New stars emerge at BigTime Showcase

The BigTime Showcase was held at Rutgers Stadium this past Thursday evening/night. Marco Battaglia and Ray Lucas certainly added appeal to the event as they helped coach some of tomorrow's young stars, but it was the individual testing and 1-on-1's that highlighted the showcase.

Some of the region's top players participated in the BigTime Showcase, held at Rutgers Stadium this past Thursday evening/night. The event, until this year known as the Elite College Combine, was highlighted by individual testing which was soon followed by the highlight session of the day: 1-on-1's. The top players in attendance did not disappoint and some previously under the radar commodities won't be hidden for much longer.

Ballou HS (Washington D.C.) Emmanuel Yeager was one of the top performers at the event, bringing home dual pieces of hardware. Yeager won both the QB MVP award and the overall MVP honor for the offensive side of the ball. Gabe Hernandez (St. Joseph - Montvale, NJ), Najee Tyler (Xaverian HS, NY), and Rutgers commitment Tom Savage all impressed as well. Savage still has to demonstrate, throughout the course of a season, what he continues to show every time he hits one of these combine/camp type of events: fluidity in his motion, and quite honestly, the total physical and mental package one wants out of their QB.

Dion Lewis (Blair Academy, NJ) brought home the RB MVP trophy. Lewis is a diminutive 'back by most standards, but as Rutgers fans are all too aware of, size means little, and speed dominates: something Lewis has plenty of. Atiq Lucas and Nick Mercurio (both by way of St. Anthony's, NY) continue to impress, as did Carlton Koonce (Rancocas Valley Regional, NJ), Theo Riddick (Immaculata HS, NJ), and super Sophomore (and teammate of Tom Savage) Corey Brown (Cardinal O'Hara HS, PA).

The Tight Ends position brought some recognizable faces to the event. Anthony Schiavone (New London, CT), Leniel Brown (Teaneck HS, NJ), Dante Burton (Paterson Catholic HS, NJ), Malcolm Bush (Hackensack HS, NJ) and Dainen Green all looked solid. However, one new name will rapidly surface as a prime-time target on the recruiting front. That name is Mark Harrison, an impressive looking athlete by way of Bunnell HS [CT]. Harrison, who leaps out of the gym with an elite 39" vertical, put together what may have been the most impressive 40-yard dash of the entire event: 4.38 seconds. It was not the fastest time, but keeping in mind Harrison's size (6-foot-4 and 215-pounds), that number speaks for itself.

Derrell Person (Calvin Coolidge HS, DC) brought home the WR MVP honors, besting diminutive, but highly electric Devon Smith (Westlake HS, MD), who put together the best pair of 40-yard dashes that I've seen since Tim Brown ran his sub-4.3 at the Rutgers Football camp some three years ago. Smith ran a 4.25 and a 4.32 in both his attempts. Justin Brown (Concord HS, DE) is a big and physically impressive WR that performed very well, in addition to Aaron Hayward (Penns Grove HS, NJ), Levon Williams (a raw WR by way of Fort Hamilton [NY] who SOR discussed at the conclusion of the Chuck Mound Challenge - he put together a very solid 4.56 40-yard dash) and Montgomery HS standout J.T. Tartacoff (4.41 40-yard dash).

Jack Templeton (Don Bosco Prep, NJ) was the surprise honoree for OL MVP Award. The OL group was, in its entirety, dominated by size, but Templeton and his relatively smaller frame (6'2") dominated nearly everyone he went up against. Templeton's agressiveness was certainly a sight to behold and to say he left nothing on the field is a clear understatement. Oday Aboushi, who at 6-foot-6 and 300-pounds, more than loks the part of a BCS Division-I Guard, was also extremely impressive, showing very good footwork and lateral movement. Aboushi, by way of Xaverian HS [NY], brought home the Rising Star Award for his efforts. Joe Bonadies (Palisades Park HS, NJ) continued to show consistent footwork, great hand motion and solid lateral movement in winning the majority of his 1-on-1's and is certainly one to keep an eye on as the summer camps approach.

Next: Defense and Individual Interviews

Matei may be reached at mgeorge@rutgersfootball.com

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