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May 5, 2005
Quality wins out at Tallahassee NIKE Camp
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. - If you've ever heard the expression quality over quantity then you know it might apply to the Tallahassee NIKE camp. Nearly 300 prospects showed up for the event, which won't match the 500 or so that will be in Palo Alto, Calif., or Athens, Ga., during the coming weeks, but the percentage of Division I talent there was extremely high.
Stone Mountain, Ga., linebacker Marcus Ball headlined the event with a stellar performance in drills. Ball, the brother of Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball, solidified his claim to being one of the top linebackers in the country with his performance in Tallahassee.
"He was the best linebacker I saw all of last year and he's the best I've seen this year," Student Sports linebackers coach Chris Grizzy said. "He was a man among boys out there."
The following is a position-by-position breakdown of the top performers at Florida State:
Quarterbacks - All of the pre-camp talk circled around St. Augustine (Fla.) Nease gunslinger Tim Tebow, who granted, had a good day, but it was Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby quarterback Emanuel Francis who stole the show. Francis put a nice touch on the ball, had a cannon for an arm. Tebow showed his raw athleticism testing off the charts and showed why he has dozens of offers. Harry Betsey of Quincy (Fla.) East Gadsten is sleek athlete with a ton of raw potential. He has a nice tight spiral and a great short ball, he needs some work on his long ball, but has the chance to be a stellar prospect. Tebow and Betsey were good, but Francis was money all day long.
Running Backs - Aside from the linebackers, the running backs may have been the highlight of the camp. The talk of the day was Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian running back Marcus Sims.
While some consider him a linebacker on the next level, Sims is open to playing either position, but chose to work out with the backs on Sunday. Sims has drawn many comparisons to his brother, Florida State's Ernie Sims but in reality they have many differences. Believe it or not Marcus may be stronger than Ernie was in high school and he is a much more agile player than the older Sims. He has tremendous potential and could be a top prospect at either position.
Orlando (Fla.) Freedom running back James Poe is a huge kid who everyone was mistaking for a linebacker. He moves well and has good speed. Orlando (Fla.) Evans running back Dontae Jones was one of the most physically impressive players at the camp and looked great in drills all day. Others who stood out were Lakeland (Fla.) George Jenkins running back Sheldon Dennis, Dunnellon, Fla., speedster Rodney Jones, Bradford (Fla.) Starke athlete James Jamison and junior- to-be star Chris Rainey of Lakeland.
Wide Receivers - Remember the name Carlton Mitchell of Tampa (Fla.) Gaither because he looked flat out awesome all day. He one of the fastest kids at the camp and is a tall, lean wide receiver that is a perfect fit for nearly any offense. Clermont (Fla.) East Ridge star Richard Jackson looked just as you might expect him to, which is great. He is a big, fast kid who is one of those guys that lives by the rule, 'if you can touch the ball, you can catch it'. Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater athlete Greg Matthews is a huge, lean kid with good speed and a ton of potential, not to mention Edgewater players do very well on the college level. One of the surprises of the day was Daytona Beach (Fla.) Seabreeze wide out Dominic Mungen, who made several awesome catches. He uses his body well, runs good routes and is a big, wide target who knows how to use his body to get open. Tallahassee (Fla.) Rickards wide receiver Anthony Jones was another hidden gem at the camp who had an impressive day. He may not have been talked about as much as some of the others up to this point, but performed as well as anyone.
Tight End - Land O' Lakes, Fla. Tight end Caz Piurowski looks like a college tight end already. He is a big, lean guy who runs well and could grow into a tackle at the next level. Given his size and speed combination, however, tight end looks to be his spot for the future. Mobile (Ala.) UMS Wright tight end Preston Dial was another impressive player at that position. Dial runs super routes and catches the ball with a very crisp, brisk motion. He's strong, uses his body well and is also very good at blocking on all of the film we've seen. Chris Davis of Jefferson, Ga., also looked the part of a big time prospect, but his frame to add weight and lack of mobility and quickness will tempt some coaches to move him inside to play along the offensive line. He had a very good day and does catch the ball well, because of his size he is a very versatile prospect and a definite guy to look out for.
Offensive and Defensive Line - The offensive lines did not have many headliners. Charlotte (NC) Independence guard Pierre Andrews had a solid day and showed good movement and athleticism. Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland offensive guard Jeramy Devane also had a solid day. He fires off the ball quickly and has great strength.
Defensive end Rodney Gnat of Jacksonville (Fla.) Wolfson was the head of the class in virtually all drills all day long. He has a great frame to grow into, super footwork, solid speed, good strength and will be a big name in recruiting circles over the next few months. Dunedin defensive end Darrell Roseman looks the part of a college prospect and had a good day in drills and in the one on ones. Kareem Cromwell is another big time Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby star who was expected to have a good day and did just that. Quentin Mims of Vernon, Fla. looked solid in drills in one on ones all day as well and could be an emerging sleeper.
Linebackers - Linebackers coach Chris Gizzy stated last year that Ball was the best linebacker he saw all year and at this point the honors still belong to Ball as Gizzy echoed the same statements from a year ago. Jasper (Fla.) Hamilton County linebacker Dustin Doe is definitely a guy to watch. He is almost as impressive physically as Ball and looks to be great at stuffing the run as a middle inside linebacker. He lacks some flexibility and coverage skills to be an outside linebacker on the next level. Tampa (Fla.) Middleton outside linebacker A.J. Jones runs like a safety and has tremendous instincts and did very well in testing and drills. He is a little thin right now and will need to beef up to play linebacker on the next level, but has a great frame so that should be of little concern. Daytona Beach (Fla.) Seabreeze linebacker A.J. Morosco is a true middle linebacker with great strength and instincts on stopping the run. A sleeper emerged in Kion Wilson of Jacksonville (Fla.) Raines, who simply was unstoppable in drills and one on ones all day. He is in the 6-foot, 200-pound range and ran in the vicinity of a 4.7 in the forty and is definitely a guy to put on your radar.Earick Williams of Gainesville, Fla. and Ervin Armstrong of Fort White, Fla., also looked solid all day in this group.
Defensive Backs - Chris Duvalt tested off the charts and did very well in one on ones and drills. He has flexible hips and great leaping ability, combine that with his extremely impressive film and Duvalt could end up a very highly ranked prospect. Jacksonville (Fla.) Raines defensive back Donsay Hardeman was one of the few guys to test even better than Duvalt. He has leaping ability out of this world and amazing change of direction and coverage skills, this kid is big time. Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby safety DeAndre McDaniel didn't have his best day from a testing standpoint, but was a menace in drills. He is definitely the strong safety type that is much better at stopping the run. However, McDaniel did show very good coverage skills all day as well. McDaniel's teammate Marcus Udell also looked the part of a big time cornerback and showed super athleticism. Tallahassee (Fla.) Rickards defensive back Ryan Hill is a lockdown corner who has big time potential.