The college prospect camp has become an increasingly important tool for coaches to evaluate, recruit and even develop future program changers. While game film is irreplaceable and spring evaluations can be integral, a position coach’s ability to work one-on-one in a controlled setting is becoming one of the most valued evaluation opportunities in the recruiting cycle.
Nick Saban will have a close eye on several top quarterback prospects in June.
In just two weeks the college camp circuit begins and with that, you can expect to see an increase in movement on offers and commitments around the country. We take a look at a few of the summer camp storylines of note around the country.
Storyline: The quarterback audition
Alabama will likely only take one quarterback in this class and we expect to find out who that quarterback is in the month of June. Under Nick Saban, an offer to a quarterback isn’t simply an offer to commit, more accurately it usually equates to an offer to attend camp and earn that opportunity to commit. Barring any unforeseen news, that looks to be the case with this 2014 group.
The odds on favorite heading into June to earn that spot is David Cornwell out of Oklahoma. The Crystal Ball currently projects Cornwell with 100 percent certainty to Alabama but his performance will certainly carry some weight in the likelihood of that commitment. So too may the performances of Kyle Allen, Jacob Park, Tyler Harris and DeShone Kizer. All are four-star quarterbacks with Alabama offers that you may see in Tuscaloosa looking to out-duel the other for the keys to the offense.
For more Alabama camp coverage, check out BamaOnline
Storyline: Evaluating the defensive line
LSU has been as much of an NFL feeder in the defensive trenches as any program in the country and Les Miles has been very selective in whom to bestow the “next in line” tag to, particularly as it relates to in-state recruiting.
Both the two four-stars aren’t the extent of the defensive line talent in Louisiana. A host of talented defensive tackles are likely to be battling for an offer as well in what is a deep group of borderline four-star on the defensive line. Among the combatants are Tae Thibodeaux out of Westgate HS, Deldrick Canty out of Scotlandville, O.J. Smith out of Airline, Jalen Graves out of Bogalusa and Joyan Williams out of Edna Karr.
For more LSU camp coverage check out Geaux247
Storyline: Hunting for defensive linemen
Currently the Buckeyes have one defensive line commitment but it will be important for Urban Meyer to land at least one or two more. We are likely to find a few more targets emerge over the course of the summer. Among the candidates are Derek Barnett out of Nashville, Justin Jones and Noah Furbush out of Georgia, Poona Ford out of South Carolina and Jalen Jelks out of Arizona.
Barnett is intriguing as a four-star with offers from LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Vandy and others but who has expressed interest in earning an Ohio State offer due to family ties to the program. Ford has an offer from the Buckeyes but could become more of a priority with a strong performance and Jelks is a big rangy defensive lineman from out west with Ohio ties.
Not only are offers possible for several of those defensive linemen, but a commitment could follow with some encouragement from the Buckeye staff.
For more Ohio State camp coverage check out Bucknuts.
Storyline: Can the Ducks land their top running back?
Royce Freeman out of Imperial High School in California has emerged as one of the top backs in the country and he is decidedly atop Oregon’s board among running backs. Oregon is at the top of his board too, but with company. UCLA and Florida are also very high on Freeman’s list.
The good news for Oregon is that the Top100 back plans to camp in Eugene. The hope for Mark Helfrich is that Freeman will leave Eugene as a commitment, securing a Jonathan Stewart-esque presence in the Oregon 2014 recruiting class that can be a foundation heading into the season.
For more Oregon camp coverage, check out DuckTerritory.
Storyline: Key targets in the trenches
USC is currently in full chase of massive four-star Damien Mama out of Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. One of the top offensive linemen in the country, Mama is a target for the Trojans at a major position of need. With a strong camp performance, one of Mama’s good friends and a fellow offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao could emerge as a target as well. Furthermore, USC will have an anxious eye on the defensive line position and another talent, four-star Ainuu Taua, also happens to be both close friends with Mama as well as a closely watched possibility for USC.
The combination of offensive line and defensive line being high priority positions for USC as well as the close link between Taua, Talamaivao and Mama should be cause for close monitoring. Strong camp performances by Taua and Talamaivao – both consistent camp standouts – could start a domino effect in several different directions.
For more USC camp coverage, check out FightOn247.