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July 19, 2002

Skill players shine at 7-on-7

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - There are only a few skill players in the state of Texas that have earned four-star rankings from Rivals100.com.

But don't be fooled, because there is no shortage of top-level talent at positions like quarterback, running back and receiver and Friday's first round of the Texas Seven-on-Seven State Championship proved that.

What Texas might lack this season in elite prospects at the skill positions, it definitely makes up for it with solid depth all around the board. And several players turned in impressive performances and definitely improved their stock.

One of the biggest surprises was Spring (Texas) Westfield quarterback Mark Spivey. The three-star dual-threat quarterback definitely put a show on for spectators, despite only being able to lead the Mustangs to only a 1-2 record in the first day of pool play.

But Spivey definitely was impressive.

He threw tight spirals and seemingly always seemed to find the open receiver. He often threw length-of-the field bombs for touchdowns and definitely looked impressive physically with a slender but strong physique.

FB03 - Johnson, MarcusAnother player that showed that he might just be a quarterback in college after all was Abilene, Texas, Marcus "Magic" Johnson. Johnson, who is listed as an athlete in the Rivals100.com recruiting database and has offers to play at number at other positions like receiver and defensive back, put on a show on Friday.

He led his team up and down the field time after time and hit about every throw that you need to make as a college quarterback. He was also a great leader, often guiding the Eagles without a huddle and using hand signals to relay plays.

But then it was also easy to see what the coaches recruiting him as a receiver see in him as he also flashed brilliance as an athlete with a diving catch for a touchdown in a steak route right as the halftime buzzer sounded in Abilene's first game of the day.

Johnson, who named top teams like Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas Tech and several others, said he was there to prove to people that he is one of the state's best.

"This is a show," Magic said. "I'm here to help my team win, and if I show to people that I'm one of the state's best along the way, then I'm going to be very happy man."

You can probably see his smile all the way from College Station now.

Tyler (Texas) Lee quarterback and LSU commitment Matt Flynn also put on a show with his touch passes and ability to throw it deep with ease. It's easy to see why the Tiger coaches are so high on his athletic ability and willing to take him early even with superstar quarterback Robert Lane in their own backyard.

FB03 - Williams, DarienA lot of the talk heading into the tournament was about the stars at North Mesquite, Texas. With three blue-chip defensive backs in Tarel Brown, Dominique Brooks and Darien Williams (right) everybody expected them to be the toughest team to pass on.

And you know what, everybody was right.

Mixing stick like glue man-to-man defense and a closing like a door zone defense, the Mustangs' stars were impressive say the least. But maybe the guy that proved that he was one of the elite, elite players in the state was Williams.

Everybody knows that Brown is one of the nation's top 100 players, but it's hard to not mention Williams too as one of the state's best. He closed on the ball extremely well and had an impressive looking build. He might not be a true coverage safety, but he could be an amazing strong safety prospect that can support the run and make you know that he's there.

Brown also was impressive and proved to be a physical yet impressive cover man and Brooks also looked like a player that will have plenty of options in college.

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