LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.- The first day of the Gridiron Kings all-star 7-on-7 event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex featured multiple individual standouts. Here’s a look at the best performers on the first day.
Nelson Agholor continued to impress during Day 1 of Gridiron Kings near Orlando, Fla.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Tampa (Fla.) Berkley Prep
Agholor, the nation’s highest-rated four-star prospect, again showed excellent explosiveness and athleticism in this setting. This is what makes him such a coveted player, along with his versatility. Agholor was somewhat evasive when asked about his recruitment, saying he would wait until Sept. 1, when written offers can go out, to trim his list. We think USC and Florida- perhaps Florida State, Texas and Notre Dame- are all schools with a shot. He did add that while he wants to play wide receiver first, he is open to the idea of moving to another position should the program he picks want him to make a move.
Deontay Greenberry, WR/DB, Fresno (Calif.) Washington Union
If rankings were based solely off of events like these, Greenberry would be a five-star. He’s dominated every time we’ve seen him in this setting on both sides of the ball. Once again, making tough (sometimes ridiculous) catches at wide receiver and coming up with huge momentum-shifting interceptions were a trademark of his performance. It’s hard to not rave about a prospect that just loves to compete at a high level. If this spring/summer is any indication, Notre Dame is getting a great football player/competitor.
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami (Fla.) Norland
If not for Texas A&M commit Trey Williams, Duke Johnson would be the quickest player at the event. 7-on-7 is set up to showcase his talents. He can make two or three defenders miss in short spaces, which is rare in this setting. Speaking to some Miami insiders, they feel that he will have a monster season in pads this fall and could be one of the fastest-rising prospects in the country. He is a long-time commitment to the hometown Canes.
Thomas Johnson, WR, Dallas (Texas) Skyline
An explosive route runner, Johnson made catch after catch in the short and intermediate passing game. He’s especially dangerous on double moves and getting in and out of cuts, where he creates instant separation. The Texas commit catches the ball well in traffic with his arms extended and rarely lets the ball get to his body.
Texas receiver commit Thomas Johnson was outstanding during Day 1 of Gridiron Kings.
Cyrus Jones, ATH, Baltimore (Md.) Gillman
There’s no other way to put it. Jones is underrated. He’s got too much explosiveness, speed, athleticism and versatility to say otherwise. Jones is outstanding in the open field with the ball in his hands on offense (where we saw most of him on Saturday) and has the elusiveness to make defenders miss. We don’t know where he ends up playing in college, but we feel he will play it well. Plenty of schools, including Alabama and others, are in the mix for Jones.
Jaydon Mickens, WR, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey
The first thing that one notices about Mickens is how quick he is off the line of scrimmage. He gets a quick release against press coverage better than most receivers and is one of the quicker players in the event. The USC commit ran away from several defenders when he got the ball during the competition Saturday.
Shane Morris, QB, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle (Class of 2013)
While he’s made a reputation as one of the best passers in the country regardless of class, at first glance Morris also is a fluid athlete. Of the four quarterbacks at the event, he sits in the pocket with the calmest feet and makes the most throws in balance. Morris was especially impressive throwing the ball in the seams and in the intermediate game against the Southwest squad (Morris plays for the Midwest). There is little doubt that the Michigan commit is the most talented quarterback prospect at the event.
Davonte Neal, ATH, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral
Like Greenberry and Jones, Neal is one of the most versatile prospects in the country and impacted the game on both sides of the ball (as a receiver and a cornerback) at this event Saturday. Neal also is one that loves to compete and very rarely takes plays off. As big of a question as it is as to what position he’s going to play in college, perhaps the bigger question is where is he is going? USC? Notre Dame? Auburn? LSU? Other?
Class of 2013 quarterback Shane Morris, a Michigan commit, was the top signal caller at the event Saturday.
Sean Price, TE, Citra (Fla.) North Marion
The South Florida commit has had a huge summer and these types of events set up well for him. Like he did at “The Opening” in Portland, Ore., earlier this month and at several other 7-on-7 events, Price was dominant, making tough catch after tough catch. The other important thing to remember about Price- he’s gained 15 pounds of good weight since the spring, which makes his size/athleticism combination more elite.
Bryce Treggs, WR, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
Treggs is one of the best route runners we’ve seen and had a great day Saturday, making special catch after special catch. Treggs has outstanding hands and is a great route runner, but also showed the ability to muscle the ball away from defenders at times during Saturday’s competition. He’s a player that is likely to see his ranking rise when 247Sports re-works its ratings in August.
Matt Davis, QB, Houston (Texas) Klein Forest
Davis continues to show he’s full-recovered from a season-ending knee injury he suffered during the first game of the 2010 football season. The Texas A&M commit struggles with accuracy in the short game at times, but threw the ball down the field with accuracy and consistency Saturday.
Griffin Gilbert, WR, Austin (Texas) Lake Travis
Wide receiver Darius Powe has a knack for getting open.
Gilbert, who is committed to TCU, has some of the best hands at the event. He made a number of tough catches in traffic and showed better ability to adjust to the ball in the air than he has in the past. The jury is still out as to if he will be a complete player as a tight end at the next level, but he does have the ability to create mismatches in the passing game.
Russell Hansborough, RB, Arlington (Texas) Bowie
While overshadowed by Williams on the Southwest team, Hansborough showed the ability to make people miss after the catch in space. His body also is developing and he’s starting to have the look of a more compact running back. He is set to visit Arizona State at the end of the month and is likely to commit to the Sun Devils.
Darius Powe, WR, Lakewood (Calif.)
Powe is a big-bodied receiver that showed a knack for getting open during the first day of competition. He did have one big drop that would have been a touchdown, but redeemed himself later in the day with some nice catches. Oregon State is the current leader for his services and he would be another nice addition to the Beavers’ class if he ends up there.
Corey Thompson, S, Missouri City (Texas) Elkins
Thompson continues to impress not only in terms of physical development, but his play on the field in this setting. He made a number of impressive pass break-ups closing on the ball in the air as well as an interception along the sideline against the Southeast team. The Texas A&M commit could grow into an outside linebacker at the next level if his recent physical development is any indication.
Wayne Morgan, CB, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall
Morgan struggled during both games. He looked confused and unsure of himself in coverage for the majority of the games, though he did appear to be more comfortable toward the end of the second game. We still are high on his ability, but he did not impress as he normally does in this setting. He could end up being a nickel at the next level.
Terry Richardson, CB, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech
It’s not that we don’t think Richardson, a Michigan commit, is an outstanding football prospect, we just probably have him rated a bit too high. His size is a concern and he’s not as dominant in coverage in this setting as we expected. Still, he has good feet and has the moxie to play the position in college.
KeiVarae Russell, RB, Everett (Wash.) Mariner
As is the case with Richardson, Russell is a good prospect but probably not the No. 42 overall prospect in the country. His size is a concern and unlike a Johnson or Williams, he doesn’t display that elite quickness that you want out of a smaller back.
-SMU running back commit Robert Lewis (South Gate, Calif./South East) has outstanding speed and showed that by making big play after big play on Saturday. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound back is perfect for the Mustangs’ offense.
-Wide receiver Bralon Addison (Missouri City, Texas/Hightower) didn’t make any flashy plays in the two games he played, he was consistent and seemed to find openings in the short and intermediate passing game. He is committed to Texas A&M.
-Safety Travis Blanks (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian) continued to impress with his ability to break on the football. We think the Clemson commit has a good shot at moving up in our next rankings release. We also think he’s a safety all the way in college.
-Nebraska linebacker commit Michael Rose (Kansas City, Mo./Rockhurst) impresses at first glance with a perfectly proportioned linebacker body type. This is not an event he’s going to blow people away at, but we acknowledge that and still were impressed with him on the hoof.
-As is the case with Rose, this is not going to be an event where four-star linebacker Scott Starr (Norco, Calif.) is going to blow people away. That being said, as the day went on, Starr showed an ability to drop in coverage at times and good hand quickness to bat down passes. We think Starr will develop into a fine inside linebacker at USC, where he is committed.
-Williams, a Texas A&M commit, is one of the rare running backs that can take a hand off in this setting, make multiple defenders miss and pick up 20-25 yards (he actually did that).
-Class of 2013 quarterback Riley Ferguson (Matthews, N.C./Butler) has a good arm and has proven his ability on the field in pads as a varsity starter for one of North Carolina’s best programs. On Saturday, he forced the issue a bit and at other times, held on to the ball for too long. Still, it’s clear to see why colleges are talking about this kid.
-Coming off a strong performance at The Opening, athlete Corey Coleman (Richardson, Texas/Pearce) again showed he’s got outstanding athleticism. While he dropped a couple of passes early, he bounced back from adversity and made several impressive receptions against the Midwest. We feel like he could end up at cornerback or receiver at the next level. Coleman, who is committed to Baylor currently, commented that Texas and California have called his high school coach in recent days to inquire.
-In an opening game matchup against Southwest receiver Thomas Johnson, Notre Dame cornerback commit Ronald Darby (Oxon Hill, Md./Potomac) was physical in press coverage and re-routed the quick and darting Johnson on a number of occasions. He remains firm to the Irish.
-Texas wide receiver commit Cayleb Jones (Austin, Texas) suffered a left hand (fingers) injury in the opening game and sat out the second. Before being injured, he was crisp in his route running and glided out of his cuts. The pure “X” receiver made a high-reaching touchdown grab in the back of the end zone against the Midwest team.
-Quarterback Michael Baker (Fresno, Calif./Central East) has a lot of weapons at his disposal on the West squad, but did a great job of distributing the ball to them. We’ve been aware of him since the Los Angeles Under Armour Combine in 2010 and believe he’s one of the big sleeper signal callers in this class.
-Boise State cornerback commit Marcus Rios (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks) continues to show up in this setting. He had multiple good pass break-ups and continues to show excellent closing speed.
National Recruiting Analyst Gerry Hamilton contributed to this report