COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Bryson Echols just couldn't help himself.
Minutes after winning the Texas state Division I 7-on-7 championship, the longtime Texas commitment threw up the 'Hook 'em' sign at Texas A&M's Kyle Field with a very large grin on his face.
"It's very good," Echols said. "I know what they're missing out on.
"It's even better that we won at A&M."
Echols' fellow DeSoto (Texas) teammates were just as happy after the team ran through the competition at one of the biggest events in the state undefeated and in the process, accomplished one of their many team goals.
"It's exciting, we worked hard all summer for this," fellow corner Jalen Mills said. "Now we've got to go out and win the real state championship."
The Eagles were one of the most athletic teams at the event and used their quickness and speed to blow through the rest of the field in impressive fashion. It meant a little bit more to many members of the team after they fell just short of grabbing a medal last year.
"It's special because last year I thought we were going to win it for sure," Echols said. "This year I had a few doubts but we won and that's all that matters."
"It's a rush because you're playing against the best athletes in the state of Texas," Mills added. "You have to bring it every game."
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Echols played well for the second consecutive week after participating in Nike all-star event The Opening in Oregon. While there were not a ton of prospects for him to recruit for the Longhorns at the state tourney, he has been active for the school for several others.
"At The Opening, I was whispering in everybody's ear," he said. "There was the safety, Landon Collins, him. And a running back, he's a sophomore, (Altee) Tenpenny."
Echols is one of two players from DeSoto headed to Austin next fall and one of several FBS-level recruits on a loaded team primed for a run at state later this year. Mills is one of the few uncommitted players on the team and has seen his recruitment pick up following a good summer at 7-on-7 tournaments.
"I have offers from Pitt, Virginia, Baylor, Houston, Tulsa, UTEP, Louisiana Tech, Memphis and a couple of others," he said. "Coach Norwood at Baylor and Coach Henson at Virginia are coming after me the hardest. And Coach Norvell at Pitt."
Mills says he'll head to Florida State next week and that defensive coordinator Mark Stoops is recruiting him and may offer him soon if he performs well at the Seminoles camp next Tuesday. An offer from the school will certainly change things but at the moment he remains wide open and really only has two schools he knows will make his short list.
"I know I want to visit Virginia and Pitt, those two colleges for sure," said Mills. "Probably later in the season is when I'll end up making my decision."
Given his offer list, it appears the 6-foot, 180-pounder is headed outside the state to play college ball but that isn't a problem for Mills, who says distance is not a factor in his recruitment.
"Not at all," he said. "I just want to go to where the team plays the top level competition every game and goes out there and wins."
Davis enjoying time in Aggieland
If there was one player who really gave it his all this weekend, it was Houston (Texas) quarterback Matt Davis. Ranked 73rd overall in the country by MaxPreps, Davis showed he was fully recovered from a knee injury last season by playing both quarterback and safety for his Klein Forest team in every game despite it being roughly 100 degrees two days in a row.
"It's pretty hot but I'm doing what's best for the team," Davis said. "It's all about athleticism. Anything that comes in the air, we try and snatch it up. We just try and make plays."
The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder is a Texas A&M commitment and represented the Aggies well, throwing a nice spiral and really spinning the ball well in the 7-on-7 setting. Being able to grab some wins in the fields near where he will one day play was an experience and just one of the reasons why he'll eventually make his way up to College Station.
"It's great," he said. "I'm always looking back over there at Kyle Field."
"I talked with Coach Williams yesterday, he was just asking how we did. I told him we won all three and had a game tomorrow. He's great."
Though he holds offers from Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma State and others, Davis is a very solid commitment to Texas A&M because of that relationship with the current staff.
"That's the main reason why I committed," Davis said. "They have great coaches here, great fans, great recruits."
In between games and even during them, the four-star signal-caller is one of several Aggie recruiters, hoping to lure the next wave of talent to the program.
"There's a kid on Plano's team, a 2013 kid, so I told him to come to the A&M camp tomorrow," Davis said. "There's a lot of kids out here. I know there's a kid from Arlington, (linebacker) Sam Douglas, they say he's a player. In between possessions, I may talk to him a little bit."
- Texas A&M, Oregon, USC, Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and others have shown interest in Rosenberg Terry High wide receiver Derrick Griffin. The 2013 prospect was dominant Saturday, powering his team to a consolation game win and using his 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame to shield the ball from defenders. Griffin is already well known from playing AAU basketball (he already holds an Oklahoma offer) but it not surprising when he said he'll likely be playing both sports in college after his performance at the 7-on-7 tournament. He has already camped at Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
- Baylor commit Kiante Griffin played both ways for his team and looked good when observed. He could succeed at the next level at either but it still seems like he'll wind up on offense.
- TCU pledge Kolby Listenbee had on an Oregon shirt Saturday but not to worry TCU fans, he didn't have a Horned Frogs shirt and the Ducks shirt was all that he had in his bag after returning from The Opening last week.
- Texas Tech quarterback commit Clayton Nicholas had a very good tournament, leading his team to the consolation game final and looked very sharp. He was named to the All Tournament team over several other deserving players but easily earned the honor.
- One 2013 player that caught just about everyone's eye was Austin (Texas) Lake Travis wide receiver Dannon Cavil. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound rising junior impressed with size and speed but he has a very good pair of hands. Several colleges are already interested and pursuing him.