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Sunday, March 24, 2013
Lessons Learned: adidas Invitational

By Tom VanHaaren

The adidas invitational was held on Sunday at Grand Valley State University, boasting some of the top Midwest prospects ranging from the 2014 all the way to 2016 classes. The annual camp did not disappoint as the competition was plentiful throughout the day.

RecruitingNation writer Tom VanHaaren attended the camp and here is what he learned:

Lawrence Marshall
Defensive end Lawrence Marshall stood out in one-on-one drills at the adidas invitational.
Marshall matters

Defensive end Lawrence Marshall (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) looks like he has been hitting the weight room hard lately. He looked in great shape and was one of the top defensive linemen in the entire camp.

It was easy to see why Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Ole Miss and Oklahoma have offered among others. Marshall made the one-on-one drills look easy, as if it was effortless to get to the quarterback.

The former Ohio State commit plans on visiting Michigan State in the near future, but if he keeps performing as well as he did on Sunday plenty more schools are going to come knocking. His long arms and size will be coveted at the next level, and he's well on his way to be a top prospect in the Midwest.

Cornell stands out

Marshall wasn't the only one that stood out, as 2015 defensive end Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham) showed off his ability. While only a sophomore, Cornell has already been offered by Iowa, Minnesota and Rutgers.

He has good size at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, but seems to be very coachable and used his technique to his advantage in drills. Opposing offensive linemen had a difficult time slowing Cornell down in the pass rush and countering his moves up close.

Cornell says he has been hearing from Big Ten schools recently, and it's safe to say his name will continue to pop up as he gets further into the process.

You're never too young

Since the recruiting process is happening faster and faster, it's more common to see younger prospects at camps. Ranging from eighth-grade quarterbacks that stood 6-5 to 2016 defensive end prospect Lawrence Gordon (Saginaw, Mich./Saginaw Arthur Hills).

The 6-5, 230-pound freshmen end has interest from Michigan and Ohio State and plans on making it out a few school camps during the offseason. Gordon held his own against some top prospects, including 2014 offensive lineman Frank Ragnow (Victoria, Minn./Chanhassen), who holds offers from Florida State and Minnesota.

It's still too early in the process for Gordon to have any leaders or a timeline, but it looks as though he's going to start getting some recognition in the near future.

Defense aplenty

The camp was loaded with defensive talent across the board and it showed. Marshall, Cornell and Gordon were only three of the many standouts on defense.

The defensive back group had the edge on the receivers in one-on-ones with Ohio State commit Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech), Jalen Embry (Detroit/King), Tim Cason (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) and Jared Wangler (Warren, Mich./ De La Salle) among the top prospects.

Receivers Jordan Billingslea (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) and Colin Lisa (Alpharetta, Ga./Chattahoochee) were two receivers who did get the best of the defensive backs, but overall it was a defensive day.

Top campers

Awards were given out at the end of the event to recognize the top performers of the day. Each position group had representatives after drills and best-on-best competitions were held.

The offensive line group had a few standouts, including center J.C. Hassenauer (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge), Ragnow, Curtis Doyle (Alma, Mich./Alma) and Ethan McKenzie (Indianapolis/Heritage Christian).

Detroit Cass Tech High School was represented well among the top performers as usual with Webb, linebacker Gary Hosey, 2015 defensive end Joshua Alabi and 2015 running back Mike Weber all on the list.

Defensive backs Donovan Clark (Ft. Wayne, Indiana/South Side), Chris Carter (Birmingham, Mich./Brother Rice), Embry and Cason were also among the defensive backs listed among the best.