- Bill Conley
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The Nike Football Training Camp staged at the University of Miami's football facility drew 200-plus athletes Sunday from all parts of South Florida. Of all the position groups, the wide receivers were the most talented. Wideouts like Duron Carter (Ft. Lauderdale,Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas),
Connor Vernon (Miami/Gulliver Prep), Ted Meline (West Lake, Fla.), Rod Smith (Miami/Archbishop Carroll), Stedman Bailey (Miramar, Fla.) and Eddie Coleman (Riverdale, Fla.) were all extremely consistent running routes and catching the football.
Short but mighty
Frankie Telfort (Miami/Gulliver Prep) lived up to all the hype surrounding this 6-foot, 200-pound keg of dynamite. He has good speed and agility for his position. Telfort stood out in the linebacker group especially in pass-drop drills.
Stands above the rest
We're not just talking about performance, 6-4 quarterback Eugene Smith (Miramar, Fla.) was an impressive looking athlete. Smith showed remarkable athleticism in sprint out pass drills. He throws a tight spiral and has a great touch on the football. Another quarterback who performed admirably was Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla.). Robinson threw the ball on a rope and with greater velocity than any other quarterback.
Wide receiver Duron Carter (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) made several acrobatic catches, just like he did last season in leading his team to the state championship. Carter snagged under-thrown passes that were behind him, and made a one-handed grab on a ball that would have well out of reach for
any other receiver. Carter's teammate Dwayne Difton (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St.Thomas Aquinas) also had a good camp. Difton ran sharp routes and displayed soft hands when going up for the football.
Best of the big men
Even though the offensive-line contingent was not large in number, there were some outstanding pass-protectors. Camp offensive line MVP Rupert Bryan (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central) was stout and consistent in terms of performance. Ja'Quan Bentley (Pahokee, Fla.) and Jonathan Inoa (Miami/Dade Christian) were also solid in terms of techniques. Bentley used his hands well in keeping pass-rushers away from his body while Iona showed strength in locking out
the defenders and driving them deeper than quarterback depth.
Out of a huge number of defensive backs, cornerback Michael Carter (Pompano Beach, Fla./Ely) increased his stock as one of the top secondary players in South Florida. Carter really stood out in man-to-man coverage going up against some talented receivers. He was able to lock onto wideouts while keeping inside relationship and running with them stride for stride.
Short but mighty
Big defensive lineman Antwan Lowery (Miami/Columbus) was unstoppable in pass-rush drills. He used all his 300 pounds in power rushing offensive linemen.
He uses his hands well and shows a burst getting to the edge of the
blocker. Hats also go off to Kenneth Bishop (Sunrise, Fla./Piper) who was impressive in pass-rush drills and was selected the camp MVP at his position.
Mr. Versatile and Mr. Powerful
Running back Jaamal Berry (Miami/Palmetto) displayed quick feet and reliable hands. He can cut on a dime and has great hips. The other running back who demonstrated exceptional athleticism was Trabis Ward (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard). He looks to be a powerful runner with a second gear. It's easy to see how he scored 21 touchdowns in 2007.
Bill Conley worked at Ohio State for 17 years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Since retiring from Ohio State in 2004, Conley has worked as a contributor and analyst for Columbus-area print and broadcast media and as a professional speaker. He also published a book recounting his years as Buckeye recruiting coordinator, "Buckeye Bumper Crops."
ESPN television is currently in production on a special that will profile the top prospects at Nike and Elite 11 training camps. The information used in this article was gathered as part of the television production process.
South Florida's finest were on display at the Nike Football Training Camp in Miami, writes Bill Conley.