Defensive Stars of Tomorrow

ATHENS, Ga. – Dawg Night had a good group of 2011 talent, but there was more 2012 and 2013 talent in Athens. These prospects listed in this feature will be ones you want to follow in the coming years and UGA has offered many of them already.

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If you missed the Dawg Night notebook featuring offensive underclassmen, click HERE.

Defensive Linemen

One defensive lineman in the class of 2012 entered Dawg Night with an offer and that was Dakota Ball. The 6-foot-3, 292 pound junior out of Silver Creek (AL) Pepperell was not as impressive this night as he has been in the past. He was solid, but he struggled in the one on one session against some very good offensive linemen. Ball is legit though. He also has offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Tennessee among others.

The top underclassman at this position on Friday was Quayvon Hicks out of Pierce County in Blackshear, Ga. He is a very strong 6-foot-2, 255 pound lineman that could start out as an end before moving inside down the road. He showed a lot of athleticism, fight, toughness, and speed. Tennessee is his only offer now, but that will change sooner than later. Look for Florida and Georgia to offer.

Dalvin Tomlinson, Jordan Watkins, LaDarius McNair, and Jafar Mann are other 2012 defensive tackles to keep an eye on. Tomlinson is still very raw, but he looks to have a lot of upside. Watkins needs to add mass to his frame and get stronger. He has good feet, but seeing him end up on the offensive line would not be a surprise. McNair has very good mobility and he is good at hitting gaps and using his quickness to get to the football. Mann could end up as a defensive tackle or offensive guard on the next level. He is going to get his offers because of his size (6-3/274), feet, and potential, but he is a little sluggish off the ball, and needs to work on staying low. Tennessee has offered him.

On the outside at defensive end, three guys really stood out more than anyone else.

Jordan Jenkins from Hamilton (GA) Harris County, Jarontay Jones from Stone Mountain (GA) Stephenson and Dante Fowler out of St. Petersburg (FL) St. Petersburg Catholic School really did well in Athens. Jenkins and Jones had a nice performances, but Fowler was the best off the edge.

The 6-foot-3, 236 pound junior looked athletic enough to play linebacker on the next level, but he quickness off the ball, the way he lowered the shoulder to dip under the offensive tackle, and his success at that position points to him being a pass rusher in college. He has around 10 offers and it was easy to see why. UGA has not offered yet, but they may in the near future.

Jenkins was not quite as dominant at Dawg Night as he has been in previous camps. He went up against John Theus, the top overall performer there in many of his one on one battles and Theus handled him pretty well. Jenkins still showed his explosiveness off the edge though and athleticism in the drills. One Jenkins adds more to resume at defensive and learns more moves than the bull rush and just speed, he could be a dominant force.

Jones has added some good weight and he is up to 226 pounds now. He played much stronger at this camp than ones earlier that he has competed in and he was watched by Georgia closely. The Stephenson Jaguar already has offers from Auburn and South Carolina, but he will get many more this coming season.


There was a good group of very athletic linebackers in Athens. Leonard Floyd worked some at defensive end too, but he spent most of his time at outside linebacker. He picked up an offer from Georgia after the camp and it was the first for this Eastman (GA) Dodge County. The 6-foot-6, 211 pound junior is very athletic and he showed that dropping into coverage. He is also very raw and very light, so as he adds weight and gets more experience, he is only going to improve.

Other linebackers in the 2012 class that caught Scout's attention were Raphael Kirby, Jeffrey Cameron, and Eric Striker. Kirby was the best out of that trio on Friday. The 6-foot-1, 208 pound athlete moved well in space, he made quick reads, and showed quickness to the ball. He is out of Lilburn (GA) Parkview.

Cameron is a strong linebacker that is a little undersized at 5-foot-9, 203 pounds. He is cousins with former Langrange linebacker Tray Blackmon and hits a little like him. Cameron currently plays for Callaway in Hoganville, Ga. Striker is another linebacker that is very athletic. He is a 6-foot, 199 pound junior out of Seffner (FL) Armwood that may be able to play safety in college. He showed good speed and awareness at Dawg Night.

A trio of freshmen stood out as well.

Reuben Foster and Johnny O'Neal already have offers from the Dawgs and Zanquanarious Washington is a teammate of Foster's at Troup County to watch as well.

Overall, Foster was the top linebacker out of the underclassmen and possibly overall. He moves so well for a big linebacker and he has dropped down to 233 pounds while still holding at 6-feet 1-inches tall. He showed soft hands, he moved well side to side, and he played faster than expected.

Foster was not far behind. He looks to be a little more athletic than O'Neal and he showed better instincts, but not quite as strong or big. His teammates Washington is close to 6-feet 2-inches tall and 213 pounds and very athletic. He needs to work on his footwork at linebacker, but he moved very fluid through the drills all evening.

Defensive Backs

It was a two man fight for the top defensive back in Athens at Dawg Night and those two were Travis Blanks and Geno Smith. At these type of events, you walk around to see as many prospects as you can, so you always miss some plays. Blanks made a couple of spectacular plays, but the most consistent cover guy on this night was Smith.

Both received offers after the camp and rightfully so, but Smith was locking down each receiver Tony Ball through in front of him. He was so fluid, so good in changing direction, and just so smooth. He batted down balls, he locked up the receiver so long the quarterback had to eat the ball, and nobody got open on him. He is close to 6-feet, over 160 pounds and he is only going to get better.

While Blanks covered like a corner at times, he may be a safety on the next level because of his physical style of play. There were no pads involved in this event, but he has an aggressive style of play, he is a strong defensive back, and he can run well. The Tallahassee (FL) North Florida Christian junior now has offers from Alabama, Florida State, South Florida, and Vanderbilt along with Georgia.T.J. Davis, D.J. White, Paris Head, and Terrence Grim.

Davis is out of Godby in Tallahassee, Fla. and he already has offers from FSU, FIU, Florida A&M, Louisville, Ole Miss, and USF. He is a long corner at just over 6-feet tall and he has good coverage skills. Georgia hasn't offered yet, but they very well could this fall if not sooner.

White is smaller, but he makes very good breaks on the ball and he did a nice job of positioning himself to make plays. Head needs to continue to add weight, but he has good speed, athleticism, and he plays for Buford, so he will draw a lot of attention from that alone.

All of those guys are in the 2012 class and it is always hard to predict too far out, but remember Grim out of Strom Thurmond in Johnston, S.C. He is a freshman in 2010, but he is already 5-foot-11 with very good instincts in the secondary.

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