FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The New York Jets hosted hundreds of kids with NFL aspirations on Sunday at the New York/New Jersey Nike Football Training Camp. Though it wasn’t a deep group, the camp did feature some of the top talent in the northeast and a handful of players that may get paid to come back to that same facility in four or five years.
Curtis Samuel was the top wide receiver in New Jersey on Sunday.
But college football comes first and among the elite prospects in attendance, their recruitment extends will beyond the northeast.
Two on top for Samuel?
Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall wide receiver Curtis Samuel was a no-doubt member of the elite group that ruled the day. The two-way threat worked out at wide receiver and his play earned him an MVP award and an invitation to The Opening, an invite-only all-star national camp in Beaverton, Oreg.
Though he is a factor on both sides of the ball for his high school program, Samuel plans to play wide receiver on the next level and there are two schools that seem to have emerged as favorites. Despite heavy interest from the likes of Maryland, Tennessee, Florida and others, Samuel mentions Ohio State and Rutgers as the programs with which he has developed the best relationships.
“Rutgers has got a great program, a great coaching staff and they’re developing their team well and have a great offense,” Samuel said of the Scarlett Knights.
“I like that they want to put me in the slot, running back, making plays all over the field,” he said of Ohio State.
Samuel hopes to have a decision made by the end of the summer.
Two team race for Nelson
Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic offensive lineman Quenton Nelson was right along side Samuel as one of the camp’s best performers regardless of position or class. His play earned him the day’s second invitation to The Opening as well as the offensive line MVP awared.
After taking a number of visits this spring, Nelson received a Notre Dame offer on his trip to South Bend which catapulted the Fighting Irish to the forefront of his recruitment. Ohio State, Penn State, Northwestern and Rutgers also received visits, and while Nelson had good things to say about each visit, the Buckeyes seem to be the only legitimate competition to Notre Dame.
Holley wide open
Thomas Holley had an impressive afternoon setting the pace for the defensive line group and winning the defensive line MVP award. The 6-4, 285-pounder is still relatively raw but showed why he has become one of the most highly recruited defenders in the country.
The Top-100 prospect is still open in his recruitment, but Holley named Coach Cristobal from Alabama, Coach Sunseri from Florida State, Coach Warner from Ohio State and Coach Johnson from Penn State as coaches who have kept in touch the most throughout the past few months. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound lineman took visits to Penn State, Rutgers and Boston College this spring but has plans to take a number of visits down south this summer before he feels comfortable narrowing down his list of schools.
Fitzpatrick on the rise
On Wednesday, class of 2015 defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick landed offers from Wisconsin and Ohio State to join offers he had already picked up from Miami, UConn and Rutgers. With his performance on Sunday, that may only be the beginning. The big cornerback looked like one of the best in the country at his position and he has a few visits planned this summer to give him some of his first college experiences.
Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State will all get visits on a Midwest tour over the summer. He also plans on taking a visit to South Carolina and Clemson while he vacations in Myrtle Beach in August.
Fitzpatrick is the former teammate of 2013 Vanderbilt signee Tre Bell and he noted that he hopes to get down to see the Commodores as well, thanks in large part to the recruiting efforts of Bell. Growing up though, Fitzpatrick was a fan of Florida under Urban Meyer and notes that a Gators offer would certainly impress him.
- Boston College commit Isaac Yiadom is listed at wide receiver but competed at cornerback on Sunday and looked very effective with a long 6-foot frame. While he’s firm in his commitment, Yiadom is getting a lot of attention from the Ivy League as well as Stanford and he’s considering taking a visit out to Palo Alto over the summer.
- Ray Lawry III is an undesized but athletic running back that holds offers from Maryland, Temple and Old Dominion. He thinks that list could extend in the near future. Currently Wisconsin and Ohio State have showed the most interest in joining the fold.
- Jeray Demby is still waiting on his first offer but is well overdue from a talent standpoint. He’s long and rangy and has interest from North Carolina State, Rutgers, Penn State, Wisconsin and Maryland.
- With only interest from Yale and UMass to date, East Stroudsburg (Pa.) South wide receiver Zee Roberson was one of the day’s top sleepers. He tested well, most notably with a 40-inch vertical but he was dominant in one-on-ones and could see his stock rise significantly.
Andrew Dzurita contributed to this report.