Cleveland Opening Regional: Skill Positions Recap

A position by position recap of the non-linemen at the event who stood out.

The quarterbacks MVP was Chase Wolf of Cincinnati St. Xavier, who was consistent and accurate throughout the day. Wolf has several power-five offers including Boston CollegeIowa StateWisconsinPittsburghSouth Carolina and more. Michigan State commit Theo Day was good again for the second straight regional. He has the height and arm talent to be very successful at the next level. In terms of build and arm strength, he has some similarities to former Spartan Connor Cook.

Also returning for another regional was Northwestern commit Jason Whittaker. He also has prototypical size and was consistent throwing the ball throughout the day. He joined Day and Wolf in the top group of quarterbacks who threw at the end. Carmel (Ind.) rising senior Jake McDonald and Gahanna (Ohio) Lincoln rising junior Michael Lowery were two surprises who joined them in that group.

While they were not a part of that group, Notre Dame commit Phil Jurkovec and Minnesota commit Brennan Armstrong were also among an "A" group of quarterbacks who had good, solid days. Recent Eastern Michigan commit Aaron Jackson showed a strong arm. One sleeper we really liked was Cade Peterson from Maple City (Mich.) Glen Lake, a 6-foot-4 kid with a strong arm and no offers currently. A couple others from Michigan, Mikey Lynn from Lansing and Max Wittwer had good days. Lynn can really spin it. We noted Drew Zaubi and Adam Cecere as two others who had some nice throws.

2019 Iowa State commit Dwan Mathis had a good day throwing the ball as well. He was able to cut through the wind and was consistent. Fellow Michigander Dequan Finn is another in that class who threw it well.

The running backs MVP was Raveion Hargrove of Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) who was, for the second year straight, the most elusive, shifty back in attendance. He also catches the ball very well.

Ohio State commit Jaelen Gill is a smooth athlete who also can catch the ball well. That bodes well for his college career where we are sure the Buckeyes will find different ways to get him the ball in space. He showed no ill effects of a previous knee injury and earned an invite to The Opening Finals.  

The rest of the senior running backs group was a good one. University of Detroit Jesuit's Elijah Collins tested very well, running a 4.66 forty and posting other strong results. Four-star Cincinnati Winton Woods back Tavion Thomas has impressed us twice now in camp settings despite being a bigger back in a setting that is often more conducive to smaller, quicker backs. Thomas is very fluid for a 225-pound kid though. 

We continue to wonder when more schools will offer Orchard Lake St. Mary's Rashawn Allen, a well-built back who has performed well at the last few camps. A couple other sleepers, Dontae Smith and Keiondre McAllister from Tennessee, Kenyatta Huston from New York, and  K.J. Redmon from Ohio have only a handful of mid-major offers between them, but had success in the drills and 1-1s.

Of the underclassmen, Detroit Cass Tech sophomore Lew Nichols and Dublin (Ohio) Coffman freshman Michael Drennen, two kids who hold scholarship offers, showed why they are already drawing the interest of major schools. 

At wide receiver, we really like what four-star Joseph Scates of Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar did. He has great size, but also some shake and suddenness for a kid of that size. 2019 prospect Cameron Phillips from Westerville (Ohio) Central was the MVP. He is quick, creates a lot of separation and has sure hands.

Other 2018 prospects who we thought did well include Paul Woods of Buffalo (N.Y.) Canisius and Jornell Manns from Mansfield (Ohio) who both hav a good handful of college offers. Xavier Johnson from Summit Country Day in Southwest Ohio is a nice-sized prospect who had good reps in 1-1s. Detroit King's Erik Gibson tested well and did well in drills. He has good size and where his speed may have been questioned some, he ran a good time at the event (4.68).

A handful of class of 2018 kids who are without offers but proved worthy of notice include Lansing Sexton's Cody Blankenburg, an undersized but very skilled prospect who had a second straight good regional performance. Dallas Daniels and William McDaniel are two kids from Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) who made play after play. Michael Scruggs was one of the camp's fastest players and showed route-running skills as well. He is undersized, but has the tools to play in the slot at the next level.

In the 2019 class, Julian Barnett, who was one of the best at the Chicago Regional, was again a top performer here. He holds several major offers. A Tennessee soft commit, Kendrell Scurry is a long, athletic receiver with good ball skills and athleticism. One wide receiver in that class who should join those two in receiving power-five offers is Reynoldsburg (Ohio) product Mershawn Rice, who has good size and sure hands to go with that. He ran one of the camp's fastest times (4.63 forty) at nearly 6-foot-2, 193 pounds.

At tight end, there was a solid group there. Leonard Taylor from Springfield (Ohio), who can also project to defensive end, played tight end and showed really good ball skills and ability to use his big frame to create matchup problems. Keaton Upshaw was one of the best looking players on the hoof and caught the ball well through the day. Pittsburgh and West Virginia are continuing to battle for him along with other programs. Kentucky commit Brenden Bates had a good day. He is a nice-sized (6-4, 234 pounds) prospect with sure hands. Lee Payton from River Rouge (Mich.) showed good ball skills as well.

The surprise of the day was Ben Van Sumeren, the ratings champion with a 4.76 forty and 40-inch vertical at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. He is committed to Western Michigan, but the Broncos may have to fight to keep him as other schools have begun to find out about the Essexville (Mich.) Garber athlete.

*****

The linebacker position was a talented one. That is not necessarily a position that always has the best chance to shine in this setting, but there were many talented players.

Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis DeSales' Brian Asamoah won MVP with his quickness and athleticism. He had no issues with backs in space and moved around like a strong safety. MichiganNotre DamePenn State and others have offered. 

Toledo St. Johns' Dallas Gant has a big list of offers as well. He is a long, lean backer who changes directions fluidly. His body has plenty of room to fill out too and we see him as a SAM at the next level. Ohio StateMichiganMichigan StateNotre Dame and Penn State make up his final five.

Two Pennsylvania kids who are committed already, Matthew Bauer, who has pledged to Notre Dame, and Jesse Luketa, who has committed to Penn State, showed well in drills. Bauer is a good athlete who looked comfortable in drills. Luketa had a good showing in pass skelly. He is a thicker kid who looks more like he might favor the pads being on, but did just fine in shorts and t-shirts.

Two kids who have Division-1 offers, but might still fall in the "under-offered" category based on their performances were Chardon (Ohio) product Chase Kline and Detroit Cass Tech's Dyontae Johnson. Kline is a big-bodied kid who looks like a future defensive end on the hoof, but then performed well as a linebacker in drills. Johnson, for the second straight camp, showed impressive athleticism and length.

Other rising seniors who caught our eyes included Myles McHaney, an "athlete" by listing who has the size and athleticism to project to be a high-level linebacker in college. Kyren Cunningham continues to impress at camp settings with his speed and ability to cover. A couple Ohio kids with offers, Cameron Hoelscher and Cincinnati commit Ty Van Fossen had solid days. Another Ohio kid, Findlay's Cam Dillon did not come in with a lot of hype, but we liked what he showed and he has the size to compete at the next level. He is one to keep an eye on.

In the 2019 class, a crew from Michigan did well. Tyrece Woods has been doing more at defensive end in recent camps, but did linebacker here and while we still see his future with his hand down, his ability to compete in space showed his athleticism. River Rouge's Baron Sholar, Detroit Cass Tech's Marcellus Gaines and Belleville's Marvin Ham all had good showings in the cat and mouse drill.

In the defensive backfield, Michael Dowell, a four-star from Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward was the top tester and performed well in the 1-1s. Paul Moala from Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn, a kid we feel is deserving of more recruiting attention, also tested very well and then had a strong showing in one on ones. Reggie Pearson, a Wisconsin commit, was tough for receivers to separate from in one on ones. Those three stood out among the safety prospects.

Jaeveyon Morton from Detroit King won MVP and deservedly so. A kid with double-digit offers, Morton has good speed and is very physical. Davion Williams has as much upside as any other defensive back that was in attendance. The Belleville (Mich.) native is a basketball player who is very smooth and has great ball skills. He also has good size. We knew all that, but his 4.68 forty, a good time in comparison to the field at this event, shows he has the speed as well. He has added offers from IowaIowa State and Indiana recently. More should come soon. Vincent Gray is another long Michigan corner who had good testing results and was chosen for best of the best at the end.

Cameron Shannon of Fort Wayne Homestead,  Patrick Lupro from Belleville and Dyier Smith from Springfield (Ohio) are three other defensive backs who had nice days.

Reese Taylor, a quarterback/athlete from Indianapolis Ben Davis, tied for the fastest forty at the event with 4.53 and despite having not played cornerback much before, showed good technique and ability in drills. WisconsinIowa and Indiana are among his top choices. It will be interesting to see where he plays in college. Slot or cornerback seem to be equally good possibilities.


Hoo Nation Top Stories