Prospect Analysis: Byrnes vs Gaffney

The state's biggest game on Friday showcased some of the Palmetto State's best prospects. Inside we bring you analysis from some of the key players for Gaffney and Byrnes. NC State commit Denzelle Good (pictured) was one of the prospects we watched closely as he matched up against 2010 Byrnes DE Corey Miller and DT Brandon Willis.

A look at some of the prospects we were able to watch during the Byrnes-Gaffney game on Friday night. There was no shortage of talent at the Reservation and here's a quick breakdown of what we saw and have observed of the following prospects recently.

Gaffney OG Denzelle Good- Good is a fantastic grab for the NC State Wolfpack. The 3-star prospect is an imposing player checking in at 6'6 325 pounds. He plays with the right attitude in that he's bent on dominating his opponent each and every play. Another trait we noticed about Good is that despite the poor conditions and his huge size the young man has very good footwork. The trouble on Friday night is that he was simply overmatched due to the talent across the board on the Byrnes defensive line. The first half saw his counterparts consistently burst into the backfield. Denzelle under the tutelage of the NC State staff should be able to see the field pretty early in his career. Should he continue his progress and ability to be coached he's got a shot at playing on Sundays further down the road possibly.

Gaffney QB/ATH Joe Craig- Joe Craig remains one of the fastest prospects in the 2010 class. He's raised his football IQ vastly since the last time we saw him due to experience and coaching. He didn't have much time to much of anything in the first half at quarterback but later on when his line gave him time you saw the flashes of just how dynamic a prospect he is. While we envision his future on the next level possibly as a wideout he obviously shows the tendency to tuck the ball and run while playing QB. If he's given an opening his speed allows him the opportunity to go the distance every time. There was a long run in which he blew by the Byrnes defenders with only S Justin Bright able to bring him down as the last line of defense. When he did throw it his passes were adequate on short outs including his TD pass to Emison Hughes. His future remains as a wideout in our opinion or as a kickoff/punt return specialist. Right now we feel he's a couple of big time game performances away from emerging as a more heavily recruited prospect on a larger scale. We'd like to see him on the combine/camp circuit this offseason to see just how well he tests and measures against other elite athletes in the 2010 class this offseason. Should he perform well expect schools to start making a harder push for him early as his speed is among the best in the state and maybe the entire southeast region.

Byrnes DE Corey Miller- Nobody has seen their stock rise more in the past few months than Mr. Miller. While he's got the frame for it Miller's eventual college coaches will want to see a him add some more weight/strength. For high school though he is a beast coming off the end. Speed is the name of his game and considering how tall and rangy he is he is often causing havoc in the offensive backfield for opposing teams just as he did to Gaffney on Friday night. Playing along with Willis and Danzel Collins normally affords Miller plenty of one on one opportunities in which he usually comes out on top. The scary part is that Miller still has plenty of untapped potential. He's improved greatly since last season and big time schools are already offering him scholarships at a staggering pace. Right now we project Miller as a 4-star prospect come this time next season. He's got a chance at 5-star status but national analysts will want to see him add some more weight and improve his arsenal of moves and countermoves. Another strong offseason along with extensive film study and one on one work with his coaches and college camp counselors could see him join teammate Marcus Lattimore as a future 5-star. No clear favorite for Miller at this point but 20+ scholarship offers should be a pretty attainable mark for him by the end of the upcoming offseason after the camp circuit.

Byrnes DT/DE Brandon Willis- Like his teammate and good friend Corey Miller, Brandon Willis has seen his stock soar over the offseason and early part of his junior season. With offers from some of the elite programs in the southeast already in hand expect more to follow as Willis ups the ante almost every couple of weeks defensively. One thing we noticed about Brandon is that he never stops. That kind of motor and tenacity has college coaches licking their chops. Willis carries his 255 pounds very well and should be able to add anywhere from 15-25 pounds without losing much if any speed on the next level. Like so many players in the Byrnes program speed is a big part of his success. Watching Willis chase down the superquick Joe Craig in the backfield was beyond impressive. Friday night saw Craig, one of the state's fastest players, being stalked play after play by a 255 pound defensive tackle in the backfield on a number of TFL's. Those kinds of plays aren't supposed to happen but it's a testament to the speed Willis and teammate Miller possess. There is room for improvement in overall technique but that will come with more experience and coaching as he still has over a year left to demonstrate his ability to become a dominant prospect at DT or DE possibly. Right now it's a tough call but we project Willis to land possibly at the 4 star level come next season. Expect him to hit the camp circuit this offseason and dazzle more college coaches. In turn bank on Willis pulling in more offers which could eventually land him with 20+ heading into next season unless he decides to commit early which isn't an indication he's given us to this point.

Byrnes WR Nick Jones- Known as "Serious" Jones to his teammates, Nick Jones is a prospect who college recruiters should start taking a more serious look at. He's not big but in a day and age where playmakers come at a premium he's a guy who can get it done wherever you line him up whether it be wide receiver, running back, or even quarterback. The knock on him remains his height but take into consideration the burst he has and it's a wonder why he only holds 1 scholarship offer at this point. He torched the Gaffney defense on a couple of pretty short passes in which he simply kicked it into another gear and flew by everyone with one going for a touchdown and another long catch/run. With guys like Trindon Holiday and most recently Oregon State brother duo RB Jacquizz Rogers and James Rogers making the likes of Southern Cal look pretty mortal in their upset of the #1 ranked Trojans. Players like Jones (who is larger than all of the players mentioned at 5'9 175 lbs.) should get a lengthier look. There's always a place for the playmakers and in the right system they are able to excel. Sure there's a chance he could grow another inch or two this offseason but even if he doesn't his talent and importance to a team like Byrnes sometimes gets overlooked. We will have an update with Jones soon to see if any new schools are indeed taking notice of his abilities on the football field and to see how things are looking early on with his recruitment. His stock is definitely on the rise in our eyes.

Byrnes RB Marcus Lattimore- Honestly there's not much more to say about Marcus Lattimore. Every performance he looks better, stronger, and faster. Rushing for 200+ yards against Gaffney's always strong defense speaks volumes for his talents. (Credit must go to his offensive line as well.) Questions that we had about his top end speed are pretty much put to rest as he raced 71 yards untouched to open the scoring. Already a monster running between the tackles and one of the best receiving backs in the country regardless of class Lattimore is making his claim in our opinion for the #1 overall propsect in the nation for 2010 as we've stated for over a year and change now. There's not much that he doesn't excel at and with his work ethic he'll add more dimensions to his arsenal. Lattimore very well could be one of the best backs ever to come out of the Palmetto State. Sunday football will be in his future if he continues his freakish rate of growth, improvement, and strength during the second half of most games. Repeatedly almost every defensive player that we've interviewed who has faced Byrnes says he is by far the toughest player they've ever faced or seen. Getting the respect of his peers and opposing coaches also speaks volumes to his talents.

Byrnes CB Riyahd Richardson- There wasn't much action on Riyahd Richardson's side on Friday night. There were a few plays where you could see his coverage ability is among the very best in the region. He got what we felt should have been a no call on a pass interference covering Gaffney WR Emison Hughes. College coaches may question his size but not many teams or opposing coaches are willing to test him after the kind of season he had last year and the way he's able to blanket receivers. Holds the verbal offer from Texas A&M and is awaiting some news on his SAT scores before other schools will start mailing out more offers his way. We think if he is able to slow or lock down some of Pahokee's best receivers he'll be receiving some offers the following week. If Pahokee standout Nu'keese Richardson weren't playing QB now for Pahokee it would make for a great Richardson-Richardson matchup on the outside.

Byrnes QB Chas Dodd- Dodd is one of the most underappreciated prospects in the state, well at least to folks outside of the Byrnes area. Dodd continues to impress us with a strong and accurate arm. He's not quite tall enough for most D1 level coaches liking but he's still got another year left so there's a chance he could grown another inch or two between now and next Signing Day. In terms of managing a team and game it would be hard to find a player who can run a show as well as he does. His experience is another big factor for him as well. Friday night saw him throw his first INT of the season and while he's not going to wow you with speed he made a few plays with his legs and rolling out of the pocket to buy his receivers more time to get open so he could fire another strike. This offseason he threw it better than all of the 2009 QBs who were attendance at the Under Armour/Scout.com combine in Charlotte. Still size remains a question for him but he's a gamer indeed. We'll try to catch up with Dodd to see what's the current status of his recruitment so stay tuned.

Byrnes DT/LB Danzell Collins- His boys on each side of him (Miller & Willis) get most of the pub but Collins is a very outstanding prospect in his own right. Yes opponents may run away from the combo of Miller & Willis but Collins holds his own in a big way. The two teammates have actually spoken out to try and get more analysts to take a closer look at Collins and what he's been able to do. Friday saw him in the Gaffney backfield making plays just as often as his D-line teammates. Collins will probably have to move to LB on the next level at 6'2 220 pounds but he sure has a nose for the ball and makes plays to shore up the defensive front for the Rebels. We will try and contact Collins for an interview to see if he's getting any interest from schools at this point.


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