**Please note: I had a chance to see
every kid in person before the camp actually started. Yesterday I was at the
picture table and today I was measuring heights of all the kids. Therefore, I
got a really good look at every kid that walked through the doors into the UF weight room
For the second straight day I was blessed with the opportunity to watch several of the state's top prospects on a beautiful day. Earlier today Gainesville was the host of the third NIKE Training Camp of the year and it brought out some of the state's finest.
A major focus at today's camp was on the quarterbacks. With over 25 that showed up, three of them will be among the best in the entire country. It's been many years since this state has produced three quality quarterbacks like it will this year. Land O Lakes standout Drew Weatherford (between 6-1 3/4 and 6-2 and 194 pounds), Seabreeze's Xavier Lee (6-3, 205), and Hawthorne's Cornelius Ingram (6-4, 191) were all extremely impressive.
Interestingly when the quarterbacks were broken into three groups, all three of these kids were in the same group. Like Lee told me afterwards, they wanted it that way. All three can really throw the football. Weatherford, right now, appears to have the best mechanics of the three while Ingram's the most athletic with the best arm. His ability to throw a bullet or put touch on the ball is incredible. Lee has a cannon as well and has tremendous feet and hips. All three were making tremendous throws all afternoon and I truly believe you won't find many quarterbacks in the entire country with as much upside as these three kids.
There were two running backs that caught my attention. Trinity Christian's Lamar Lewis (who will also get looks as a cornerback) ripped off a 4.42/40 (they were timed on grass and against a slight wind) and looked very instinctive and quick in drills. He made two different linebackers look silly during one-on-one drills. Lewis is coming off an excellent junior season, which he finished by going for almost 200 yards in the state championship game. The other running back that caught my attention was Auburndale's Lenford (Chub) Small. After measuring in at 5-8 1/2 and 194, Small turned in a low 40-time of 4.43. He looked very good in drills and is coming off two excellent seasons.
Switching to the wide receivers, I wanted to make mention of something that you might not hear about again for a long time. Palm Bay's Xavier Carter was scheduled to be at the camp but was at a national track meet in Arcadia, CA this weekend. At that meet, he won the national title in three separate events -- 100m, 200m, and 400m. It's the first time anyone has ever won those three events. That's borderline insane. He's probably the fastest football prospect I've ever seen.
There were some talented receivers there today, however. Fort Meade's Larry Freeman (6-2 1/2 and roughly 185) plays quarterback for the Miners but is going to be recruited to play wide receiver and he showed why today. He runs good routes, can jump, and is very competitive. Lake City Columbia's Rashaun Jones (6-0 1/2 and 17 8) was also a standout at the receiver position. A third kid, Orlando Edgewater standout Kenny Ingram, worked out with both the safeties and receivers and I think he projects as a college linebacker. At 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, he ran a sub 4.6 on grass and looked very fluid in drills. He's all legs right now and looks to have the frame to be able to add another 20-25 pounds. He's a long strider with good hands. The best tight end I saw was a kid from Georgia named Justin Mincey, who checked in at 6-4 1/2 and 215, ran well, and performed well. Venice's Brad Allen did not show up.
Moving to the offensive line, the three kids that caught my attention the minute they walked into UF's weightroom were the same three kids that I was looking forward to watching the most on the O-Line today -- Wakulla's Jim Tartt, Raines standout Cornelius Lewis, and Sarasota Riverview's Drew Miller.
At 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, Lewis is a guard prospect with huge hands. He threw up 23 reps on the bench press and make it look easy. He then went on to have a strong camp, including a play in which he pancaked a defender during a pass pro drill. Tartt, who is 6-4 and 310, has excellent feet for a big man, fairly long arms, quick hips, and a big motor. He's very passionate about the game, moves very well for his size, and has good agility. He threw up more than 30 reps on the bench press. Tartt, in my opinion, was the most talented lineman there today. Miller, who checked in at 6-4 and 290, looks a lot like Derrick Morse did this time last year in person. With good feet, he also had a solid day and is definitely a major Division 1 prospect.
For the second straight day the defensive line
position wasn't nearly as strong as it's been at this camp in recent years. I
think that might be a way of telling us that this position isn't as deep in this
state this year. Pensacola's Paul Griffin (5-11 3/4 -- 6-0) was very strong and
had a solid day but it was Orlando Oak Ridge's Joe Joseph who I thought had the
best day at this position. After measuring in at 6-2 1/2 and 267, Joseph went on
to put up 19 reps on the bench, jump 23 inches, and look fluid during drills.
His 40-time wasn't real impressive because of bad form but he is a high energy
kid that is moving really well at top speed. He'll eventually be a 300-pound
tackle and pushed people around during 1-on-1 drills today.
When it comes to linebackers there were a few good ones here today but the overall group was nothing like yesterday's group in Miami. Today, however, I saw what might be a top 5 overall kid in the state. His name is Brandon Siler, who checked in at 6-2 and 206 of all muscle. He has a lower body that will allow him to grow in to a 6-2 or 6-3 and 235-pound outside linebacker in a few years. He jumped 31 inches, put up 20 reps on the bench, and turned in a 4.59/40 on grass (and against the wind when he was running). Built a lot like Earl Everett from last year's class, Siler actually worked out mostly with the tight ends today (he played both ways at Evans last year and will actually play running back this season as well). Afterwards, he told me he wanted to challenge himself by going up against smaller, quicker defensive backs. And believe me, he made a lot of them look silly although I think he has a lot more upside on defense. Here's a kid that once made over 25 plays in a game last year and ended the season with well over 150 tackles. He's also a full academic qualifier and an intense competitor that loves the game like the great ones do. Every time there was hesitation on which kid was up during 1 on 1 drills, Siler would immediately step up (often extremely tired from running so many reps) and want more. He's one that is just a little different than the rest of the pack.
The defensive back position, next to quarterbacks, was probably the camp's strongest positions. There were several good ones out there today but the best I watched was Haines City's Tony Joiner. At 6-0 and 175, Joiner plays QB and FS for the Hornets and made big plays all year. Athletically, he proved a lot today. With a sub 4.5/40 time, Joiner displayed excellent feet, athletic ability, and a natural feel for the passing game when playing defense during 1 on 1 drills. He's clearly better suited to play safety but looked excellent in cover drills.
Mandarin's Tony Carter, who checked in at just 5-9 and 145, was the fastest/quickest kid I saw today. Although he may not have had the best 40-time, he was blazing. I saw him run a 4.37 and 4.38 on back-to-back runs and then watched him run through the ladder like it was something he does five times a day -- oh wait, that's just a natural athlete who makes it look effortless. He has a tremendous break on the ball and looked very good in cover drills (except on one play where C. Ingram pulled a triple pump and had Carter turned around -- even though he quickly yelled out "sack"). Like Terrell Walden at that age two years ago when he was 148, Carter needs to gain some weight to be able to handle bigger receivers at the line of scrimmage (something he did not face during his 1 on 1 drills today). A third player, Fletcher's Kyle Jackson, looked very good as well. At 6-0 1/2 and 176, he may not have tested the way he had hoped (he was disappointed with his 4.65/40 times), he showed why he's a natural football player that already has a couple legitimate offers. His cover skills on defense are very good, he's got good ball skills, he can jump, and he's very competitive.