ATHENS, Ga. – On the first day of the Mark Richt 7-on-7 camp, a bevy of top players hit the University of Georgia intramural fields to win the double-elimination tournament. Almost the entire Bulldogs coaching staff was present, shaking hands, catching up and most importantly, evaluating the talent on the field.
Assistant head coach Rodney Garner and offensive line coach Will Friend held a lineman’s camp in the morning so the big uglies could learn a trick or two as well as try to impress the Georgia staff.
With almost 20 schools in attendance it was hard to be everywhere, but here are five players who stood out on the first day:
2013 DE Antonio Riles (Lawrenceville, Ga,/Archer): Garner worked with Riles more than any other defensive lineman at the camp and with good reason. Riles demonstrated how raw he is, but he also flashed the potential that has college coaches excited. The ESPN 300 defensive end recently picked up an offer from Alabama to go along with his offers from Georgia, Clemson, Florida and Tennessee, among others. In the one-on-ones he destroyed three different offensive linemen, including Georgia Tech commit Jeremi Hall. After that, Garner switched Riles to the offense and brought in a couple quick defenders to test the 6-foot-4, 261-pound lineman’s abilities as a blocker. Riles did well in that scenario as well, winning a grudging smile from Garner.
2014 RB Myles Autry (Norcross, Ga./Norcross): After the morning session, Norcross was undefeated and they carried that streak well into the afternoon, eventually ending up in the championship game against Tri-Cities. Autry had already racked up at least 12 touchdowns before the quarterfinals began. He lit up Burke County in the semifinals by repeatedly dragging over the middle and catching passes in traffic. Myles is an Alvin Kamara clone, which makes sense as they play together and he is Kamara’s protégé. The Georgia coaches watched him closely and Autry put on a show with diving catches and acrobatic leaps. The Georgia coaches spoke to Autry in the morning. He is part of the 2014 class.
2013 RB Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross): Sometimes in a 7-on-7 competition the running backs don’t do much. Well, after losing to Kell High School last week in a different 7-on-7 tournament, Kamara wasn’t going to sit back and just be a diversion. With the Georgia coaches watching, Kamara lined up in the slot more than at running back and caught several short to intermediate passes. When he needed to, the ESPN 150 standout would jet to the end zone and haul in yet another touchdown pass. Clarke Central could ill-afford to leave him in single coverage, but the other Norcross receivers were threats as well. Any attempts to focus on Kamara led to big gains by the Blue Devils wideouts. Norcross dispatched the Gladiators quickly, just as they did everyone else.
2014 QB Tyler Harris (Blackshear, Ga./Pierce County): Harris is new to the Bears and Thursday he started in place of Micah Larson, who played wideout. In one game against loaded Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln, he had two touchdowns in three passes. He is physically imposing for a quarterback and looks to easily fill out his large frame. But his arm is what turns heads as he can fire the ball into the tiniest of windows. Harris sometimes tries too hard, but that is the nature of a 7-on-7 tournament. He has a strong release and it showed. Against North Oconee he twice completed touchdown passes on the first play from scrimmage to streaking wide receivers. He recently toured Ole Miss, Auburn and Alabama with Dillon Veal and another teammate. Harris spoke with Nick Saban for almost an hour, we are told. Harris also is part of the 2014 class.
2013 WR Taj Williams (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln): While the Georgia coaches checked in on their most recent wide receiver commit, Reggie Davis, it was his teammate Williams that stole the show. Williams repeatedly burned cornerbacks and safeties on go routes. Even when teams knew it was coming, they still could not stop Williams. On three slant routes he just jumped to a ball that only he could reach. The 6-foot-4 Williams has offers from Alabama, Florida, FSU and Notre Dame. He does not have one from Georgia. After catching yet another touchdown on a streak route, he nodded at the Georgia coaches watching nearby. Lincoln leaned on him after Davis went down with an injury early. Davis was under the trainer’s tent with a bag of ice on his thigh. He returned in the afternoon. In the meantime Williams, recently ranked in the ESPN 300, proved a favorite target for the Lincoln quarterback, especially because he was always open.