Michigan Football Showcase - Skill Guys Pt 2

GoBlueWolverine was on hand for the Michigan Football Showcase put on by the Lifting as We Climb Foundation. In part two of our recap of the skill position standouts we review the performances of Shaquille Washington, Eilar Hardy, Armonze Daniel, James Ross, and more. (Part 2 of 2)

Shaquille Washington – Maple Heights (OH)

There's no question that Shaq talks a lot on the football field, but this diminutive pass catcher backs it up with production.  It is virtually impossible for defenders to stay with in a one-on-one or seven-on-seven format, and he made sure everyone knew it.  His elite quickness is too much of an advantage in wide open-spaces.  The concern for college coaches is whether he'll be as effective when he puts the pads on at the next level and the physical side of the game is more of a factor.  He'll have to add weight and muscle  to his 160-pound frame so he can hold up to the punishment.  If he can keep his quickness and speed, don't bet against Washington showcasing his playmaking exploits in college like he does in high school.

Valdez Showers – Madison Heights

Showers once again confirmed that he is one of the best athletes in Michigan.  He is still extremely raw at corner, so he's a pure projection at that position.  That said, DBs that stand six-feet and run legit 4.5s don't grow on trees in the Great Lake State.  His best attribute just may be his versatility.  He's a standout running back at Madison Heights, and there's always the chance that if he doesn't transition well to corner he could move back to offense.  As it stands, he displayed the size and strength to give receivers problems at the line, and showed good enough speed to run with opponents deep.  However,  at other times his inexperienced showed when receivers put moves on him.   For now it's clear that he raw tools are there and numerous programs are showing more and more interest by the day.

Jalyn Massenburg – Detroit Central

As was the case at the Army junior combine, Massenburg rotated between corner and receiver all day.  The only time he took a rest was when he rolled his ankle early in the camp.  He spent a few minutes sprawled on the field, but he didn't stay down long.  He showed impressive toughness by getting up and playing through the pain the rest of the event.  Unlike his time in San Antonio, Massenburg was better at receiver than corner this time around.  He has decent speed, freakishly long arms, and great ball skills.  He was consistently able to out-manuever opponents for 50/50 balls.  His showing was somewhat somewhat surprising to a few onlookers because he won't wow you with a blistering 40, an explosive vertical, or a lightening quick shuttle, but he just seems to always be in position to makes plays.  In other words, he's a football player.  He definitely needs to add bulk to his frame, but he has the frame to carry it without losing much speed or quickness. 

Eilar Hardy – Pickerington (OH) Central

Hardy was one of the most put together kids in attendance. He definitely has spent some time in the weight room and had no problem abusing wideouts when he got his hands on them.  When he didn't, though, he had a really tough time.  Hardy is a long strider that was out-quicked by some of the better pass-catchers.  In a memorable match-up with DeAnthony Arnett, the Saginaw star left Hardy in the dust after an outstanding release move.  On the next level this big rangy youngster may be better equipped to be a safety and could evolve into a standout at that position.

Armonze Daniel – Avon (IN)

The best 2011 LB in attendance, Daniel showed all the tools.  He has great size at 6-3, 215 pounds and great speed (mid 4.5s to 4.6).  Plus he covers like a safety.  That's likely do to the fact that he plays safety in high school.  He harassed backs and tight ends with blanket coverage all day.  His counterparts did have their moments… as one would expect during one-on-ones against some of the scat backs.  But make no mistake, Daniel was one of two big time perfomers at his position.  His recruiting story is unfolding in a fashion similar to that of his brother Montez Robinson.  It won't be long before Daniel begins losing count of his scholarship offers.

Kenny Knight – Detroit Country Day

Knight is a big receiver appears to be an inch or so taller than Shawn Conway, but didn't play above the rim quite as much as the Michigan commit.  He likely a 4.6 guy that could be a chain mover between the 20's and a dangerous weapon in the red zone.  Some schools will likely see similarities to former USC standout (and Toledo native) Fred Davis.

2012 Prospects Shine

James Ross – Orchard Lake St. Mary's

"Biggs" is ahead of his years when it comes to his understanding of the passing game as a linebacker.  He isn't as big as Daniel (about 6-0, 210), but was his taller cohort's equal in defending the pass.  Ross has great football instincts and is extremely comfortable in coverage.  It helps that he is a legit sideline to sideline backer that can cover 40 yards in the mid 4.5s and is extremely fluid to boot. Simply put, he's the real deal.

Royce Jenkins-Stone – Detroit Cass Tech

Jenkins-Stone is a physical specimen.  Like most Cass players he has spent time in the weight room and on the track.  He's a little more of a straight-line player than Ross right now, and isn't quite as comfortable in coverage currently… but he is bigger than his good friend (6-1, 215) and will be highly regarded in his own right.

Terry Richardson – Detroit Cass Tech

Richardson is Dior Mathis part 2 when it comes to his physique and speed at the same stage of development.  The advantage that Richardson has is he already appears to be a little taller than his former teammate.   At the moment he is better playing off receivers than he is pressing, but that should change as he gets bigger.  If he can bulk up and keep his speed he has a chance to be just as good if not better than his mentor.

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