Commentary

Northwestern flexing its muscle

Originally Published: July 17, 2009
By Jc Shurburtt | Scouts Inc.

BEAVERTON, Ore.-- Vapor Trail from Miami overwhelmed most of its opponents with a speedy defense that attacked the ball and big plays on offense en route to a perfect 3-0 in pool play on Day 1 of the Nike 7on Tournament.

[+] EnlargeTheodore Bridgewater
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comTeddy Bridgewater was on target Thursday in Oregon.

Safety Jerome Thomas was part of a secondary that limited big plays in the passing game, something that is unusual in a 7-on-7 format.

"We have made a lot of improvements to our defense," Thomas said. "We have confidence in each other to get the job done. We have a young quarterback who is coming into his own to make plays with our offense, and we know our offense is good, but we have to get out there and help them."

That young quarterback is Class of 2011 prospect Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater could potentially be one of the most coveted players in South Florida for the next recruiting cycle. Although his all-around skill set is best showcased in an actual game with pads, Bridgewater delivered the ball to his receivers well and made several nice throws. Florida State, Miami and others have made early offers.

One of his favorite targets was receiver Michaelee Harris, who had seven catches for 130 yards in a 22-14 win over Zoom Blade of Duncan, S.C.

"It's a good chemistry that Teddy and I have," Harris said. "He is developing with all of his wide receivers. We are just being our brother's keeper. It's a whole team effort."

Harris reported seven scholarship offers, and said he plans to wait for a while before making a commitment.

Scroggins shines

Under Armour All-American quarterback Jesse Scroggins was impressive throwing the football for the Field Generals during the afternoon session.

Scroggins has said he will make his college decision by the end of this month, and is considering USC among others. He has good size, a big arm and finds his receivers well.

One of those recievers was defensive back Dion Bailey, a recent Trojans commit. Though Bailey is being recruited as a defensive prospect, he caught several passes on offense.

Woods is impressive

During the first day of the eventRobert Woods showed why he's one of the most coveted players in the Golden State in this year's class.

The Land Sharks (Gardena, Calif.) dropped their first game, but rallied to win the next two. Woods, along with fellow senior receiver Paul Richardson and Class of 2011 standout George Farmer, made big plays.

On offense, Woods proved to be a top playmaker at the receiver position. He was strong after the catch and could come down with the ball in traffic. On the defensive side, he showed off excellent ball skills, and had a big interception against Zoom Blade in the third game of the day.

It's not a surprise that the top programs from across the country, including USC and Oklahoma, want Woods badly.

Farmer is a thivkly-built youngster who showed off his explosiveness with two 40-yard touchdown receptions and another 25-yarder against Zoom Blade. He shined on the defensive side of the ball as well during his team's first game.

USC, Texas and Florida are among the early verbal offers for Farmer.

Richardson showed senior leadership in his team's rally for two wins after its morning loss.

"We just got focused," he said. "We got down in the first game, but we came out that second game and third game and made some things happen. This is definitely a little faster than what we are used to seeing, but we've been doing well."

Multiple programs have offered Richardson, who said that California is recruiting him the hardest at the moment. He will not make a decision until national signing day.

Stars for Vapor Jets

Wide receiver/quarterback De'Joshua Johnson led the Vapor Jets (Pahokee, Fla.) in a spirited day of competition. In pads, Johnson is tough to tackle, and proved to be slippery in this format. He took a pass against Super Speed (DeSoto, Texas), made three defensive players from Super Speed (DeSoto, Texas) miss and outran everybody to the end zone. When he played quarterback, his team moved the ball more efficiently. Johnson said that if he were 6-foot-3 he would be one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

As impressive as Johnson was both catching and throwing, Under Armour All-American Chris Dunkley was probably the top individual receiver at the event on Thursday.

Another Vapor Jets standout that caught the eye of the scouts was defensive back Raheam Buxton. Buxton made a beautiful interception in the end zone and made contributions on offense, too. He seems to be on the fast track toward a commitment to Miami (Fla.), and he would be a tremendous under-the-radar pick-up for the Canes.

Wake Forest commit, linebacker Zachary Allen had a big day on offense playing tight end. Allen showed the ability to go up to get the football in traffic, prompting one scout to comment that he "must be a heck of a linebacker for him to not get a look at tight end."

The next step for Super Speed

Less than a week after reaching the semifinals of the Texas 7-on-7 championships, many of the same players are competing against some of the best in the country in Beaverton, Ore., for Super Speed.

Texas commit, wide receiver Darius Terrell had multiple big catches, including a nice deep one. The more you watch Terrell, the more he grows on you. He's the type of receiver that is at his best when he can body up a defensive back and leap up and get it.

Class of 2011 receiver David Porter continues to show why he could be one of the more highly-recruited receivers in the Lone Star State in next year's class. Porter caught a couple of touchdowns and showed the hands that have impressed on a number of occasions this summer.

Running back Marcus Murphy made several big plays as well. People close to his high school program believe that he can be special in college. He has certainly showed special qualities playing 7-on-7, and we've seen it for two weeks now.

Under Armour All-American and Texas commit Adrian White had a solid day in coverage for Super Speed. White has good size for a cornerback prospect.

Lattimore leads Zoom Blade

Running back Marcus Lattimore was an important part of the passing game for Zoom Blade. In several other 7-on-7 events, Lattimore was known to open for deep passes by blowing past defenders, but he primarily worked underneath on Thursday and was quite effective.

Lattimore has offers from all over the country, and has a working list of schools that includes Florida State, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Auburn, Penn State, Clemson, Rutgers, Oregon and Maryland.

Wide receiver Nick Jones was probably the best receiver for Zoom Blade. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Jones isn't the tallest, but he has good hands, is fearless and is quick. South Carolina and Michigan are his two offers at this point.

Quarterback Chas Dodd showed why Rutgers recently offered him. The two-time state championship winner was impressive in his first game.

Receivers Torian Richardson and Jazz King, along with cornerback Zach Miller, had their moments.

Davis shines

LSU commit Mike Davis was the most impressive prospect on Zoom Fly (Dallas). The speedy receiver caught two touchdowns in a close loss to Zoom Blade in the opening game.

Oklahoma commit Joe Powell had an electrifying interception and return for Zoom Fly, which went 0-3 on the day.

Jones plays hurt

Under Armour All-American wide receiver Tai-ler Jones of Merciless (Gainesville, Ga.) was was not 100 percent, working through a tweaked hamstring. He did, however, take a slant to the house for 50-plus yards in one game, showing tremendous speed.

The more you watch Jones, even at half speed, the more you understand why the Stanford commit was one of the most coveted receivers of the 2010 class. He runs great routes, has excellent hands and is extremely crafty. Jones also can play defense well.

Class of 2011 linebacker A.J. Johnson showed off the athleticism that has multiple programs in the Southeast already after him. He got a chance to play some offense and looked good catching the football.

Alabama commit Blake Sims, the quarterback for Merciless, had a solid throwing day. The Crimson Tide will likely play him in the secondary.

JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at jcsespn@aol.com.