closer game.
RB - Ramonce Taylor - I thought Taylor looked really good, but he didn't even come close to showing the kind of talent he possesses. The kid has something special about him and he has the ability to dart in and out of traffic like few can. Has more home run speed that we saw last night. The thought of him in the backfield with Vincent Young in the near future is scary.
WR - Nathan Jones - As excited as Oklahoma fans have to be about Bomar, Texas fans are feeling the exact same way about Jones this morning. Of all the wide receivers that Texas signed in February, Jones and Chris Ogbonnaya were probably the two that received the least amount of fan fare, but Jones showed on this night that he wasn't one of the top players in East Texas for the last three seasons for nothing. Jones was the big-play deep threat for the North squad all night long and offered a glimpse of what he might be able to do for Texas this season. The thing about Jones is that he has sneaky speed. He never looks like he's running away from anyone, but he always seems to be fast enough to create big plays and get into the end zone. Just as he has shown in summer workouts at Texas, Jones displayed the ability to get open, make yardage after the catch and get by people down the field. Some might have been surprised with his play last night, but few on the 40 Acres that have seen him this summer were.
WR - Darcel McBath - Another player headed to Tech that should be perfect for the type of offense that Leach and Co. run. Although he made some nice plays, he didn't really display the type of explosiveness that I was expecting to see from him in the open field. Still, the kid has talent and should be a fun prospect to watch in Lubbock.
WR - Danny Amendola - Texas Tech knows exactly what they are doing with their wide receiver recruiting. They want guys that are quick and tough to lasso in space. Wes Welker might have graduated, but they've got themselves a good one and perhaps a carbon copy in this kid. He flashed a little of his potential as a playmaker in Mike Leach's offense with a 65-yard catch and run for a touchdown in the third quarter that really blew the game wide open. I really thought Amendola was a very underrated recruit last year and he should do very well in Lubbock.
OL - Cedric Dockery - Didn't see much of Dockery last night and it might have had to do with him being a little banged up. Very hard to make any kind of assessment based on last night's performance, but I've seen enough of Dockery in person the last two years to know he's a player. More than anything, Dockery needs to get in a little better shape and I expect that to happen as soon as Texas offensive line coach Mac McWhorter gets a hold of him in August.
OL - Greg Dolan - You know, Dolan didn't have a great night, but he showed a lot of things that have me thinking he has a chance to be a great, great college player. First of all, he probably has the best feet of any lineman I saw in the game last night. Although he got off-balance a few times, Dolan was explosive coming out of his stance and showed the kind of raw skill that could make him an all-conference tackle in a few seasons. Plays the game with an attitude and played to the whistle and beyond on every snap. Clearly the best offensive line prospect in the game that I saw.
OL - Yemi Babalola - The Aggies potentially got themselves a very good one with this kid. He definitely fills out a uniform and he showed some skill as a run blocker and pass protector last night. With a redshirt year this season, he might be able to contribute for the Aggies in 2005.
DT - Derek Lokey - I actually expected Lokey to dominate the line of scrimmage in this game more than he did, but the actual results of the game proved to be a very good indicator of what Lokey's current strengths and weaknesses as a prospect are. On one hand, he showed great quickness off the ball and was able to knife through the line for a couple of nice plays behind the line of scrimmage. However, he also struggled on occasion at the point of attack against larger offensive linemen and that's going to be something that he improves on before he's Division I ready. He's a player that has a lot of strength, but he needs to make his living on his quickness and ability to stay low and get the leverage advantage on his opponent.
LB - Brendan Pahulu - One of the biggest surprises of the night was the play of this 6-2, 210-pound linebacker from Euless Trinity. However, when you think about it, should anyone have been surprised that this kid was better than advertised? Afterall, it's not like this school doesn't produce great high school linebackers on a yearly basis. Pahulu made two big interceptions for the North squad on Tuesday night, but he also showed a little more speed and range than we're used to seeing from Trinity linebacker. Those guys have a history of being headhunters, but Pahulu showed the ability to cover more ground than I expected. Art Briles got a good one.
CB - Ryan Palmer - I've been higher on this kid than probably any other recruiting analyst and the reasons are simple - you can't teach speed and Palmer has more of it than anyone that was on the field last night. Although the South threw the ball quite often, Palmer was rarely challenged and the biggest reason for that had to do with the fact that he was locking down his man on every play. The thing that I saw from Palmer last night that really caught my attention was his eagerness to mix it up in run support. He might need a redshirt year at Texas, but he's go the chance to be a great player.
QB - Jordan Chambless - I'm probably Chambless biggest fan in the network and I loved him coming out of high school, but the former all-state quarterback had a tough night last night. Overall, he didn't look great throwing the ball, but I've seen him play so well in the past that I wouldn't make too much out of this one game. The one thing he did showcase was his athleticism and ability t make off-schedule plays. Finished the game with a second-best 66 yards on eight carries.
WR - Jordan Shipley - Along with Bomar and Drew Kelson, I thought Shipley was one of the three best players on the field. Ended up catching five balls for 104 yards and a pair of scores, but if he had been playing for the North side, he might have tripled those numbers. He runs the best routes of any player I've seen coming out of high school in a long time and what really separates him is his ability to get in and out of his breaks. This is not just some possession receiver we're talking about. He's a playmaker.
DT - William Morrissey - Like Lokey, I really though that Morrissey would have a big showing tonight, but that just didn't happen. In fact, you wouldn't have known Morrissey was even on the field at times if you hadn't been looking for him. Still, the kid is a big-time prospect and it has to be mentioned that he was playing a little bit of position last night and was double-teamed on quite a few occasions.
DB - Drew Kelson - Anyone that watched last night's game now knows why he was the nation's top-rated safety prospect and the No.1 recruit in the Houston area in 2004. Kelson was knocking people's lights out all night long and displayed his potential as a playmaker in the first half when he made a leaping interception off of Harrell along the sideline. Even with all of the offensive fireworks, the highlight of the night was watching Bomar and Kelson go at each other. Think we might see that a few times in the years to come?