September 5, 2011

Let's Get Physical

MOORE, Okla. - For those that spent more than a few minutes watching the match-up between Edmond North and Southmoore it should come as no surprise that the most noteworthy members of both teams were in the backfield and along the offensive lines. The two combined for over 500-yards rushing on the ground and a pair of Huskies went for over 100-yards each.

Watching Heath Newland and Cole Parsons dominate from start to finish on the night makes it easy to realize why Jarion Tudman put up 170-yards on just 18-carries.

Newland, one of Oklahoma's promising young lineman continues to develop as a run blocker and is getting more and more physical as the days go by. However it's the times when he can get out and put his athleticism and good feet to use that he tends to shine most brightly. Whether it was simply down-blocking or getting out on linebackers Newland looks more comfortable in space than any center should.

He might not be the ideal height but he is powerful and compact and should make someone a top notch line recruit in the 2013 class.

While Newland was a known quantity coming into the game thanks to strong performances at last spring's NUC camp as well as at Oklahoma's summer camp his teammate Parsons was a complete and total unknown. However while watching the 6-foot-5, 250-pound prospect it's hard to figure why, Parsons uses his hands well, understands basic technique and seems to have the feet that will allow him to put on the necessary weight and yet still play on the perimeter of the offensive line.

Not surprisingly Parsons looked most at home in passing situations or spread option calls in which he simply needed to block the defensive end rather than having to force the issue and determine where the end would go. However many times such a blocker is assumed to lack some of the attitude necessary and that's not the case with Parsons, he isn't afraid to mix it up but obviously will need to add weight before he is ready for the college game.

With these two quality blockers it would seem most anyone could put up yardage and early on it was easy to assume such was the case for the local star Tudman, however the more you watch him and take in his talent the more it's clear there is more to his game than simply running behind a quality offensive line. Tudman at roughly 5-foot-7 and 165-pounds isn't the biggest back but his incredible footwork, impressive agility, and surprising burst allowed him to break off one big run after another - including a 60-yard touchdown run.

Tudman is the kind of player that someone may have to have an ideal role for to take a chance on but so long as he can catch the ball - a skill he wasn't asked to show on Thursday - he could be a useful all-purpose back for the right team.

That being said he was far from the only talented back in Moore as Southmoore boasts the talented duo of Karltrell Hendreson and Andrew Long form quite probably the state's most talented backfield pairing.

Henderson is a big and powerful back who never really got on track during the game but like many power backs he is at his best when he gets a head of steam and with Southmoore having some trouble keeping Edmond North out of the backfield he was rarely afforded the opportunity.

However one player who seems to make something out of nothing each and every play is the multi-talented Long. His explosive speed and open-field running ability makes him one of the state's most lethal players in space. The game wasn't nearly his top performance but the knowledge that he currently only holds two offers is a baffling reality.

NOTES:

* Brock Byford is a player that has really come on over the last six months and is showing signs of potentially being a division one linebacker recruit. He isn't a fit in every defensive system but with his 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame he shows good athleticism and for a young linebacker looks surprisingly comfortable in his drops.

* Southmoore tight end Jackson Stallings didn't get a chance to do much as a receiver during the game but looked good blocking on the edge and more than once was a big part of Long being able to reach the corner.

* The only 2014 prospect who really proved to be one to keep an eye on at this early point was Southmoore receiver Jalen Adams. He made the most of a few passes thrown his way and showed good ability to high-point a few balls and has the look of a player who could emerge this season.

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