Friday, March 15, 2013
Five stories to watch: Orlando NFTC
By Derek Tyson
Here are five storylines to watch on Saturday.
Who are the top offensive linemen in Florida?
Michigan commit Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), Corey Martinez (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic) and Reilly Gibbons (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Pete Catholic) are all apart of the ESPN Watch List, and along with Florida offensive tackle commit Benjamin Knox (DeLand, Fla./DeLand) and uncommitted prospects Denzel Ward (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academies) and Montel McBride (Plant City, Fla./Plant City), they are expected to compete at the Orlando NFTC. This will be an excellent opportunity to gauge just who are the top linemen in the state. This will be Ward's first big event since transferring from Hales Franciscan High School in Chicago to IMG. He will have a chance to measure his skills against some of the top defensive players in Florida.
DE Trent Harris (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park)
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound defensive end has seen his stock skyrocket recently. Harris, who was relatively unknown just a few months ago, now holds offers from Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Georgia, USF and Kentucky to name a few. This will be an opportunity for Harris to go against some of the top offensive linemen such as Ward, Martinez, Cole, Knox and Gibbons in one-on-one drills and try and prove he belongs among the elite pass-rusher's in the Southeast.
Who will emerge from the wide receivers?
Watch List wide receivers Ryeshene Bronson (Ft. Myers, Fla./Dunbar), a Florida commit, and Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) head the list of wideouts expected to attend the Orlando camp, but other receivers such as Garrett Johnson (Winter Gardens, Fla./West Orange), Antoine Griffin (Cocoa Beach, Fla./Cocoa Beach), Desean Blair (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) and Alex Gomez (Orlando, Fla./Olympia) are looking to make a name for themselves. Going up against Watch List defensive backs Duke Dawson (Cross City, Fla./Dixie Co.) and Kyle Gibson (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), the wide receivers will have to earn every catch they get on Saturday. This will also be a good chance to see how 2015 phenom George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) stacks up against some of the top competition in Florida. Campbell already has offers from several top SEC, ACC and Big Ten schools.
Players who could surprise
Last year, offensive lineman Ira Denson came out of nowhere to win the O-line MVP after a dominating performance. Will there be a surprise player for this year? Holding offers from NC State, Maryland, Kentucky and Boston College, safety Darrion Owens (Orange Park, Fla./Oakleaf) isn't completely unknown, but the 6-3, 225-pound athlete has a chance to become a household name with a strong performance. It's hard to say a player listed on the ESPN Watch List could be a surprise, but quarterback Michael O'Connor transferred from a high school in Tennessee to IMG Academy in Florida. This will be an opportunity for O'Connor to show what he can do against some of the elite talents in Florida.
LB Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood)
At 6-2, 243, Daub is known for is physical play, but he has an opportunity to show he is a three-down linebacker by showcasing his coverage skills during the one-on-one drills. Daub has been impressive at other 7-on-7 events recently, but it wasn't against talent like he will see on Saturday. In addition to his coverage skills, Daub will have a chance to showcase his pass-rush ability during one-on-one pass blocking drills. Daub will be one of the highest rated linebackers in the state next year, and he will have every opportunity to prove it this weekend.