NFTC Columbus: Defensive Preview

An impressive group of defensive prospects from a wide variety of states will attend this weekend's NIKE Football Training Camp in Columbus. Multiple Scout 300 prospects and numerous kids with offers and BCS commits will attend and as always, there will be a few without offers who prove they are worthy.

The defensive line group is a formidable one. Olney (Md.) Good Counsel's Darius Fullwood, St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin Derham Hall's Jashon Cornell, and Hopewell (Va.) High's Darrell Taylor are all Scout 300 prospects who come in holding a who's who of offers on their respective lists. Canada's Neville Gallimore is a fast rising prospect who has added several new offers the last month. Detroit Cass Tech's Joshua Alabi is another with several big time offers. He has added more size this offseason too, so it will be an opportunity to see the fruits of his labor.

Virginia Tech commit Eric Whitehead and Nathon Trawick are two undersized, but disruptive defensive tackles who will be tough to deal with in one on ones. Other rising senior tackles who come in with offers include Ohio natives Ben Cooper, Simeon Lane and DaVon Hamilton, Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice's Marc Miller, Pennsylvania product Arrington Gipson, and Kaden Jackson, who is coming all the way from Oklahoma. At defensive end, we will keep a close eye on Macomb (Mich.) Dakota's Antonio Balabani, who received his first offer from Buffalo this week, and Western Michigan commit Donte Horton.

The underclassmen tackles are led by Woodbury (Minn.) East Ridge's Jojo Garcia, who holds a Minnesota offer and Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech's Michael Onwenu, who recently picked up an Ohio State offer. Jonathan Cooper (Gahanna Lincoln, Ohio), is a hybrid edge rusher with good athleticism. Other 2016 prospects to watch are Waukesha (Wisc.) Catholic Memorial's Zack Taylor, Ohio products Jeffrey Pooler and Jacob Staiger along with two from Kentucky, Blake Asher and Connor Foos. Two rising sophomores who have early interest from schools are Cincinnati Winton Woods' Jerron Cage and St. Joseph's (Mich.) High's Corey Malone-Hatcher.

One of the nation's top five outside linebackers, Cincinnati St. Xavier's Justin Hilliard will look to show why he has a big offer list and top level schools recruiting him hard. Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Oakland's Josh Smith is not as highly ranked, but has many offers himself and will look to show he's among the nation's best.

A nice group of fellow rising seniors will round out the linebacker corps. Of course Ohio will be well represented by Bryce Jenkinson, Marquise Copeland, Matthew Draper, London Cloud, Shemar Moss and Troy Henderson all hold FBS offers. Indianapolis Pike's Quentin Moon has two offers including Illinois. Bolingbrook (Ill.) twins Jacob Huff and Julian Huff have both been steadily adding offers through the Winter and Spring. Detroit Cass Tech's Michael Oliver, a Central Michigan commit, will also compete. Th top underclassman is St. Clairsville (Ohio) rising junior Brendan Ferns, who is an ever-growing offer list and is an early four-star.

Three Scout 300 prospects lead the defensive backs group. Michigan commit Tyree Kinnel, Northwestern commit David Dowell and Michigan State commit Tyson Smith are all headed to the Big Ten. Trotwood-Madison's Kei Beckham and Southfield (Mich.) standout Dior Johnson are two safeties who have lengthy offer lists. Hunter Dale comes up from Louisiana with several major offers. Missouri native Justin Fitzpatrick and Tennessee product Aaquil Annoor both hold offers as well. Another notable name is Brian Dawkins Jr., the son of former NFL safety Brian Dawkins.

In the 2016 class, four notable names are Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent St. Mary's Tyrece Speaight, Detroit Cass Tech's LaVert Hill and two from Pennsylvania with offers, Damar Hamlin and Khaleke Hudson.

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