Quick Twitch notebook
Quick Twitch notebook
2014-06-16 00:00:00

Who stood out at this weekend's Quick Twitch skills clinic?

 By EJ Holland
 DCTF Associate Editor

Some of the Dallas-area’s top prospects took part in Sunday’s Quick Twitch skills clinic, hosted by former Oklahoma wide receiver David Robinson and former Mississippi State defensive back Clay Mack.

Both Mack and Robinson have earned reputations for training some of the top recruits around. And Sunday’s crop certainly turned some heads.

Here is a roundup from the event.

Lodge talks recruiting

While most kids were relaxing with their dads, DaMarkus Lodge was out training with a group of about 20 at local Quick Twitch Skills Clinic as his father observed from the sideline. 

The only thing on his mind is getting better after missing spring ball with a minor hamstring injury. But the highly touted Cedar Hill wide receiver knows the rest of the country is anxiously awaiting his upcoming college decision. 

Lodge, who is ranked No. 1 in the latest Texas Top 150, was supposed to make his commitment in July before moving it up to June 20 and then June 19 before ultimately cancelling the announcement altogether.

“So much stuff is popping up. My dad had to go out of town on business on the day I was supposed to announce, and I want him there more than anybody,” Lodge said. “I’m just going to postpone it until I make all my visits, and I feel ready.”

Lodge made a few of those aforementioned visits a couple of weeks ago. Along with some of his high school teammates, Lodge made trips to Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska.

“All of them are great programs. Nebraska has some of the best facilities around,” he said. “The thing I liked about Iowa is their strength and conditioning coach. I think he’s one of the best I’ve talked to. I enjoyed Iowa State too.”

Lodge has no set timetable to make his verbal commitment, but he said it would come at some point before the season. Clemson, LSU, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M and USC are all in the running while a few other schools are on the outside looking in.

Texas A&M is considered, by many, the favorite to land Lodge. The Aggies picked up a commitment from his friend and Allen quarterback Kyler Murray, which will play a factor in Lodge’s decision. But just how big of a factor?

“Texas A&M is still one of the schools I’m interested in, but I’m not going to make my decision based off of Kyler because I have to do what’s best for me,” he said. “It would be nice to play together. I mean, he is going to be a factor but not a huge factor.”

Lodge was inarguably the best wide receiver in the state last season. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder recorded 72 receptions for 1,655 yards and 22 touchdowns en route to helping Cedar Hill capture the 5A Division II state title.

In Cedar Hill’s first game of the 2014 season, Lodge and Longhorns will face a loaded South Oak Cliff secondary, which features a bevy of FBS talent including safeties Jamile Johnson (Oklahoma commit) and Prentice McKinney (Notre Dame commit) and cornerbacks X’Zavien Ausborne and Takadrae Williams, both Wisconsin pledges.

But Lodge isn’t worried. In fact, he even offered a bold prediction.

“We’re going to score 50 on them,” he said.

James ready for season, still solid to TCU

When Keaton Perry went down with an injury last season, Tony James stepped in at quarterback for Arlington Bowie. It wasn’t an unfamiliar position for James -- he also played it as a sophomore-- but he’s a natural receiver.

And that’s where he projects at the next level. James committed to TCU last November and will line up in the  slot when he gets to Fort Worth next fall. To make sure he's ready for the transition, James linked up with former Oklahoma wide out and personal trainer David Robinson. 

“I need the wide receiver work. I don’t get the training at wide receiver at Bowie since I’m playing quarterback,” he said. “It’s what I’m going to be playing in college, so I want to get some good work in at it.”

While James is focused on improving for the future, he knows his team needs him under center this season. Last year, James passed for 621 yards, rushed for 615 yards, caught 23 passes for 519 yards and scored 25 total touchdowns.

As head coach Danny DeArman put it, ‘great things happen when the ball touches his hands.’ But James will need to do even better this season if Arlington Bowie wants to improve on last year’s 7-4 record, which included a blowout loss to Southlake Carroll in the first round of the playoffs.

“I getting the work in at quarterback for my team, too. I’ve been working really hard during 7-on-7. Really, I just want to lead my team. I want to take us as far as I can,” James said. “I want to help us win district first and then go deep in the playoffs. I want to be that leader and do something for them to remember me for.”

On the recruiting front, Baylor is the latest school showing interest. The Bears recently stopped by Arlington Bowie to check in on him and invited the 5-foot-10, 160-pounder to their camp.  James, however, is still solid to TCU.

“My commitment is still 100 percent solid,” he said. “I wanted to go somewhere where my parents could come to the games. My parents support me a lot, so I wanted to stay close. TCU has a great coaching, and they made me feel at home.”

Gibson gaining attention

Christian Gibson is starting to pop up on a multitude of recruiting radars this offseason. And it’s not hard to see why. 

The 6-foot, 190-pounder out of Prime Prep looked extremely athletic while he went through drills with former Mississippi State defensive back and personal trainer Clay Mack and simply looks the part of an FBS player.

Gibson played quarterback last season at Fort Worth Brewer, where he rushed for 1,035 yards and 12 touchdowns in a run-oriented system. Gibson is expected to play safety this for Prime Prep, where he will learn from former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders.

“I’m a little raw at the defensive back position, but Coach Mack says I have potential. I’m just trying to polish things up out here and improve my footwork and hips,” Gibson said. “I’m excited about Prime Prep. We have great coaches, and I’m gaining a lot of exposure.”

Gibson continued to gain steam with a standout performance at last week’s TCU camp, where he ran a 4.42 forty and a 4.2 shuttle. Gibson worked at both defensive back and wide receiver and felt like he impressed to Horned Frogs’ coaching staff.

“I’m really interested in TCU. I live like right across the street from TCU, so it’s my hometown school,” Gibson said. “They have a really good coaching staff, facilities and education. I think I did good at the camp, so we’ll see what happens.”

Gibson also opened some eyes at Oklahoma’s summer camp, where he also posted a 4.42 forty. Other schools showing interest in Gibson include Ole Miss, SMU, UTSA and Vanderbilt. He also holds an FCS offer from Illinois State.

EJ Holland is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.

He can be reached via e-mail or on the DCTF Facebook page.


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