NFTC Columbus: Defensive Recap

The defensive standouts ranged from places near and far, ages older and younger, and it was fitting that at an event held at Ohio State, several future Buckeyes earned MVP honors as well as invitations to The Opening.

Defensive Line

**** Dave Berk's notes ****

There is no mistaking the talent of Da'Shawn Hand as he uses quickness, strength and leverage to gain advantages over offensive linemen. Those who lined up against the Woodbridge Academy (Virginia) product at times forgot snap counts and knew they were in for a poor rep.

New Tennessee pledge Joseph Henderson lined up as a defensive end but has the size of an outside linebacker. This proved to be a great advantage for the Shaker Heights (Ohio) product who showed great burst off the edge and NFTC coaches gave him an added advantage of lining him up way out on the edge making it almost impossible for tackles to make up the ground to use technique and get into position.

Have to give the toughness award to Terre Haute (Ind.) South defensive lineman Junior Berry who suffered a turf burn to his face when an offensive lineman when a little too far on a rep during one-on-one drills. However, Berry showed no signs of pain and jumped up and took another rep before getting the injury looked at.

Lloyd Tubman (Seneca, KY) needs to get physically bigger and stronger, but his ability to get low and fire off the line is special.

Ohio State pledge Dylan Thompson is no stranger to these type of events and Sunday had one of his best days using his quickness and strength to win reps and showing why the Buckeyes are excited about the Illinois native.

Additional Defensive Line Notes

Muskegon (Mich.) tackle Kenny Finley, a Western Michigan commit, blew past a couple of would-be blockers, showing an impressive first step and quickness. The Broncos are getting a good one there.

Fellow Michigan based defensive tackle Jake Khoury of Traverse City St. Francis had a good performance, winning the majority of his one on one reps and getting chosen for the Best of the Best portion. Cincinnati (Ohio) Summit Country Day's Michael Barwick, who announced his commitment to Indiana at the camp, had a good showing in one on ones as well, using his hands and leverage to get past whoever was in front of him.

St. Louis (Mo.) Lutheran North's Renell Wren is a long, athletic defensive end who still needs some polish, but has the ideal frame and tools for the position. We only saw a few reps of Trotwood-Madison's Verondtae Wilkinson, but he looked solid in what we saw. A sleeper to watch is Columbus (Ohio) Bishop Hartley's Kalil Morris. Another Ohio product with a nice long frame and athletic ability is Clayton Northmont's Terry Ramsey.

Of the underclassmen, Tim Settle (Stonewall Jackson HS, Va.) has a handful of major offers. He's a wide bodied kid with the tools to be a good one, he just needs to keep working on technique.

Warren Harding (Ohio) rising junior Hjalte Froholdt has a big body at just around 6'4, 275-pounds. An exchange student, we came in expecting more of a raw product, but actually saw a kid who was very good at using his hands to shed and was able to keep himself low.

Roanaoke (Va.) Northside class of 2015 prospect Chance Hall has an early offer from Maryland and we expect others to follow suit as he's an athletic big body (6'5, 275) who may even be heavier than his listed weight, but moves it well and plays with a motor.


The MVP on the day was Ohio State commit Kyle Berger (Cleveland St. Ignatius) who was very good in drills, showing quickness and athleticism in addition to the added weight he has put on since the season. We thought a camp, shorts/t-shirts setting may not be the nation's #2 outside linebacker's thing, but he had a great day.

Future teammate Dante Booker (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's) was one of the best, if not the best looking kid on the hoof. He has great size and runs well for a kid that big.

We felt Michigan commit Michael Ferns was neck and neck with Berger for top honors. He's another kid with great size, but can really run at that size and that's what made him a prospect who got recruited all across the country. He needs to continue to polish his game, but he has the physical goods.

Michigan State commit Chris Frey may not be as big as those guys, but he's a great pure football player who got it done in coverage against tight ends and backs. Penn State commit Jared Wangler is another who may not be quite as big as some of the aforementioned guys, but is a smart kid, who, as a former safety, can run well.

A few other notable Ohio linebackers had good days. Canton McKinley's Jamal Davis is a long, lean kid who showed good ball skills. Airius Moore and Dameon Willis both have a few offers between them and had good showings.

Toledo commit William White of Detroit Cass Tech is known as a run stuffer, but proved he could cover too, getting his hand on a few passes. He could have had several interceptions, and while he didn't haul them in, was in good position all day. Fellow Michigan product Kyle Rachwal is a tight end recruit for some teams, but his size and tools make him well suited for linebacker. As a tight end, he's obviously comfortable going after the football and playing it in the air. Anchor Bay (Mich.) rising senior Alex Hamilton is a sleeper to watch. He has no offers, but is a good athlete. He's not as big as some of the others, but can run and can be effective in the right position.

Another sleeper we like is Fort Wayne (Ind.) North Side's D'Marcus Moon, who is well put together and moved well in drills. Springfield (Ohio) Davonte James has a nice frame and we think he may end up putting a hand down in college.

Archbishop Wood (Pa.) rising junior Jake Cooper was one of the underclassmen we liked along with Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic's Chris Green, a BCS recruit who made nice plays in coverage. Darrin Kirkland, an Indianapolis Park Tudor product has an early Akron offer and also showed his ability to cover backs out of the backfield.

Defensive Backs

Ohio State commit Damon Webb had a great day. He took on all comers and they dared those who thought they were the best to come challenge him and he was rarely beaten on the day. His size, natural athleticism and ability to play physically are what stood out. The scary thing is that he's still working on technique.

St. Louis (Mo.) University cornerback Raymond Wingo is a longer kid with a burst and good closing ability. Fellow Missouri product Thayer Weaver (Desmet Jesuit) has solid size and went up high to make a couple plays, including an interception in one on ones. Trey Harden of Westerville South had a nice day. He has an early Akron offer and could add more if he keeps up these types of performances over the summer. Two other Ohio based sleepers who made some plays was Aaron Bushner from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's and Antoine Stone from Bedford.

Of the underclassmen, Trotwood-Madison had two, Harrison Johnson and Kei Beckham, both rising juniors, who did well in one on ones. Tyree Kinnel of Lakota West has some early offers. He has good size. We see him as developing into a safety moreso than a corner as a result.

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