High school football practice has started all across the region with many seniors who have their…
Lufkin's DKT Express
Former Arkadelphia and current Lufkin (Texas) head coach John Outlaw knows a big-time athlete when he sees one.
After all, he's coached Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and three other current NFL players so he's got some credibility in that department.
So if Outlaw says defensive end and University of Arkansas commit Darrell Kelly-Thomas (6-3, 220) is right there with the best athletes he's ever had, that's a pretty good endorsement.
"He's 6-3, 220, can really run, very athletic and very intelligent and that's a great bunch of things to start with and why he is going to end up being a heck of a college football player," Outlaw said. "He will be able to put on 30-40 pounds once he gets up there to Arkansas and he'll be a beast.
"He's going to need to get a lot stronger, but once they get him in the weight room that will take care of itself," Outlaw added. "He'll get three hots, a cot and steady diet of that weight room and he'll blossom because of that. He's just one of the best athletes we have ever had around here."
If you are looking to put heat on the quarterback, Kelly-Thomas is your guy according to Outlaw, whose team is off to a 6-1 start this season.
He has 7 sacks among his 50 tackles so far this season in a year where Lufkin's first-team defense has not had to play much past halftime in most of its games since the offense has put up 70 points once, 50-plus twice and 40 three more times.
"He is a track guy and has a great burst that helps him get to the quarterback," Outlaw said. "We've gotta get him a little better against the run, but if your drop back to pass, you better get ready because he's a coming."
Outlaw notes that Kelly-Thomas is a well-rounded young man – albeit that probably has kept him from becoming an even better player.
"Right now he just does so much stuff – football, track, president of the student council, all these clubs - he's just into a nice young man that is into everything," Outlaw said. "Once he just concentrates on football and school, he's going to really make a move and be what Arkansas expects him to be."
The Razorback coaching staff beat several teams to the punch in offering Kelly-Thomas and that stuck with him when he was ready to commit this summer.
"They came down here and saw his size and saw him run and you just don't see that combo too much," Outlaw said. "So they jumped on him pretty quickly and know that potential will one day be fully realized and they will be the beneficiary of it."
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Arkansas is set to host two official visitors this weekend – both of whom are tight ends.
Those prospects are Hurst (Texas) standout Chris Barnett (6-6, 250) and Charlotte (NC) Ardrey Kell star Drew Owens (6-5, 230).
Las Vegas (NV) Liberty defensive end Sam Tai (6-4, 235) had scheduled his visit for this weekend as well, but has pushed it back a week because of the early kickoff time.