Florida FNL Impressions

Florida's Friday Night Lights has become one of the most well-known football camps across the country. Top talent from all over competed inside The Swamp Friday night and Scout breaks down some of the top performers here...

When Florida sets the date for Friday Night Lights, it is circled on calendars by many.

It was year nine for Friday Night Lights in Gainesville, Fla. and there was plenty of talent inside The Swamp once again.

Scout takes a look at how some of the bigger names performed here:

Sam Bruce | 2016 WR | University School (Fla.)
Super quick slot receiver who shined Friday night. He may have caught more passes than any other receiver/tight end at this event. He is very quick off the line of scrimmage and a nightmare to try to stay with in man coverage. He adjusted well to the ball and when it was thrown around him, he caught it.

John Burt | 2015 WR | Lincoln (Fla.)
More of the long and rangy receiver and he showed very good body control and hands in this camp. He is more quick than fast, but he is more of a long-strider, so he covers a lot of ground. Burt is a wideout that could be moved around on the next level and he looks like he'd be good as a punt returner. He has quick, subtle movement when he gets the ball.

Devonaire Clarington | 2015 TE | Westminster Christian (Fla.)
Not too many skill guys stood out more than this one. He is a big kid (6-5/225), but very fluid, and he did what he had to with his body to make the catch. He caught the ball in traffic, he went up over defenders to catch the ball, and he just made the play on the ball. He can work on his route-running and his blocking, but his upside is as high as any tight end in the 2015 class that I have seen. He is a big receiver that has great size and fluidity.

Khairi Clark | 2014 DT | Chaminade Madonna (Fla.) - Committed to Florida
I have seen this Florida commitment everywhere this spring and summer. I really like it when high profiled recruits go out and compete like Clark did. He showed again why Florida and many others like him as an interior defensive lineman. He has quick feet and he was strong in the 1on1 session at the end of the camp. He is very quick in short space and he has a lot of ability many big defensive linemen don't.

Byron Cowart | 2015 DE | Armwood (Fla.)
If there was one kid that stood out a lot to me that I had not in a while, it was this one. Cowart was impressive getting out of the car, walking to registration, running through the drills, and competing in the 1on1s. He is so athletic for his size (6-4/239) and he showed quickness, strength, and athleticism at Friday Night Lights. He was already highly thought of as a '15 prospect, but his ranking improved a good bit after this performance.

Dwayne Lawson | 2015 QB | Hillsborough (Fla.)
A very intriguing quarterback that has a lot of tools to like. The first person I thought of after watching him go through the agility drills and then throw the ball was Cameron Newton. Lawson is a 6-foot-5, 207 pound rising junior who has a live arm, great mobility, and he is a true dual-threat quarterback. He needs to work on his mechanics, the squaring of his shoulders before throwing the ball, things like that, but he is a quarterback to watch. He was impressive Friday night.

Feleipe Franks | 2015 QB | Wakulla (Fla.)
For a soon-to-be sophomore, there was a lot of pressure on Franks to perform at Florida. He had already been offered by the Gators, he is well known in the recruiting circles, and he is about as cool as they come. He was not super sharp throwing the ball, but he has his moments, and he looked great going through most of the quarterback drills. He has great feet, he has great awareness, and he has that moxie you love to see in a quarterback. This kid has three more high school seasons, so his accuracy will improve, and his ability to read defenders will get better, so there is a lot to like in this young signal caller.

Will Grier | 2014 QB | Davidson Day (N.C.) - Committed to Florida
Grier just had fun Friday night. He looked extremely relaxed, he did not press at all, and he just let the ball fly out of his hand. He did not show the same arm as Lawson at this event, but he through beautiful deep balls, his timing was good on the square route, and he was recruiting more than anything. We all know what and who Grier is and the Gator fans should be very happy to have him.

Taj Griffin | 2015 RB | McEachern (Ga.)
It is hard to imagine there being a more explosive back in the '15 class than this one. He may not be 6-feet tall and 210 pounds and in the mold of a Matt Jones or Kelvin Taylor, but he is a play-maker. Griffin was first through most drills, he drew a lot of attention from Brian White (Running Back Coach), and he caught the ball well too. He worked some at running back and slot receiver in this event and he was equally effective at both. This kid is a top 10 prospect in Georgia and a lock for the Scout 300. He has speed to burn and he is very elusive.

De'Amontae Jackson | 2015 LB | North Mariona (Fla.)
I wish he was a little taller and longer, but when you see his build, then see how he strikes, then see how he has improved his play in pass coverage, then you overlook the height. He is right around 6-feet tall, but very strong, and he moved well Friday night. He is not the best cover guy at linebacker, but he was solid. He is aggressive, he looked to knock guys off their routes, and he will be a guy who spends a lot more time inside the box than down the field on the next level.

CeCe Jefferson | 2015 DE | Baker County (Fla.)
He is starting to look like one of those Under Armour mannequins you see in stores. He has really shaped his body well and he looks like a true defensive end at this time when I once saw him developing into a defensive tackle. He is very quick off the edge and he has great reaction to offensive tackle movement. As soon as the offensive lineman made any move, Jefferson was off the ball. He is very athletic too and he has long arms which helps at strongside end. He came to camp with an 'X' on his chest and he did not disappoint.

Arthur McGinnis | 2015 LB | Warren Easton (La.)
Coming from Louisiana, McGinnis was not known inside The Swamp like many other 2015 prospects, but he left with a lot of buzz. He was the top linebacker in attendance for Scout and he not only showed the size to play the run, but he moved and ran well in coverage. He is a very smart player, he chases the ball well, and he is faster than many think. He made a strong impression on Scout Friday night.

Ravian Pierce | 2014 TE | South Plantation (Fla.)
There is a lot to like about Pierce and one thing that jumps out is his athleticism. He is only 6-foot-2, but he looks taller because of his frame and his length. He is more of a big receiver right now, but he has plenty of room to add weight. He is not all that fast, but he has quickness, and he is more in that hybrid mold that will flex out a lot on the next level. He showed the ability to stop and come back to the ball as well and battle for the ball in traffic at Friday Night Lights. He is still very raw, but he is an athlete who can catch, he moves well, and he has a lot of upside.

Da'vante Phillips | 2015 WR | Miami Central (Fla.) - Committed to Florida
Shortly after the camp concluded, Phillips committed to Florida. That verbal came after a solid night on the field. He has very strong hands and he really snatches the ball out of the air well. He needs to work on getting off the line of scrimmage better and creating better separation. He struggled there some, but he did show he can go up and get the ball and really catch the ball when it is within reach. He looks like he is going to be more of a physical-style wideout than a burner.

Travis Rudolph | 2014 WR | West Palm Beach (Fla.)
When talking pure wide receivers, Rudolph was the best at this event. He runs crisp routes, he got great separation, and his hands are money. He made it look easy at times as him and Will Grier connected on many different occasions. Rudolph is a dependable receiver and one that flashes that elite speed/quickness when he needs to. He is a guy who can go across the middle, run down the sideline, or take the short wide receiver screen. He may not blow you away in one specific area, but he is strong across the board.

T.J. Simmons | 2015 RB | Lakeland Christian (Fla.)
A running back that is coming off a shortened season due to an injury in 2012 showed he belonged on the field with the best. He is very quick and he has a great burst out of his cuts. He showed good balance, he has the frame (5-11/183) you look for in every-down backs, and he is quickly emerging as one of the top 2015 running backs in Florida. Ideally, camp settings are not a place running backs always stick out, but Simmons was one that did.

Rahshaun Smith | 2016 DE | Calvert Hall (Md.)
This one of the prospects who worked at multiple positions Friday night. He started off at defensive end and that is where Scout projects this rising sophomore, but he also worked some towards the end at linebacker. Once I realized he was only a sophomore, I watched him a little more closely. He is very quick off the edge, but he was not bad in pass coverage either. He can run, he showed athleticism, and it is easy to see why he has to the impressive offer list he has very early in the process.

Jordan Woods | 2016 DE | Trinity Catholic (Fla.)
Not many prospects with three years remaining look like this one. He is in that 6-foot-4, 260 pound range right now and he is quick enough to play end. He may grow into an elite three-technique and use his quickness to get into the backfield down the road. He was one of the top defensive linemen at this event and he showed he could hang with the older prospects. He moves well, he is athletic, he has long arms, and he has a lot of potential. He has double-digit offers now and it is easy to see why.

Chad Simmons is currently a National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout. He started with Scout in 2003 and then moved on to another Recruiting Service from 2004-2008 before returning to Scout the first of 2009 to become South Recruiting Manager.
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