When I was standing outside the UM gym watching the kids arrive just before signups, I saw two huge offensive linemen from Ely, and quickly found out they were the kids I thought -- Cyrim Wimbs and Andrew Bain, both of whom were at the UM spring game one day earlier.
However, I was not expecting the type of performance they put on that afternoon.
At 6-foot-3 1/2 and 317 pounds, Wimbs definitely passes the look test. He carries his weight pretty well and is just massive all the way around. He's a very thick, powerful 17 year old. It didn't take long before he started to impress, however. It started when he bench pressed 185 pounds 25 times, one of the top marks of the day. Shortly after the bench press, he showed off excellent lateral quickness by running a 4.96 shuttle time.
At the same time, teammate Andrew Bain was going through testing as well. At 6-foot-3 and 343 pounds, Bain has a bigger upper body and could actually afford to lose about 20-25 pounds. As soon as he stepped off the scales, I told him I thought he was carrying an extra suitcase or two and he just laughed and told me he plans to be around 330 at the start of the season.
Amazingly, it really didn't matter. After bench-pressing 185 pounds 32 times -- best at the camp by a considerable margain -- I watched him complete the shuttle run in rare form.
At 343 pounds, he ripped off a 4.68 the first time and a 4.70 the second time. It was almost unbelievable to watch a kid that size move laterally so well. He exploded out of his stance and used tremendous leverage and footwork and quickness the entire time to complete the best shuttle run of the day for players over 300 pounds -- again by a considerable margain. To put that in perspective, that shuttle time was better than players like linebackers Quintero Frierson and Ali Highsmith and running back Aaron Fryer -- all major Division 1 prospects right now.
When drills began, Bain got even more impressive along with his teammate Wimbs. They looked excellent in all the footwork drills and had a tremendous amount of passion for competing, in addition to being totally focused during all instructional drills. Then came 1 on 1 drills when they both dominated. Each time they lined up against a defensive lineman, Bain and Wimbs dominated -- except for one. It's when Bain locked up with Northwestern defensive tackle Clifton Dickson and it was a even match, and a tremendous 1 on 1 battle.
I think both Wimbs and Bain are upper Division 1 prospects right now. I'd probably give the edge to Wimbs at this point simply because he has his weight under control. If Bain can get down to around 320, he'd probably be illegal in high school football. Bain is probably a little more athletic, too. Maybe that's why he also plays defensive tackle for Ely and was an All Area pick on that side of the football as a junior. Either way, they both have a tremendous amount of upside. Bain's just a huge kid naturally and even at 343, he moves extremely well and dominates. He probably could keep doing it, too. However, if he ever was able to get down in the 320-325 range, forget about it.
Onto the other Division 1 guards at the camp, I saw a sleeper emerging. After traveling over 300 miles to the camp, Clay County's Luke Lathan was very impressive. After checking in at 6-foot-5 and 282 pounds, Lathan ran a very impressive shuttle time of 4.75 in which he displayed a tremendous level of quickness and explosion. With the body type to add another 30-40 pounds while maintaining the quickness, Lathan has a chance to develop into a very good offensive guard at the college level. He performed real well during 1 on 1 drills as well, although he wasn't as dominant as the two guards from Ely. I think Lathan -- who is already fully qualified inside the classroom -- is a mid to upper Division 1 prospect at this time.
Pope John Paul offensive lineman Steven Asbeck made the one-hour trek from Boca Raton to perform very well. At 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds, he was the quickest offensive lineman at the entire camp. His 4.55 shuttle run is one way of proving it. Asbeck displayed excellent footwork and while he got overpowered at times during 1 on 1 drills, he has the body frame to add another 40-50 pounds, which will allow his game to make a real good transition to the college level. I think Asbeck is a mid level Division 1 prospect right now.
The fifth best guard prospect I saw at the camp was probably Sarasota Riverview's Steve Rissler. Coming off an excellent junior season, Rissler checked in at the camp at 6-foot-3 and 309 pounds. After putting up impressive bench-pressing numbers, he chose not to run the shuttle for unknown reasons. However during footwork drills, he appeared to have the necessary tools to become a Division 1 offensive lineman. Rissler also did pretty well during 1 on 1 drills, even though he was beaten by UM commitment Dave Howell on one of the plays. I think Rissler could be a low to mid level Division 1 prospect right now.
Next up: Defensive Ends -- and plenty of them.