Top prospects aplenty in The Swamp
The reigning BCS national champion Florida Gators held their annual Friday Night Lights camp on July 24 and the talent on hand in The Swamp didn't disappoint. It may have been one of the most impressive groups of prospects the Gators have hosted at their annual summer camp. FNL has quickly become one of the big events on the summer recruiting calendar for upper-tier prospects. The camp is not only a big draw from the South, but it also attracted some of the nation's elite players, such as top California prospect Ronald Powell. Overall there were close to 10 Under Armour All-Americans and 20 ESPNU 150 watch List prospects at the one-night camp, showing its magnitude.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was rocking once again with a mix of high-energy highlights and music in the background and fierce competition on the field. Overall, there was good mix of perimeter one-on-one matchups as well as tough battles in the trenches. Here are some of the top performances from the festivities.
DE Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde)
Powell made his second trip to Gainesville this summer, but the highly touted defensive end wasn't where we expected to find him. However, it didn't take long to locate the tall and chiseled prospect. The California native took reps at receiver and looked very fluid and athletic for his size. Going against some of the top defensive backs on the ESPNU 150 Watch List, Powell created separation and flashed some potentially good tight end tools. We still feel his future is at defensive end, but once again he displayed the speed and athleticism to give his future coaches some options as either a tight end or an outside linebacker.
WR Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee)
Dunkley may have been one of the most impressive offensive skill players in attendance. Following up his good showing at the Nike 7on Tournament the week before, Dunkley proved to be more than just a speedster. The Under Armour All-American was nearly impossible for opposing corners to mirror with rare quickness out of his breaks and his overall explosiveness. But it was his ability to create separation physically and utilize his rangy frame to pluck the downfield throw -- leaping over top corner Lamarcus Joyner a few times -- that really impressed us. He will need to fill out his leaner body to continue breaking the press and avoid being rerouted at the next level, but he appears much bigger in person.
WR Markeith Ambles (McDonough, Ga./Henry County)
Ambles showed flashes of why he's considered one of the best receivers in the country. His blend of size, speed and fluidity were unparalleled. He consistently created separation off the line and as a route-runner with his quickness and ability to stick his breaks sharply. Ambles was very difficult to handle even for some of the better defensive backs in attendance. He utilized his size and arm length well at the camp, creating space and plucking the jump-ball effortlessly over smaller defensive backs.
OT Chaz Green (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic)
Green was one of the bigger names of the offensive linemen in attendance, and he looks as physically gifted in person as he does on film. Green has a lean build with the room to add bulk which he will need at the next level. He showed flashes of both good run- and pass-blocking skills. Green faced some tough competition in one-on-one drills and flashed good raw tools as a pass-blocker, getting set and using his hands. He is still a bit raw and struggled with inside counters and protecting the inside, but he certainly displayed positive upside.
OT Ian Silberman (Orange Park, Fla./Fleming Island)
The Florida commit was one of the other big names in attendance along the offensive line. Like Green, he doesn't possess prototypical offensive line build. His leaner, more athletic build will need to continue to fill out. As a pass-blocker he did a good job getting set quickly and riding rushers past of the pocket. Silberman had some good matchups with fellow Under Armour All-American DE Corey Lemonier, and certainly held his own.
DE Neiron Ball (Jackson, Ga.)
Ball is a tweener at defensive end/outside linebacker and that was evident at the FNL camp. He has a very lean build for a defensive end and after seeing him in person it looks like he may have difficulty adding significant bulk. He is quick and athletic and has good versatility for a college program to develop. He worked with the defensive ends in the early portion of the camp and with the linebackers toward the end. Linebacker could be a good fit if he does not make the transition to end at the next level.
DE Corey Lemonier (Hialeah, Fla.)
Lemonier is a physically impressive kid with a pass rusher's build. While not dominant, he did a good job during one-on-ones being active with his hands and also showing good quickness off the ball. The Under Armour All-American showed a competitive nature getting quality reps against some good opposing linemen.
DT Leon Orr (New Port Richey, Fla./Gulf)
Orr is a prospect we are still in the process of evaluating, but we were very impressed with his in-person performance at camp. He is an athletic kid whose high school experience is on offense at a variety of positions, but he projects as a defensive lineman. Orr has a big and athletic build with a large wingspan. Despite his lack of experience at defensive tackle he showed good quickness off the ball during one-on-ones and used his reach well to work pass blockers. He certainly is a prospect we look forward to seeing more from in the evaluation process.
DE Dominique Easley (Staten Island, N.Y./Curtis)
The Under Armour All-American defensive lineman made the trip down from New York and seems to be strongly considering the Gators. The defensive end/defensive tackle tweener, who we feel will ultimately project best as an interior defender, took most of his reps at tackle during one-on-one drills. As on film, he showed excellent quickness off the ball and was very active with his hands. He was very dominant and difficult to handle off the ball and showed why he should be considered one of the top defensive tackles in the country.
ILB Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast)
Physically, Luc could have passed for some of the current Gators linebackers in attendance. The thickly built Under Armour All-American linebacker certainly passed the eyeball test but also impressed us with his skill set. Even with his compact frame he moves well laterally and redirects sharply in the short area. He once again proved he is more than just a stout, downhill filler with his quickness in coverage and ball skills. What separates Luc is his quick-twitch athleticism and burst to the football for a 240-pound linebacker.
S Jonathan Dowling (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast)
Dowling needs to continue filling out, but his height coupled with the range and athleticism he showed make him a very appealing safety prospect. The Gators commit and Under Armour All-American utilized his body length and good makeup speed to match up well versus some of the top receivers in the country in man-to-man coverages, but it's his ball skills and range as a high-point defender that are most impressive.
CB Lamarcus Joyner (Miami/Saint Thomas Aquinas)
While there may have been bigger skill players at the event it would be hard to find a more competitive or explosive one than Joyner. He is a savvy, feisty cornerback prospect who simply battles and consistently finds the football in coverage. He reminds us a bit of 2009 Under Armour All-American corner Greg Reid (Florida State) because both lack size but mask it well with great instincts, ball skills and recovery burst.
S Demar Dorsey (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Boyd Anderson) In a good group, Dorsey was one of the more athletic and versatile defensive backs in attendance. The Florida commit stepped up and shut down receivers in press, mirrored fluidly in off-man and showed great makeup speed recovering versus receivers like Dunkley and Ambles. The Under Armour All-American safety showed that he may be one of the more scheme-versatile DBs in the country with his shutdown speed to play corner and great range to cover the field as a high-point safety.
WR Ivan McCartney (Miramar, Fla./Miramar) McCartney looked extremely fluid and athletic all night. He may lack great top-end speed, but he can jump out of the building and had some of the best jump-ball skills in the entire receiver group.
2011 standouts to watchLuc's teammates, DBs Lamarcus Brutus and Keelin Smith
DE LaMichael Fanning (Hogansville, Ga./Callaway)
ATH Sammy Watkins (South Fort Myers, Fla.)
RB Mike Bellamy (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte)
LB A.J. Johnson (Gainesville, Fla.)
Craig Haubert is the recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has more than a decade of coaching experience. Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has close to a decade of coaching experience at the college and high school level.
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