STATE COLLEGE, Pa.- As is typically the case, the State College Nike Football Training Camp, which was held Saturday on the campus of Penn State, featured multiple top prospects from the Northeast and parts of the Midwest. Here’s a look at the top performers from the event.
Ohio receiver Corey Smith was the top offensive prospect at Saturday's Nike Camp at Penn State.
Corey Smith, WR, Akron (Ohio) Buchtel (Top offensive prospect)
Smith separated himself early on as the best route runner at the event. He has the ability to be a long strider, but gears down quickly when needed and especially in and out of breaks. Smith, who has a wiry frame, showed excellent change-of-direction, ability to sink his hips and snatch the ball out of the air with extended arms. He projects as a receiver, but could realistically play corner on the next level as well. Smith, who has nearly 20 offers, recently named a top group of West Virginia, Notre Dame, Penn State, Illinois, Tennessee and Michigan State.
Abner Logan, LB, Brookline (Mass.) Dexter School (Top defensive prospect)
We knew Logan was a potentially special talent after scouting him at the Badger Elite 7-on-7 in February at Rutgers and reviewing his junior film. Saturday, he backed up his four-star rating (247Sports is the only recruiting network with Logan rated as a four-star currently) with a dominant performance. Logan’s ability to push through the ground with explosive power and quickness sets him apart athletically from other linebacker prospects. The 6-foot-1, 222-pounder also showed reactive quickness in coverage and he has the frame to carry up to 240 pounds easily. Florida International recently uncovered this hidden gem and awarded him his first FBS offer. More will come.
Eli Aknou, DE, Ottawa (Can.) St. Peter Catholic
Aknou continues to impress in these settings. His first step isn’t the most explosive when you compare him to other elite defensive linemen, but it’s effective in these types of settings. He has quick hands, long arms and good technique and we think he could grow into a a defensive tackle, depending on the scheme he is in at the college level. His desire to be great and high motor set him up for success provided he finds a position home to suit him. Aknou has offers from UCLA, Vanderbilt and Virginia and is getting heavy attention from Syracuse and others.
Adam Breneman, TE, Camp Hill (Pa.) Cedar Cliff (Class of 2013)
Breneman was one of the top 2013 prospects on hand. The 6-foot-5, 218-pounder showed a quick first step getting into routes and the ability to quickly turn his head and snatch the ball out of the air. His lower body development is ahead of his upper body and he will have to add strength during the next two years of high school ball. Colleges are already taking notice of his total upside- Boston College and Temple have issued verbal offers and a host of schools are showing interest.
Four-star Joel Caleb had his moments during Saturday's camp and has the upside to be outstanding in college.
Joel Caleb, WR, Midlothian (Va.) Clover Hill
Caleb, the nation’s fourth-ranked receiver prospect, impressed physically. He’s a thick-bodied prospect that can be as good as he wants to be. Caleb sort of walked through many of the drills and did not seem to want to compete as hard as you would expect from a prospect with his sort of reputation. Still, it’s what you do in pads on Fridays that matters and as a quarterback for his high school team- he’s impressive on film. He has excellent vision, runs hard, competes hard and has a good feel for the game. Caleb also could play safety in college.
Demetrious Cox, S, Jeanette (Pa.)
When Cox walked up to register for the event, he immediately passed the eyeball test. Wiry strong with a sleek look, Cox was smooth in drills, showing elite fluidity and flexibility. Cox played safety exclusively during one-on-ones and showed a good, but not great break on the ball. Cox has more than a dozen offers and many think he will ultimately stay in-state to play for Penn State or Pitt.
Alex Carter, ATH, Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods
Carter, who is committed to Stanford, surprisingly played cornerback during pass skel and one-on-one drills. The 6-foot-2, 198-pounder didn’t look like a corner naturally, but did show the ability to turn and run. Carter isn’t close to filling out his frame and could end up being a 220-pound safety or 230-pound linebacker in college.
Robert Foster, WR, Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley (Class of 2013)
Foster is a legit 6-foot-3 with a wiry strong frame and terrific arm length. His ability to quickly eat up ground and snatch the ball out of the air was impressive throughout Saturday’s event. He showed enough quickness to separate in and out of breaks, but he’s at his best when working the field vertically. Pitt and others have verbally offered. He could be one of the top prospects in the country for the 2013 class.
Four-star receiver prospect Eugene Lewis was bigger than we thought he would be and impressed Saturday at the State College Nike Camp.
Derrick Green, RB, Richmond (Va.) Hermitage (Class of 2013)
Green is solidly built at 5-foot-11, 220 pounds and showed more explosiveness than one would think with his frame. He did well in route running drills and was very aggressive in blocking drills. Green rushed for more than 800 yards on just 95 carries as a sophomore. College programs are just finding out about Green, who grew up liking Ohio State (which signed four-star linebacker Curtis Grant out of Hermitage in 2011) and Alabama.
Treydon Hester, OG, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Penn Hills
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Hester has a chance to develop into a major college offensive line prospect. He looked solid moving around in drills and had some good moments during one-on-ones. Hester has the lower body of a major prospect at his position and with further development could sneak into an FBS recruiting class when all is said and done.
Tyrique Jarrett, OL/DL, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Allderdice Hills
The massive Jarrett projects best as an interior offensive lineman, but he worked out on the defensive side of the ball on Saturday and looked solid. Jarrett moves extremely well for a prospect his size. He has good feet and strength and showed that during position drills and one-on-ones. Jarrett has an offer from Pittsburgh and is getting attention from a number of other programs.
Eugene Lewis, WR, Plymouth (Pa.) Wyoming Valley West
Like Caleb, most of the film on Lewis is as a quarterback, but he worked out at receiver, where the colleges project him, on Saturday. The first thing that stands out about Lewis is his size. He has long arms, big hands and a big frame, which combined with his explosiveness make him a handful to cover. Dozens of programs have offered. We feel Penn State is the team to beat with South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Virginia all in the mix as well.
Kaiwan Lewis, LB, Hammonton (N.J.) St. Josephs
Lewis looks like he’s been living in the weight room during the offseason as he checked in at a chiseled 6-foot-2, 228 pounds. The question for the four-star prospect has always been can he move around well enough in space to play linebacker in college and from what we saw on Saturday, he is good enough to do that, at least early in his career. The concern with Lewis is going to be getting too top-heavy and growing out of a linebacker spot. He’s an excellent prospect with dozens of offers (Florida leads at the moment), but could potentially grow into a defensive lineman (where he plays in high school) in college. Sounds strange, but it may be that he gets to big to change positions.
Deontay McManus, ATH, Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar
McManus again worked out at wide receiver, where he wants to play in college. We still have a feeling that outside linebacker could be his best future position. In receiver drills, he showed excellent quickness and explosiveness for a prospect his size. McManus reacted well to the throws with velocity that he had to quickly adjust to, His hands are good, not great. McManus was one of the top physical specimens at the event and passes the eyeball test as well as anyone in the country. The elite prospect continues to favor West Virginia.
Ryan Watson, DT, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel
The versatile Watson has good feet and athleticism and displayed an ability to shed potential blockers during one-on-ones. He uses his hands well as a defensive lineman, something that could also help him should he play the other side of the ball in college- something that is possible. Watson has more than two dozen scholarship offers and it’s easy to see why when you watch him work out.
National Recruiting Analyst Gerry Hamilton contributed