The Memphis Nike Football Training Camp was loaded with talent on the defensive side of the ball so any offensive standouts had to earn their keep the hard way. We take a look at ten prospects that absolutely passed the tough test on Sunday.
Josh Malone had another typical dominating day.
1. Josh Malone, WR, Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp – It was another MVP to add to a long list of them for Malone. The four-star is as fluid and smooth as they come as a receiver. He glides in and out of his breaks, shows enough speed to create separation and beat defensive backs deep, then snatches the football when it comes his way. Malone’s efforts earned him wide receiver MVP as well as an invitation to The Opening.
2. Triston Luke, RB, Fort Campbell (Ky.) High School (Class of 2015) – Prior to Sunday’s camp, I was talking with some coaches about the emergence of current Nebraska standout Ameer Abdullah with a Nike Camp performance a few years ago. Little did I know that an unknown named Tristan Luke would conjure up an Abdullah-esque performance. Only a sophomore, Luke was spectacular in open-field and pursuit drills, making linebackers miss. His start stop ability is outstanding and he showed the ability to make plays out of the backfield in the pass game as well. Though he’s undersize, there’s a place on the field for Luke.
3. Roderick Taylor, OL, Jackson (Miss.) Callaway – It was a constant barrage of elite defensive linemen coming at each prospect during one-on-ones and Taylor managed the charge as well as anybody. The four-star moves like an athlete and has a quick pass set along with great balance. Though he’s listed as a guard, Taylor certainly has offensive tackle feet and looks like he can excel getting upfield. Though he didn’t earn the offensive line MVP, he certainly was a worthy candidate and faced as tough of a lineup of defenders as you’ll find.
4. JC Hassenauer, OC, Saint Paul (Minn.) East Ridge – After a long trip all the way down from Minnesota, Hassenauer’s performance proved to make the trip worth the effort. Playing center, Hassenauer wowed the camp by halting massing defensive tackle Charles Mosley in his path on consecutive reps. Facing studs like Mosley, Josh Frazier and Bijhon Jackson, Hassenauer held his ground, anchored effectively and out-muscled some oversized athletes. Though he currently only has an offer from the in-state Gophers, Hassenauer’s list could grow following his OL MVP performance.
5. Joseph Willis, QB, Philadelphia (Miss.) Neshoba Central – It wasn’t a great crop of quarterbacks in Memphis but Willis would have been a standout amongst any group. A tall, strong-armed prospect that looked comfortable in the pocket going through his progressions, Willis ran away with the quarterback MVP award. Solid across the board, one area that Willis really stood out was in his touch throwing the deep ball. Recruiting is at a stand-still for Willis at the moment but we expect that will change this spring.
6. Devin Voorhies, WR, Woodville (Miss.) Wilkinson County – Listed as a safety by 247Sport, Voorhies worked out at wide receiver and clearly demonstrated that he’s got the ability to be a good one in the SEC. The four-star prospect has good size and he can eat up cushion in a hurry. When the ball arrives, he’s a natural pass catcher too. Most of Voorhies work was done over the middle of the field, and he made things extremely easy on his quarterbacks by getting defensive backs turned and creating a huge window for his receptions.
7. Gabe Angel, RB, Lebanon (Tenn.) Wilson Central (Class of 2016) – Angel actually competed in the Memphis Nike Camp last fall as just an eight grader. His comfort level this year was obvious. Though he’s only in ninth grade, Angel is one of the biggest running backs at the camp and predictably he did extremely well in the pass-blocking drills. What is a little surprising is how comfortable he was catching the ball in the pass game.
8. Avery Johnson, WR, Hardy (Ark.) Highland (Class of 2015) – Only a sophomore, Johnson was one of the more physically developed wide receivers in Memphis. At 6-2, 200 pounds, Johnson could project to H-Back on the next level or with another inch and some added weight, tight end could be in his future. That is not to say he’s not a skilled receiver though. Johnson was outstanding as a route-runner and he even found lots of success on more vertical routes, getting behind defenders.
9. Cornelius Sturghill, WR, Memphis (Tenn.) Melrose – At a camp with plenty of talented smaller, slot-type receivers, Sturghill may have had the best day. The speedy and explosive wide receiver made a few spectacular catches and showed terrific feet and change of direction after the catch. With offers from Western Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Purdue, UCLA and others, Sturghill played with as much confidence as anyone despite being slightly undersized.
10. Drew Richmond, OT, Memphis (Tenn.) University School (Class of 2015) – If judged strictly off of his success rate in one-on-ones, Richmond may not make this list but the underclassman deserves a lot of credit for competing and fighting for reps against the best defensive linemen in the camp, not the second tier group. While he still needs to trust his ability and athleticism in his pass set against elite talent, Richmond showed a good frame, fantastic feet and a competitive mentality.