February 22, 2012

MY TAKE: On Ricky Seals-Jones ...

Last week, Texas gets a commitment from the nephew of former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes (QB Tyrone Swoopes), and this week the Longhorns get a commitment from the nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson - WR/TE Ricky Seals-Jones.

Not bad.

Seals-Jones told the world he wanted to be a pass catcher at the Next Level Athlete Showcase in Houston back on Jan. 15. And because Seals-Jones has been playing quarterback at Class 3A Sealy, the film on him to watch is from that Next Level Athlete Showcase.

After watching that film you see that Seals-Jones has the hands and feet to play receiver. And after some time in a college weight program, we'll see how quickly he might be able to grow into a stretch-the-field tight end.

Seals-Jones is an elite basketball player. He averages 32.4 points and 14.7 rebounds per game at Sealy and could easily play Division I basketball.

So when you start adding things together and thinking of the elite basketball prospects who have gone on to become tight ends, you think of Jermicheal Finley at Texas and, of course, guys like Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. But that's probably the track we're talking about for Seals-Jones in terms of moving from high school quarterback to receiver and ultimately tight end.

The film of him from the Next Level Athlete Showcase shows you immediately that he has great hands and feet. His basketball film shows that as well with his ability to take passes and make strong, sudden moves to the rim.

The Next Level Athlete film shows him easily adjusting his body to make catches, shows great balance and explosive speed once he turns up field. Route running, coming off the line in a two-point and three-point stance will all take time.

In his high school film as a quarterback, as Sean Adams points out in his post on RSJ, you see the kind of instincts he has in setting up runs, welcoming contact, making yards after contact and extending plays with instinctive moves, such as a spin or jump cut.

I can't tell what his top-end speed is, but he's plenty fast, especially if he's 216 pounds now on his way to possibly 245 or 250.

In talking to those who know Seals-Jones and his high school coach Jimmy Mitchell, Seals-Jones appears to be a solid kid with a forward-thinking attitude who wants to be great.

Considering he's the nephew of Sealy's greatest football player - Eric Dickerson - there's a high bar in the family.

There's no doubt Texas has been looking for a big target who can work the middle of the field or serve as a stretch-the-field tight end in the mold of Finley, David Thomas and Bo Scaife.

That's what Texas may be getting in Ricky Seals-Jones. His development could take time. He's a high school quarterback who plays three sports. So he's never slowed down enough to get in the weight room and bulk up.

Typically, when the mega-star athletes in high school slow down long enough to get in the weight room as a single-sport athlete in college, they can put on good weight/muscle pretty quickly.

But what excites you about a guy like Seals-Jones is his explosive athletic ability for that size as well as the hands and feet.

He could play several positions: defensive end, outside linebacker, safety, receiver, tight end.

And when you start looking at the guys who have committed to Texas so far - Jake Raulerson, A'Shawn Robinson, Jake Oliver, Kyle Hicks, Tyrone Swoopes and Seals-Jones - they are all versatile athletes who could play multiple positions and excel.

And you have to love that because those are football players.

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