Damarkus Lodge is one of the premier wide receiver prospects in the class of 2015 out of Cedar Hill High School in Texas, and the wait for his commitment is officially over. Lodge announced on Thursday that he has decided to play his college football for Texas A&M.
Lodge revealed his choice on his Twitter account:
247Sports' composite rankings have Lodge rated as a 5-star recruit. He's the No. 4 receiver and No. 35 prospect overall. Based on how big and explosive he already is, those high marks are well deserved and not at all surprising.
Lodge already stands at 6'2.5" and weighs 190 pounds. Once he adds more muscle to his frame, there's no telling how good he could be. As a junior, he registered 72 receptions for 1,255 yards and a whopping 22 touchdowns. The upside is certainly there for Lodge to carry that production over to Texas A&M.
Cedar Hill wide receivers coach Kevin Benjamin heaped high praise on Lodge in December 2013.
"He will be the best thing that ever came out of Cedar Hill High School," said Benjamin, per the Dallas Morning News' David Just. "And we’ve had a lot of great athletes. But where he is at this point in his football career, the sky is the limit."
The high school has produced former Kansas star and NFL free-agent wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe, so Benjamin certainly didn't make any effort to slow down Lodge's figurative hype train. And he had no reason to, considering the skill set Lodge already has, even at his young age.
In his report, Just goes on to describe what Lodge's head coach, Joey McGuire, had to say about him—and to whom he compared the prodigious wideout. It's some pretty elite company, to say the least:
McGuire said Lodge has the body control of former Cedar Hill and current Washington Redskins receiver Dezmon Briscoe, the yards-after-catch ability of Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones and the playmaking ability of Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.
Just his being on the field has an impact on every play. Opposing defenses tend to double-cover Lodge, which opens up opportunities for Cedar Hill’s four-man running back committee.
That pretty much outlines what makes Lodge so special. On his 247Sports profile, his critical attributes are rated on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest possible mark. Using that scale, Lodge rates as a nine in hands and ball skills and an eight in route running and agility.
The latter two marks make Lodge even more dangerous than his body control and knack for catching the ball at its highest point already do. High-pointing is not an easy skill to acquire, especially for young players, yet it's something Lodge has been able to do time and again to devastate opposing defensive backs:
More than a mere big-bodied, red-zone target, Lodge is indeed a surefire 5-star prospect who could easily make an impact as a true freshman. With his lateral quickness, drive to finish runs after the catch and natural instincts for the position, he has all the tools to help the Aggies' receiving corps immediately.
Billy Liucci of TexAgs.com broke down what Lodge will bring to the Aggies:
Lodge's commit gives Aggies state's two best receivers (he and Kemah Siverand) - a pair of true game-breakers who will thrive in A&M scheme— Billy Liucci (@billyliucci) June 19, 2014
Lodge has potential to be a legitimate NFL prospect, but he must focus on what's ahead of him first. That means making an impact at Texas A&M, setting a good example and not being caught in the trap that many star receivers tend to get into as so-called divas.
The good news for the Aggies is that Lodge doesn't fit that profile, making him an even more ideal candidate to contribute big plays right away as he makes the adjustment to college-level offense.
If his dominance against tough competition at the high school level and his all-around skill set are any indication of what's to come, the Aggies will be even more thrilled than they already are to welcome Lodge to their campus.