Monday, March 18, 2013
Lessons Learned: VTOSports Charlotte
By Miller Safrit
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The VTOSports Prep 100 is annually one of the strongest fields for the camp series, and this year’s 208 participants certainly helped to continue that tradition of excellence.
Recruiting Nation writer Miller Safrit attended the event and here are five things he learned:
Florida commit Will Grier won quarterback MVP honors at the VTO Sports Prep 100 in Charlotte, N.C. in March.
With a camp-style event, testing was thrown out the window and the focus was football skills and drills. By the end of the day, eight players rose to the top and, in the end, came away with MVP honors at their position.
Leading the way were three Watch List members in Florida commit Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day) earning MVP honors at quarterback, Donte Thomas-Williams (Durham, N.C./Hillside) at running back, and Trevion Thompson (Durham, N.C./Hillside) at wide receiver.
Joining them with MVP positional awards were Mahlon Medley (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O’Berry) at tight end, Trip McNeil (Mocksville, N.C./Davie) for the offensive line, Tyler Powell (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) on the defensive line, Cayson Collins (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O’Berry) at linebacker, and Elijah Bulger (Fayetteville, N.C./Douglas Byrd) at defensive back. Running back Kevin Rucker (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) also earned the Sleeper Award while wide receiver Colin Lisa (Alpharetta, Ga./Chattahoochee) picked up the Athlete Award.
All MVP winners and the top five players at each position are now invited to the VTO NFL Prep event in Baltimore later this year.
Travel Paid Off
Coming the longest distance certainly paid off for Powell and Lisa, both driving over five hours to make it in for the camp. Powell, who holds offers from Old Dominion, Temple, and William and Mary, played a combination of defensive tackle and defensive end. The bouncing back and forth happened partially because of callouts from offensive linemen hoping to try to stop him, but also because his body style can fit either position and has a set of tools allowing him to get through to the quarterback inside or outside.
Lisa, a standout at the previous week’s VTO Prep 100 in Atlanta, earned his award by catching nearly every pass thrown his way. Quicker than fast at receiver, he was past the defensive backs within the first 5 yards on most plays. With early offers from UAB and Toledo, he could easily jump to double digits by the end of the May evaluation period.
The Charlotte area is normally a hotbed for talent, especially for out-of-state schools as the closest BCS program is actually in Columbia, S.C., with the South Carolina Gamecocks just over an hour away. Defensive end Robert Dinkins, a North Carolina commit, said that he noticed the Tar Heels and other schools have increased their recruiting in the area.
Two schools that may go unnoticed recruiting in the city are Ball State, whose coaching staff moved to Indiana from nearby Elon two years ago, and Charlotte -- a team that expects to play in Conference USA in two years.
The two programs combined for 14 signees last month, and already have offers to more than 10 players in the region this year.
Get In Position
Several players had great days at multiple positions, but two players are still finding the right place to play in the future.
Dinkins, after earning defensive line MVP last year at this event, looked fantastic in coverage drills and said he plans to play a hybrid linebacker position in college that would allow him to rush the passer or drop in coverage depending on the play.
Meanwhile, while Collins took home MVP honors at linebacker he still saw multiple reps at wide receiver and the 6-foot-1, 210 pound athlete showed impressive acceleration on a few deep receptions.
While Grier acted a bit nervous about the receivers he would throw to on Sunday, it may have been just an act as three of the top 10 receivers were actually his Davidson Day teammates. Mike Stevens, who holds an early offer from Kentucky, and rising juniors Glen Coates and Cullen McGahan were singled out for their performances.