NFTC Chicago: Defensive Preview

In what should be a loaded event, multiple major BCS prospects and a handful of sleepers who are on the verge of emerging as big time guys highlight our preview of the NIKE Football Training Camp slated to take place in Addison, Ill.

If winning starts up front, then the group scheduled to make up the defensive line on Sunday should be responsible for a few championships as it is quite the cast.

The committed guys included future Ohio State Buckeye Dylan Thompson of Lombard (Ill.) Montini, future Wisconsin teammates Connor Sheehy (Milwaukee, Wisc.) and Craig Evans (Sun Prairie, Wisc.) and Michigan State commit Enoch Smith Jr. (Chicago Mt. Carmel, Ill.).

Other highly recruited prospects are Southfield (Mich.) High's Lawrence Marshall, a former Ohio State commit now looking at schools like Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi and more. Petyon Newell, a defensive tackle from Hiawatha (Ks.) holds 34 scholarship offers. St. John (Ind.) Lake Central's Gelen Robinson can provide pressure off the edge, as can Lombard (Ill.) Montini's Nile Sykes, who can also play linebacker and should go through drills at both spots. Crete-Monee (Ill.) has a long, talented defensive end in Chris Slayton who is rapidly adding offers. Hartland Arrowhead (Wisc.) junior Billy Hirschfeld has several major offers and is a big body at nearly 6'6, 270-pounds.

Owatonna (Minn.) defensive end Andrew Stelter holds a handful of offers included several from BCS schools. University of Detroit Jesuit (Mich.) end Jacari Faulkner has several offers and is a kid we are excited to see live and in person. Lawrence (Ind.) Central's Kevin Willis, a center last season, will be looking to show his skills at defensive tackle, a position many schools are looking at him for. Kaneland (Ill.) defensive tackle Justin Diddell has a couple of offers and Essexville Garber (Mich.) defensive end Alex Neering just committed to Central Michigan. Neering, 6'6, 240-pounds may also grow into an offensive tackle ala Eric Fisher.

Among the underclassmen we are looking for are Cretin Derham Hall's Jashon Cornell, who already has an impressive list of offers. East St. Louis' Terry Beckner is very talented and also holds a handful of BCS offers. Lincolnshire (Ill.) Stevenson defensive tackle Nick Dillon has been a varsity standout since his freshman year.

Sleepers we are watching along the defensive line include Hamilton (Ind.) Southeastern's Jimmy McCarthy, Kentucky product Lenny Broyles and Preston Woods, who is coming down from Minnesota.

Two of the nation's top prospects lead the way at linebacker. Crete-Monee's Nyles Morgan and Plainfield South's Clifton Garrett are both from Illinois, both top 75 prospects in the country and have offer lists that span states, conferences, and reads like a list of college football powers. While he may not have an offer list that is as long, East St. Louis' Kyron Watson has an impressive highlight tape full of big time hits and plays. Colton Moskal and Bryce Holm, both from Illinois and Sam Seonbuchner of Hartland Arrowhead (Wisc.) all hold scholarship offers as well.

Young guys we are looking at included Cleveland Benedictine's Jerome Baker, who has quickly added offers in the last few weeks and East Grand Rapids (Mich.) sophomore Carter Masek, who recently picked up his first offer from Western Michigan. Sleepers at the position include Ft. Wayne (Ind.) North Side's physically impressive D'Marcus Moon, Morgan Park (Ill.) athlete Tahje Hartley. Hartland (Wisc.) Arrowhead's Matt Seitz, Missouri product Jimmie Swain and Joliet (Ill.) Catholic's Zach Rezin.

Ft. Wayne Carroll's Drue Tranquill is a great athlete who could play safety or linebacker at the next level and has made a lot of noise at the last few camps he has been to. Clarkston (Mich.) corner Tim Cason has also performed well at some off-season camps and will be looking to lock down the impressive group of receivers that will be across from him. Warren Central (Ind.) safety Mykelti Williams, just a sophomore, already has an offer from Indiana.

Chicago St. Rita's Lamar Dawson is big, physical, and has a couple of offers to his name. Oak Park (Ill.) River Forest's Jamal Baggett has a couple of offers. East St. Louis (Ill.) safety Greg Taylor is a Missouri commit with a lot of athletic ability. His teammate Wilbert Jones will be looking to make a name for himself as well. Indianapolis (Ind.) Pike's Robert Williams has been impressing in the spring and is also on the look for his first offer.

Canes Time Top Stories