Monday, June 18, 2012

Local Talent Dominate This Weekend’s Junior Rank Camp at Plymouth-Whitemarsh

As Junior Rank Camp made its way to the Philadelphia area for its second year, local talent made sure they left a lasting impression on the camp staff. The two-day event that took place at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School and it hosted around 200+ student-athletes. The athletes came from all over the country to look for a sniff of recognition from evaluators and the possibly leaving with an invitation to the Semper Fidelis All-American Football Game.
Junior Rank has two things that makes their camps unique. The football drills are run by former NFL greats and fitness drills are run by the United States Marines. The presence of United States Marines surely made for a different type of atmosphere on the field, to say the least. High ranking officers took the time to express the importance of “character, discipline, and academics.” The Marines tested the fortitude of the football players by putting campers through physical training tests providing the young-men with a unique experience that they will never forget. Now as for the football part of it…the camp was not lacking in talent. I decided to provide a camp write-up and here are a few players that stood out.
Top QBs:
Tim DiGiorgio (Frankford, Philadelphia)- DiGiorgio threw for almost 2500yards and 30TDs during his Junior campaign. From his camp performance, I can only imagine that he will eclipse those numbers in 2012. DiGiorgio only attended Day 2 of Junior Rank because he attended the Penn State camp where they kept a close eye on him. It was easy to see why they did. He torched the defense of the camp every chance he had in 1 on 1s and 7 on 7s. He has good feet and makes his throws effortlessly. DiGiorgio does not have Brett Favre’s velocity, but he does have Montana-esque accuracy. I think once he collects his first offer they will start pouring in for this 6’2 180lb record setter.

Kyle Short (Rockford, Michigan)- Short caught my eye as soon as I walked toward the area where the quarterbacks were drilling. He throws a tight spiral on every pass and has a super quick release. Short was asked a number of occasions to throw designed deep routes in order to watch him heave a tight spiral 40yards in the air. He says he doesn’t have any offers as a QB yet because he played mostly defensive back last season. He does believe he has the skill set to have a breakout senior season.

Reggie Bell (Dorsey, California)- Bell is a slim, chiseled 6’1 6’2 gun slinger. He has a very strong arm and displayed his athletic ability when he decided to do a few backflips for his buddies on the field. Bell is definitely a QB to look for on the scene in California in 2012.
Top WRs:
Will Fuller (Roman Catholic, Philadelphia)- Fuller only attended Day 2 of the camp because he traveled to Penn State camp to support  a few of his teammates. Fuller himself already nailed down an offer from PSU and is verbally committed for the 2013 recruiting class. Although, he was only showcasing his talents for one day, Fuller did not fail to impress the camp staff and even other campers. Only a couple of passes were thrown his way in 7 on 7 competitions, but they both resulted in touchdowns. He pulled in a 12 yard pass across the middle splitting the defense as he high tailed it to the end zone. The other touchdown was a 40 post route where he had out run the Cornerback and Safety. The best part was when I overheard two camp instructors say, “Yeah, his talent is clearly above the rest.”  
LaQuille Nesbitt (Northeast, Philadelphia)- Nesbitt was a clear standout during individual drills and competition. He displayed excellent body control and catching ability. He quickly became quarterbacks’ favorite target by always getting himself open and attacking the ball over taller defenders whenever it was thrown his way. The 5’9 Wide Receiver told me he ran a 4.47 at South Carolina camp which impressed the coaches. He proved that he was truly that fast by finishing in the top 8 of the Junior Rank camps’ Fastest Man competition, but slipped on his start in the final. Nesbitt has big play ability and is looking to field his first offer.
(Nesbitt to the right) (Taylor to the left)
Alskee Downing (Millville, New Jersey)- Downing impressed me most on Day 1 by standing out during individual Wide Receiver drills. He displayed quick feet and crisp route running, along with catching the ball well. Downing was consistent with his performance on Day 2 and I don’t see why he won’t have a big year for the Thunderbolts in 2012. His 5’9 frame may keep him from racking up D-1 offers, but wouldn’t be surprised if some 1-AA’s took a shot at him.

De’Quan Bowman (Millville, New Jersey)- Bowman was not to be out shined by his Millville teammate as he proved himself worthy of some attention. He caught my eye by yanking in a few bad throws that he somehow got his hands on. He constantly made the Quarterbacks look good when their passes were not so good. He has strong hands and did a good job reaching outside his frame and securing catches that looked to be out of reach.
Other standout Wide Receivers:
Chris Sutton (Archbishop Carrol, Philadelphia), D’Andre Dunkley (George Washington, Philadelphia)
Top Running Backs:
Michael Million (Montclair, New Jersey)- Million won camp MVP. When I asked how were his grades he was sure to let me know he has a 3.1 GPA and did well on the ACT. I thought I’d throw that in there. On the field Million was just as impressive. The 5’9 180lb back showed explosiveness and sweet feet. When the offense faced the defense in 1 on 1s you frequently could find him showing some excitement after reeling in a few 40yard bombs from the quarterbacks. I haven’t seen his film, but if his speed translates to the field he will surely have a few offers under his belt
Malik Jones (Bonner, Philadelphia)- Jones name is synonymous to the word “Flash.” All you saw was a flash when he was running around. He displayed above average speed. Jones is about 5’6, but makes up for it with speed. No linebacker was even close to covering him when he ran routes. He catches the ball very well out of the backfield and is a legitimate deep threat. He’s runs a 21 200meter, 48 400meter…#BURNER! Oh yeah, he won the Junior Rank Fastest Man competition too. (left)
Karon Lucas-Tillery and Richard Ringgold- (Pennwood, Philadelphia)- Tillery is about 6-1 and deadlifts 440lbs. Ringgold is 5’2. For this I will say these guys were my choice for the “Thunder and Lightning” duo of camp. Tillery moves surprisingly well for his size and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Ringgold is small, 5’2 small, but no one could cover him in 1 on 1s.  His coach tells me that despite his size he has received many honors. Ringgold was All Delco MVP and the leading tackler on his team. I guess good things really do come in small packages.
Other standout Running Backs:
Sloane Thomas (Mastery Charter, Philadelphia), Demond Cottman (Atlantic City, New Jersey)

Top Linebackers:
Jared Alwan (Camden Catholic, New Jersey)- Alwan was visibly the best Linebacker throughout the two days. Every pass that was thrown in his area was either picked off or tipped by him. He has long arms and moves extremely well for his build. Alwan says he has offers from BC, Temple, WVU, UMass, Buffalo, and Duke rightfully so. (left)
Marshall McShan (Millville, New Jersey)-  McShan impressed me. He did very well putting his hands on shiftier RBs in the camp. At one point the offense ran a screen play to Richard Ringgold who is about 5’2, but very slippery back. McShan was not fooled for a second. He caught Ringgold and the way he grab him he almost decapitated the poor guy. McShan is clearly a strong kid and showed the ability to get to the sidelines as he blanketed many of the players who ran routes away from him.
Top DBs:
Brandon Sykes (George Washington, Philadelphia)- Sykes was LOCKDOWN. I really liked this kid. He has long arms and more importantly he knows how to use them. Sykes posed a problem for every Wide Receiver he faced on Day 1 and 2. Every time he used press coverage it was the same result. He threw off the Receivers' routes and effortlessly ran side by side wherever they went. If everything he does without the pads on transfers to the season, this kid has a bright future on the gridiron. I can see many D-1 schools blowing up the phones when they catch wind of his talent.

Kevin Taylor (Seton Hall Prep, New Jersey)- Taylor was all over the field. He impressed me because he had no problem pressing in man to man coverage or playing in a zone. He is not the biggest player on the field, but don’t think for a second he got picked on. Actually, he got his picks on! I saw Taylor on a number of occasions handing the ball back an offensive player after he intercepted them. Size may play a factor in him fielding D-1 offers, but it is for sure not because of his athleticism and technique. I found him to be the most technically sound of all the DBs in camp.
Keenan Stewart (Fels, Philadelphia)- Stewart caused havoc as a Safety. He has a good looking frame at 5’10 180lbs. He was impressive playing the ball in the air like a true center fielder. He had too many pass break ups and interceptions to count in a short time found himself quarterbacking the defense by displaying and understanding of the schemes being taught putting other players in position. He received many high fives from Philadelphia Eagles defensive legends Mark McMillan and Byron Evans who took turns calling the defense.(left)
Other Standouts DBs:
John Kelly (Oak Park High, Michigan), Mike Ockimey (Bonner, Philadelphia)
Standout Offensive and Defensive Linemen:
Austin Gray (Egg Harbor, New Jersey), Justin Moody (George Washington, Philadelphia), Deion Oliver (Archbishop Wood, PA), Deya Mhiesen (George Washington, Philadelphia)