Midlands Recruiting Roundtable (5/30/14)

J.W. Ketchum

This week Scout Midlands analysts look to the camp and seven-on-seven season to talk about a skill position player or defensive back that it looks forward to seeing in coming weeks...

Greg Powers
National Recruiting Analyst, Midlands

There are lots of good players out there, but I am always looking ahead so when thinking about this question I automatically think about the Class of 2016 and one player who I hope to get to see for some extended time somewhere on the circuit this summer is Sachse wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who has become the early front-runner to be the area's top-rated pass catcher. At 5-foot-10, 175 pounds Duvernay is a pure speed burner on tape, using his speed and quickness to get open or take underneath plays the distance. He is also a feared weapon in the return game, making many exciting plays. Offers have already rolled in from Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, ClemsonNebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and UCLA.

Ahmard Vital
Midlands Recruiting Analyst, Houston

With 7-on-7 gearing up across the state of Texas, several guys will have my attention. But for the summer of 2014, one whom I will be looking to see is new Lamar quarterback J.W. Ketchum. He is making his second tour of duty to the Lamar program, as he started there as a freshman years ago. After a few years at Marshall in Missouri City, Kethcum returns. It is always interesting that Ketchum is one of the most discussed athletes amongst pundits at national events. What do you think of him as a quarterback, and do you think he will end up at that position in college? All of these questions are legitimate. Especially after his first showing as a Lamar athlete in the 7-on-7 tourney where he led his new team to a second place finish, which earned he and the team an invite to the state tourney in College Station in July. At this tourney where team finished second to Manvel, word is that Ketchum was truly the all-around athlete that many knew he had to potential to be. As a quarterback, he was accurate, delivering passes to his receivers which led to touchdowns. He also played safety and got an interception that he returned for a touchdown. And he had the game-winning catch in the red zone, winning out over two defenders. So in the end, what position is Ketchum best suited? Well, the jury is still out. But one thing is for certain, I plan to watch as much as possible and maybe that answer could be more clear by the end of the summer. Then again, likely not.

Gabe Brooks
Midlands Recruiting Analyst, ETx/DFW

With 7-on-7 season heating up, I'll be investing in plenty of sunscreen and hydration to brave the Texas summer. But it's definitely worth it. This is a time of year that we get ample opportunities to get our eyes on prospects who are already well-known, while also discovering the "next big thing" type of recruits. This weekend's Mesquite state qualifier tournament will have an absolutely loaded field with schools such as West Mesquite, Mesquite Poteet, DeSoto, and Cedar Hill involved, among others. Poteet is home to the state's No. 1 recruit -- five-star outside linebacker Malik Jefferson -- but the Pirates also boast the guy I want to see the most who I have yet to see in person: 2015 athlete DeAndre McNeal, who just got his fourth star Wednesday from Scout. Right now, we've projected him as a receiver. If you've seen his film, that's definitely tough to argue. He's a great run-after-catch player, which is scary when you consider that he's between 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-3 and about 210 pounds. Unsurprisingly, he's not only been recruited as a receiver, but at outside linebacker and safety. He's even gotten looks as a running back and an H-back. While it may not be real game action, seeing McNeal in person will give me an idea where I like him playing at the next level. McNeal is one of the state's most versatile recruits, which is why I look forward to seeing him play on each side of the ball during this 7-on-7 season.

Derek Young
Midlands Recruiting Analyst, Upper Midlands

My pick would be 2016 safety Isaiah Simmons from Olathe North. He hasn't hit the recruiting radar yet but there's a lot of folks that expect him to be the most heavily recruited prospect for his class in the Kansas City area. In speaking to his coach Gene Weir, he's a young man with limitless potential and will have all the opportunities this season to blossom into one of the nation's best. All the attention at Olathe North has been on 2015 stud Josh Moore, and rightfully so, but the spotlight is about to be on Simmons. He's a long, rangy prospect that loves to play downhill and deliver the blow. He doesn't have the hip flexibility to play corner but could be a stalwart at safety if he continues to progress at the rate he has so far.

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