The Garden State boasts some of the top athletes in the nation and Sports University was the place to be on Saturday afternoon as many of New Jersey's top skill players assembled together for the First Annual Pre-Pass Workout. It was the first of several sessions that these youngsters are undertaking in an effort to get the opportunity to showcase their skills on a national stage. The state's top players move on to compete against the rest of the union's top athletes in the premiere 7-on-7 tournament in the country.
Aaron Hayward, by way of Penns Grove HS [Carneys Point, NJ] highlighted the list of over two dozen athletes that made the trek to the northern New Jersey facility.
Aaron Hayward looking the ball in.
Hayward (see image to the right), who has already received an offer from his state school - Rutgers - is receiving plenty of regional and national attention from some of the nation's top programs. It was easy to see why the southern Jersey standout is such a coveted prospect. He's a smooth and fluid runner, with soft hands, that catches everything thrown his way. Joining the list of impressive wide-outs was North Brunswick's Andrew Opoku. Opoku, who stands at 6-foot-4 and 210-pounds (see lower image), is a freakish looking athlete that boasts all the physical skills one would want in a wide-out at the next level. He's got tremendous size, big hands, and certainly doesn't lack for any confidence. Opoku saw limited action during his Junior year and many schools are awaiting for senior film of the big WR or to, at the very least, get the opportunity to see him in person.
Andrew Opoku, a big WR with impressive measurables.
While the stars showcased their skills several previously unknown prospects made noise and caught the attention of SOR. One local prospect that impressed onlookers was local wide-out Jeremy Crayton. Crayton, by way of Piscataway HS [Piscataway, NJ], stands at 6-feet and 175-pounds and while he is a relatively unknown name today, that won't be the case for much longer. Ricky Harris, by way of North Brunswick HS, is another athlete that caught our attention. Harris' strength is his straight-line speed - he's a sub-4.5 second runner that earns his paycheck in the open field, eluding would-be tacklers. As the early evaluation period approaches, Harris and Crayton are two prospects that will be seeing increasing amounts of attention from college recruiters.
Notre Dame HS [Lawrenceville, NJ] was well-represented as both rising Juniors CB Vail Grafton and LB/DE Christian Reed worked out and impressed. Tom Bianchi [6-foot-3 and 230-pounds] by way of West Essex HS in North Caldwell, NJ, showed a good burst. Bianchi, who has played on the offensive side of the ball (TE) and defensive side of the ball (DE and LB) at West Essex, may see his future collegiate position back in space, on the defensive side of the ball as an outside LB.
Justin Blake [Piscataway HS, SS], Kadeem Gaither [JFK HS, Ath], and Jerry Waters [Camden Catholic, Ath] are additional names to keep in mind as the camp and combine season approaches.
The majority of prospects on hand are currently enjoying their Junior academic HS year and will be competing as Seniors starting next September.
Khairi Fortt [6-foot-3 and 215-pounds] will be entering his Junior season.
However, one prospect in particular stood out. A 6-foot-3 and 215-pound Athlete by way of Stamford HS [Stamford, CT] that projects as a LB at the next level - his name is named Khairi Fortt. Fortt is currently a sophomore and will be entering his Junior season next September. Easily passing the initial eyeball test, Fortt is a superb athlete that moves extremely well. A sub-4.7 second (in the 40) prospect from the Nutmeg State, Fortt may be the next big thing from the northeastern part of the country.
SOR will be keeping in touch with these and many other local and regional prospects over the next few weeks and months as their college recruitment begins to heat up.