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Best Of The Midwest Recap

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Fort Wayne Bishop Luers five-star outside linebacker Jaylon Smith lived up to his lofty ranking on Monday at the Best of the Midwest Showcase in Indianapolis.

Five-star OLB Jaylon Smith ran a 4.44 second 40-yard dash, the fastest time of the day.

Tabbed as the nation’s top outside linebacker and No. 5 prospect overall, the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Smith began his morning by posting 4.44 (official top time of the day) and 4.46-second 40-yard dashes en route to bringing home overall MVP honors.

Already holding offers from the likes of Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC, Smith is a young man that loves to compete, He showed out in 1-on-1 coverage against running backs, then made the move to defensive end and was too much for anyone to handle rushing off the edge. To end the day he played linebacker and even some corner in 7-on-7 and made several plays including high-pointing a ball out of the air for a highlight-reel interception.

Smith is someone that a college defense can use at a number of positions in the front seven. He has great athleticism for his size, and he has the frame to grow and still keep his great burst of speed. In one-on-one drills Smith displayed the ability to speed rush and counter inside, attributing both to an explosive first step and great lateral movement.

In 7-on-7, Smith is someone you could tell loves the game. He plays with a lot of excitement. He’s very vocal. He’s a leader, and very active in the defense. He showed great hips, as he was able to cover outside players. He has clear jumping ability.

Linebackers Galore

With Smith taking home the overall MVP honors, it was fellow top-100 junior Tim Kimbrough of Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central and Chicago (Ill.) Simeon linebacker Reggie Spearman that shared linebacker MVP honors.

Ranked as the nation’s No. 4 inside linebacker and No. 65 prospect overall, the 6-foot-1, 222-pound Kimbrough looks the part and he’s added bulk since the season. When you watch him, you see a run-stuffer right away, but he’s a kid that also does well in pass coverage on the inside. He had a pick-six, he makes good reads and was always around the football. He’s a guy you’d like to see in pads, but he had a good showing. Like Smith, he has the frame to continue adding weight and not lose his explosiveness. Kimbrough recently added offers from Wisconsin, Florida, Penn State, Mississippi State, Iowa State, Louisville and Kentucky, giving him 14 overall early in the process.

The 6-foot-2, 200 pound Spearman has long arms and plays well in space. Very fluid and runs well. Ball State has offered, but we expect BCS offers to be on the way.

Top100 LB Tim Kimbrough's day was highlighted by a pick six.

Linebacker quick hitters

-Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech linebackers William White (6-1, 220) and Deon Drake (6-1, 205) will be two of the top prospects in the state in the class of 2014. Both are good athletes with good size that move well.

-Westerville (Ohio) South junior Jordan Rodriguez was one of the top linebackers at the event. He has a great frame and like Kimbrough seemed to always be around the football. Interest is coming in from the likes of N.C. State, Syracuse and Toledo.

-Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral linebacker Stu Stanley holds an early offer from Ball State. At 6-1, 210, could also better project as a safety on the next level.

-Indianapolis (Ind.) Decatur Central linebacker Jordan Jackson clocked a 4.69 40-yard dash. An instinctive linebacker with interest from Ball State, Toledo and Western Kentucky.

Making hay in the trenches

Smith’s cameo with the defensive line was certainly impressive, but he wasn’t the only one who gave a strong performance.

Avon (Ind.) High’s strong-side defensive end Elijah Daniel was victorious in most of his 1-on-1 battles, which you expect from the nation’s No. 6 strong-side defensive end and No. 102 prospect overall. At 6-foot-4, 250-pounds, he’s clearly a kid that has good size, a good first step and is one of those kids that’s more impressive with pads on where he can be more physical. Another impressive thing is that Daniel keeps his hands and feet moving simultaneously. Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Purdue and Tennessee are a few of the many programs to already offer.

Avon (Ind.) High four-star DE Elijah Daniel was the event's top pass rusher.

Indianapolis (Ind.) Pike defensive end David Kenney is more of a weak-side defensive end that can run around in space and possibly be a guy that could cover the flat. He’s lean and strong, and his counter move was working really well in 1-on-1s. Iowa, Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville and Minnesota have offered.

A junior that will likely be on the rise is Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central defensive end Anthony Winbush. At 6-foot-3, 217-pounds, he looks the part and he can really run for the position. Winbush runs like a skill player, and his foundation is great to work with. He was quick off the edge and active with his hands and he should really flourish in the fall with regular reps as Warren Central graduated four defensive linemen headed to Division-I schools in Sheldon Day (Notre Dame), Joshua Posley (Cincinnati), Jonathan Burt (Cincinnati) and Darnell Smith (Ball State).

There was some talent on the offensive line too.

Noblesville (Ind.) Guerin Catholic offensive guard Bama Powell is not hearing from any schools, but there’s no question he’s a Division-I prospect after watching him compete. One of the few to beat Daniel on a rep, the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Powell is a good interior line prospect with a very strong base. Has good hands, a good punch that is right on target. Also has a very nice kick.

Notre Dame offensive tackle Steven Elmer made the trip down from Midland (Mich.) High, and Irish fans have plenty to be excited about. At 6-foot-6, 315-pounds, Elmer ran a 5.03 second 40-yard dash. He has good change of direction watching him in the pro-shuttle. Ranked as the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle and No. 14 prospect overall, Elmer is a tall athletic kid with good feet for his size, which will allow him to improve his kick. We see him on the right side as far as being a right tackle. He plays low, gets his hips down and he has a strong quick punch. He’s a strong run blocker and stout against the bull rush. He’s going to need to work on competing against the faster pass rusher, which is what he mainly faced in Indianapolis. But as far as keeping his hands on defenders and keeping his feet active, he has all the talent to be a great offensive lineman on the collegiate level.

Offensive line quick hitters

-Greenwood (Ind.) Center Grove offensive tackle Skylar Lacy (6-8, 290) was a nasty player, displaying a mean streak. A scrapper that also has good feet, as he was able to negate speed rushers off the edge. Purdue, Indiana and Wisconsin are showing interest.

-Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central offensive tackle Dwayne Brown has dropped 20 pounds to get down to 325. He already has a Ball State offer, but if he finds himself under 300, could develop into a Big Ten player. He’s very strong, went against many of the top guys and competed hard.

Detroit (Mich.) Crockett CB Desmond King was outstanding in coverage.

-Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral center Colin Sandor (6-1, 255) has a good base. He’s a mauler, with a good regain. He’s the kind of kid that will hit you in the mouth right away. He ran a 5.0 40-yard dash. Is a sound technician hearing from Toledo and Miami (Ohio).

-South Bend (Ind.) Clay offensive tackle Shakir Carr (6-4, 270) is an impressive looking kid, that like Elmer is a strong run blocker but will need to add strength and play more aggressively. Carr appears to be a solid Division-I prospect.

Skill Player Standouts

The city of Detroit represented in the secondary, led by Detroit (Mich.) Crockett cornerback Desmond King and Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech safety Delano Hill. King was an in-your-face cover corner with good hips that could run with most receivers. Hill showed strong cover skills for a safety and also intercepted several passes. The 5-foot-11, 176-pound King is still waiting on his first offer, but is receiving strong interest from the likes of Iowa and Michigan State. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Hill holds scholarships from Iowa and Syracuse.

Indianapolis (Ind.) Ben Davis safety Antonio Allen’s game translates better to 11-on-11 in full pads, but the hard-hitting junior had several good plays in 7-on-7 including an interception. Iowa, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Illinois and Indiana have offered.

Other defensive backs that made an impression were Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers corner Kendrick Mullen who shared position MVP honors with King, and his teammate Tyvel Jemison. Mullen played bigger than his 5-foot-7, 155-pound size, and the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Jemison was seen breaking up many passes.

Two of the toughest covers were Avon (Ind.) High receiver Jalen Edwards and Warren (Mich.) Michigan Collegiate pass catcher Teo Redding.

Edwards is a polished route runner with strong hands, and the 6-foot-2, 165-pound Redding had the best ball skills. He had to leap in the air for more than one reception, and also caught quite a few passes in coverage.

Columbia (Ind.) City receiver Jared Murphy ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash of the day, clocking a 4.49. He is a big-time slot receiver that at times played at a different speed than the players around him. Fort Wayne (Ind.) Homestead receiver Isaac Griffith and Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral standout Sampson Levingston were two other pass catchers that were very consistent, running smooth routes and displaying soft hands. Ball State has already offered Griffith.

Brownsburg’s jack-of-all-trades Chase Dutra ran one of the fastest 40-yard dashes of the day, clocking a 4.52. He did most of his work catching passes over the middle. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Dutra was one of the best players on offense, but he may better project as a safety on the next level.

Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech receiver Damon Webb was particularly good in 1-on-1s, beating corners with a variety of short and long routes. The junior-to-be has interest from Michigan State among other schools.

Both Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central sophomore running back Adrian Smith and South Bend (Ind.) Clay junior receiver Wesley Thomas each finished with a 4.53 40-yard dash. At 5-foot-9, 180-pounds, Smith has the look and athleticism of a future BCS running back, and Thomas already holds an offer from Central Michigan with Big Ten schools showing interest.

Four-star quarterback Kyle Bolin, who is committed to Louisville, was the most polished and accurate passer of the day. The Lexington (Ky.) Catholic signal-caller can make all the throws necessary and is a quick and strong decision maker. Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy junior quarterback Max Staver was another that impressed.

Blue and Gold Illustrated football recruiting editor Jason Sapp contributed to this report.

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