- Jamie Newberg, RecruitingNation
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's been quite a week for Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton's Reggie Daniels. The rising junior safety received his first major offer earlier this week and then showed why he's one of the state's top defensive backs at the Under Armour combine at Scottsdale Community College.
"I thought I did very well," Daniels said. "I ran well, tested well and then I thought I did really good in the one-on-one and seven-on-seven. There was some good competition out here and I am very happy with my performance."
Montana was the first to offer Daniels a scholarship. Then he received his first BCS conference offer from Arizona State this past week.
"That's the first big one for me and it feels good," Daniels said. "I don't really know too much about them but I will soon. I am just starting to get into that stuff. I grew up a USC fan and like them, Oregon, ASU, TCU, Nebraska, UCF and Texas. Two teams that seem to be recruiting me hard are Arizona and UCF."
While Daniels is new to the recruiting process, he's hoping that will change in the coming weeks and months.
"I really haven't been anywhere yet," Daniels said. "This spring I want to get out and see some schools like TCU and UCF. I also want to camp at Oregon this summer."
On a cold and rainy morning, Daniels tested very well considering the elements. The 6-foot, 177-pounder ran a 4.66 40, had a 30-inch vertical jump, broad jumped 9'2" and had a three-cone time of 8.1 seconds. The afternoon was spent in position drills and then the competition heated up with one-on-one and seven-on-seven drills.
"He had a really good day," said Don Cox, Under Armour's defensive backs coach. "That kid has some serious potential. I mean I think he has a chance to be an All-American type of player and one of the country's best safeties. He has so much ability."
Last season as a junior, Daniels recorded 57 tackles and four interceptions while playing both safety positions.
Don't be fooled by first impression
Remember the name Zach Hoffpauir (Glendale, Ariz./Centennial). The 5-11, 194-pound safety doesn't have overwhelming size or look particularly fast. But looks can be deceiving.
"I have deceptive speed and I am a really physical player," Hoffpauir said. "People think I can't run and hit. Then they see me play. I surprise them all. I am a very aggressive player that just loves to hit. I play as about as physical as you can be out there."
Hoffpauir was very impressive at the UA combine. Many receivers had trouble just getting off the line of scrimmage. If they did, Hoffpauir played in coverage pretty well.
"He's a heck of a player," Cox said. "I see him as a strong safety/hybrid type in college."
The big question with Hoffpauir is what sport will he play? He also stars in baseball, playing catcher and center field. He missed last baseball season with an elbow injury but hit .405 as a freshman. Utah has offered him a full ride in baseball, while Montana has offered him in football.
"I love both of those sports," Hoffpauir said. "I am not sure what I will do. Maybe I can play them both. In football, I am hearing from teams like Penn State, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Cal, BYU, Duke and Army. I think Penn State is pretty close to offering me."
Don't forget about the offensive linemen
While the state of Arizona doesn't look as top heavy with offensive line prospects as last year, there are still some quality recruits. One standout is Denzell Dotson (Peoria, Ariz./Cactus). He really impressed Under Armour offensive line coach George Hegamin.
"He's the best offensive line prospects I have seen since we started this back up in January," Hegamin said. "It's not even close. I mean by far. He has an attitude and he's nasty. He has all the skills you look for and he's extremely coachable. What I also love is that he finishes his blocks so well. I didn't even have to tell him to. He just did it. That kid doesn't know how good he can become."
Dotson, 6-1½ and 301 pounds, has a Montana offer but more are sure to be on the way.
"Right now I am hearing from Oregon, Nebraska, Arizona, Miami and Tennessee," Dotson said. "I had a lot of fun out here. It feels good to perform well. You got to show no fear and be nasty or you will be beaten on the offensive line."
Another standout was Charlie Renfree (Scottsdale, Ariz./Brophy Prep). Only a sophomore, Renfree missed the morning testing because he was ill when he woke up, but wasn't going to miss everything.
"I was actually vomiting in the parking lot in the morning and knew I couldn't test," Renfree said. "Then I started to feel a little better and I wanted to compete."
Like Dotson, Renfree really impressed Hegamin.
"That kid has great technique," Hegamin said. "I was surprised to hear that he wasn't a senior because he's pretty advanced."
Renfree's older brother, Sean, is a quarterback at Duke. He's hearing from the Blue Devils as well as from many other BCS schools.
"Duke, Arizona, Arizona State, Tennessee, and Oregon State are some of the schools already recruiting me," said the 6-3, 260-pound offensive lineman.
Protect the rock
Something new at the Under Armour combines this season is the "Big Man Battle". The winners receive the "Protector of the Rock." Under Armour wanted to do something different and special for offensive and defensive linemen so they came up with two new drills. The linemen are paired together to form a team. They want to promote teamwork and test power and endurance. So they came up with two unique contests. One is called the tire flip, which each set of pairs have a continually flip over a 225 pound tire over roughly thirty yards. The other is what is called a farmer's pull, when they drag a heavy rope with a 45-pound weight at the end from one side of the field to the other.
Marcus Farria (Phoenix, Ariz./Centennial) and Joshua Stevens (Glendale, Ariz./Centennial) won the prize this weekend. Farria, 6-3½ and 226 pounds, is only a sophomore and just moved to Arizona three weeks ago from Covington, La.
"When he's taught to play the game, it's over," Hegamin said. "He's gonna be special."
QBs get passing grade
A handful of signal callers had their moments on Sunday, including Bobby Noble (Murrayville, Pa./Greenburg Central Cathlolic), Jack Nykaza (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) and sophomore lefty Brendan Smith (Tucson, Ariz./Salpointe Catholic).
"There were four to five quarterbacks that really threw well," said Ty Detmer, Under Armour's quarterbacks coach. "They all had good mechanics but then you know they have stuff they have to work on. This isn't the easiest environment because we throw so much stuff at them but it was a sound group."
Receivers make their marks
There were plenty of receivers that had good days. Just'N Thymes (Phoenix, Ariz./Hamilton), Kieren Duncan (Goodyear, Ariz./Millennium), Marquis Bundy (Anthem, Ariz./Boulder Creek), Sam Pineda (Peoria, Ariz.), Denzel Jones (Tucson, Ariz./Santa Rita) and sophomore Devon Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Brophy College) all made some big plays throughout the day.
"The one thing I was impressed with this group was that they were all coachable," said Muhsin Muhammad, Under Armour's wide receivers coach. "If you follow instructions that means you can learn. It's more than being an athlete. All of these guys wanted to learn today."
Thymes had the fastest 40 time of the day (4.6) as well as the top vertical (32.5-inches) and broad jump (9-7½).
Siaosi Feinga (Mesa, Ariz./Dobson) had a good day at the tight end position.
Young but talented
There were plenty of members of the 2013 and 2014 classes who impressed in Scottsdale. In addition to other players mentioned earlier, rising junior standouts included defensive back Jalen Ortiz (Glendale, Ariz./Centennial), cornerback Nathan Simpson (Glendale, Ariz./Centennial), and cornerback D'Amani Grayer (Chandler, Ariz./Brophy College), while running back Mathew Rodriguez (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) was also impressive for the Class of 2014.
Grayer, who played running back last season, made the switch to cornerback and didn't miss a beat.
"I really hadn't played the position in about a year but once we started playing in the drills I loosened up," Grayer said. "It kind of all came back to me."
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.