It's kind of a process figuring out who is who and out of those, who you
think cuts the mustard when it comes to being one of the best. In day one of the
third annual Big Red Football School, it looked like slim pickings. The second
day brought some nice surprises, though, and the third day brought a few more.
Let's go over some of the highlights of session one:
Mr. Measurable – WR/DB - Robert Clay (Omaha Central) – 5-8, 163 – Jr. – Out of the some 300 kids in attendance, only one was able to break into that coveted 4.4 range when it comes to the 40-yard dash. Clay actually managed to run exactly a 4.40. That makes him the fastest camper this session, but his 4.6 agility and 29 inch vertical are nothing to sneeze at either. Clay saw sparse duty in a back up role last season for Central, but he should be a starting receiver and defensive back for the Eagles this year. The lack of playing time limited the attention he has received thus far, but if he can translate that speed to the field for the 2006 season, the attention should come.
You're in good hands with……. - WR – Allen Thompson Jr. - (Rich Central Campus – Chicago, IL) - 6-0, 176 – Jr. – Yesterday he profiled Thompson, basically telling you that what you see isn't always what you get. I should actually rephrase that:
Don't believe everything you read
You read a 4.8/40 and you are all but going to ignore the kid, especially if that isn't the time of a lineman. But then you watch Thompson play. Now, after seeing him for the second day in a row dominate the competition and wow everyone in attendance with one outstanding catch after another, I can only think that maybe his 40-time was an illusion. Maybe the start wasn't any good. Who knows, but his 40 and his actual play don't match. This kid can play.
Now, don't assume I am putting him in the same class with the likes of Reggie Smith, still the best all-around talent I have seen at a Nebraska camp. I'm not. But if this kid has the time and the opportunity, I have no doubt that he'll make a name for himself.
Size doesn't matter – OL/DL – Marcus Felker (Thornton – Thornton, CO) – 6-0, 308 – Jr. – Trevor Robinson and Baker Steinkuhler should be the two top linemen in the state of Nebraska for the class of 2008. You should ask them what it's like taking on Felker.
Yes, the motto on the line is "stay low" and with Robinson and Steinkuhler both standing 6-5 or better, it's hard to get lower than someone who is just pushing six foot tall.
There are ways, though, but both of the Nebraska prepsters had a heck of a time with this throwback mauler, who used his strength very well, his leverage extremely well, and he did indeed dominate everyone he went against.
The kicker with this kid is that, while he was very strong at the point of impact and capable in the use of his technique, this stocky standout was also the fastest out of all the super heavyweights, posting a very impressive 4.9/40.
His height is going to hurt him the recruiting process, but for a very run-oriented team or someone that needs a strictly one-technique kid on the defensive line, I'd say this kid is going to get some attention.
Out of the blue………. Athlete – Ryan Scott (Shawnee Mission South – Shawnee Mission, KS) – 6-4, 200 – Jr. – In yesterday's article we profiled Crofton high's Eric Peitz, who worked out after camp from the tight end position, and basically, the kid just sparkled.
Working out with him was Scott, who showed all kinds of athleticism, but had a hard time pulling in the ball.
That wasn't a surprise to Scott as he said afterward, he had never had anyone throw a ball at him that hard and tight end wasn't necessarily the position he played the most.
But at his height, Scott posted some stellar performances, running a 4.62/40, 4.5 pro agility and a 28 inch vertical. Oh, and he was also the fastest man of the camp in the Heavyweight division.
That hardly scratches the surface of what Scott has to offer, though. Last year, playing for the Raiders, Scott totaled what he said was "easily" at least 20 sacks, seven of them in one game alone. "I was just faster than everyone else, and I would use a tight end move and I could get to the quarterback pretty much whenever I wanted," he said. Scott also has an amazing 100-inch reach.
With the growing players nowadays, his size projects him to a variety of positions, including tight end, linebacker and defensive end. What does Scott want to play? "It's football. I don't care what I play or where, just so long as I am playing football," he said.
At this point Scott isn't heavily recruited, because he's never sent out a single film. He's fixing that as we speak, working on getting a film out there right now. Along with the Nebraska camp, Scott will be attending a camp at Pitt State, followed up by a camp at Kansas State in June.
You may not have heard much about him up to this point, but based on his raw athleticism, you will hear plenty about him in the future. This is one name you will want to watch.
Ok, so you know who most of the fastest campers were, but here's the official list of who won their weight class:
Flyweight – Robert Clay (Omaha Central)
Lightweight – Taylor Cook (Omaha Central)
Middleweight – Ryan Scott (Shawnee Mission South – KS)
Heavyweight – Charles Hayes (Eaglecrest – Aurora, CO)
Spr Heavy – Marcus Felker (Thornton – CO)
And without further delay, here's the Big Red Report Top 10:
10 – Kevin Thomsen – Jr. (Elkhorn) – DL – Being in for only one day hurt Thomsen a little here and honestly, we just didn't get to see enough of him to really stack him up against the rest. And when you add that in with the measurables, because for someone 245 pounds, you want to see a little better than a 4.97/40. The question for the future is if Thomsen will be able to not only get faster, but put on at least another 30 pounds, so that he's more than just a contributor on the D-line.
9 – Ryan Scott – Jr. (Shawnee Mission South – KS) – Athlete – If it wasn't for his struggles yesterday catching the ball in individual drills, Scott would have ended up a little higher on this list. He's athletic, has good mobility and his frame is ideal when you project him to linebacker or even defensive end. Scott could be a solid tight end, but he'll have to get used to the position once again, as he hasn't really played it all that much since he was a freshman.
8 – Charles Hayes – Jr. – (Eaglecrest – Aurora, CO) – DL - Hayes is a good looking kid, but he's projected to play probably on the interior line, and at 240 pounds, like Thomsen, he's got a ways to go before you can realistically project him inside, especially at the Division 1-A level. He's got three offers right now, but just the sheer numbers say that he's got some work to do before those offers come from some of the "major" schools around the country.
7 - Taylor Cook – Jr. (Omaha Central) – WR/FS - Give him two inches more in height and you aren't talking about Cook as if he needs the attention, because he would have it. As it is, being just a shade under 5 foot, 10 inches isn't a killer, but with a 4.5/40 and a 29 inch vertical, he just doesn't have those killer numbers you want to see in someone his size. The kid can play, though, and he's a gamer. He needs to work on his coverage skills a little more as he got turned around a few times, but he's quick, closes on the ball well and he doesn't give up on a play.
6 - Jordan Makovicka – So. (East Butler –
Brainard) – FS/DB - It's a break from the norm listing a sophomore here, but
there were so many solid sophs, if you are going to list one, you have to list
the others, and at seven I had to go with Jordan. Much of what I see with the
youngest Makovicka is potential, and yes, it's pretty darn good. The first thing
you have to do is get out of your head the typical Makovicka frame, because
there's a good chance Jordan won't even come close.
I have no doubt he'll grow, and that's part of the reason he's here, but he'll grow more up than out. He's extremely quick, has good straight line speed and he has great instincts for the game. And like every other Makovicka you've seen, he's gritty, but with a calm demeanor.
You've heard it before and I said as much in yesterday's article, but I honestly believe it's true: This should be the best Makovicka of the group. His up-side is excellent.
5 – Marcus Felker – Jr. – (Thornton – CO) – OL/DL - I have to think that if this were the mid to late-80s, Felkner might be close to a perfect fit for the Nebraska Cornhuskers' option-driven offense. He's short, but this kid is a mauler, quick off the ball, good at the point of impact and he has good leverage, along with a decent base.
For the taller linemen he faced, he was basically a nightmare, because they were automatically at a disadvantage in trying to get under him, but this kid knew what he was doing. Combine that with his strength and quickness, he was pretty dominant the entire time. But yes, we do have to come back to the fact that he is 6 foot tall, and that will hurt him down the road. I have to think, though, that if someone needs a throwback mauler, who is long on everything else but height, this could be a solid candidate for the future.
4 – Trevor Robinson – So. – (Elkhorn) – OL – Like Makovicka, I am doing a little projecting here and what I see for the future for this young man is good. Actually, it's better than that. While I didn't get to see him as much as I would have liked in one-on-one drills, his raw numbers are impressive, especially considering the fact that he's still not officially into his junior year. He's quick off the line, has long arms, a big frame and you have to think that when he is officially a senior, it's going to be hard not to consider him one of the best linemen in the region. He has that kind of upside, and he's already pretty darn good.
3 – Allen Thompson Jr. – Jr. – (Rich Central – Olympia
Fields, IL) – WR - Forget the numbers, this kid can play. We should base this
list on who did what and I have to say that I don't know of anyone who dropped
more jaws than this kid when it came to some of the catches he made. His
competition wasn't all that great, but even when he faced some of the faster,
more nimble athletes at the camp, Allen was still able to maneuver his body in
good positions, creating separation.
He didn't take the best angles at times, but even when he couldn't get away from his guy, he almost always came down with the ball. Whether it was diving, leaping or just hauling it in from around someone, this kid had magnets for hands. Allen is still just six foot tall, which will hurt him to a degree, if you are projecting him at wideout, but there's no doubt in my mind he can play. If he can get his numbers improved from a performance standpoint, he might even convince a few colleges around the country of the same thing. He's certainly convinced me.
Eric Peitz – Jr. – (Crofton) – TE – I have to think that before
his senior season is all said and done, this kid is going to have a few nice
offers. Depending on the offensive system you run, this young man could be just
what the doctor ordered. He's got good size at 6-4 and 240 pounds, pretty decent
speed, running a 4.7/40, but the thing I loved about him the most was just how
effortless he played. Whether it was running the route, changing direction or
pulling in the ball, Peitz made it look like that is all he does. It was pretty
effortless to watch him execute a variety of routes he was asked to run. He's
fluid, as they say, and at his size, especially with that thing called "up
side", I love how he projects to the next level. He surprised the heck out of me
and I have no doubt he's not done surprising a few people around the
1 – Baker Steinkuhler – So. – (Lincoln Southwest) –
OL/DL – Did you ever look at someone and just think to yourself ‘Yeah, that's a
football player'? Well, and I know this is kind of a broken record when you are
talking about a Steinkuhler, but Baker resembles that remark to a tee.
At close to 6 foot, 6 inches tall, Baker has the height, but I'd like to see a more naturally lean 6 foot, 6 inch player than him. He's got the frame, the arm length, the quickness – heck, this kid has everything from a sheer physical standpoint.
As he isn't even officially a junior yet, he's got a world of improvement to make. But when you look at where he's at right now, man o' man, you can't even think about what kind of player you are going to see when he is set to graduate from Southwest.
I have used that term "upside" more than a few times, and it can and does become very cliché. But with this young man, it isn't anything applied without knowing just what it means. I can't say how Baker will rank in the grand scheme of things, when you compare him to some of the incredible linemen to come out of the state of Nebraska. But with two years to go in his progression and development, I have no doubt he's going to make some talk about him as one of the better one in years.