WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – The annual Nike NFTC Orlando took place on Saturday, and as normal brought out many of the top prospects in central and northern Florida.
Florida State 2015 safety commit Derwin James of Auburndale (Fla.) had a strong performance at the Orlando NFTC.
While the class of 2014 was certainly well represented, it was the class of 2015 that stood out the most today.
Here is a look at some of the top performers from the day.
1. Derwin James, S, Auburndale (Fla.)
The class of 2015 prospect and Florida State commitment impressed from start to finish. He checked in at 6-foot-2, 199-pounds and tested well running a laser timed 4.61 forty-yard dash into a breeze, recorded a 4.5 pro-agility shuttle and leaped 35-inches. In coverage, he was physical in press re-routing a number of receivers. He also showed very good hands and ball skills picking off multiple passes in one-on-ones.
James was thrilled with his performance against quality competition.
"It was good to get out of my area code and compete with some of the best,” James said. “I had two picks today, and it was a good day. I felt I did pretty good in the drills too, my forty time and my vert were pretty good. I think I’d be a good outside linebacker or strong safety in college.”
2. Martez Ivey, OG/T, Apopka (Fla.)
The 6-foot-5, 271-pound class of 2015 offensive line prospect was dominant in the limited reps he took. Working at left guard, Ivey showed a powerful initial punch, showed above average body quickness, and used his length and strong hands very well. The two-year starter for state champion Apopka currently has offers from Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and South Carolina with Florida expected to offer shortly.
3. Michael O’Connor, QB, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound O’Connor proved to be the top quarterback prospect on hand today in what was a windy day. O’Connor’s arm strength really stood out as he made every throw required, and did so with plus accuracy. The native of Canada currently has offers from Michigan State, Vanderbilt, Rutgers, Mississippi State, South Florida, Akron, Buffalo and Toledo. O’Connor, a class of 2014 prospect, played the 2012 season at The Baylor School in Chattanooga before transferring to IMG Academy this spring.
4. Poona Ford, DT, Hilton Head (SC)
The 6-foot-0, 280-pound four-star Ford was easily the strongest and most explosive defensive lineman on hand, and it showed dominating every rep. His strength, with his hands and in the upper and lower body, combined with his quickness overwhelmed any offensive lineman he matched up with. While he worked out exclusively at defensive tackle today, he could also receive offers as a fullback. Ford currently has offers from Tennessee, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Louisville, Kansas State, Arkansas and others. The Volunteers and Gamecocks are currently the top two.
East Lake (Fla.) 2015 WR George Campbell dominated the combine portion of the day.
5. George Campbell, WR, Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East lake
As has been the case for nearly a year now, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Campbell was dominant in the testing portion of the combine running a 4.48 laser timed forty-yard dash, a 4.2 shuttle and a 37-inch vertical. When it came time to run routes, Campbell was also dominant bursting off the line, quickly getting into routes for his size and creating instant separation out of cuts. One area the class of 2015 prospect struggled at times today was finishing plays. He fought the ball at times, and didn’t have the look of a natural pass catcher.
6. Artavis Scott, WR, Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake
While the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Scott posted an impressive 4.2 shuttle and 34-inch vertical, it’s when it becomes time to play receiver that Scott impresses the most. He’s not only quick off the line and getting into routes, but continues to show plus hands, impressive body control and the ability to make every catch and play on the ball required. He took home the NFTC MVP award at wide receiver. The Top247 prospect has offers from Florida State, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame and a host of others. Scott received an invite to The Opening following the event.
7. Montel McBride, OG, Plant City (Fla.)
The 6-foot-4, 317-pound offensive guard prospect took home the offensive line MVP honors after a dominant stretch in one-on-one’s. The two-way high school player features impressive natural strength, long arms and the ability to react with quick feet. Florida State, South Florida, Kentucky, Central Florida and others have offered the class of 2014 prospect.
8. Kyle Gibson, S, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Gibson worked out at safety and took home MVP honors for his work in coverage. Gibson, who received an invite to The Opening following the event, is quick and reactive with the ability to close ground and make finishing plays on the ball. The four-star Gibson currently has offers from Louisville, Mississippi State, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Notre Dame and a growing list of others.
9. Kain Daub, ILB, Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood
While this event isn’t ideal for a downhill inside linebacker such as the 6-foot-3, 238-pound Daub, he showed plus agility in drills with the ability to move quickly with his eyes up. Not once did he drop his eyes during drill work, which so many linebackers do in this fast paced setting. Daub, who is down to Florida State and Alabama, moved well at time in coverage, but is best when playing forward and pursuing ball carriers.
10. Ryan Sousa, WR, Orlando (Fla.) Lake Nona
Of all the wide receivers on hand, none showed better hands and ball skills in traffic than the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder. Sousa, who has offers from Wake Forest, Rutgers, Missouri, South Florida, UCLA, Wisconsin, Boston College, Kentucky, Cincinnati and numerous others, easily beat press coverage and did a very good job of playing through contact and coming down with tough receptions.
Quick Hitters –
- Six-foot-three, 211-pound Lonnie Marts III of Jacksonville (Fla.) Harvest Community School makes the list due to a terrific testing day featuring a 4.69 forty-yard dash, an uber impressive 4.18 pro-agility shuttle, a 33-inch vertical and a 44-foot power ball throw. Marks also impressed yesterday at the Nike SPARQ testing, and better his rating today finishing with a 117.03. Duke is showing interest in the son of former NFL’er Lonnie Marks.
- Class of 2014 quarterback Zack Darlington of Apopka (Fla.) impressed despite just being released from injury rehab a week ago. Of all the quarterbacks on hand, the 6-foot-1.5, 205-pounder showed the best timing on routes in the short, intermediate and vertical passing game. Nebraska, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Minnesota and a number of others have offered.
Apopka (Fla.) quarterback Zack Darlington spun the ball well Saturday.
- Class of 2014 tight end Milan Richard of Savannah (Ga.) Calvary Day School checked in at 6-foot-2.5, 229-pounds. He ran a 4.75 forty-yard dash, 4.65 pro-agility shuttle and leaped 32.5-inches. While Richard showed soft hands and the ability to run routes down the field, he struggles in change of direction and rounded off a number of routes.
- Lakeland (Fla.) Kathleen athlete Javon Harrison, a Virginia Tech commit, checked in a 6-foot-2,187-pounds while running a 4.65-second forty. Harrison worked out at wide receiver on this day, but we feel he projects better in the defensive secondary. On Friday, LSU was the latest school to extend an offer to Harrison.
- Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy offensive tackle Denzel Ward weighed in at 305-pounds, ten pounds heavier than an his last camp in early January. The 6-foot-8 prospect with an extremely high ceiling, logged a 5.5 forty-yard dash and a 24-inch vertical leap. He showed good mobility as he continues to develop as a prospect. Ward named Florida his leader prior to the camp.
- Cross City (Fla.) Dixie County cornerback Duke Dawson, a Florida commit, earned an invite to Nike’s The Opening this summer following his performance Saturday. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound defensive back prospect ran a 4.70 forty, 4.25 second pro agility shuttle and posted a 35-inch vertical leap.
- Florida State defensive end commitment Blake McClain of Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood checked in at 6-foot-3 and 258-pounds. While he worked out at end, he may well project to tackle long term.
Luke Stampini, Josh Newberg and David Lake contributed to this report.
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