COLUMBUS, Ohio- The Columbus Nike Football Training Camp, held Sunday on the campus of Ohio State, featured a deep and talented pool of football prospects as nine top performers were named to the roster for “The Opening”, the nation’s premier high school football all-star camp that will be held in Beaverton, Ore., on the Nike Campus later this month.
Notre Dame commit Justin Brent was one of several risers at the Columbus Nike Football Training Camp. His performance earned him an invite to The Opening.
The following prospects were invited to The Opening: Kentucky quarterback commit Drew Barker (Hebron, Ky./Conner), Tennessee running back commit and five-star prospect Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech), Top247 athlete Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway), Ohio State linebacker commit Kyle Berger (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius), Ohio State cornerback commit Damon Webb (Detroit, Mich./Cass Tech), Ohio State defensive line commit Dylan Thompson (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic), the nation’s top overall prospect, defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va.), Michigan tight end commit Ian Bunting (Hinsdale, Ill./Central), Notre Dame wide receiver commit Justin Brent (Indianapolis, Ind./Speedway) and three-star center JC Hassenauer (St. Paul, Minn./East Ridge).
Webb- There is a solid recent history of Cass Tech producing top corners and based on Saturday, Webb has the chance to be the best one yet. He has added strength and size physically and showed a willingness to compete (it seemed he took nearly every other rep) and outstanding quickness during the one-on-one portion of the event. The future Buckeye has a chance to be excellent and should ascend in the 247Sports rankings in the near future.
Brent- The future Irish receiver is quite impressive physically and uses his big body and excellent body control to shield receivers and make tough catches. Brent also has deceptive speed that was evident when he made several long runs after the catch during one-on-ones. Look for him to move to four-star status in the near future according to 247Sports and he could be the best overall prospect in the state of Indiana this cycle.
Lloyd Tubman, DE, Louisville (Ky.) Seneca Academy- During one-on-ones, Tubman looked like he was shot out of a cannon on a number of occasions. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder, who is committed to Vanderbilt, has as much upside as any defensive line prospect we’ve seen in this setting so far during the camp circuit this cycle. Tubman has excellent athletic ability, flexibility and the raw skills needed to develop into a special football player. He hasn’t played a whole lot of football, but in time he has the chance to be great. Look for Tubman, a three-star prospect, to rise in the 247Sports prospect rankings in the near future.
Hassenauer- There is no doubt that as a pure center prospect, Hassenauer is one of the best in the country. He’s tough, agile and intense in his approach. Minnesota is the team to beat for the in-state standout, but watch out for Vanderbilt, which could make a move to the top of his list at some point.
Chris Frey, LB, Columbus (Ohio) Upper Arlington- The Michigan State commit shows plus athleticism on film and that was evident Sunday. He also brings a certain level of intensity to drills and plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Frey’s potential has always been there and his rise in the 247Sports prospect rankings in the near future should reinforce the notion that the Spartans made a great evaluation here.
Tennessee defensive end commit Joe Henderson won the position MVP at the Columbus Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday at Ohio State. He is a four-star prospect according to 247Sports.
The NFTC coaching staff named the following MVPs from the event- Quarterback, Barker; Running Back, Hurd; Wide Receiver, Nicholson; Offensive Line, Martesse Patterson (Columbus, Ohio/Marion-Franklin); Defensive Line, Tennessee commit Joe Henderson; Linebacker, Berger; Defensive Back, Webb. Patterson also could be considered a stock up prospect after his showing Sunday.
Quarterback- Barker won the MVP of the event and enjoyed an excellent day throwing the football. ...Elite 11 invite DeShone Kizer (Toledo, Ohio, Central Catholic) also was solid during the day, following up a good showing at the Elite 11 on Saturday. ...Northwestern commit Clayton Thorson (Wheaton, Ill./North) continued to impress, especially when you consider he just recently started throwing again. ... Class of 2015 quarterback James Morgan (Green Bay, Wisc./Ashwaubenon continued to impress. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Class of 2015 signal caller is looking for his first scholarship offer and we would not be surprised at all if it comes when he camps at Arizona State, Stanford, Notre Dame and Michigan State, among other places, this summer. Morgan has a strong arm, good accuracy and is highly-competitive. On film, he shows good wheels (ability to run) and feet in the pocket. Morgan currently is the No. 9 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2015 cycle according to 247Sports. ...Another Class of 2015 signal caller, Anthony Ratliff (Matthews, N.C./Butler) showed excellent flashes and holds early offers from Clemson and others and 2015 passer Brian Lewerke (Phoenix, Ariz./Pinnacle) impressed.
Running Back- Hurd was the most impressive back eyeball-test wise and when you see a prospect his size running routes, displaying soft hands and showing quick feet, you understand why 247Sports rates the future Vol a five-star prospect and why he’s a U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection. You just can’t coach what he naturally does. ...2014 New York back Qadree Ollison (Buffalo, N.Y./Canisius) also had some impressive moments.
Wide Receiver/Tight End- Nicholson captured the MVP, but his highest upside as a prospect may be on defense. As far as pure receivers go, Brent was outstanding and fellow Indianan Dominique Booth (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) used his hands well to get off press coverage and made more than his share of plays. ...Ohio State commit Paris Campbell is adjusting to the receiver position, but you can see the athleticism dripping off of him. Excellent prospect. ...Class of 2015 Top247 prospect David Dowell (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) took reps at receiver and defensive back- a lot of them- and showed outstanding athletic ability. His twin brother, Andrew Dowell, worked out at running back and had a strong day as well. David is currently the No. 9 overall prospect in Ohio for the 2015 cycle. ...Kentucky commit Darryl Long (Westerville, Ohio/South) was a tough match-up for many of the linebackers at the event because of his length. ...Bunting had an injured hamstring, but powered through during some drills to earn the invite to The Opening.
Offensive Line- In addition to Hassenauer and Patterson, a pair of prospects Class of 2015 Top247 were of note. Four-star offensive tackles Grant Schmidt (Sioux Falls, S.D./Rosevelt) and Sterling Jenkins (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) both look the part. Like most offensive line prospects with two years of high school football remaining, they need development and struggled some with the better defensive line prospects there, but the upside is obvious. ...Ohio State commit Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio) shows outstanding ability on film. When you watch him in person, you think he’s likely a right tackle. Good footwork and improving technique, though, and should be a quality offensive lineman in college. ...Nathaniel Devers (Massilon, Ohio/Washington) is the type of tough interior offensive lineman you’d expect from such a storied high school program.
Defensive Line- Hand used his elite quickness to win nearly every rep with ease and earn a trip to Beaverton for the second straight year. After watching him closely again, he sort of reminds you of current Ohio State defensive end Noah Spence but bigger and quicker coming out of high school. ...Henderson was far too quick for most of the offensive linemen there and while he will have to fill out some, there is little doubt that he backs up his film athletically and could become a good pass rusher in the SEC at UT. ...Tubman was the most intriguing prospect on the defensive line at the event. ...Class of 2015 defensive tackle Tim Settle (Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson) showed he was deserving of his lofty ranking as the No. 2 defensive tackle prospect in the 2015 class by showing outstanding quickness for a prospect his size. His arm length and hand quickness also are elite. ...Another Class of 2015 Top247 prospect, defensive end Hjalte Froholdt (Warren, Ohio/Harding) won’t pass the eyeball test like some others, but he’s extremely tenacious and quick, backing up what we saw on film and what led him to being the No. 11 weakside defensive end prospect in the 2015 class, though in all honesty, he’s probably going to flip to strong-side end next rankings update. ...Thompson is an animal in these types of situations- very strong and quick. His highest upside is at defensive tackle or on the offensive line at the collegiate level, but he is impressive in this setting as an end.
Linebacker- In a deep and talented group, there were times that Berger took it to a different level with his ability to move and cover. Folks in Ohio have been signing his praises for years and when you watch his film, you understand he’s a high-level prospect. After seeing him in person, you also realize he’s a great athlete. ...Michigan commit Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio) was as impressive physically as any linebacker prospect there. ...Penn State commit Jared Wangler (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) continues to add bulk and plays well in space. He also displays a high football IQ. ...Again, watch out for Frey at the next level and possibly beyond. ...U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection and Ohio State commit Dante Booker (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) has outstanding upside. He can flat-out run, covers a lot of ground laterally and is versatile enough to play any linebacker spot. ...Four-star Davonte James (Springfield, Ohio) will make some defensive coordinator (maybe West Virginia’s) very happy- if not at linebacker at defensive end. He’s a good athlete with great size that may be a little difficult to project position-wise right now. ...There were several talented Class of 2015 linebackers who performed well. Top247 prospect Darrin Kirkland Jr. (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor) surprised with his outstanding coverage ability- batting down ball after ball. ...Another Top247 Class of 2015 ‘backer, Chris Green (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) is an excellent athlete and brings a lot of passion to the field. ...2015 linebacker Emmitt Smith (Bowling Green, Ky./Warren Central) not only has a great football name, he showed the ability to move around quite well for a bigger rising junior (6-foot-2, 220 pounds or so) and depending on how the film checks out, could be one to watch. ..Linebacker Jamal Davis (Canton, Ohio/McKinley) is an all eyeball-test guy who could grow into a defensive end in college. He made some outstanding plays in one-on-one drills with sheer athleticism. Louisville is the current leader. ...The Cardinals also lead for another standout of the camp- Dameon Willis (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius)- who is listed as a safety (is more like a hybrid) and who impressed working out at linebacker Sunday.
Defensive Back-Even if you weren’t watching the field where the receivers and defensive backs were doing one-on-ones closely, you could glance over and note that Webb was performing at a high level. He never backed away from a challenged and won way more than his share. ....When David Dowell was on defense, he was nearly as impressive as he was on offense. Clearly, versatility is one of the Class of 2015 Top247 prospect’s strengths. ..Class of 2015 Top247 selection Jordan Whitehead (Monaca, Pa./Central Valley) is impressive physically and had some very promising moments. He visited Ohio State unofficially this past weekend in addition to attending the camp and should have a slew of offers soon.
Steve Wiltfong contributed to this report.
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