Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007.
Star City's Capps showing out as a freshman
LITTLE ROCK Several people with good football backgrounds have been impressed with the play of Star City freshman defensive lineman Austin Capps and believe he has a bright future. Bulldogs coach Blair Brown agrees and said in Tuesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette he hasn’t seen anything like Capps in 26 years of coaching.
“He’s a fantastic player and getting better every day,” Brown said. “He is a force as a defensive lineman. He’s young but he is a physical marvel. You’ll watch it on the film and his athleticism and speed is exceptional.”
Capps, 6-5, 275 pounds, has the physical maturity of a much older athlete along with speed not expected of a ninth grader. While high on his potential, Brown maintains Capps still has a ways to go.
During Arkansas State’s camp over the summer, Capps ran a 5.08 time in the 40-yard dash at the age of 14.
“Remember, this time last year he was playing eighth grade football.” Brown said.
Capps, who attended Arkansas’ game versus Tulsa on Saturday and has been invited to attend the Razorbacks’ contest against LSU, played for the undefeated junior high team before joining the Bulldogs for week eight against Lake Village.
“We haven’t completely thrown him to the wolves,” Brown said. “He’s phasing in offensively but he’s more of a force on defense right now. He has a tremendous motor.”
Capps, who helped lead the junior high team to an undefeated season, began play with the Bulldogs’ high school team the last three weeks.
“What he did in junior high football, it was child abuse,” Brown said. “It was child abuse… what he did to kids.”
Brown coached Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Cedric Thornton at Star City, but believes Capps is further along physically and athletically at a similar age.
“It’s not even comparable,” Brown said. “I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but it’s not even comparable. Austin is something else.”
In the three games with Star City’s varsity team, Capps has recorded 18 tackles and 2 sacks.
“I thought it was important for him to be with his age group and be grounded and we talked to the family,” Brown said. “He wanted to be with this unique group that did so well and has been undefeated and stay with that group and then move up at the end of the season.”