Wow, did the Gators have some arms show up for camp. I guess when you have coached the number one pick in the NFL draft (Alex Smith) it just might mean you can coach quarterbacks. Out of the 350 or so campers, I would estimate about 80 quarterbacks showed up. The headliners listed below, put on a show.
JEVAN SNEAD, Stephenville (TX) --- It is easy to see why the coaches were in love with this kid. He is huge and has a gun of an arm. I am not sure if it was the competition with Tebow, but the balls were flying out of his hand so fast, it looked as if he was trying to take the receivers' arms off. He makes every throw in the book and is ultra-confident.
TIM TEBOW, St Augustine (FL) Nease --- What is not to like about this guy? As seen in the pictures, he is a physical presence and he can make all the throws. He has an unorthodox motion, but it doesn't seem to affect his accuracy. His wheels are incredible for a quarterback and a player that size (about 6-3, 230). He has all the tools and was relishing the competition with Snead out there.
JUNIOR TO WATCH:
JOHN BRANTLEY, Ocala, (FL) Trinity Catholic --- He showed up the last Tuesday of camp and ran with Snead and company. One thing I noticed about Brantley was that the ball never comes back behind his head. Picture perfect mechanics and so the ball gets out of there in a hurry. He is thinner than the other quarterbacks mentioned, but he is also a year behind in the weight room and in terms of physical maturity. If there are any strength deficiencies, he makes up for them with his mechanics and can make all the throws.
It was one of the lighter positions in camp. There were two that stood out in my opinion.
CHEVON WALKER, Ft Myers (FL) Riverdale --- Walker showed the explosiveness the Gator coaches saw on game film and it was clear why he got an offer. He has really quick feet and can change direction on a dime. I love his attitude on the field. He would jaw a little bit with the opponent but never let it go too far. It was easy to see he loves to play the game. He is built like a baby Mack truck.
DEVAN JAMES, Pompano Beach (FL) Ely --- James has moves on top of moves. He is lightning quick and can change direction easily. He plays with a sense of urgency on every down and will make some team a fine ball player at the next level.
This is another group that wasn't high in quantity, but had a couple of stars.
BRYAN THOMAS, Zephyrhills (FL) - He plays both ways but I put him at receiver because of the lack of numbers. Truly, it is hard to tell which position for which he is best suited. I thought he was a dynamite player on both sides of the ball. He is very smooth and his make up speed is great. He is somewhat physical but on defense really sticks his man. Great overall skills.
CARLOS EVERETT, South Sumter (FL) --- I thought he was the best pure senior receiver in the camp. He has good hands and good speed. He isn't the biggest but he has good enough size. Everett sure is making this coaching staff think about an offer. His brother Earl was out there late Tuesday rooting him on.
QUENTIN HANCOCK, St. Augustine (FL) --- He is bigger than Carlos, but not as explosive. He has some tools to be a good receiver and just needs to work at it. Still, he was one of the better players out there at the position.
JUNIORS TO WATCH:
DEONTE THOMPSON, Belle Glade (FL) Glades Central --- He was the best receiver in camp and was there for the team session last week. He and CJ Spiller (Lake Butler Union County) were the fastest players at any Scout combine this year. Thompson was offered immediately by the Auburn coaches when he arrived at Auburn. I watched him versus Palm Beach Lakes and he torched them. He will be a first team All-American and one of the nation's top recruits next year.
PATRICK NELSON, Ocala (FL) Trinity Catholic --- If the name sounds familiar it's because he is the younger brother of Gator recruit David Nelson, who was an Army All-American wide receiver. Patrick looks like a clone of David. Patrick is already 6-4, 190. He's much faster than he looks because of his long strides. He catches everything. Patrick and John Brantley are going to be one incredible pass and catch combination the next two years.
There were a large number of very big bodies in attendance over the course of the last ten days. A lot of them are juniors and were very good looking linemen. We were just not able to get names on a lot of those. Here are a few of the top seniors who were in attendance.
JIM BARRIE, Tampa (FL) Berkley Prep --- The monster offensive lineman evidently made an impression on the coaching staff according to Scott Kennedy who has a good photo of Barrie working out at the camp. This marked Barrie's second trip to the camp in a week.
TRAVIS TIMMONS, Gainesville (FL) Buccholz --- He has a big ole body and claims offers from Florida and Georgia among others. He seemed to hold his own out there.
ZACK HENDERSON, Jacksonville (FL) Bartram Trail --- Long and lean, he looks like some of the taller linemen already on Florida's campus. Henderson moved over from tight end and has pretty quick feet. You can see him filling out to be another Lance Butler type.
CODY FAULKNER, Arcadia (IN) Hamilton Heights --- Great size and attitude. He works very hard and has the ability to play at the Florida level. His dad is Chris Faulkner, Gator tight end during the Charley Pell era.
Again, a position that the quantity was not there, but the quality sure was. These monsters will be lining up on major Division I football fields in 2006.
KENRICK ELLIS, Greenacres (FL) John I Leonard --- Huge defensive tackle that really moves well for his size. He has a great personality and his history in soccer shows on the football field with his agility. He admits he is a little overweight but still he looks good. He can be a dominant force plugging the middle in the SEC.
TERRON SANDERS, Bradenton (FL) Southeast --- Totally dominated the best kids from the offensive side of the ball. He is extremely quick and I never saw him lose a battle. He really brings the heat when he comes.
CHARLES DEAS, Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Dillard --- Another huge defensive tackle prospect that really looks the part. He may have also been a tad out of shape, but he is a good looking specimen that can also move.
JAMEL PARRIS, Sebastian (FL) Sebastian River --- Extremely impressive looking although he didn't dress in pads for the time we saw him out there. He has tremendous speed and quickness for his size. He may be a possibility at linebacker.
Here are three good ones to talk about. There were more, but I can't catch them all.
AJ JONES, Tampa (FL) Middleton --- This is the best linebacker in the state. He is so smooth and runs like a receiver. He lays the wood when he gets there and has a ton of fun on the field. Jones is the real deal. He will be a force in college when he puts on about 20 pounds. Reminds you a lot of Derrick Brooks at the same age.
DUSTIN DOE, Jasper (FL) Hamilton County --- I missed seeing him on Tuesday but heard he was out there. Doe is another one the Gators are after. I also heard that Hamilton may not field a team this year and he may play for Live Oak Suwanee.
JAMES THOMAS, Pompano Beach (FL) Ely --- He had a groin injury when I was able to watch his Ely team so I missed him in action. He is a bubble player for a scholarship. He looks the part of a linebacker.
By far, this was the deepest position from a high quality stand point, in all of the camps. This is a very good thing as the need for top quality defensive backs is great at Florida.
RYAN HILL, Tallahassee (FL) Rickards --- Hill was maybe the most physical of the defensive backs. He has a great upper body which allows him to muscle receivers and he loves to get physical. He gets in their face and stays there until he makes the play.
JACQUES RICKERSON, St. Augustine (FL) --- He has all the tools. He stays with the receiver step for step down the field. He gets in their face and plays the position like it should be played. Very fast and keeps his feet great.
DARIN BALDWIN, Homestead (FL) South Dade --- He is big and physical. He teamed with AJ Jones to make it to the championship of the team camp tourney. This was a big feat because they were on a mix matched team of players going against real teams. He is one we will be keeping a close eye on.
LAURENCE MARIUS, Key West (FL) --- I missed seeing him and his Key West teammates. From all reports he stood out enough that he may be on the verge of an offer.
RICKY GARY, Pahokee (FL) --- One of my favorite players in the camp. He is picture perfect playing the position. He is physical when he needs to be and plays off when he should. He anticipates as well as anyone. If he was two inches taller he would be everyone's All-American.
AVERY HOLLEY, Pompano Beach, (FL) Ely --- Holley really impressed me covering Deonte Thompson. Holley was able to blanket Thompson and not let him get by. He keeps his weight down for basketball where he is the number two rated senior point guard in the state, so he is a little light. Still, he has a lot of tools.
JOSHUA MOORE, Pompano Beach (FL) Ely --- Another good defensive back prospect that plays on a very good team. He can cover the field well and makes plays.
MARKIHE ANDERSON, Ft. Myers (FL) Dunbar --- He's about 6-0 and 180 pounds and can flat fly. This guy was everywhere on the field during the first session. I know the coaches were really eyeballing him. Man this position was stacked at camp.