FREDERICK, Md. – Over 250 of the top prospects in the DC/Baltimore area came together on Saturday for the Next Level Nation 5 Star Showcase. Not only were many of the top 2014 prospects from the states of Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia on hand, but also some budding stars in the classes of 2015 and 2016.
Minkah Fitzpatrick has the look of a top national prospect in the class of 2015
Here is a look at some of the top performers from the loaded event.
1. D’Andre Payne, CB, Washington (DC) Friendship Academy
The 5-foot-9.5, 175-pound class of 2014 corner took home showcase MVP honors for good reason Saturday. Simply put, the Top247 prospect put together a dominant performance that included winning five reps in a row at one point in one-on-one’s. Payne, who sported a Florida State hoodie before and after the event, not only had success in press coverage, but also showed the ability to stay attached down the field and make plays on the ball with active eyes. Payne has offers from the Seminoles, Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson, Auburn, Maryland and a number of others.
2. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Jersey City (NJ) St. Peters Prep
The 6-foot-0, 180-pound cornerback may have been the top overall prospect on hand Saturday. Not only does the class of 2015 prospect have a coaches dream frame at cornerback, but also the skill set to go with it. Whether it was pressing, reacting, turning and running or closing and playing the ball in the air, Fitzpatrick has the look of a pure, lockdown corner. Rutgers and Connecticut have already offered, and the Oklahoma Sooners are expected to follow in the near future.
3. Adam McLean, DT, Bethesda (Md.) The Avalon School
While the linemen didn’t start their portion of the showcase until late in the afternoon, the 6-foot-2, 260-pound 2015 prospect with an offer from Florida State was dominant in the “five up” portion. The defensive tackle prospect with the frame to carry more than 290-pounds dominated every rep and any offensive lineman put in front of him with a combination of first step quickness, natural strength, powerful leverage and quick hands.
3. Aaron Glover, LB, Virginia Beach (Va.) Princess Anne
Saturday wasn’t the first time the 6-foot-0, 205-pound Glover has turned heads in this type of setting. In the combine setting, it’s Glover’s ability to react, change direction and turn and run with backs out of the backfield that immediately catches ones attention. Hampton University has offered the “75” prospect with programs such as Virginia Tech, East Carolina, Syracuse, N.C. State, Temple and many others closing in.
4. Keon Paye, DB, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Paye was one of the most impressive prospects on hand both physically. The class of 2015 defensive back took reps at both corner and receiver, and proved to be one of the most physical players in attendance. Paye not only stoned receivers in press coverage, but also showed the ability to turn and run, and use his combination of length and strength to make plays on the ball.
5. Rahshaun Smith, DE, Towson (Md.) Calvert Hall
Physically, there wasn’t a prospect on hand Saturday more impressive than the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Smith. What makes it the future Top247 prospect more impressive, he is a member of the 2016 class. While Smith worked out at linebacker flashing plus quickness and reactions for his size, he will very likely play with his hand on the ground at the next level with a frame that will carry more than 260-pounds in time. Smith currently has offers from Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Tennessee, Connecticut and Boston College.
6. Kareem McDonald, DE/LB, Washington (DC) Wilson
Another virtual unknown headed into Saturday, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound McDonald impressed in the “five up” portion rushing the passer, but also in drills with a combination of bouncy quickness, burst and the ability to change direction. The class of 2015 prospect played his first year of high school football as a sophomore in 2012, and led the area in sacks with 11. Alabama and Vanderbilt are showing interest early on.
Wide receiver Cameron Chambers is one of the top 2016 prospects in the country.
7. Quinton Gray, WR, Stafford (Va.) Mountain View
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Gray came into the showcase as a virtual unknown, but didn’t leave that way after taking home the wide receiver MVP award. The honors student with serious interest from Ivy League programs flashed his 4.52 speed, quickness and ability to instantly change direction all day consistently turning around a number of talented cornerbacks. Along with the Ivy League universities, North Carolina and Maryland are showing interest.
8. Cameron Chambers, WR, Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joe’s
The class of 2016 wide receiver not only jumps out physically at 6-foot-3, and 185-pounds, but follows through with an impressive baseline skill set. The freshman that started on varsity in 2012 was quick off the line and getting into routes, showed the ability to sink his hips and get in and out of cuts with quickness for his size, and did a very good job of getting his head around and hands in position to snatch the ball out of the air with quickness and fluidity. Chambers lists Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State as programs already showing interest.
9. John Lovett, QB, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha
The 6-foot-3, 212-pound class of 2014 signal caller came into Saturday as a prospect thought to be on the rise, and that certainly proved to be the case. Lovett, who has an offer from Buffalo and interest from several BCS Conference programs, was the most consistent passer on hand whether it be in the short or intermediate game. While Lovett’s arm strength catches one’s attention, it’s his quick and active feet that really stood out.
10. Russell Neverdon, WR, Towson (Md.) Calvert Hall
Quick with short space explosive change of direction is the best way to describe the 5-foot-8, 170-pound receiver. The class of 2014 prospect was among the quickest on hand getting off the line, and into routes. His ability to get in and out of cuts in the blink of an eye proved to be very tough for any corner that tried their luck against the Calvert Hall playmaker. Temple, Connecticut and Boston College are among the programs showing interest early on.
Quick Hitters –
- Five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, DC/Friendship Academy) was on hand Saturday, but did not take many reps of go through drills. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder did catch everyone's attention showing up with Florida Gators shorts, socks and a backpack on. The No. 17 ranked prospect in the 247Composite said Florida and Alabama are two schools that will definitely receive official visits with Florida State a likely third.
- Class of 2014 cornerback Steven Hill (Potomac, Va./Senior) was one of the quickest prospects on hand. The 5-foot-8, 165-pounder excelled in press coverage showing impressive strength and physicality, but also showed the ability to stay attached down the field.
- Class of 2016 offensive lineman Richard Merritt (Washington, DC/Friendship Academy) performed very well yesterday in the “five up” portion. With the exception of one rep in which he lunged and lost his balance, he won a number of head-to-head reps against a number of future FBS defensive linemen.
- Class of 2014 wide receiver and defensive back Dominic Miller (Baltimore, Md./Dunbar) was one of the top route runners on hand, receiver praise more than once from former Dunbar star Tavon Austin.
- Class of 2014 wide receiver Dereon Carroll (Washington, DC/H.D. Woodson) proved to be a tough cover for any defensive back. The 6-foot-1, 168-pounder beat press coverage with ease all day.
- Safety DaeJuan Funderburk (Washington, DC/Friendship Academy) was another defensive back that enjoyed a good day in coverage Saturday. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder was both physical in press and played the ball in the air well down the field.