One day after learning it would be ineligible for postseason play in 2014 because of a substandard Athletic Progress Rate, UNLV concluded spring football practice on Friday night with its annual Showcase scrimmage.
And despite the gloomy news that hit the program a little over 24 hours earlier, there was a lot to be encouraged about for Bobby Hauck’s squad afterward.
Perhaps the biggest reason to smile: the crowd. Over 1,000 people showed up and packed the Peter Johann Memorial Field soccer stadium, a larger than usual turnout for a spring scrimmage.
And star wide receiver Devante Davis, who will be busy getting ready for the NFL Draft a year from now, said afterward he has no intention of transferring for his senior year even though he could switch schools without penalty because of the postseason ban.
“The news wasn’t going to affect me leaving or staying,” Davis said. “I’m a Rebel and I’ll still be here.”
For more from Davis, check out the VIDEO below.
The starting quarterback battle between juniors Nick Sherry and Blake Decker will carry over into fall camp as expected but both had solid springs. Sherry completed 5-of-7 passes for 69 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Criswell, while Decker was 3-of-6 for 18 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Williams, but was also intercepted once. And freshman Jared Lebowitz, who completed 8-of-12 passes for a scrimmage-high 100 yards, also looked promising for the future.
A couple other players who caught my attention:
* Junior corner Brandon Baker. He had the night’s only interception and was outstanding in man-to-man coverage.
* Senior running back Adonis Smith. The Northwestern transfer had 83 yards on seven carries, including touchdown runs of 55 and 9 yards, and made several shifty moves to avoid tacklers. It was easily the best he’s looked since arriving at UNLV.
Overall, this appears to easily be Hauck’s best team. It’s big, it’s physical and there is good depth. If not for the APR sanctions, it would have a legitimate shot at playing in the Mountain West Championship game.
UNLV begins fall practice on Aug. 6. The Rebels open their season Aug. 29 at Arizona.