Mama There Go That Man: 2017 WR OrTre Smith (Wando) It was our first in-person viewing of Smith and he did not disappoint. There's no fudging on the measurables whatsoever. He's a man among boys and as he continues to learn the position even more he'll only continue to be an even greater nightmare for opposing defensive backs and defensive coordinators. Expecting him to reach 5-stars before too long.
That Boy Good!!!...HE GOOOOD!!!: 2016 WR Jayson Hopper (Lexington) The whole point of the Showcase was to pit the best against the best. Nobody made the most their opportunity like Hopper did. He's one of the most fun and laid back kids you'll ever meet but once he lines up on the field he was all business putting in work on defensive backs all day long. He didn't win every matchup but I'll venture to say he won 90% of them. Everybody he lined up against got the business and when you hear everyone buzzing in the line or on the sidelines waiting their turn or watching talking about how good he was halfway through the event you know he's doing it big. Add the fact that the 4-star RB Tavien Feaster and Clemson QB Kelly Bryant both were wowed by Hopper's play during the day and tweeted it via Twitter and you kinda see how Hopper left the camp with a buzz going for himself. He's definitely flying under the radar but he won't be for long if he continues to perform the way he did on Saturday.
SLOT GUYS A PLENTY: I couldn't choose just one guy here because both of these guys made plays all day long like Hopper did. 2016 WR Bailey Rogers (Wren) and 2017 Woodruff WR Keith Pearson both excelled and their ability to cut and accelerate gave opponents a fit all day long. Rogers is a known commodity who's looking to emerge next year as a senior, he's definitely one college coaches need to be looking at now to develop an early relationship. Pearson is just a sophomore but this kid just like Rogers there was no keeping up with him. Big plays are bound to happen with Pearson in Woodruff's high powered offense just like Rogers did for Wren last season. These two are similar in many ways and we absolutely enjoyed watching them work against some of the state's best defensive backs.
BEST HAIR: Again 2017 Woodruff WR Keith Pearson takes it but he narrowly edges out 2017 Dorman QB/WR Jaylen Fowler. Both of these guys went big and pulled it off nicely. Pearson is one we expect to emerge in a big way and Fowler will see time at wide receiver this year and likely could emerge as the starter for Dorman once Collin Hill graduates. He's got a lot of upside and the coaches liked what they saw of him on Saturday.
HAT DAY: A lot of the quarterbacks sported baseball caps during the day but a pair of wide receivers win this one because they were in motion and dominating the competition. 2016 WR Christian Bruce (Wilson) and 2016 WR Jayson Hopper (Lexington). Bruce sported an upside down visor to help streamline his hair and if Hopper weren't there we'd probably say he shined the most at wideout during the event. It was close and Bruce wasn't quite as dynamic or flamboyant as Hopper but he is just so smooth and efficient. Bruce has a pair of offers and the 6'3 180 pounder should see plenty more before his senior season ends. He was the highest rated 2016 wide receiver at the event and he made a ton of big plays all day long. Hopper's preference of cranial wear was that of a backwards baseball cap. I overheard a few defensive players during warmups jokingly make fun of Hopper's hat/appearance. Midway through the camp many defensive backs weren't wanting to step across from him during one on ones. Game. Set. Hats.
HERE COME DEEBO!: Not many wideouts wanted much to do with these defensive backs due to their physical nature or they learned rather quickly. 2016 CB Nick McCloud (South Pointe), 2016 CB Khris Pam (Blythewood), 2016 CB Jaylene Kennedy (Boiling Springs), 2016 S/CB K.J. Chamberlain. All four of these guys were jamming receivers up all day at the line and just made things miserable for most they faced. McCloud is the tallest out of the group and he's physical with good hips and very good speed. There's a reason he's picking up offers at a rapid pace. Pam might've been the most physically imposing of the group and he bullied plenty of guys at the line and showed he too has the wheels. Add some serious smack talk that he backed up and there's plenty to like about him. Kennedy is the sleeper of this bunch but he played much like Hopper did...with something to prove. He's not huge but his ability to jam and disrupt receivers at the line was more than adequate. I can recall a couple of times he took the wide receiver out of bounds in a matter of seconds. Kennedy's speed is well documented and he displayed it making plays all day. He's one to watch moving forward and could emerge as the rest of these guys have already. Chamberlain wasn't the most physical one out of the bunch but his instincts are God-given and he just has a nose for the ball and makes plays. He and Pam talked the talk and walked the walk throughout the day. Chamberlain got in wide receivers' and quarterbacks' heads and capitalized on it with the most interceptions we saw from anyone during the Showcase.
THE YOUTH MOVEMENT: These guys held their own with a strong group of juniors. They wouldn't be denied on Saturday and college coaches are already taking note of their talents. 2018 QB Ben Batson (Daniel), 2018 WR Demarcus Gregory (Byrnes), 2017 WR Cam Burnette (Summerville), 2018 RB Mateo Durant (McCormick), 2018 CB Jaydon Brunson (Blythewood), and 2017 WR OrTre Smith (Wando). We've featured Gregory already but we'll be talking with the rest of this group soon for feature stories. Aside from Smith who is already a national level prospect, everyone will know the others' names come next season and don't be surprised to see some early offers. The talent in South Carolina continues to grow and these guys are the future having emerged already.
GREAT SCOTT HE'S BUSY: 2016 Spartanburg QB Austin Scott. He earned the number one quarterback spot from QBHITList.com for his work on the day and he informed us that after a long day on the field he had prom later that night. Hope his date was understanding after winning the #1 spot and working to improve his stock all day.
WORKOUT WARRIORS: 2016 South Pointe CB Nick McCloud and 2018 Byrnes WR Demarcus Gregory. Both of these guys put in more reps than anyone else I saw all day and willingly jumped to the head of the lines. We spoke to both of them afterwards and asked about their experience at the Showcase and McCloud admitted that he got tired towards the end but the chance to compete and work against some of the best offensive players on a consistent basis helped him despite tiring. Gregory said the same thing and loved getting the opportunity to go against some of the state's very best defensive backs both upperclassmen and underclassmen. It was a steady dose of these two prospects as they obviously have the hunger and desire to compete and get better. College coaches should love their desire and work ethic.
SPEED DEMONS: 2016 Greer CB Troy Pride Jr., 2017 Seneca RB Jacory Benson, and 2016 Clinton S/LB Donaven Blackmon. Pride Jr. is already committed to Virginia Tech and he showed why so many schools continue to recruit him with a long frame and tremendous speed. I really loved his willingness to learn and compete. Benson is a running back with some serious wheels as he's a track guy like Pride Jr. and he ran one of the fastest 40 times on a SPARQ laser out of the prospects who decided to test in the combine. He looked good and explosive, he's one to watch moving forward. Blackmon worked with the linebackers on the day and at 6'1 185 I think his future could be at safety. The Clinton prospect also ran one of the fastest 40 times of the day and with some added technique on his start he could easily run in the 4.4's in our opinion. He's a playmaker who plays all over the field and his film is impressive.
STOCK RISING!: (All prospects mentioned above should be added to this list)
2017 CB/ATH Matthew Atkins (Mauldin)
2016 CB Jeremiah Bogan (Riverside)
2017 RB/ATH Jacory Benson (Seneca)
2018 CB Jaydon Brunson (Blythewood)
2018 RB Mateo Durant (McCormick)
2017 CB Sean Thomas Faulkner (Easley)
2016 S/LB Lane Jones (West-Oak)
2019 QB Keegan Halloran (Woodruff)
2016 RB Davontre Hamilton (James Island)
2016 LB Landon Holden (Chapman)
2017 S/LB D'Marco Jackson (Broome)
2019 QB Alex Meredith (T.L. Hanna)
2016 CB Mike Murphy (Spartanburg)
2017 LB/RB Josh Samuel (J.L. Mann)
2016 WR Tavaris Scott, (Spartanburg)
2017 QB Jay Urich (Wren)
2016 WR David Vereen (South Florence)
2016 QB Yafari Werts (Newberry)
2016 WR Braxton Westfield (Christ Church)