The best of the bunch in my opinion was Elijah Dukes of Tampa Hillsborough. At 6-3 and 230, Dukes tested very well. He ran a 4.52 on grass, turned in a 35.7-inch vertical jump, and did 15 reps on the 185-bench press. Not bad for a 230-pound linebacker who will probably eventually be a 250-pound pass rushing defensive end terror. Dukes has the type of quickness and burst off the edge to be an Andrew Williams type of player this season. He compares favorably to the former Terrior.
Next up is Edison's Nate Harris. An absolute physical specimen, Harris showed why he's one of the state's premier prospects. At 6-1 1/2 and 196, Harris ran a 4.60, and did a 32-inch vertical. Harris dominated every drill, and you could tell he doubles as an outstanding running back. Harris reminds me of a young Chris Campbell, and I think he enters May as one of the state's Top 10 prospects, and one of the Top 3 in Dade County.
The third of the linebackers was Glades Central standout William Beckford. At 5-10 and 186, he isn't the biggest kid on the field. But he plays a lot bigger. Beckford ripped off a 4.71/40 and had a 34-inch vertical jump. He's already a two-time first team all-state selection. His size could be a factor, but he's so quick, it's made up for. Rarely will you see a blocker touch this kid, and he showed why at the camp. Plus, his persuit angles are second to none.
Three other linebackers who helped their stock were Northwestern's Taurean Charles (6-3, 228, 4.66), Olympic Heights' James Pinkney (6-3, 217, 4.69), and North Marion's Aaron Beard (6-1, 210, 4.59). Charles was voted as the linebacker who performed the best in drills by the NIKE linebackers coach. He had 120 tackles and 17 sacks last season for Northwestern and is clearly one of Dade County's top prospects heading into May. Pinkney doubles as a quarterback, and his athletic ability is off the charts. Beard sort of emerged from the shadows of other heavily recruited players and established a name for himself. Afterall, I had never heard of the kid until the camp, and now I think he's a definite mid level Division 1 kid.
Two other potential Div 1 players at the camp were Daytona Beach Mainland's Buster Davis (5-8, 229, 4.68) and Edison's Daniel Gracia (5-11, 226, 4.78). Davis is very active, but many coaches think his size will hurt him at the next level. Gracia doubles as a fullback at Edison, paving the way for Nate Harris.
Next up - defensive backs
NIKE Camp Recap - Part 4
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