Roughly 300 players descended onto the practice fields at NC State Saturday to participate in the adidas Elite Camp. The event showcased several of the region's top prospects for the class of 2008 with numerous college coaches watching on.
Because there was no timing at the camp, coaches from NC State, UNC, Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame, Clemson, Elon, Liberty, George Washington and Fayetteville State all attended. The Pack in particular had a strong presence with coaches Jim Bridge, Jerry Petercuskie, Don Horton, Mike Reed, Dana Bible, Jason Swepson and Mike Archer all in attendance. The event was comprised solely of agility drills and one on one's and gave the players a great opportunity to display their football skills. Perhaps no group was better represented than the offensive and defensive line.
In the individual workouts, no one was more impressive than Concord OL R.J. Mattes. You'll be hard-pressed to find a more technically sound lineman anywhere and he dominated nearly every defensive lineman he faced. While Mattes' build doesn't blow you away now, his tremendous knowledge of the position, footwork and agility does. If there's a better offensive line prospect in North Carolina this year, we haven't seen him yet.
On the defensive side of the ball, DE Quinton Coples from Kinston was head and shoulders above everyone else. His explosiveness off the line left several offensive lineman grasping at air while his size and strength are simply too much for the vast majority of OL on the high school level to handle. We had hoped for a Mattes-Coples showdown but that battle never materialized.
While he hasn't received as much publicity as some of the other high-profile linemen in North Carolina, Jonathan Cooper from Hoggard High School showed he's right there with some of the state's best. Although he doesn't have the prototypical height some coaches may prefer, Cooper plays with a low center of gravity and has tremendous natural power in his lower body. He also shows surprisingly quick footwork and did a great job of getting underneath opposing linemen in drills. Because of his physical attributes, one has to wonder if Cooper couldn't be a target for defensive tackle should he be given the opportunity to focus on that position. Regardless, Cooper represented himself well and it won't be surprising to see him pick up several more scholarship offers down the road.
OL Andrew Wallace from Olympic continued to display the overall athleticism and agility that has landed him four early scholarship offers. He boasts a frame that will give college coaches much to work with and he may be the fastest , legitimate offensive line prospect in North Carolina. He is rawer than Mattes and needs to improve on his foot quickness and fundamentals but Wallace showed he is a legit division one prospect. He looked great in agility drills and the NC State coaches seemed to be paying extra close attention to his workout.
Remember the name Brandon Johnson from Pine Forest High School. While measurements weren't immediately available, Johnson appeared to be in the 6-5, 265 pound range. Johnson's name hasn't been mentioned this spring but after a solid showing on Saturday, he may be one to watch in the coming months. He moved extremely well in drills and backed that up with an impressive showing in one on one's.
The quarterbacks were headlined by Butler's Jacob Charest and TL Hannah's Tyler Brennan. Charest is one of NC's top signal callers and showed a solid command of the position on Saturday. His fundamentals are impressive and he showed a lot of zip on his passes. Charest also showed a nice touch on several of his throws and overall, proved to be the most skilled QB on hand.
Right behind him was Hannah's Tyler Brennan. He also has a nice frame and, while he may not have quite the arm strength of Charest, still impressed in drills and consistently threw nice, tight spirals. Although he's yet to earn a division one offer just yet, it may be simply a matter of time.
William Brown from Greene Central has impressed at every combine he's attended and Saturday was no different. He was one of the most impressive players during agility drills- displaying great body control, quickness and overall athleticism. In the QB drills, Brown obviously has a ways to go. He is extremely raw but if those QB skills ever catch up with his natural ability- he could emerge as a major division one prospect. As the summer camps approach, if Brown keeps an open mind to working out at other positions, it's hard to imagine him not earning several offers because of his size and athletic ability.
Other players that impressed
Vince Jordan...impressive physically, Jordan is extremely fluid and moves well. He looks as if he would make a solid safety or fullback in college.
Travis Leggett...Leggett doesn't have explosive speed but is one of the top, pure running backs in the state. He does have quick feet and looked sharp catching the ball out of the backfield on Saturday.
Garrett Benge...This QB from Davie County earned some buzz earlier this year and does have a solid build although he may be a little short for some coaches. At this point he would appear to be a fringe division-one prospect.
Justin Ward...One of the absolute nicest kids you'll ever meet, he did a nice job in drills and has a frame that coaches can work with. He'll need to work on his foot speed and flexibility but the potential is there.
James Weaver...From Leesville Road, Weaver is probably a smaller school candidate but impressed us with his scrappy attitude and he seemed to make sure he was at the front of the line for every drill. Also showed solid route-running skills.
Possible name for the future
DE Robert Crisp...Crisp, out of Chapel Hill High School is just a freshman currently but he has a great build given his age and more than held his own against players older and more experienced. He will be a name to watch down the road.
Overall top five standouts from adidas Elite Camp
1. RJ Mattes
2. Quinton Coples
3. Jonathan Cooper
4. Jacob Charest
5. Andrew Wallace