Battling it out in Buckeye State
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Nike Football Training Camp was held on Saturday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on the Ohio State University campus. The camp drew about 300 participants, including some of the top prospects in the Midwest.
Defensive backs shine
Arguably the top two safety prospects in the Midwest worked out at Ohio State. Ron Tanner (Columbus, Ohio/Eastmoor) and Eilar Hardy (Pickerington, Ohio/Central) showed why they are ranked so highly. Tanner looked a shade faster and seemed to have slightly better coverage skills than Hardy. On the other hand, Hardy is a bit taller and seems to have slightly better range. Both are instinctive and constantly around the ball.
Cornerback prospects who performed well included Michigan commit Delonte Hollowell (Detroit/Cass Tech), who made some nice plays and showed good instincts. Michael Hollins (Maple Heights, Ohio/Maple Heights) is perhaps a bit overshadowed by his teammate, quarterback/athlete Shaq Washington, but Hollins showed on Saturday that he, too, can play. Hollins is not real big but has good speed and solid cover skills and was named the defensive backs MVP for the camp.
Linebackers make their mark
Two prospects stood out among the linebackers, one from the Buckeye State and one who traveled north from Kentucky for the camp.
Steven Daniels (Cincinnati/St. Xavier) showed why he has more than a dozen scholarship offers. At 6-foot-1, 232 pounds, Daniels did not look much different from many of the other linebackers. That is, until the drill started. Daniels could not be blocked by a running back during one-on-one drills and found the ball in a hurry. He showed good closing speed and was very physical.
As good as Daniels was, Lamar Dawson (Danville, Ky./Boyle County) might have been even better. Dawson measured in at 6-2 and 232 pounds but looked even bigger. He certainly played big. Dawson took on blockers well, was able to track down running backs on the perimeter and made plays in coverage en route to the linebackers MVP award.
As the 2011 offensive and defensive linemen clashed, no player stood out above the others, but a number of prospects had solid showings.
On the offensive side of the ball, Ohio State commitment Tommy Brown (Akron, Ohio/Firestone), Chris Boles (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) and Geoff Mogus (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) all had their moments, although none is a finished product at this point.
On the other side of the ball, defensive tackle Kevin Williams (Holland, Ohio/Springfield) and defensive tackle Michael Rouse (Homewood-Flossmoor) played well. At 6-1, Williams is not as tall as the prototypical defensive tackle prospect, but the Nebraska commit is quick and has a great motor. Rouse, at 6-4, 302 pounds, is more of an inside run-stopper who is strong and physical at the point of attack. Rouse has an offer from Purdue with others likely to follow.
A number of the top prospects from Michigan made their way south to Ohio State on Saturday, including wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett (Saginaw, Mich./Saginaw). The ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect has approximately two dozen scholarship offers and showed why. Arnett has great speed and acceleration, stops and starts on a dime and has good hands. He was co-MVP for the wide receivers.
Running back Justice Hayes (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) showed outstanding speed during a number of the drills. He is a bit slender but will get bigger and stronger and has the potential to be a star in college.
Hollowell (Detroit/Cass Tech), as previously noted, was among a talented group of defensive backs. He made one of the best plays of the day with a spectacular one-handed interception on a long pass play.
Taiwan Jones (New Baltimore, Mich./Anchor Bay), who often lines up at safety, worked out with the linebackers and showed the ability to effectively drop into coverage. He has a linebacker's body that is almost Big Ten-ready right now. Jones seems likely to play that position in college.
An unheralded linebacker who looked good was Devonte Snyder (Madison Heights, Mich./Madison Heights). Snyder is looking for his first scholarship offer, but based on his performance Saturday, it should come. The 6-2, 216-pound Snyder dropped into coverage well in drills and was very physical in the one-on-one battles.
Super sophs make their mark
There was a standout group of sophomores in Columbus on Saturday, led by defensive lineman Chris Wormley (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer). The 6-5, 254-pound Wormley passed the look test like few prospects can and showed great speed and power. Wormley looked like a man among boys, even though most of the prospects he went up against were older than he was. In his first one-on-one matchup, he breezed by his opponent. On the next one, he ran over him. It was an impressive showing.
Not far behind Wormley was defensive end Adolphus Washington (Cincinnati/Taft). The 6-4, 240-pound Washington flashed both power and speed, but it was his speed that really stood out. He was able to run down prospects with ease during one of the drills.
Linebacker Kaleb Ringer (Clayton, Ohio/Northmont) is a physical linebacker who ran well and showed he could stay with running backs on the perimeter. Ringer is another sophomore who will land many scholarship offers before all is said and done.
Defensive end LaTroy Lewis (Akron, Ohio/Hoban) was a fourth sophomore from the Buckeye State to stand out on Saturday. The 6-4, 230-pound Lewis showed the ability to beat offensive linemen in the one-on-one competitions.
Jamare Mills (Dublin, Ohio/Scioto) has said that he prefers to play tight end in college. Although some recruiters are thinking offensive or defensive line, Mills worked out with the tight ends on Saturday and looked sharp. He seems to have lost some weight since the last time we saw him and ran well. He was able to find the open spots in the defense during drills and showed he can catch the ball. Mills has a scholarship offer from Minnesota.
Bill Kurelic covers recruiting for ESPN affiliates Nittanynetwork.com, Bucknuts.com and Spartantailgate.com.
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