Illinois FNL Camp: Top Performers‏

Just five days after hosting a talent-laden NFTC camp, Champaign's Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus hosted the Illinois Friday Night Lights camp drawing talent from all across the Midwest and beyond. Here's a breakdown of some of the top performers.

Caleb Day - 2013 CB - Hilliard (OH) Darby:

Day was arguably the most consistent prospect across both the drills and the one-on-one matchups. In early drills he showed off his quickness and body control. In the one-on-ones, he stayed with his man pretty much all night and broke up a number of passes. His performance validated the offers he has so far.


Daniel Helm - 2014 TE - Chatham (IL) Glenwood:

Helm came in slightly shorter than expected, but that might have been the only disappointment with him if there was one. He looked good in drills but looked even better when going one-on-one gaining easy separation and showing burst in the open field. He caught the ball very well away from his body and showed excellent hands.

Ashton Jackson - 2014 RB - Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison:

Jackson holds a handful of early scholarship offers, and his performance throughout the night left no doubt about his skills. As a running back, Jackson seems to have a natural knack for the position. When running, he keeps his core square and uses his quick feet to make crisp cuts. He's not only fast, but is well-built and doesn't carry a lot of unnecessary weight. Will need to continue to work on receiving out of the backfield, as he struggled a bit early on, but as the night went on, he looked the ball in much better.

Dareian Watkins - 2014 QB/ATH - Galion (OH) Galion:

Watkins is a versatile enough athlete to play a number of different positions, but Friday night he worked out as a quarterback. In drills, his footwork was relatively smooth, though not quite a finished product. His throwing motion has a slight hitch as he brings the ball to the top of his motion, but he has a snappy release and puts a good zip on the ball. He also took a couple of reps as a receiver near the end of the night and made some good catches in stride.

Jacobi Hunter - 2013 DT - Houston (TX) Cypress Falls:

A surprise addition to the list of attendees, Hunter decided to come to the Illinois camp following a camp at Purdue just prior to Friday's camp in Champaign. In a field of mostly Midwest prospects, Hunter stood out among the defensive linemen with his strength and surprising quickness for a big man. He already has an offer from Baylor, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he picked up more in the near future.

Ja'Len Edwards - 2013 WR - Avon (IN) Avon:

Edwards wasn't the biggest receiver out there, but he was one of the fastest guys at the entire camp. He made up for his lack of height by stretching the field with his speed and made a number of good catches in 1-on-1 drills. In positional drills he displayed quick feet and crisp cuts. Will be interesting to see how he performs against bigger defensive backs, but he had a solid showing on Friday.

Clifton Garrett - 2014 LB - Plainfield (IL) South:

Garrett is probably a guy who is better when the pads are on, but he still continues to establish himself time and time again in camps. Physically, he passes the eye test and already has the body of a BCS linebacker. He's been competing in a number of camps over the last month or so as well as competing with the Core 6 7-on-7 team, so some of the fatigue is starting to catch up with him a bit, but still, he showed why he is considered one of the top linebackers in the class of 2014.

Ethan Wolf - 2014 TE - Minster (OH) Minster:

The first thing that stands out about Wolf is his size. For a rising junior, he already has the frame to be a division one tight end and is starting to fill it out. Fundamentally, Wolf is very sound, executing the details of the drills and exercises cleanly and under control. With some tight ends, learning proper blocking technique is an uphill battle, but Wolf has natural ability to both pass and run block. As he continues to add good weight, he will definitely be one to keep an eye on.


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