ATHENS, Ga. – On Monday, 247Sports released our top performers from the UGA Nike Camp over the weekend. The list was eight prospects long but barely breaks the surface on what was a great group of talent that came together in Athens.
DeMarcus Robinson will be one of the top receivers in Georgia in 2013.
As we take a look at some of the other prospects that just missed the cut for the top performers list, we also touch on all the other news, notes and notable performances from the event.
Though they didn’t make the cut for the top performers list, it would be hard to mount much of an argument against several players if they had. Leading the way for that group is Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson running back Mike Davis.
- The Florida commit was the running back MVP in Georgia and there wasn’t much that he didn’t do well. He blocked with a lot of strength and toughness, he showed acceleration and elusiveness and he catches the ball well out of the backfield. With a powerful build, Davis is a prototypical running back that should excel under Charlie Wies at Florida.
- The class of 2012 is shaping up to be a strong year in the state of Georgia, but the class of 2013 could be even better. Robert Nkemdiche is already becoming a national name but 2013 wide receiver DeMarcus Robinson out of Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County is a quickly rising prospect as well. Robinson has great size and hands and he proved to be a very tough matchup on Friday for defensive backs a year older.
- Lithonia (Ga.) High School offensive lineman Joe Harris had a very productive day in Athens showing some of the best feet of any lineman in attendance. He is likely an interior offensive lineman but he has elite athleticism, particularly for a big-bodied kid that still can shape and change some of his weight.
- Similar to Cory Batey who landed on Monday’s top performers list, wide receiver Darren Bullock also is without his first scholarship offer but similar to Batey, he also is very deserving of one. Bullock out of Durham, N.C. stands at around 5-11, 170 and he was among the camp’s best route-runners adding very sure hands to his resume as well. Because he doesn’t have unique size, his recruitment is still in its infancy but he has picked up serious interest from North Carolina, East Carolina, NC State, Clemson and Duke.
- Outside linebacker Raphael Kirby is part of a loaded team at Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson so he doesn’t shy away from competition and he didn’t shy away from the loaded linebacker position group in Athens. He showed good size and length and really looked athletic, particularly dropping in coverage and playing in space. After the camp Kirby named USC, South Carolina and Florida as his top three above an extensive offer list.
Raphael Kirby was part of a loaded LB group.
- One of several very good wide receiver prospects, D’Arthur Cowans really looked the part in Georgia. His build looks like that of an elite track athlete with a high cut frame, long legs and springy athleticism. Cowans uses his length well, he catches the ball naturally and he really gets in and out of his breaks with quickness and explosion.
More in the pipeline
The state of Georgia is strong when it comes to talent in the class of 2012 but early indications are that 2013 may be even stronger and the talent on display in Athens certainly backs that up. Many of the top prospects in attendance were only sophomores and look to have a lot of good football ahead of them.
- Reginald Carter out of Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson is the next in line at the Georgia talent factory with offers already from Florida State, UCF, USF and Ole Miss. Carter is an undersized defensive lineman but he is explosive and powerful and he was very effective as a pass-rusher on Friday.
- 2013 is shaping up to be a strong year in the state of Georgia for overall talent but at the linebacker position, remarkable would maybe be a better term. Trey Johnson out of Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett is part of that strong linebacker class and he was in attendance on Friday and had a very strong showing. His offer list is already overflowing with early offers from Florida, Florida State, Auburn, USC, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Illinois, Georgia Tech, Cincinnati and NC State.
- One new name to emerge in Athens from the 2013 class was defensive end Jason Carr out of Memphis (Tenn.) White Station. Carr certainly has the frame that you look for at 6-5 and 250 pounds and he showed some really unique athleticism as well. Look for him to be a name to emerge in the spring evaluation period.
- Out of Alabama, Pinson (Ala.) Clay-Chalkville wide receiver DeAndre Woods showed a lot of ability. He has plenty of size at around 6-3 and he is physically put together like a senior. Woods showed good movement skills and hands and though he is physical, showed the ability to be much more than a possession receiver.
- South Carolina was represented with underclassman talent as well and it came from a familiar place at national power Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes High School. Byrnes standout Akia Booker played receiver and was very effective as a slot type with good change of direction, quick feet and great acceleration.
O'Terrius Howard could be a national recruit at tight end.
- Maybe no prospect out of the 2013 class – with the exception of super-sophomore Robert Nkemdiche – made a stronger impression on the hoof than O’Terrius Howard, a tight end out of Prattville (Ala.) Autauga Academy. At 6-5 and over 210 pounds, Howard is really impressive physically and he can really run and move at that size. At such a young age, he has a chance to develop physically into an elite national prospect at tight end.
- Alabama commit Kenyon Drake gets plenty of pub - and rightly so – but Central Gwinnett running back Georgie Morris is strikingly similar in build, ability and upside. Morris is a very good pass-catcher out of the backfield, has good length and size at running back and could even project into the slot at the next level. The 2012 prospect currently holds one offer from Illinois.
- Among the defensive backs, the MVP award went to D.J. White out of McDonough (Ga.) Union Grove. White has good size at around 6-0 and could probably project to either corner or safety. On Friday he showed good fundamentals, reacted well, didn’t get fooled by double moves and when he did get beat on a step, he showed very good recoverablility. White holds a host of offers including Auburn, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, USF and Texas Tech.
- Georgia commit C.J. Curry was in attendance at the event and had a good showing with good size and hands and nice upfield fluidity. The Bulldogs may be tempted to offer Curry’s brother as well. 2013 prospect Darius Curry also had a good day and like his brother, Darius looks to be a versatile player with athleticism to excel on either side of the ball.
- A few defensive backs really stood out beyond White and those prospects included Ray Buchanan Jr., Chaz Elder, Trae Elston and Travis Blanks. Blanks is a big safety that looks like he could even grow into a linebacker on the next level or at least a hybrid rover type defender. Buchanan, the son of former Atlanta Falcons star corner of the same name, has a predictably game with very good hips. Elston is just a solid, complete player that competes well and is always making plays whether he’s at safety or corner. Out of the whole group though, Elder may have the most upside. He has really good length, and he’s natural with good hips. Elder added an offer from Nebraska recently and his stock should continue to rise.
- The linebacker group was easily the most talented position in Athens. It was led by MVPs Ukeme Eligwe and Kwon Alexander but several other prospects deserved notice. Javier Mitchell out of Leeds High School in Alabama has seen his stock soar of late and it’s easy to see why with an athletic frame and great quickness. Virginia native Kwontie Moore was one of the biggest linebackers in attendance and looks the part of a true A to B gap plugger that will be a physical presence. Another backer with plenty of size was Dillon Lee. Lee was one of the biggest linebackers in attendance, has plenty of athleticism to boot and likely could project either inside or outside on the next level. The big riser among the linebackers though may be John Silas, a slightly undersized but very athletic prospect with a couple of early offers.
- Blackshear (Ga.) Pierce County defensive end Quayvon Hicks had a good day but not at defensive end. Offered by Georgia as a fullback, Hicks was playing running back at the camp and he looked surprisingly comfortable in that role. Predictably he was a major force in pass protection but he also had surprising athleticism in space.
Trae Elston is always one of the top performers at his position.
Whitehaven loaded again
Every year Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven head coach Rodney Saulsberry reloads with talent as more players depart for major college programs. This year, the Memphis program once again has restocked itself with young athletes that are already racking up offers.
Out of the 2013 class, Whitehaven has several players that have already earned early scholarship offers. Mark Dodson, a running back/defensive back already holds offers from Arkansas State and Northern Illinois. Darius Sims also holds an Arkansas State offer while Vincent Hunter, Adam Collins and Gerald Perry are all very close to offers as well.
Out of the 2012 class for Whitehaven, Derek Bobo holds offers from Western Kentucky and Memphis and fellow cornerback Antonio Thomas claims offers from Western Kentucky and Ole Miss. Defensive tackle Eric Eason also holds an offer from Arkansas State as does Hubert Mays, a good looking offensive tackle with long arms and good athleticism.