NCF On The Trail: Lamar Parker

Signing day: Big 12 wrapup

February, 5, 2014
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As hectic of a day as it was, national signing day was a success for all Big 12 programs. Coaches were up early manning their fax machines and showing excitement with every national letter of intent submitted via fax.

Nearly 250 football players signed letters of intent to play Big 12 football on Wednesday. Here are five of the biggest storylines -- and a bonus storyline that could have an ending Thursday -- from the conference.

Oklahoma takes over top spot in Big 12

In the past 48 hours, everything seemed to go Oklahoma’s way.

[+] EnlargeMichiah Quick
Courtesy of Nike ESPN 300 ATH Michiah Quick was a big part of Oklahoma's final rush, a rush that gave the Sooners the top class in the Big 12.
After getting a Tuesday commitment from ESPN 300 safety Steven Parker II (Jenks, Okla./Jenks), the Sooners got Wednesday pledges from ESPN 300 athlete Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central East) and high three-star offensive tackles Kenyon Frison (West Valley City, Utah/Granger) and Orlando Brown Jr. (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge).

All four players were a part of Oklahoma’s signing class of 26 on Wednesday -- helping the Sooners take over the top spot in the Big 12 class rankings. Oklahoma’s class is No. 13 nationally, three spots better than previous top dog Texas.

Oklahoma in previous years has been very good at finishing strong in recruiting. It managed to sign Frison, who committed to Utah last February before decommitting last month, as well as Brown, who had been committed to Tennessee since May before making an 11th-hour change.

Strong, Longhorns get their DTs

New Texas coach Charlie Strong wanted two players he recruited to play at Louisville, and by Wednesday afternoon, he had them.

ESPN 300 defensive tackle Poona Ford (Hilton Head, S.C./Hilton Head) and three-star defensive tackle Chris Nelson (Lakeland, Fla./Victory Christian Academy) signed with the Longhorns and were two of 23 to submit national letters of intent. They also helped erase the sting of the Longhorns losing three four-star defensive tackle commitments in LSU signee Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Warren), Oklahoma signee Courtney Garnett (New Orleans/St. Augustine) and Texas A&M signee Zaycoven Henderson (Longview, Texas/Longview) last month.

Collectively, Ford and Nelson recorded 235 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 35 quarterback pressures and four forced fumbles. The duo also had 37.5 tackles for loss.

Receivers ‘No. 1’ to Baylor coach

Baylor coach Art Briles made a bold statement about his new wide receivers -- one that might be challenged by some but co-signed by others.

“The thing that we feel really good about,” Briles said, “is that we've signed the No. 1 receiving class in America -- I don't think that's up for debate.”

Briles has an argument with four ESPN 300 receivers in K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant), Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau), Ishmael Zamora (Houston/Alief Elsik) and Chris Platt (Willis, Texas/Willis). The quartet helped to give Baylor a top-25 national recruiting class.

Rhoads fired up about lone in-state signee

To say Paul Rhoads is excited about his top-ranked signee, ESPN 300 wide receiver Allen Lazard (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale) is an understatement.

While Rhoads is pumped about the entire class, there’s something special about Lazard, as he is this year’s only in-state signee. Lazard, No. 148 in the ESPN 300, had opportunities to sign with other programs, but he chose to honor his original commitment and also follow the footsteps of his father Kevin Lazard, who played in the secondary for the Cyclones in the early 1990s.

“This is a young man who has gotten phenomenal national attention and was recruited by the traditional historical programs in college football and kept on turning them away to stay true to his word to be an Iowa State Cyclone,” Rhoads said in a statement of Lazard, the No. 2 prospect out of the state of Iowa behind Alabama offensive lineman signee Ross Pierschbacher (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls).

West Virginia adds depth in class

Adding depth was the objective for West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, as he signed 22 players on Wednesday. Holgorsen was fortunate to add depth from coast to coast.

Of the 22 commits, only one -- three-star offensive tackle Amanii Brown (Morgantown, W.Va./Morgantown) -- is an in-state signee. The Mountaineers hit points all over the Lower 48, from California to Texas to Florida, to get players who can be contributors early and help the program return to star status.

West Virginia’s class is led by five ESPN 300 players. Running back Donte Thomas-Williams (Durham, N.C./Hillside), the class’ top-ranked player, was the last to commit early Wednesday afternoon. He joins defensive back Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa), linebacker Davonte James (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) and receivers Lamar Parker (Miami/Booker T. Washington) and Jake McCrary (Miami/Coral Reef) in the class.

Bonus: Could the Sooners add one more?

LSU signed 22 players on Wednesday. The Tigers were hoping to sign 23.

Deondre Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass) has been verbally committed to LSU since July, but the ESPN 300 defensive end also has high interest in Oklahoma. There were conflicting reports on Wednesday regarding whether Clark actually signed and submitted his letter of intent to LSU.

ESPN’s David Ching said an LSU spokesperson confirmed the letter of intent was at LSU and cleared compliance. Outside reports, however, say Clark did not submit the letter of intent, and a tweet from Clark's Twitter account said that “nothing is final.” His mother Dorshell also told The Oklahoman that her son “has not signed with LSU.”

Oklahoma City schools were closed on Wednesday because of bad weather, so Clark didn’t fax anything by way of Douglass High School. He is expected to announce his final decision on Thursday.

If it's true that Clark has not signed with LSU, look for Oklahoma to be a key player in his final decision. Ranked No. 273 in the ESPN 300, Clark has built a great relationship with the Sooners' coaching staff, particularly defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery.

Big 12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 17 

October, 17, 2013
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One ESPN 300 athlete is expected to choose a school the majority of the public has predicted for months. Any chance for a surprise change of plans? Another ESPN 300 athlete celebrates a birthday but continues to keep his followers guessing. Also, who’s the next big get for Texas after landing its eighth ESPN Junior 300 commitment?

Here are some of the Big 12 recruiting storylines for the week:

Does TCU have a chance at Garrett?

ESPN 300 DE Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin) is expected to announce where he’ll play college football this weekend. The majority of his followers agree that when the weekend is over, he will be a Texas A&M commit.

Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State also are high on Garrett’s list. The school closest to him, TCU, also is in the mix. What are the odds that the nation’s No. 7 player shocks the world and chooses the Horned Frogs over the Aggies?

Low. But, fortunately for TCU fans, not nonexistent. While Texas A&M is the team to beat, TCU has two things working for it -- proximity and familiarity.

Garrett lives roughly 15 minutes from TCU, and having his parents at every home game -- and several close road games in the Big 12 -- wouldn’t be difficult at all. Additionally, Garrett and TCU defensive end Devonte Fields have Martin ties. Fields, who will miss the remainder of TCU’s season with a foot injury, graduated from Martin in 2012.

Garrett is expected to be in College Station, Texas, for A&M’s game Saturday against Auburn, and all signs are pointing to him to wear Aggie maroon next year. But let’s not count out TCU just yet. After all, the Horned Frogs managed to score a shocker commitment in high three-star offensive lineman Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline) -- who was thought to favor Ole Miss and Oklahoma, among others.

Who’s next for Texas’ 2015 class?

Best Big 12 recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

The best college football coaches will tell you that when it comes to recruiting, their business is an art. It’s a craft you must perfect if you want to have the best players commit and ultimately sign. Recruiting isn’t for everybody, but those who are good at it -- particularly for building the 2014 class -- should be recognized, as the business is extremely competitive.

Here are 10 of the top recruiters from the Big 12.


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Big 12 recruiting mailbag

October, 11, 2013
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This week’s Big 12 recruiting mailbag focuses on Baylor’s offensive success, Kansas’ progress in recruiting, the status of an ESPN Junior 300 player and more. We encourage all to send questions each week, either via Twitter to @DamonSayles or @ESPNWilkerson or by email at dsaylesespn@gmail.com or wilkerson.espn@gmail.com.

From @InTheNameOfBU: Do you see Baylor sustaining their success in offense for quite a while? If so, why? #AskBig12

As long as head coach Art Briles, offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery and passing game coordinator/offensive recruiting coordinator Kendal Briles stick around, Baylor shouldn’t have any problems offensively. It’s really scary to think that Wofford -- and not a school like West Virginia -- has held Baylor to its lowest point total -- 69. The Bears have all kinds of offensive weapons now with quarterback Bryce Petty, running backs Lache Seastrunk and Shock Linwood and receivers Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese, and if they sign committed ESPN 300 players in receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) and athlete Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau), expect more of the same in the next couple of years.

From @Roberrttthom: How much do you think the early offer for 2015 DT Marquise Overton helps OK State's chances to land him?

In speaking with Overton, I know that he’s very appreciative of the Oklahoma State offer. However, I can’t say that it’s his absolute favorite right now. Reason being, he truly doesn’t has a favorite right now. The ESPN Junior 300 defensive tackle has additional offers from Baylor, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Oregon State and others, and all schools are in the running. Overton did say that he really likes Oklahoma State. The team is playing well right now, and it’s close to his home in Jenks, Okla. Keep an eye on how the 6-foot-1, 301-pound tackle gauges his schools of interest.

From @cr93ia: Any update on the buzz post Rhoads’ postgame press conference and just in general? #AskBig12

If you’re the Texas Longhorns, you’re not listening; you’re celebrating a win. If you’re pro-Paul Rhoads, you’re probably still a little upset about what happened last week. There’s nothing that can be done now, but Rhoads will have his Cyclones amped up for Saturday’s game against Texas Tech. Recruiting-wise, a few players are still eyeing every move Iowa State makes. The Cyclones have offered players like ESPN 300 defensive end Dewayne Hendrix (O’Fallon, Ill./O’Fallon), ESPN 300 outside linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central), four-star outside linebacker Nile Sykes (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) and four-star running back Corey Avery (Dallas/Carter), and they’re hoping to land at least one of these targets.

From @ttoulouse94: Any word on #KU making progress with WR or O-line prospects?

Recruiting with Kansas can be seen in two ways: Either a recruit will give the program the side eye for its subpar play, or a recruit will look at the subpar play as an opportunity to see immediate playing time. The Jayhawks are hoping to land three-star athlete Darious Crawley (Houston/Cypress Ridge), who can play receiver at the next level. As for the offensive line, Kansas will be looking in the junior college ranks for right-now type of players. Juco linemen Avery Gennesy (Southaven, Miss./East Mississippi Community College), Luke Hayes (El Dorado, Kan./Butler Community College) and David Hedelin (San Francisco/City College of San Francisco) all have Kansas offers.

From @KookanHere: #askbig12 Will Dana Holgorsen be the head coach of WVU next season?

West Virginia is 3-3 on the season. Just because the Mountaineers were rolled by Baylor doesn’t mean Holgorsen’s job is in jeopardy. Baylor has put up huge points against everybody. Holgorsen will be back next season to coach his new recruits in receivers Lamar Parker (Miami/Booker T. Washington), Jake McCrary (Miami/Coral Reef) and outside linebacker Davonte James (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) -- all ESPN 300 prospects. If Holgorsen is lucky, he also will be coaching ESPN 300 athlete Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa), who is strongly considering the Mountaineers.

Big 12 class rankings analysis 

October, 9, 2013
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Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the Big 12 conference, check out our conference rankings:

1. Texas, 24 commits: The Longhorns check in at No. 7 in the RecruitingNation class rankings with the headliners being No. 79 overall Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/Williams J. Brennan High), No. 119 Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City High) and No. 138 Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer High). Texas, which currently has seven ESPN300 commits, has its sights set on No. 31 overall Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell High), No. 13 Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen High) and No. 25 Jamal Adams (Lewiville, Texas/Hebron High).

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Early Offer: OU going back to Cali 

October, 2, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Oklahoma hopes its talent pipeline to California hasn’t dried up, ESPN 2 and ESPNU have Friday night broadcasts that feature around 10 ESPN 300 prospects; and even without a head coach USC remains active on the recruiting trail.

#WeekendoftheWest
Bob Stoops has never shied away from bringing in prospects for game weekends, and Saturday’s Big 12 Conference matchup against TCU is another opportunity for the Sooners to impress. Five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), four-star running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), four-star linebacker Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra), four-star athlete Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./East), four-star receiver Dallis Todd and four-star defensive tackle Ainuu Taua (Lompoc, Calif./Lompoc) will be in town for official visits. The Sooners have had a lot of success out West in the past and hope to keep their Golden State pipeline open. “California is right there with Oklahoma and Texas as far as importance to us,” one Sooner insider said. “We believe we can go into California and compete with Pac-12 schools because we have a lot to offer, and we have been quite successful attracting talented players to come to OU.” The Sooners currently have nine California players on its roster, including impact players like running back Brennan Clay, receiver Jalen Saunders and running back Damien Williams.


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#AskLoogs: The next Tavon Austin?

September, 5, 2013
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



If you have followed any of the reports we write or heard me give analysis when it comes to high school prospects, I always love to give fans a frame of reference for what type of player a guy is by comparing him to someone you likely already know.

So now that you have done my job for me (very well, I might add), I really do like that comparison for Miami Booker T. Washington’s Lamar Parker, a current West Virginia commit. A lot of people may not realize that Austin was a running back in high school and made a very successful transition to full-time slot receiver in college. Parker has the luxury of playing WR full time now, which gives him a leg up. I saw Parker in person this spring, and if he wasn’t so small (5-foot-8, 155 pounds), he’d likely be a national recruit as a receiver. He is incredibly explosive and quick. Has feet like a sewing machine needle. He is the ideal slot/return guy in Dana Holgerson’s offense. Of course, when we make comparisons to older, established players we are not guaranteeing they will perform at that level or even pan out, but we do like Parker and what he brings.
As we inch closer to the start of the college football season, wins and losses are going to be important -- not only for bowl-game consideration but also to keep current commitments interested.

Several 2014 athletes have pledged to Big 12 programs, and it’s up to the conference's schools to keep those athletes committed. Here are must-keep recruits for each team, athletes who can impact their respective classes.


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Miami SPARQ All-Combine team

February, 19, 2013
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MIAMI -- More than 900 athletes gathered on Jan. 5 at North Miami Stadium for the South Florida stop of the Nike Football SPARQ Combine tour. Here is a look at the 25 standout performers who comprise the Miami All-Combine team.

Note: Selections are based upon combine performance as well as past and projected on-field performance. Athletes must have completed two of the four combine tests to be eligible for selection. Athletes are in the Class of 2014 unless otherwise noted.

OFFENSE

QB: Quinton Flowers, 6-foot-0, 203 pounds, Miami Jackson
Results: 4.72 40-yard dash, 4.53 shuttle, 37-foot power ball throw, 31.3-inch vertical jump, 87.33 SPARQ Rating
Breakdown: Flowers ranks amongst the top QBs in South Florida and was a Class 5A third team all-state pick this fall.

QB: Nicodem Pierre, 6-1, 201, Miami Coral Reef
Results: 4.82 40, 4.50 shuttle, 40’ PB, 34.3” VJ, 95.61 SPARQ
Breakdown: Pierre upped his rating 23 points from last year; favors Kansas State early on in his recruitment.

[+] EnlargeTreon Harris
Tom Hauck/StudentSportsBooker T. Washington athlete Treon Harris earned this year's first invitation to The Opening.
RB: Jamal Adjamah, 5-8, 178, Miami Southridge
Results: 4.63 40, 4.57 shuttle, 36.5’ PB, 35.6” VJ, 90.39 SPARQ
Breakdown: Has been one of Dade County’s top backs over the past two years.

RB: Krondis Larry, 5-6, 140, Miami Booker T. Washington
Results: 4.36 40, 4.55 shuttle, 28.5’ PB, 35.8” VJ, 81.30 SPARQ
Breakdown: Class 4A honorable mention all-state pick ran for 802 yards and 13 TDs this fall and clocked event’s fastest 40 time.

RB: Mardre London, 6-1, 197, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas
Results: 4.61 40, 4.62 shuttle, 36.5’ PB, 32.3” VJ, 88.65 SPARQ
Breakdown: London saw sizable action behind Fred Coppet this fall and is in line for a big senior year this season.

WR: Jake McCrary, 6-0, 171, Miami Coral Reef
Results: 4.51 40, 4.47 shuttle, 32’ PB, 34.0” VJ, 86.43 SPARQ
Breakdown: McCrary looked to be back to full health after missing games this fall with a knee injury; has close to 20 offers so far.

WR: Isaiah McKenzie, 5-8, 160, Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage
Results: 4.56 40, 4.54 shuttle, 35’ PB, 36.0” VJ, 87.84 SPARQ
Breakdown: Showed great speed and is coming off of huge junior season in which he had 30 catches for 832 yards and 18 touchdowns.

WR: Lamar Parker, 5-8, 152, Miami Booker T. Washington
Results: 4.44 40, 4.25 shuttle, 30’ PB, 32.0” VJ, 87.24 SPARQ
Breakdown: Miami and FSU are amongst early offers for Parker, who helped the Tornadoes to a 4A state title this fall.

WR: JoJo Robinson, 6-0, 174, Miami Northwestern
Results: 4.41 40, 4.53 shuttle, 37.5’ PB, 32.0” VJ, 97.41 SPARQ
Breakdown: FSU commit put up the day’s top SPARQ Rating.

OL: Kai Absheer, 6-5, 296, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas
Results: 5.47 40, 5.07 shuttle, 38.5’ PB, 22.6” VJ, 70.50 SPARQ
Breakdown: Athletic big man posted top SPARQ Rating for all OL and should draw his share of looks in the future.

OL: Trevor Darling, 6-4, 307, Miami Central
Results: 5.82 40, 5.40 shuttle, 40’ PB, 19.9” VJ, 66.96 SPARQ
Breakdown: Miami commit had event’s second-best power ball toss.

OL: Ben Tirolia (’15), 6-2, 264, Miami Booker T. Washington
Results: 5.14 40, 4.84 shuttle, 38’ PB, 19.1” VJ, 65.34 SPARQ
Breakdown: Sophomore starter for state champion has a great future ahead of himself.

OL: Reginald Bain, 6-4, 251, Miami Central
Results: 5.32 40, 4.82 shuttle, 35’ PB, 25.3” VJ, 63.63 SPARQ
Breakdown: Starter on 6A title team at Miami Central possesses great frame and athletic ability.

ATH: Treon Harris, 5-11, 181, Miami Booker T. Washington
Results: 4.48 40, 4.31 shuttle, 34’ PB, 30.4” VJ, 92.61 SPARQ
Breakdown: A Class 4A all-state pick at QB this fall, Harris earned the first invite to The Opening.

ATH: Marcelis Logan, 5-8 ˝, 170, Lexington (Ky.) Catholic
Results: 4.53 40, 4.44 shuttle, 34.5’ PB, 36.5” VJ, 94.26 SPARQ
Breakdown: Son of former NFL RB Marc Logan scored eight TDs as a junior and posted event’s fourth-best SPARQ Rating.

DEFENSE

DL: Keyon Brown, 6-3, 235, Wauchula (Fla.) Hardee County
Results: 4.88 40, 4.47 shuttle, 33’ PB, 34.4” VJ, 90.39 SPARQ
Breakdown: As physically put-together as any player at the event, Brown ranks amongst state’s top DE prospects.

DL: Anthony Moten, 6-4, 279, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas
Results: 5.19 40, 5.03 shuttle, 42’ PB, 28.6” VJ, 91.68 SPARQ
Breakdown: Miami, FSU, Ohio State are among early offers for Moten, a Class 7A honorable mention all-state pick this fall.

DE/LB: Michael Smith, 6-2, 196, Miami Northwestern
Results: 4.86 40, 4.53 shuttle, 33’ PB, 30.2” VJ, 72.66 SPARQ
Breakdown: Was third team 6A all-state at DE for Northwestern this fall but could convert to outside linebacker in college.

LB: Kevin Bronson, 6-3, 231, Delray Beach (Fla.) Village Academy
Results: 4.78 40, 4.57 shuttle, 40’ PB, 31.1” VJ, 96.24 SPARQ
Breakdown: Big and athletic rush end put up day’s second-best SPARQ Rating and wants to play LB in college.

LB: Juwuan Brown, 6-2, 203, Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson
Results: 4.82 40, 4.60 shuttle, 36’ PB, 35.6” VJ, 86.76 SPARQ
Breakdown: Indiana is the first offer for Brown, more should be coming shortly for athletic ‘backer.

DB: Marques Gayot, 6-1, 197, Lake Worth (Fla.) Park Vista
Results: 4.65 40, 4.62 shuttle, 32’ PB, 30.6” VJ, 76.65 SPARQ
Breakdown: Physical hitter on film, ran well Saturday, was Class 8A all-state pick this fall.

DB: Jaquan Johnson (’15), 5-10, 169, Miami Killian
Results: 4.68 40, 4.38 shuttle, 33.5’ PB, 31.9” VJ, 81.54 SPARQ
Breakdown: Johnson was a Class 8A all-state pick this fall and already has Florida and Florida State offers as a rising junior.

DB: Nigel Patten, 5-9, 170, Miami Booker T. Washington
Results: 4.61 40, 4.44 shuttle, 29.5’ PB, 31.8” VJ, 74.34 SPARQ
Breakdown: Class 4A second team all-state pick this fall has an FSU offer.

DB: Andrew Soroh, 6-0, 189, Hialeah (Fla.) American
Results: 4.63 40, 4.37 shuttle, 36.5’ PB, 31.9” VJ, 93.27 SPARQ
Breakdown: Missed most of junior year with shoulder injury but is healthy now and worth a look.

ATH: Trayone Gray, 6-2, 194, Miami Carol City
Results: 4.66 40, 4.69 shuttle, 37’ PB, 32.1” VJ, 85.23 SPARQ
Breakdown: Ready to takeover as QB this fall for Chiefs but also recruitable as WR or safety due to size and athleticism.
The 7th annual Heath Evans Foundation 7-on-7 tournament will be loaded with FBS talent when the first pass is thrown Saturday morning in West Palm Beach, Fla.

ESPN 150/300 Prospects

Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Tampa (Fla.) Wharton (No. 4)

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