Texas State Pro Day 2014

Of the 2013 Texas State seniors Kamu Taulelei, Tyler Arndt, Duke DeLancellotti, Jordan Norfleet, Devin Baker and Blake McColloch decided now to work out for NFL scouts.

Teams represented in San Marcos Wednesday were the Texans, Rams, Panthers, Eagles, Titans, Colts, Chargers, Jaguars, Packers, 49ers and Raiders.

Here are the results:

Bench Press (reps of 225)

  • Jamie Clavell-Head — 34 reps
  • D.J. Yendrey — 29
  • Justin Iwuji — 19
  • Damion McMiller: — 17
  • Isaiah Battle — 16
  • Andy Erickson — 11
  • Xavier Daniels — 6
  • Aaron Matthews — Did not lift

Broad Jump

  • Xavier Daniels — 9’6″
  • D.J. Yendrey — 9’4″
  • Jamie Clavell-Head — 9’3″
  • Isaiah Battle — 9’3″
  • Damion McMiller — 9’1″
  • Justin Iwuji — 8’11”
  • Andy Erickson — 8’10”

Vertical Jump

  • Isaiah Battle — 37″
  • Jamie Clavell-head — 36″
  • D.J. Yenderey — 33″
  • Justin Iwuji — 32″
  • Xavier Daniels — 30″
  • Andy Erickson — 28″
  • Damion McMiller — 27″

40-yard dash

  • Isaiah Battle — 4.33
  • Jamie Clavell-Head — 4.55
  • Andy Erickson — 4.50
  • Xavier Daniels — 4.63
  • D.J. Yendrey — 4.75
  • Justin Iwuji — 4.80
  • Damion McMiller — 4.85

Short Shuttle

  • Xavier Daniels — 3.91
  • Isaiah Battle — 4.00
  • D.J. Yendrey — 4.11
  • Andy Erickson — 4.19
  • Jamie Clavell-Head — 4.25
  • Justin Iwuji — 4.29
  • Damion McMiller — 4.31

Jamie Clavell-Head and D.J. Yendrey really put on a show for scouts.

Clavell-Head’s numbers compared to other defensive ends at the combine would have been the second fastest 40 time (behind only Jadaveon Clowney), his bench would have been the #1 in his group, and his 36″ vertical jump would have been tied for 3rd.

Clavell-Head showed he has the versatility to play both defensive and and outside linebacker in 3-4 defenses which will open him up to many more opportunities at the next level.

Yendrey was equally impressive. His 40 time would have been 2nd best among defensive tackles at the combine. He’s the best NFL prospect in the group and the Bobcat with the best chance of being drafted this year. Like with Joplo Bartu I don’t expect he’ll hear his name called, but he should be signed as a priority free agent after the draft.

Fran’s Spring Press Conference.

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Fran started the press conference today by formally introducing John Thompson as the new defensive coordinator at Texas State. For those unfamiliar with this move Thompson comes to Texas State from Arkansas State and has experience coaching defenses in the SEC.

Thompson will just be “a walking around coordinator” and won’t coach any specific position this spring. Jason Washington will move from coaching just the cornerbacks to now coaching the whole secondary and Brad Franchione will remain the linebackers coach for the time being. There may be a change to that this fall, but for now that’s how they’re going to do things.

“We’ll merge our defensive styles together from what we’ve been doing to John’s,” said Franchione. “I’ve asked John to use as much of our vocabulary as he could so the learning curve isn’t too big for our players. I think the multiplicity he’ll bring is a plus. I know from going against John his strength is that he’s multiple. He can bring pressure from different areas and different fronts. He keeps it simple for his players but complicated for offenses facing him.”

Fran came to Texas State with the 4-2-5 defense that he favors, and even when Texas State changed last season to get three linebackers on the field they would still keep five defensive backs in the secondary. He said today that while the fronts may change, they’re going to keep the same philosophy in the back end.

“John has always been a five DB guy,” said Franchione. “The thing we will be is more multiple than we have been. We you combine the even front concepts with the odd front stuff that he does then that’s where you get the ability to be multiple without making it too complicated on our players. But it’s pretty challenging for an offense.”

– Three players have decided to leave the team this spring. Justin Albritton has had two knee surgeries since high school and due to medical reasons has decided to give up football. He was a star athlete in high school and it’s too bad he wasn’t ever able to get started  in college.

Michael Gilmore has graduated and decided to move on rather than come back for his final year of eligibility and Josh Robinson has decided to give up football.

– Tight end David Lewis had surgery on his hand after the season and is still recovering from that. Fran said he’s progressing well and they think he may be able to practice before the spring is over.

Running Back Chris Nutall has been dealing with turf toe. Fran didn’t comment on his status this spring.

– Donta Clanton is going to see time at safety as well as corner. Fran said Brandon McDowell may move from corner to wide receiver where he played in high school, but that may not happen if Clanton moves to safety full time.

– The official list of redshirted players from 2013 is: Jeff Banks, Karee’ Berry, C.J. Best, Donta Clanton, Trey Garrett, Brice Gunter, Darius Hood, Jackson Hoskins, Brandon McDowell, Demun Mercer, Rusmin Nikocevic, Dila Rosemond, Brandon Sarabia, and Demetrius Woodard.

– Fran said they hosted what he called the “one back clinic” at Texas State where coaches from Rice and New Mexico came to San Marcos to exchange ideas and coaching philosophies. 

– The Texas State coaching staff also spent a lot of time studying other programs because as Fran jokingly put it, they “didn’t have a bowl game messing up our holidays.”

They watched tape on the offenses for the Philadelphia Eagles, Auburn, BYU, Duke, and about 10-12 more teams.

What those teams have in common is an up-tempo offensive philosophy with a spread running offense. Fran said they were most impressed with what Auburn was able to do, but was especially impressed with the precision of David Cutcliff’s offense at Duke.

Cutcliff’s offense has received a lot of attention recently with Duke’s turnaround. He has always been the off-season quarterback coach for Peyton Manning, but recently teams like the Dallas Cowboys have paid attention. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo spent time in Durham learning from them this off-season.

Fran said he’s wanted to have an up-tempo offense since he got to Texas State but felt he had to build up the defense first before he could do so.

“If you have a quick three-and-out it puts a lot of pressure on your defense,” said Franchione. “That’s why we haven’t been able to do it before. You have to get your defense on solid ground.”

Texas State averaged 64 offensive plays a game but he wants to get that number up in 75-80 plays per game range which would put them among the top 20 teams in the country in that category.

A big factor in that will be the play of sophomore quarterback Tyler Jones who should benefit from his first time going through spring practices as a Bobcat.

Fran said that for all the good things Tyler did last year his technique and fundamentals were still lacking just because he was so new to the program and had been thrown in the fire very early on.

– New offensive line coach Brad Bedell is a product of the exchange of offensive ideas this off-season. He came to Texas State to talk with the Bobcat coaches about Arkansas State’s offensive style because of a past relationship with Bobcat offensive coordinator Mike Schultz.

When last year’s offensive line coach Gordy Shaw decided to move on to the University of Houston, Fran hired Bedell because he had been so impressed by their conversations the month prior.

– Spring practice will finally begin for Texas State Tuesday the 18th. Texas State pro day is March 26th.

To: New Texas State defensive coordinator John Thompson

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To: New Texas State defensive coordinator John Thompson

 

Coach Thompson I know you have a lot of experience at high level programs so you don’t need any help with how to run a defense, but with spring practices so close to starting I thought I’d give you a hand getting to know your new surroundings.

 

One of the first players I’m sure you’ll meet will be senior linebacker Mike Orakpo. You’ll be walking into a good situation with a group of strong senior leaders that know this is their last chance to make a bowl at Texas State before their careers are over.

 

I don’t know if Orakpo is the best leader, but he’s the loudest. He’s the face of the defense to the fans and the heart of the group.

 

You run an attacking defense and Orakpo is probably the sharpest arrow in your quiver. He’s at his best pressing the line of scrimmage and playing downhill. If he’s able to do that then he should have an all-conference year.

 

You’ve said great linebackers are important to the defense and that’s an area where you won’t need to worry. If David Mayo can just play a full season at Texas State without falling prey to the injury bug then he should lead the defense in almost every category from tackles to interceptions.

 

Mayo can rush the passer and will make a lot of tackles in the backfield, but unlike Orakpo he’s best working in space. You won’t find a more instinctual linebacker in the Sun Belt today than Mayo, who always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

 

He needs to get better at taking on blockers but he’s usually able to use his quickness to get by slower linemen to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.

 

 The other senior leader with a lot to prove is cornerback Craig Mager. This will be his fourth year as a starter, and at his best he’s inconsistent with flashes of greatness and at his worst he’s overmatched and a step late.

 

Mager likes to take risks and will gamble a few times which have paid off (see the first touchdown against Southern Miss) but sometimes he comes up empty and it results in a touchdown the other way.

 

The Bobcats got lucky last year that Xavier Daniels was able to make the transition to corner as smoothly as he did. With the potential for a completely new starting secondary around him, Mager needs to take his play to the next level or the defense will continue their pace as one of the worst against the pass in the conference.

 

The most exciting thing about the defense is the mix of veteran leadership and really talented young players. The current staff has recruited well the last few years and many of the talented players from the 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes are finally to the point where they’re able to contribute significant minutes.

 

I expect freshman and sophomores like Germod “Gizmo” Williams, Dila Rosemond, Stephen Smith, Dallas McClarty, Will Trevillion and Damani Alexcee to provide depth and much needed speed and athleticism to an already experienced and strong defense. These are the players I’m most interested in watching this spring.

 

Hope you enjoy your time in San Marcos,

 

Fletcher Rutland

BobcatProspectus

Unofficial Captains

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I was told that recently Fran pulled David Mayo, Bradley Miller and Mike Orakpo aside and told the three seniors that he’s counting on them to be leaders on the team this year.

The Texas State players will vote on the leadership council before the 2014 season which typically includes around 15 players, but these are the three players that Fran has singled out as leaders.

Ever since he got to Texas State one of the biggest points of emphasis for Franchione has been the need to have a “player-led team” rather than a “coach-led” team. Mayo, Miller, and Orakpo are all entering their senior seasons, and coming off the disappointing 2013 campaign that saw them not selected for a bowl game despite being eligible, these three know it’s their last chance to cement their legacy as Bobcats.

Mike Orakpo has been an outspoken leader since he stepped foot on campus in San Marcos. Before he had even put on the Bobcat helmet Fran singled him out as someone that already had a great positive influence in the locker room during his pre-spring practice press conference.

David Mayo has been a starter at linebacker from day one with the Bobcats and I’ve made the assertion before that he’s the team’s most complete defensive player. He’s not as vocal as Orakpo who leads the pre-game chant each Saturday, but Mayo leads by example and other players take notice.

Miller is a mix of the two. He isn’t as demonstrative as Orakpo but is more outspoken than Mayo. He’s entering his third year starting at tight end for Texas State and has both taken young players like Tyler Jones under his wing, but has also been one of the best official visit hosts when recruits are in town. (He hosted 2014 signee Brian Guendling who raved about his visit and committed before leaving.)

I think these were the three clear choices as players that need to really take hold of the role as leaders on the team. We’ll see if it pays off this fall.

Bobcats Offer Local Standout

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Cuero athlete D’Anthony Hopkins (6-2, 220) is reporting an offer from Texas State. He says he was offered at the Bobcats’ junior day recently and has another offer from UTSA.

Rivals lists Hopkins as a fullback but he is also being considered by other schools as a possible linebacker.

There isn’t much subtlety to Hopkins as a running back. He follows a straight line to the end zone and runs over anyone that crosses his path. He does show that he pairs good speed along with his physicality. When he gets into the open field there aren’t many opponents at his level that can catch him.

My guess is the plan for Hopkins is to eventually end up at linebacker which is what Texas State desperately needs in this class. Signing Hopkins is also important because he comes from their base recruiting hotbed.

Fran likes to put up a fence along the I-10 Corridor and lock down anyone in that area from the east side of Houston to San Antonio. This has been the bread and butter of Texas State’s recruiting efforts going back to when Brad Wright signed former Cuero Gobbler Tyler Arndt and especially during Franchione’s time as head coach.

This may be the first of what I think will be many head-to-head battles between Texas State and UTSA in this class. I’ll have more on that in a future blog post.

D’Anthony Hopkins’ Highlights

Bobcats Add to 2014 Class

Texas State added to their 2014 class yesterday when Burnett kicker/punter Austin Huff accepted a preferred walk-on offer from the Bobcats.

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Huff joins Montgomery Catholic (Alabama) kicker James Sherman, who is on scholarship, as the two specialists in the 2014 class.

With the graduation of Zach Robinson following the 2013 season and seniors Will Johnson and Jason Dann set to leave the team after this year, Texas State now has two players on campus that can compete to replace them in 2015.

Signing Day Awards

This class gets dinged so often for lacking “star power” but I look at it from top to bottom and I keep seeing players that I really like on tape. I had a really hard time narrowing it down to one player in each category not because there was a dearth of worthy candidates, but because there were so many.

Offensive MVP – Stedman Mayberry

Mayberry was one of Texas State’s first offers for the 2014 class and I’ve been a big fan of his ever since then. I’ve said before the he reminds me a lot of Rob Lowe and Fran echoed that opinion during his signing day press conference yesterday. He’s one of the better running backs in the state at operating in a small area. It’s fun to watch him make players miss in traffic and then bounce outside for a big gain.

Critics have taken issue with his speed but in a tough district there’s a lot of video of him in the open field where nobody can catch him.

With so many running backs in the mix right now it’s possible he redshirts and then will work into the mix in 2015. By his redshirt sophomore year Franks, Lowe, Nutall, Best and Gay will all be gone. I think he’ll take over then as the feature back and will be really successful.

Last year’s pick: C.J. Best

Runner up: Tryston Mizerak

Mayberry’s Highlights

Defensive MVP – Darnell Dailey

Dailey’s instincts and play-making ability jump out on tape and when Fran said yesterday that he has a high motor it solidified him as my top defensive player. Dailey has a lot of traits that remind me of David Mayo, another 2-star linebacker that was relatively overlooked in his class. He just always seems to be in the right position and has a nose for the ball.

He’s already on campus and I’ve been told he has been impressive during the off-season program. I’m anxious to see how he looks this spring. I expect him to be neck-and-neck with Stephen Smith for the third starting linebacker position and I expect him to probably win it.

Last year’s pick: Donta Clanton

Runner up: Mershad Dillon

Dailey’s Highlights

Most Underrated Signee – Andrew Aneke

If the Seattle Seahawks are the model defense everyone is trying to pattern themselves after today then Aneke is a good start. Seattle fortified their secondary with tall, fast corners like Richard Sherman (6-3) and Brandon Browner (6-4) and at 6ft Aneke has the size to match up with the bigger receivers in the Sun Belt.

Like Sherman who has led the NFL in interceptions the last two years, Aneke has a talent for getting his hands on the ball a lot. He finished last year with three interceptions and an astounding 16 pass breakups.

What finally sold the Texas State coaches was when he ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at their June camp in Katy. Size, speed, playmaking ability and the intelligence of a future engineering major should make Aneke very successful in the maroon and gold.

Last year’s pick: Jackson Hoskins

Runner up: Frankie Griffin

Aneke’s Highlights

Best Athlete – Clarence Guidry

I think there’s no other option other than the guy that did everything for the Pflugerville team last year on both sides of the ball and is also one of the top baseball players the Bobcats will sign this year.

Rest is a foreign concept to Guidry who recorded 22 tackles and an interception at cornerback, 726 yards and 12 touchdowns at running back and 345 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns out of the backfield. He’s also a star on the diamond where he hit .325 with three home runs and 12 stolen bases as a junior.

Last year’s pick: Brandon McDowell

Runner up: Cedric Gambrell

Guidry’s Highlights

Early Contributor (freshman) – Gabe Schrade

It’s a pretty easy pick to go with one of the freshman that are already on campus this spring. Of the group that also includes Lucas Askew and Connor White, Shrade has the clearest path the playing time. Even after adding 15lbs over the last year Askew still has room to grow before he’s ready and White is stuck in the pecking order behind Tyler Jones and Randy Price.

Schrade is a flexible athlete who is a good athlete and a deft blocker. Brad Miller, David Lewis and Lawrence White will all be gone next season so playing Schrade this year will allow him to gain experience to be better able to contribute in 2015.

Last year’s pick: Dila Rosemond

Runner up: P.J. Anderson

Schrade’s Highlights

Most Likely to Play in the NFL – Cedric Gambrell

I think this was probably the easiest choice of the bunch. Gambrell has NFL size for a defensive linemen at 6-6 and is still growing into his frame. It’s also not hard to look at his brother Cedric Reed who is projected as a first round pick in the 2015 draft and think Gambrell has some of that similar potential to one day hear his name announced on draft day.

This class has two players who are sons of NFL players and one who’s dad played in the NBA, but Gambrell’s mix of size, elite athleticism and genes are unmatched in this class.

Last year’s pick: Brice Gunter

Runner up: Will Copa

Most Exciting Signee – Devondrick Dixon

I’ve been the biggest Dixon cheerleaders all year because of his speed and playmaking ability. He reminds me of Brandon McDowell last year as a player that will play corner but I could see wide receivers coach Jason Johnson standing on the table campaigning for him to play on offense.

Watch this to see him make a 60-yard punt return in the playoffs look effortless.

Last year’s pick: C.J. Best

Runner up: Stephan Johnson

Dixon’s Highlights

Welcome

I want to first take the time to thank you for coming to my site. This website is a little bit of an experiment for me and I’m excited to see the directions it takes me and what it might be capable of.

I want to start out by saying I haven’t left BobcatReport on bad terms and I’m still great friends with all of them. I also don’t intend for this blog to in any way be in competition with them. There is room in the same sand box for both of us to do similar things without stepping on each other.

After working at Rivals.com for six years it was time for me to do something different. I love being able to write, do interviews and talk about the Bobcats with passionate fans but I’m not able to devote the time necessary to track down breaking news and cover a beat on a day-to-day basis.

This site will be a home for (hopefully) informed commentary and long-form analysis. I love the talented writing at websites like Grantland and Barking Carnival and will use those as the templates for what this site will hopefully become.

I want to thank the guys at BobcatReport for the three years I spent there. I still remember getting a text message from a friend in 2010 saying I was following the wrong people on Twitter and if I really wanted to follow the coaching search I needed to check out the website Bobcat Report.

At that time I had just left working for SicEmSports.com and was looking for something I could do in my spare time while going to school at Texas State, if for no other reason than to get more practice writing. I had no idea how much a part of the site I would become over the next few years.

I honestly think that when it comes to breaking news and information on the Bobcats, Brent is the best at what he does and nobody is in the same ballpark with him. Look back at every big story concerning Texas State football the last few years and we were the first to have the news.

Keff is going to pick up a lot of my slack and I think the site is in great hands. Nobody works harder than Keff and he’s been a big help since we brought him on as an intern last summer.

Justin is a great friend and does so much behind the scenes that people will never notice. He always has the best interest of BobcatReport in mind and will always work to make the site better.

I hope you bookmark this site and follow me on twitter (@FletcherRutland) where I’ll be posting links when now blog posts go up.  I’m really excited to step away from Rivals and execute my vision for this site.

Thanks for reading!

Fletcher Rutland