Monday, April 22, 2013
RN Top 10: D.C. NFTC
By Mitch Sherman
The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect their overall prospect ranking.
ASHBURN, Va. – The East Coast and mid-Atlantic states represented well on Sunday as eight players earned invites to The Opening at the Nike Football Training Camp outside of Washington, D.C. Defense ruled the day, led by two five-star prospects from Virginia.
10. Nick Scott Fairfax (Va.) Fairfax |RB| 5-11, 180
Scott stood out among a field of backs who were overshadowed by the prospects at nearly every other position. He earned the attention of coaches for his strong play and versatility but missed the MVP award, which went to Vincent Lowe (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield), who also posted the top SPARQ score.
Scott committed to Penn State in February over an offer from Boston College.
ESPN national recruiting analyst Craig Haubert’s take: “He’s got a great frame, and what I like about him as a Penn State verbal, he’s a versatile player. He may not run by you, but he does a good job in route-running.”
It was no easy task at this event to get noticed as a receiver with the fierce competition among defensive backs often stealing the spotlight in passing drills – not to mention a somewhat thin group of quarterbacks to deliver throws. But Phillips handled the situation, making his mark regularly without the football in hand.
Phillips’ offers include Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Penn State, Rutgers and Virginia.
Haubert’s take: “He’s another one of these kids out of a good program with a solid background. I thought he was really explosive off the line and created separation. He showed good hands and did a nice job in what was a deep receiver group.”
Kamara served notice he was serious about the D.C. weekend by showing up to compete on Saturday as a receiver at the Elite 11 regional. It’s difficult to stand out as a receiver in that setting, which focuses almost entirely on the quarterbacks. But Kamara made several nice grabs and maintained his solid play into Sunday’s NFTC.
He is considering offers from Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Miami, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin, among others.
Haubert’s take: “A big receiver, possession type. He’s not a guy who’s going to run by you. He’s not going to juke you. But he’s got outstanding, strong hands.”
Much like the problems faced by receivers Kamara and Phillips, Reavis had to fight for attention among a group in the secondary as strong at the top as at any NFTC this year, including the talent-laden Dallas event. He earned an invite to The Opening this summer and provided more evidence for the declaration of the upcoming months as banner year in recruiting for the state of Virginia.
Reavis committed to Virginia Tech over the weekend, spurning offers from Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, UConn, Maryland and others.
Haubert’s take: “I’d like to study him more on film, but he’s got a good build and steady, quick feet. Showed good ball skills as well in what was a pretty deep group.”
Jennnings produced the best performance from a receiver and earned recognition from the NFTC staff as the position MVP. He’s gone somewhat unnoticed out of New Jersey by top programs nationally but earned a ranking of No. 132 in the recently released ESPN 150. Others are likely to soon notice his skills.
Jennings counts offers from the likes of Illinois, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Temple and Central Florida.
Haubert’s take: “A tall receiver with an outstanding frame. He’s developed and moved well, a fluid kid. He’s a guy who, I think, you might see interest pick up for. He’s in our 150, so we obviously like him, and it was nice to see him come out and validate that.”
Holmes outdueled Andrew Brown, the No. 3 prospect nationally, to win the MVP among defensive linemen and take home one of eight invites to The Opening. Classified as a tight end by ESPN, he made a strong case as an elite prospect on the defensive side, constantly beating his foes to the inside and out in one-on-one drills.
Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Ole Miss are among the latest to offer Holmes, who continues to consider Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech and others.
Haubert’s take: “An intriguing guy. On film, you see flashes. We’ve got him listed as a tight end. He worked out with the defensive ends and showed good burst. He’s very active with his hands. Watching him out here today, I’m starting to lean a little toward defense.”
Named MVP on the offensive line and handed an invite to The Opening, Prince stood up like a brick wall in pass protection against a talented cast of defenders. He’s shed some 35 pounds this year and improved his endurance. It showed in his play on Sunday. No. 33 in the ESPN 150, he’s in position to rise.
Prince’s scholarship offers include Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State, Arkansas and Clemson.
Haubert’s take: “One of the real pleasant surprises. Outstanding player on film, but off of his junior tape, he’s one of the more frustrating guys. He’s arguably the best offensive tackle in the country when he’s on, but there were periods in his tape where he just wasn’t giving it his all. He looked great today, jumped in there and took as many reps as he could, which you love to see. He came out and competed.”
3. Jalen Tabor Washington (D.C.) Frienship Collegiate Academy |CB| 6-1, 180
A big, flexible and versatile defensive back, Tabor showed all that was advertised on Sunday, topping five-star safety Quin Blanding in the bid for MVP of the secondary. Tabor, 19th in the ESPN 150, also earned an invite the The Opening.
Who doesn’t want Tabor? Offers have arrived from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Michigan, LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State and more.
Haubert’s take: “He has an outstanding frame to develop into a guy who could play corner or safety. Great versatility. Just an excellent athlete.”
2. Andrew Brown Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Frommel Smith |DT| 6-4, 285
The highest-rated player in attendance at No. 3 in the ESPN 150, Brown dominated at every opportunity. He toyed with Notre Dame offensive line commit Sam Mustipher on back-to-back snaps in one-on-one work and raced past nearly every other linemen who got between Brown and his intended destination.
A refined prospect, he can choose from the best of the best, including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Miami, Ohio State and USC.
Haubert’s take: “No. 3 player in the country did not disappoint. He’s so explosive. He’s still getting assimilated to the position. A lot of young defensive linemen don’t use their hands, but when you watch Andrew play, he’s constantly active with his weapons. He showed a great club move and kept offensive linemen off balance.”
Blanding is a physical specimen and an uber-prospect in the secondary. Five-star talent at safety is a rare thing, but he’s got it, no doubt. No. 1 rated at his position nationally and 11th in the ESPN 150, he earned a repeat invite to The Opening, where he more than held his own last year as one of three juniors in attendance. This year, he’s a top dog.
Blanding is committed to homestate Virginia.
Haubert’s take: “Came out here and showed an excellent combination of size and athleticism. He’s so smooth in his movements. And it was great to see him show the ball skills. He’s a player who offers outstanding versatility.”