Allen quarterback Matt Brown put on a no-doubt he's recovered performance at theoldcoach.com Ultimate Combine at Coppell on Saturday. Brown was named the Combine MVP among the 130 invitation-only participants after putting up one of the top 40 times with a 4.54 and strong showings in the bench press and throwing in skill drills.
Brown already has established himself as one of the state's 2010 prospects after two years of starting at Class 5A power Allen. Brown passed for 1,973 yards with 27 touchdowns and rushing for 1,131 yards and 13 TDs before a broken collarbone ended his season just before the Eagles' state playoff run to their first state championship.
Brown already has offers from Arizona and Nebraska with Kansas State, TCU and Oregon not far behind as colleges can begin their spring evaluation visits in two weeks. Arizona may have a slight edge with Brown's parents as Arizona alums and family still in Tucson. And Wildcats' offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes also is a terrific recruiter who covers North Texas. But Nebraska gained favor with an early offer and Kansas State coach Bill Snyder is making a good impression recently.
As Allen starts spring practice in May, Brown will be the starter. Next season, he'll continue to split series with junior Tucker Carter, who shined during the playoff run. Carter's strength is distributing the ball well with his knowledge of the offense. Carter's dad is an Allen assistant coach. Carter's college sport may be baseball where he is a hard-hitting first baseman for the Eagles' baseball team.
Brown's speed to break for a run probably comes a little quicker in his reads, but he's still a strong-armed, accurate passer. Allen coach Tom Westerberg has a long-standing philosophy of rotating in offensive units regularly every two series to one _ a rotation used when Westerberg was offensive coordinator under Joe Martin at Garland and won the 1999 state title.
Allen's strength will be at quarterback and, perhaps, the state's best offensive line. Allen will have to build its core of receivers. Brown has been rebuilding his strength in the off-season. He bench-pressed 185 pounds 12 times at the combine _ a very high number for quarterbacks. Brown said he could probably due 15 or 16 reps at this time last season but attributed that to Allen having a longer off-season because the Eagles were upset in the first round of the state playoffs rather than last through the six-game playoff gauntlet that lasts until the last Saturday before Christmas.
Brown has always shown accuracy and a strong arm since taking over as a starter in his first game as a sophomore when a senior starter was injured.
"He's versatile and smart," said theoldcoach camp director Steve Clements. "He can beat you so many ways, with his feet, mind and competitiveness."
Rockwall-Heath 6-3 receiver Cameron Wilson showed excellent speed and athleticism despite tender knees from recent workouts as a long and triple jumper. He still had nearly a 9-foot broad jump. During drills, he made several difficult shoe-top catches. During Heath's long playoff run led by running back Kendial Lawrence and slot receiver Everett Gilbert, Wilson caught only 7 passes for 135 yards but he's likely to be much more of a target as Heath also goes to new quarterback Kevin Rodgers to replace graduated Drew Hollingshead.
From Class 2A Bushland in West Texas, 6-6, 220-pounder Crockett Gillmore looked like a major college prospect attending his second combine who'll blossom with summer and next season's exposure. He's a strong tight end prospect with great hands and decent speed. He's also got quick feet and played some as a DE for Bushland. He could even project as a standout major college tackle.
A player to watch who just missed out on the combine awards is Liberty-Eylau junior receiver Marquez Clark. The 5-10, 170-pounder showed light feet with quick change of directions and excellent hands. He was an All-District 16-3A performer last season and is terrific on special team returns.