MIAMI, Fla.- There are a pair of defensive backs in the state of Florida in the 2013 class that do not have the vitals to rank incredibly high as prospects, but there’s no doubt that both can play some football.
Sojourn Shelton is a talented prospect that is committed to Florida State.
We saw that Sunday at the Miami Nike Football Training Camp on the campus of Barry College.
Florida State cornerback commit Sojourn Shelton (Plantation, Fla.) earned a spot in The Opening (the annual all-star camp hosted by Nike in Beaverton, Ore., every summer) with his performance, which included being named the defensive back MVP of the camp. The thing about Shelton, and also Will Likely, who also earned a spot in The Opening, is that they are both great football players at the high school level and will be good at the collegiate level, but because of size (Shelton is 5-foot-9, Likely 5-foot-7), they don’t project as high as some of the more highly-ranked players at their position.
These two are going to be a case study in how much vitals (height, weight, speed) matter ultimately at cornerback in the college game today. I am of the opinion that in Shelton’s case, speed is much more of a concern than size provided he fills out his frame. Likely is giving up almost two inches to Shelton, so height is much more of a concern there, but as one Southeastern Conference recruiter said off the record a couple of days ago, “I don’t care how tall Likely is, I am of the opinion he can play and play in our league.”
Regardless, these two are examples of “value” three-star prospects. We think every program in the country should cherish guys like this that they sign. They are never going to rank high or appease star-gazing fans or the computers that spit out team rankings, but they are the glue for any successful program in our opinion.
FSU the first to offer Robinson – more coming
The term speed kills is floated about a lot when talking about football, and especially on defense. Well, cornerback Rashard Robinson (Pompano Beach/Blanch Ely) has speed in spades and college programs are now taking notice after a blazing fast sub-4.4 forty time at a recent combine.
“They (FSU) offered me about two weeks ago,” Robinson said. “I wasn’t at school because I was under the weather, but a coach (my cousin) told me to call Coach (Eddie) Gran because he said FSU wanted to offer me. I called Coach Gran, I guess he saw the video of me at ESS. He said congratulations you have your first offer. He (Gran) told me to make sure I take care of my academics and get qualified and keep doing what I have to do on the football field.
“Alabama, Florida, LSU (which offered Tuesday), FIU, Tennessee, Miami (Fla.) and Marshall are all showing interest.”
The Tigers were an interesting offer as they signed Patrick Peterson out of Ely in the Class of 2008 and his brother, wide receiver Avery Johnson, out of the school in the Class of 2012- so there’s some history there. Robinson currently is rated as a four-star prospect with an overall grade of 90 by 247Sports.
Walker expecting a big spring
Linebacker Anthony Walker (Opa Lacka, Fla./Monsignor Pace) had another impressive showing in a combine/camp setting on Sunday. On March 1, he won the Overall MVP of the Orlando National Underclassmen 5-Star Event.
Purdue was the first school to offer and the Boilermakers pulled the trigger on Feb. 24. Since then, no offers for the athletic 6-foot-1, 205-pounder.
“A lot of schools are saying they are going to come down for spring practice,” Walker said.
Pac-12, ACC, Big East and C-USA programs all have told Walker that they will be in to check on him.
“Louisville, Miami (Fl), Duke, Stanford and also USF and UCF will be by for sure,” he said.
While Walker knows a number of programs will be down to see him, he’s unsure who will be the next to offer.
“I can’t really say who is close or not until they offer. Right now, I have an offer from Purdue and I’m rolling with Purdue,” he said. “I’m going to go to Duke, and probably Ohio State this summer.”
-Class of 2014 running back D’Earnest Johnson (Immokalee, Fla.) lists Florida, Oregon and LSU are programs he is receiving interest from. The 5-foot-10, 182-pounder lists Florida as his childhood favorite. He rushed for 985 yards in 2011.
-Safety Ahmad Thomas (Miami/Central) reports offers from Auburn and N.C. State along with interest from Louisville, Purdue, FIU, Marshall and Maryland among others. The 6-foot-1, 199-pounder posted 86 tackles and an interception as a junior in 2011.
-Class of 2013 outside linebacker Skai Moore (Davie/Nova University School) reports interest from Illinois, Mississippi State and South Florida. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder will attend the South Florida spring game April 21.
-Outside linebacker Lance Virgile (Fort Lauderdale/St. Thomas Aquinas) reports offers from Houston, West Virginia, N.C. State and Bowling Green. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound class of 2013 prospect attended the Miami spring game on Saturday. He will play linebacker and defensive end in Aquinas’ 3-4 as a senior.
Gerry Hamilton contributed to this report.