Marshall Competes at Linebacker
Southfield (Mich.) high school defensive end, Lawrence Marshall -- Michigan commitment Lawrence Marshall was hanging out in the stands throughout Saturday’s action but decided to strap on his Maize & Blue gloves Sunday morning to compete for his HYPE team, hoping to walk away with a crown. Marshall was playing out of position, rotating in and out at linebacker, playing one-on-one coverage against tight ends -- and he did so very well. It’s clear Marshall’s future is on the defensive line in Ann Arbor but for him to go out and showcase the ability to stay with tight ends, have good awareness and ball skills in pass defense, and overall agility to stick with his man, is very impressive and emphasizes his skillset as an athlete. HYPE ended up falling in the championship game to AWP, a very talented team from Indiana.
Other 2014 Standouts
Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s Prep cornerback/wide receiver, Jalen Watts-Jackson -- Watts-Jackson isn’t the tallest wide receiver but if anyone believes that is going to stop him from making a play, it won’t. Watts-Jackson was the go to guy for HYPE throughout the morning and afternoon, catching everything thrown at him – quick comeback routes, outs, go’s, even fades over defenders in the corner of the end zone, drawing reaction from those in attendance. Defensively, Watts-Jackson has the size, 6-foot-1, 170-pounds, ideal for a defensive back and displayed solid quickness getting to the football. Only holding offers from Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan right now, Watts-Jackson should expect more to come with a performance like that.
Detroit (Mich.) King high school wide receiver/cornerback, Avonte Maddox -- Plenty of chatter from the sideline on the potential Maddox possesses as a pure cover corner. The young man has the speed to impact the game on both sides of the field but his ball skills, sticking to his man like glue, is something every college needs despite his 5-foot-9, 160-pound frame. Maddox picked off a couple of errant throws throughout the session maintaining terrific timing, turning his head back to the ball. He’ll undoubtedly be used on offense and defense in his final season at King, but his future looks bright at cornerback on the next level.
Fort Wayne (Ind.) Carroll safety/outside linebacker, Drue Tranquill -- Whether it’s the bandana he wears or the 6-foot-2, 200-pound and solidly built frame, Tranquill stands out and was a standout performer for AWP, helping lead the squad to the championship. Tranquill was playing deep safety, leading the defense with vocal encouragement on the sideline but also almost a coach on the field mentality during play. His future at the next level could be at outside linebacker and Tranquill seems physical enough to handle the transition despite needing to add more weight. His cover skills and awareness in pass coverage would be a great benefit as well, leaving open the possibility of being a hard hitting, close to the line strong safety in college. Tranquill holds offers from Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), and Toledo. Tranquill is a standout baseball player for Carroll as well, with next level potential.
Thompson Transitioning Well
Detroit (Mich.) King high school safety/linebacker, Tyriq Thompson -- He’s just a sophomore but Thompson’s body, mentality, and play is not indicative of someone that still has two years of prep football left in him. Thompson is a full 6-foot-2 and 220-pounds but still has very quick feet, fast enough to stick with receivers in the slot, physical enough to hang tough with tight ends. Thompson had several pass break-ups, getting into his drops, looking very comfortable doing so, and having a strong enough burst to jump in and disrupt the pass. Thompson showed great anticipation, getting two hands on the football on multiple occasions that should have resulted in interceptions going the other way but he couldn’t hang on. He’s played deep safety, he’s played strong safety up closer to the line, and he’s now adding linebacker – Thompson has a very bright future and appears to be destined for outside linebacker with the skill necessary to blanket players in coverage -- a special player.
A Class of 2016 MVP
Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers’ wide receiver, Austin Mack -- The go to guy for AWP and awarded the overall MVP award for the tournament, Mack was crucial in leading his team to a championship and securing a trip to Florida for IMG Nationals. Mack is pretty well put together already at 6-foot-2, roughly 175-pounds, and has fantastic ball skills in the air. Playing against some guys that are two years older, Mack couldn’t be covered for most of the day, coming up with a huge touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone late in AWP’s championship victory. Big things are coming for this young man. FOXSportsNEXT’s Allen Trieu also saw Mack in March at the Adidas Invitational, mentioning him as a standout performer.