Thursday, March 21, 2013
Five stories to Watch: Charlotte NFTC
By Kipp Adams
The 2013 Nike Football Training Camp circuit continues with the fourth installment this Sunday at Charlotte (N.C.) Hough High School. Both Carolinas, as well as a few standouts from eight other states, are set to attend the highly touted camp. Here are five storylines worth keeping an eye on as the camp approaches.
McMillan looks to shine
Being compared to 2013 ESPN 150 prospect Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) as a rising junior is definitely a compliment to the talent level of Raekwon McMilllan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County), but the 6-foot-2, 235-pound ESPN Watch List linebacker is ready to stake his own claim as one of the best in the 2014 class.
Dozens of programs, including early frontunners Clemson and Ohio State, have offered McMillan, who had a standout performance alongside Foster at the Atlanta NFTC last year. Already known for being physically ready for the college game, McMillan will have an opportunity during the one-on-one drills to show he can excel in coverage as well.
The University of Florida is off to a great start in the 2014 recruiting cycle, with seven commitments, six of whom are on the ESPN Watch List. Two of them will be competing Sunday -- quarterback Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day) and linebacker/defensive end Christian Miller (Spring Valley, S.C./Spring Valley).
Grier is considered one of, if not the top quarterback in the country, and Miller might be the top defensive prospect in South Carolina, giving the Gators two of the Carolinas’ best for the 2014 class. Expect both to try to help reel in additional future teammates among the top talent at the Charlotte NFTC.
Solid group at WR
Looking at the list of prospects expected to attend Sunday, the wide receiver group appears to be extremely strong. ESPN Watch List prospect Trevion Thompson (Durham, N.C./Hillside) and former Peach State standout Josh Cabrera (Jacksonville, N.C./Northside) are among the in-state wideouts competing, and Shaq Davidson (Gaffney, S.C./Gaffney) will try to stake his claim as the best receiver from the Palmetto State.
Aggadoria Bowers (Bamberg, S.C./Bamberg-Ehrhardt) will look to rebound from multiple ACL injuries and show why he was highly touted and heavily recruited early on in his high school career. Watch List prospect Terry Googer (College Park, Ga./Woodward Academy) will be making the trip over from Georgia to participate as well.
The kids are all right
There will be no shortage of BCS-caliber talent among the underclassmen at the Charlotte NFTC on Sunday. In the 2015 class, running back Bryce Love (Wake Forest, N.C./Wake Forest-Rolesville) already has offers from in-state programs like Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State, as well as Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) has been targeted early by Clemson, North Carolina, Ohio State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Defensive end Darian Roseboro (Lincolnton, N.C./Lincolton) has Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State offers now, but at 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, many more could be on their way. Wide receiver Michael Bowman (Havelock, N.C./Havelock) has offers from ECU, North Carolina, N.C. State, Penn State and South Carolina,
At least three 2015 prospects from South Carolina plan to compete Sunday, including defensive end Albert Huggins (Orangeburg, South Carolina/Orangeburg) who claims offers from Clemson, Florida, Florida State and South Carolina. Sophomore defensive end LaSamuel Davis (Bamberg, S.C./Bamberg- Ehrhardt) has early offers from three programs out West in Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA. Virginia Tech has offered defensive end Michael Barnett (Ridgeville, S.C./Woodland), and wide receiver Tavin Richardson (Duncan, S.C./Byrnes) has a Maryland offer.
Not to be outdone is the 2016 class, with several prominent freshmen slated to participate in Charlotte. Running back Antonio Williams (New London, N.C./North Stanly) put his name on the map by running for more than 1,516 yards and 17 touchdowns as a freshman while nursing an injured groin. Schools like Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina, NC State and South Carolina already have offered the 5-11, 185-pound tailback.
Only three prospects in the country are committed in the 2016 class, and two of them are on the same team. Running back Robert Washington (Huntersville, N.C./Southlake Christian Academy) and wide receiver Conner O’Donnell both pledged to play for Mississippi State last fall during their freshmen seasons. While running back Benjamin LeMay might not claim any offers just yet, as the younger brother of University of Georgia quarterback Christian LeMay and 2013 wide receiver signee Uriah LeMay, there is reason to believe he will be highly coveted before all is said and done.
The battle for running back MVP looks to be a heated one Saturday, as ESPN Watch List prospects Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian), Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock), Donte Thomas-Williams (Durham, N,C./Hillside) and Caleb Kinlaw (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek) headline a group that might be the strongest at the camp. Underclassmen like Love and LeMay will try to show they belong among this star-studded collection of older tailbacks.