Texas didn’t pick up any new commitments Friday night, but the school’s first “Under the Lights” recruiting camp should still be considered a success.
Over 100 high school prospects went through drills for around 90 minutes inside Royal-Memorial Stadium as the Texas staff and a handful of current Longhorns imparted their wisdom on the FBS hopefuls. With their families in the stands, highlights looping on the Godzillatron, and music blasting through the sound system, the camp was a hit.
“I’ve been a Texas fan ever since Vince Young, so it was awesome to be able to play in the house he took off in,” said four-star Maryland quarterback Kai Locksley, a 2015 Texas target. “They always say everything’s bigger in Texas – this stadium definitely tells it all. It was an awesome experience.”
The event started with Texas strength and conditioning coach Pat Moorer leading the players through normal warm-ups before they were separated into their position groups. Half the camp was spent in those groups working with UT’s position coaches, who were being helped by Longhorns Quandre Diggs, Cedric Reed and Johnathan Gray, among several others.
Almost all of UT’s current pledges were in attendance, most notably Zach Gentry, the 6-foot-7 quarterback of the future. Gentry had met the Longhorn coaching staff previously, but living in New Mexico has prevented him from attending UT’s other camps and getting hands-on teaching from his future coaches.
“The atmosphere was awesome – the coaches were upbeat and positive,” said Gentry, the 6th-rated pro-style passer in the 2015 class. “The stadium looked awesome. It was really beneficial for me traveling down here.”
Gentry looked most comfortable with fellow Texas pledges Kirk and Collin Johnson. It was easy to picture the sons of former Texas great Johnnie Johnson working with Gentry on Saturday’s in the very near future as the three warmed up together before the practice began and connected often during the one-on-one portion of the camp in the latter half.
“I met the Johnson brothers on my unofficial before I committed here,” said Gentry, who pledged to Texas in May. “Those are some of the guys that influenced me in making my decision and kind of brought me this way.”
The lack of a new commitment is the lone negative in an otherwise effective camp. Since NCAA rules stipulate no scholarship offers can go out to a recruit during one of these events it’s not a huge shock no one pledged to the Longhorns Friday night.
New offers may go out soon, though, after the coaches had another opportunity to get a close look at select recruits. And the payoff may be immediate given the positive vibe coming out of the program after the camp.
“It definitely boosts the interest that was already there,” Locksley said. “I’d definitely say it was successful.”
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