Va Tech Nike Camp Review: The Offense

The Nike Camp at Virginia Tech had everything we could ask for except for great weather. The facilities were off the charts good and although a constant drizzle all camp long made it tough at time, several players turned in standout performances. The battle for camp MVP came down to two players, wide receiver Eddie Royal and defensive lineman A.Q Shipley. The envelope please....

Both Royal and Shipley were dominant in the position and one on one drills. Royal, 5-10, 161 pounds clocked a 4.37 in the 40 on a wet slippery field that had the tallest grass of any camp we've tested on this year. He also clocked a 4.33 in the shuttle, jumped 36 inches in the vertical and did 15 reps on the bench.

In the position drills, Royal was in the top three on all the coaches cards and showed great hands and blazing speed scorching just about every defensive back he went up against. Marshall is the only offer for Royal as grade concerns could be scaring away a few schools but talent wise, Royal looks like he could be one of the top 100 players in the country.

Shipley, 6-1.5, 290 pounds is just a beast who looks and plays like a college player already. He's quick off the ball, strong as an ox and very technically sound. He's tough, has a great first step and is relentless on the field. Over 30 schools have offered so far and Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Pittsburgh and Virginia lead the way.

It was close but one of our rules in picking a Camp MVP is it's based on a combination of how well you did in the position drills as well as how well you test. Shipley did not test which actually surprised us because of how well he tested as a sophomore at last year's Nike Camp in Penn State. As a result, Royal earned Camp MVP honors after his standout showing.

At the quarterback position, a pair of signal callers who impressed us at the Nike camp at Penn State shined once again. Again, we can't emphasize enough how difficult it can be to throw a wet ball but Lancaster's (Pa.) Conestoga Valley Jordan Steffy and The Haverford's (Pa.) Brian Savage were both spinning it well all camp long. Steffy, 6-1, 195 pounds is a very good athlete with a live arm. Savage, 6-3, 201 pounds has great mechanics and throws a very catchable ball. Both are high Div I kids who look like two of the top 20 signal callers in the country if not higher.

On the recruiting front, Steffy has picked up two new offers since the Nike Camp at Penn State. North Carolina and Pittsburgh have now offered to go along with Maryland, Purdue, Indiana and Duke. The Terps lead over Iowa, Indiana and Michigan State. Savage has an offer from Wisconsin and likes the Badgers over Notre Dame, Michigan State, Syracuse and Maryland.

Another quarterback we liked was Daniel Evans, 6-2, 160 pounds from Raleigh (N.C.) Broughton. Evans is rail thin but has great arm strength and blew us away with how strong his arm was because of how skinny he looked. The quarterback had a great camp, threw a consistent spiral all camp long and was right there with Steffy and Savage as the top quarterback of the day. Wake Forest, Virginia and North Carolina State lead the way.

Two others we really liked were Dustin Grutza, 6-1.5, 192 pounds Maysville (Ky.) Mason County and Ben Johnson, 6-1, 185 pounds from Asheville (N.C.) A.C. Reynolds.

At the running back position, Evan Taylor, 5-9, 164 pounds from Virginia Beach (Va.) Princess Anne looked very good and is one of the best looking backs we've seen this year. He has great quickness and explosion and showed why he has been one of the state's best backs since his sophomore year. Taylor has rushed for over 1,000 yards the past two seasons and should put up monster numbers next season.

Speaking of monsters, sophomore Tony Baker, 5-10, 205 pounds was one of the most impressive looking players of the camp. The Student Sports Sophomore All-American clocked a 4.50 in the 40, 4.05 in the shuttle, did 25 reps on the bench and jumped 33 inches in the vertical. In the position drills, Baker showed the best hands of any back at the camp, has a nice burst and has a powerful running style that will make him easily one of the nation's top recruits when he's a senior in two years.

We also liked Marquis Lee, 5-8, 162 pounds from Clifton (Va.) Centreville. Lee is more quick than fast but has excellent running back instincts, good vision and balance and caught everything thrown at him as well. In the right system, Lee could flourish as a possible third down or change of pace back.

The group of wide receivers was deep and talented led by Royal who we already discussed as the camp MVP. We were also impressed with Charlotte's (N.C.) Independence sophomore standout Mohamed Massaquoi who was a Student Sports Sophomore All-American a year ago. Even without Chris Leak throwing him the rock next season, Massaquoi should still put up numbers based on his combination of size, 6-2, 179 pounds, athleticism, 34 vertical jump and ability to get open and catch everything thrown close to him.

Lynchburg (N.C.) Heritage wide out Pierre Penn, 5-10, 175 pounds was also solid all camp long. He gets great separation when the ball is in the air, changes directions effortlessly and has very good hands. Maryland, Boston College, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and North Carolina lead for Penn. Others who stood out included West Charlotte's (N.C.) Antwan Strong, Slidell (La.) Salmen's Steven Whitehead and Gaffney's (S.C.) Miron Whisonaut.

The group of offensive linemen was very strong, in fact, our head line coach Marty Spaulding said top to bottom, it was the most depth of any group we had at any camp so far.

"In the one on one drills, they really kicked the crap out of the defensive linemen," Spaulding said. "There were some players in the group that were just tough and mean and knew how to play football. I was in heaven working with them. They listen and were a great overall group of players."

The biggest player at the camp and arguably the top OL of the day was Alex Hemphill. Not only is Hemphill the biggest player we've seen at any of the Nike Camps this year, at 6-8.5, 383 pounds, he very well could be the biggest player we've ever had in five years of doing the camps.

"He's a heck of a player," Spaulding said. "He would just take kids, drive them back five yards and then pancake them. He's tough and moves well for being such a big kid. I love his attitude and feel he has a chance to be a very good player in college."

Nebraska, Virginia and North Carolina State currently lead the way for Hemphill.

Duke commit Jonathan Terry, 6-4, 329 pounds had a very nice camp and held his own against every linemen in attendance. Terry is very strong (30 reps on the bench) and looks like a prototype guard prospect. He fires out of his stance very well, has good balance and finishes his blocks. He has been well coached and is technically sound. The Blue Demons got a good one in Terry who will likely see his recruitment pick way up after his standout showing.

Roanoke (Va.) Northside's Isaac Martin, 6-2.5, 298 pounds didn't test well but definitely turned it on when the action hit the field. Martin was dominant in the one on one drills and wasn't beaten once all camp. He has a solid frame, moves well in space and is as nasty as they come. martin currently favors Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia and Penn State.

Similar to Martin in that he didn't blow anyone away with how he tested but got it done on the field was Robert Oliver, 6-2.5, 308 pounds from Southeast Raleigh (N.C.). Oliver just looks like a football player, has a college body right now and plays much more athletic than how he tested. North Carolina State, Florida State, Georgia, East Carolina and Clemson lead at this time.

John Bradshaw, 6-4, 295 pounds from Falmouth (Va.) Stafford was also very impressive showing great feet in the drills.

Others we liked included Corey Nicholson, 6-1.5, 250 pounds from Frederick (Md.) Linganore, Zach Stair, 6-5, 285 pounds from Manassas (Va.) Osbourn Park and Ryan Stancheck, 6-3.5, 252 pounds from Cincinnati (Ohio) LaSalle.


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