Linebackers steal the show in Columbus

Almost 300 kids this weekend's Nike Football Training Camp on the campus of Ohio State University, with several top prospects headlining the event. Unexpectedly, the quality of talent at the linebacker position overshadowed every other position group.

Dawson wins MVP

The saying, "don't judge a book by its cover" definitely applies in this case with Lamar Dawson. The linebacker from Boyle County High School arrived to the camp wearing Kentucky Wildcat gear with rubber bands throughout his hair since it's too short to be braided. Once on the field, it was clear that Dawson was one of the classiest players in attendance. In the drills, which force the linebackers to play in space versus a talented group of running backs, Dawson was able to break down, move laterally, and stop ball carriers in their tracks. He also did a great job in the pursuit drills, by taking proper angles to the football, and using his speed to run people down. Michigan recently offered Dawson, and his stock will only increase as schools continue to flock the hallways of Boyle County High School.

Dawson won the Linebacker MVP award by only a slim margin, as Ed Davis from Detroit Southeastern (MI), Steven Daniels from St Xavier (OH), Nicholas Grisby from Trotwood-Madison (OH), and Kaleb Ringer from Northmont (OH) performed extremely well.

Ed Davis excelled in every facet of the LB's game, showing great speed and ball skills in pass coverage during the 1 on 1's. He also closed quickly in the pursuit drills, never falling for the multitude of shake moves from the running backs. His performance in Columbus proves that his play at the recent Badger Sports 7 on 7 passing tournament in Ann Arbor was no fluke. If his film matches up with what we've seen on the camp circuit, Davis is a no brainer as far as an offer is concerned.

Steven Daniels is has much better size than what his film lets on. He has a great looking frame that could easily add another 10-15 pounds without any change in his athletic ability. He's not at the level of Dawson or Davis as far as pass coverage and ball skills at this time, although he does a solid job. What he does have is an explosive first step which allows him to get up on running backs before they plant and get up field. Daniels plays fast and physical all the time. If an offensive player wandered in his path they quickly hit the turf. Daniels wasn't playing dirty; it's just the nature of his game.

Trotwood-Madison continues to produce BCS caliber prospects, and Nicholas Grisby is next in line. Not only did he perform well in positional drills, but he was the most effective linebacker on the field during pass skeleton. He got his hands on a number of passes, even picking one off. Grisby also showed quickness in the open field, and moved extremely well laterally.

Kaleb Ringer, a class of 2012 prospect, is the younger brother of former Michigan State running back, Javon Ringer. He already has well shaped physique and great straight ahead speed. Ringer needs to improve his agility, as he had trouble containing offensive players in the open field. Fortunately, he has plenty of time to improve that phase of his game.

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