Carver's championship run
QB Johnson and WR Pitts lead Carver High School to National Select 7-on-7 title
HOOVER, Ala. -- Saturday marked the final day of the National Select 7-on-7 Tournament and, with a resilient effort, Carver High School (Montgomery, Ala.) was crowned the champions. Carver took home the 2010 title by defeating a talented McGill-Toolen Catholic from Mobile, Ala., two times at the end of the tournament.
Carver's unexpected connectionThe Wolverines' explosive, fast-tempo offense was tough to stop throughout the tournament. While many players stepped up along the way, the offense was led by a rising sophomore quarterback and a sleeper wide receiver prospect. Jeremy Johnson was the field general for the champs and, despite his inexperience, displayed great poise throughout, in particular in the final championship-round games. He has a tall and lean frame which needs to be developed along with his mechanics, but Johnson has a lot of tools to work with. While not always pretty in his delivery, he flashes a lively arm with good underneath touch and zip. The underclassman, who will be a starter for the first time this season, showed very good field awareness and feel for the passing game that hints of major production this fall.
One of Johnson's main targets, particularly in the red zone, was 2011 wide receiver Antonio Pitts. The younger brother of two former all-state players at Carver, Pitts does not have ideal size but brings great hands, concentration and jump-ball skills to the position. He may be currently overlooked on the recruiting trail because he has no offers at this time, but could be a late bloomer and nice little steal for a program.
Versatile athleteOlive Branch (Olive Branch, Miss.) had a great showing in the tournament and one of its better prospects was safety Torey Gill. The dynamic receiver/safety made a ton of plays on both sides of the ball and may get recruited as an athlete. Offensively, he made several big grabs, showing soft hands and a knack for finding space as a route-runner. However, it was on defense where he made the most significant contributions. The instinctive safety was very sound, reading the quarterback and anticipating routes. He demonstrated good breaking quickness, range and ball skills in coming up with a few key interceptions on the final day of play. He said Southern Miss and Mississippi State are both showing interest and we would not be surprised if more schools started getting in the mix.
Mr. Smith does it allCarver faced a tough challenge in the championship round versus a highly seeded McGill-Toolen (Mobile, Ala.) squad. The march to the championship game for this program was marked by good team play and a few standout individual performances. One prospect who really intrigued us was rising sophomore athlete Jason Smith, who made a lot of plays as a wide receiver. His hands were excellent, particularly when he needed to extend away from his frame to pluck the difficult grab in traffic. He showed good quickness as a route-runner as well as striking explosiveness in getting upfield after the catch. Despite his big-play ability at receiver, it appears Smith is headed behind center next season. However, we still feel he would be best-suited catching passes in college and not throwing them.
Frazier gets in rhythmShiloh Christian School (Springdale, Ark.) did not advance far in tournament play but Kiehl Frazier certainly got in sync with his receivers after missing some early time due to his participation in the ESPN RISE Elite 11 QB camp. The Auburn commit made all the college throws with accuracy and zip on underneath passes. He fit a lot of throws into tight spots of coverage and showed really good ball placement over the top of coverage on vertical routes. Aside from spreading out the ball efficiently with his fluid release, Frazier physically looked the part. He has a tall, athletically built frame that is college-ready.
Dynamic duoOne team from Ohio that fell short in the final rounds, but made a strong run, was Kenton High School (Kenton, Ohio). The Wildcats were led by a rising junior with a last name likely familiar to many college football fans. Matt Mauk, who is the younger brother of former Wake Forest and Cincinnati signal caller Ben, will quickly make a name for himself with performances like the one he put up on Saturday. He lacks great overall size at this time, but gets rid of the ball quickly with good RPMs and zip. The 2012 quarterback stated that he already has some offers, including from Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Ball State. One of his main targets throughout the tourney was 2011 wide receiver Max Morrison, who boasts an offer from Air Force. A potential sleeper, Morrison is a precise route-runner and real savvy competitor. He's wasn't the biggest or the fastest out there, but he's receiver with a lot of intangibles between the white lines.
Notes• Charone Peake (Reobuck, S.C./Dorman) continued to be the most impressive college prospect in attendance. On Saturday he showed off his long wingspan and body control, making a few acrobatic jump-ball grabs. Peake also displayed some great shake and elusiveness after the catch, showing the skills that make this 6-3 Clemson commit such a dynamic receiver prospect.
• Damian Swann (Atlanta/Grady) played more safety on Saturday, displaying his great range and instincts. He continued to show that being on the offensive end is not out of the question at the next level with his great ball skills that included a spectacular, one-handed grab in the end zone.
Craig Haubert is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has more than a decade of coaching experience. Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has close to a decade of coaching experience at the college and high school levels.