Scout's take on Columbus NFTC
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- While not everyone expected to be in attendance arrived to perform at Saturday's Nike Football Training Camp, several high-profile prospects did show up, albeit a tad bit late, but nonetheless ready to work out. This weekend's camp featured a very impressive group of defensive lineman, some surprises on the offensive line including some underclassmen, as well as some very good prospects in the secondary.
This was a camp that also showcased many players who are right on the cusp of being BCS-caliber prospects, but at this time hold mostly non-BCS conference offers. However, we expect that to change with the spring evaluation period coming to an end for college coaches.
Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech is loaded
While ESPNU 150 Watch List LB Royce Jenkins-Stone missed the trip, many of his teammates did not and they stood out from the crowd. CB Terry Richardson was late to the party, but wasted little time becoming acclimated. What Richardson lacks in bulk, he makes up for in speed, feet like a sewing machine needle and smooth, fluid hips. What you really like about him is his willingness to get up in your face and be physical -- something his stature would lead you to believe he is not capable of. He is a pure cover guy who is more than willing in run support, which ups his stock.
Ruben Lile has spent time at both cornerback and safety, but we feel he is going to be a safety at the next level. Tall and fluid, Lile certainly looks the part. He is high cut with thin ankles and has great feet. He is a cover safety who has the height and frame to add bulk and strength and really come up and fill the alley from the high point. His recruitment continues to heat up. DT Darryl Goldsmith may not look the part physically, and we feel he could end up being an OG, but he displayed surprising get off in one-on-ones.
As it is every year it seems, Cass Tech just churns out quality prospects and next year's group will feature two offensive linemen in OTs David Dawson and Dennis Finley both of whom possess the necessary measurables, footwork and overall strength to garner early recruiting interest. Both held their own versus some pretty impressive upperclassmen in one-on-ones.
Cincinnati (Ohio) Taft well represented
WR Dwayne Stanford is tall, lean, fluid and deceptively fast. He is one of those guys who does not look like he is moving all that fast, yet he tracks the deep ball and separates. He is not a burner overall, but shows flashes. At times, he would lose focus and had some drops on easy balls. He is very competitive in a crowd which is where he will likely flourish at the next level especially when he spends significant time in the weightroom. Overall as a route runner, Stanford will surprise you with his ability to get in and out of breaks for a taller receiver.
Sleeper wide receiver
ATH Maurice Fleming (Chicago, Ill./Curie) was one of the best athletes in attendance despite being a lesser known prospect from an exposure standpoint. Fleming has been a Wildcat QB strictly under center for his skills as a runner and athlete, but Saturday joined the WR ranks and really stood out. He is explosive and rapidly reaches top gear. He is a natural athlete who made a smooth transition and his balls skills were excellent for a guy with limited experience on the receiving end of the ball. He may have been the best overall wide receiver in attendance.
Defensive backs shine
As mentioned, Richardson was as advertised, but two Trotwood (Ohio) Trotwood-Madison DBs also stood out in 2012 safety/outside linebacker hybrid Bam Bradley and 2013 CB Cameron Burrows. There is no doubt Bradley will end up as a strong safety or outside linebacker with his sturdy build and physical style of play. Burrows is a great looking player who is going to be a heavily recruited player as a CB/S due to his size, sleek build and change-of-direction skills.
More defensive linemen
DE Se'Von Pittman (Canton, Ohio/McKinley) played opposite of Steve Miller last year and is a really good looking, sleek athlete. He is trim and very well built, particularly in the upper body. He lacks ideal bulk and strength below the waist (if he had Washington's lower body he would have ideal DE measurables), but that is what the weightroom is for.
Unfortunately, DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (Centerville Ohio/Centerville) or mini-Clowney, as we call him, did not show.
DT Sheldon Day (Indianapolis, Ind./ Warren Central) has got some real explosiveness to his first step and despite carrying less than ideal weight for a DT, he displayed very good overall strength and hand usage. He is consistent, productive and showed in person what we saw on tape.
ATH David Perkins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) looked great off the edge, but should have participated with the linebackers Saturday because he lacks the necessary height, weight and strength to hold up on the line of scrimmage. However, his speed, first-step quickness and range ranked him amongst the best defensive front seven prospects on hand.
DT Ondre Pipkins (Kansas City, Mo./Park Hill) is a load as a tackle who is a pure two-gapper with surprising first-step quickness to give you some upfield push. He is going to need to be careful with his weight and may not always be an every-down player, but he appeared to be in pretty good shape.
An under-the-radar player was DE Langston Newton (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) who possessed a similar appearance to Pittman and also a similar skill set and we are curious as to why he has received marginal attention to this point.
DT Dan O'Brien (Flint, Mich./Powers Catholic) is a load who plays with such leverage and strength, he can overwhelm you at the point of attack. We love his motor.
The two youngsters from Cass Tech were impressive, but so were two offensive guards in Joseph Spencer (Mason, Ohio/William Mason) and Scott Taylor (Woodstock, Ill./Marion Central Catholic). Both held their own, played with a good base, bent at the knees, showed upper-body strength and were able to re-set and adjust to counter moves.
Better late than never
ILB James Ross (Orchard Lake, Mich./St. Mary's) missed the initial round of SPARQ training stations, but arrived in time to participate in positions drills. On tape, Ross is your ideal run-stopper between the tackles, but displayed a little more hip fluidity in space on Saturday, which has been a concern of ours. He is active and plays with a motor, but may not be a sideline-to-sideline range guy at the next level. He is well built and without a doubt can continue to add significant bulk to hold up in the box at the next level as an inside plugger.
Tom Luginbill is ESPN's national director of football recruiting.
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