Mark Buchanan, D.J. Grant, Antoine Hicks, Jarvis Humphrey and DeSean Hales may have been split up on different squads throughout the week, but they were all thinking about Texas after the final gun sounded. Shortly after the game concluded, all five got together to pose for pictures each holding up the Hook ‘em Horns sign. Inside Texas caught up with each of these guys to get their thoughts on the game and their future in Austin.
Team Click-Clack would receive the ball to open the game. Humphrey earned the start at defensive tackle for Team Undeniable, while Buchanan started at left tackle for Team Click-Clack. Buchanan played the majority of the game and had his hands full with Alabama commitment Courtney Upshaw. However, he handled the pass rush well for the majority of the game.
“I think I played pretty well. Their d-end, I think his name is Courtney Upshaw, he’s fast. He’s fast and strong, but I think I more than held my own. He’s a good player. He had a really strong outside rush. He is real quick off the ball and he was good at coming back inside. But I held him. That last drive, he didn’t do much at all,” Buchanan said. “It’s a different game. I think we had a couple of coverage sacks, but if you have to block a guy more than five or six seconds, that’s going to happen. They get off you pretty quick.”
What does Buchanan take away from a game of this magnitude and what are his expectations for enrolling early at UT?
“I think it was mostly just fun. It was a fun time for me. It was a good preview of what it’s going to be like at the college level. It was kind of a confidence booster to know that I can more than hold my own against some of the top players in the nation,” Buchanan said.
“I’m excited about it,” Buchanan said about enrolling early. “I’ve really got to work on my strength this spring. I know that Mad Dog (Jeff Madden) is going to work me a little bit, so that will be fun. I’m going to try to go into spring ball with a good attitude and see what I can do with it.”
Humphrey was bottled up by Team Click-Clack’s offensive line for the majority of the game. He rotated in-and-out with Jehwan Edwards throughout the contest and finished with one tackle. It’s easy to see the big-time potential that Humphrey has. With some added strength, he should be just fine on the next level.
“It was alright. It was a lot of fun. This is my first time going up against people that are actually the same talent level as me,” Humphrey said of his performance. “What I take away from this is that you can learn something from anybody. No matter how old you get or no matter where you go, you can always learn something from somebody.”
Neither Grant nor Hicks would see the field during the opening drive, but both made a big impact later on in the game. Hales started at slot receiver for Team Undeniable. Unfortunately for Hales, whenever he was on the field so was Julio Jones. Jones was the main target on almost every pass attempt. He finished the game with six catches, while no other Team Undeniable receiver had more than one.
Hales got separation from his defender on a number of occasions but a pass never came his way. As far as punt returns go, Team Click-Clack punted only once and the snap was muffed, not allowing Hales to show his explosiveness in the return game. He did touch the ball once on a reverse, but the game’s overall MVP, Daquan Bowers got penetration and laid Hales on his back about the same time he received the football. Hales would have liked to been given the opportunity to show more, but he was just glad to have been given the chance to compete with some of the nation’s elite.
“I think I did pretty good for the first time in this type of environment,” Hales said. “In a way I guess I was (disappointed) because I wanted to show off some of my skills, but I’m just happy to be out here because not many players get to do it. It was fun.”
Hales is now shifting his attention to his future with the Texas Longhorns.
“I am,” Hales said when asked if he was excited about getting up to Austin this summer. “I’m ready to get back to work. This was just a small taste of what it’s going to be like.”
Team Undeniable went into halftime with a 7-3 lead, but on Team Click-Clack’s first offensive possession of the second half Hicks and Grant made their mark on the inaugural Under Armour game.
Hicks caught a quick swing pass from Nick Crissman on the sideline and showed what he can do with the ball in his hands gaining eight yards on the play.
“It felt real good,” Hicks replied when asked about his reception. “The coverage was perfect and they left me open. I caught the ball, and I kind of got off-balanced and I fell. I thought I could have scored, but it was on the sideline. It was just a good catch though. I’m glad I caught one in the game.”
Hicks talked about getting ready to start his career at the University of Texas.
“I can’t wait until school ends, so I can go up there and work out. I’m going to work my heart out and try to start,” Hicks said. “I’m trying to get bigger and hopefully get taller. I don’t know about the tall thing, but getting bigger is going to be a must because in order to be starting you have to work your butt off. You have to be fast, quick, strong and do anything your coach tells you to do. You have to focus. You just have to be on top of everything.
Hicks may have missed his chance to get into the end zone, but Grant certainly didn’t. A few plays later, Grant got in between the corner and the safety and laid out to come up with an outstanding 32-yard touchdown catch putting his team up 10-7.
“It made me feel good. It made me feel really good,” Grant said about his touchdown reception. “They all bit on the run. It made the strong safety bite and I was able to get an outside release and get in between the corner and the free safety. He just put it up there and went up and got it.”
Grant said earlier in the week that he felt like he had something to prove in Orlando and did just that and more with his work ethic in practice and his touchdown reception in the game.
“Most of these players you might say were better than me, but it depends on how much hard work you put into the whole week of practice,” Grant said.
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