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March 16, 2008MATTHEWS, N.C. - The Rivals.com Five-Star Academy hit the Charlotte area on Saturday afternoon and the turnout was impressive with nearly 200 players making an appearance. Although this was only the second year the event was held in North Carolina, prospects turned out in droves to learn about the recruiting process and gain more exposure. Led by Gastonia (N.C.) Ashbrook wide receiver Jheranie Boyd, a potential national top 50 recruit, there were many good-looking players on hand.
Matthews (N.C.) Butler head coach Mike Newsome spoke to the players about how to handle the recruiting process from how to present yourself to coaches who visit school to balancing academics and athletics. One of Newsome's star players from last season, Notre Dame-bound safety Robert Blanton, also spoke to the prospects regarding his experience with the process last year and trainers from local facility VTO Sports talked about the hard work required to reach the next level and gaining additional exposure.
Boyd, who measured in at 6 feet 2 and 184 pounds, has everything you want in a wide receiver physically. He has room to grow on his frame, long arms, big hands and terrific enthusiasm and character. He wanted to flash his jumping ability messing around outside after many heard about his 44-inch vertical but he's nursing a slight foot injury and was advised against it. Boyd has numerous offers already from schools like Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina and NC State but expect many others, including some large national programs, to jump on board soon.
Charlotte (N.C.) Independence safety DeVonte Holloman was one of the most impressive looking players with his 6-foot-2, 213-pound frame and a strong build. Georgia has had much success in luring away Independence players recently but Holloman is wide open and has offers from LSU, Notre Dame, Clemson, Tennessee and others. Holloman looks like he'll grow into a linebacker before he's done in college.
Schools looking for a fair-sized cornerback will be impressed with Norwood (N.C.) South Stanly standout Terry Shankle who checked in at 5 feet 10 and 167 pounds with plenty of room to add weight. Shankle still needs to fill out, but he could be a 185- to 190-pound corner in college. Alabama has pushed hard early along with North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina, Tennessee and others.
The crop from South Carolina was perhaps even more impressive overall when it comes to the eyeball test. Greenwood, S.C. safety D.J. Swearinger is a brick of a safety at 6 feet and 195 pounds with a large upper body. Swearinger is looking to add to his two current offers from Illinois and Vanderbilt and should top out at about 215 pounds.
Arguably the most physically impressive player on hand was Florence (S.C.) West Florence defensive end Malliciah Goodman who measured 6 feet 4 and 258 pounds and looks like everything you'd draw up for a strongside end. Goodman has very long arms, huge hands and a great frame that looks lean despite his impressive measurements. His teammate, Sydney Sarmiento, who plays defensive end as well, also looked the part although he was overshadowed by Goodman. Sarmiento still checked in at a solid 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds.
Also physically impressive was Raleigh (N.C.) Southeast Raleigh running back Kevin Howell who is a brick at 5 feet 9 and 197 pounds. He has a Wake Forest offer. And Howell has two massive teammates in 2009 offensive tackle Marcus Gaines-Cherry and 2010 offensive guard Daniel McCullers. Gaines-Cherry measured in at 6 feet 6 and 254 pounds while McCullers was 6 feet 6 and 373 pounds. Neither has an offer as of yet but are getting a lot of interest. Another Southeast Raleigh 2010 prospect, linebacker Kendall Moore, looked big for his age at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds.
Speaking of big, Chapel Hill, N.C. offensive tackle Robert Crisp was the tallest player at the event at 6 feet 8 and 293 pounds. He's only a 2010 prospect but is getting serious early interest.
Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road wideout Zach Greene, who has an NC State offer, has grown slightly since he came to the event last year and is now 5 feet 10 and 160 pounds. Linebacker Josh McMahan from Statesville (N.C.) North Iredell, who was also at last year's event, looked good at 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds.
Two Charlotte products, Charlotte Catholic tight end Tucker Windle and Mallard Creek cornerback Josh Hunter also lived up to their physical billing. Windle measured 6 feet 3 and 221 pounds and has offers from Virginia, Wake Forest and Wisconsin while Hunter checked in at 6 feet 2 and 172 pounds. Hunter has an offer from Duke.
As always, there were a few players not so much on the radar who looked the part. Charlotte (N.C.) Olympic defensive end Jonathan Stradford looked good at 6 feet 4 and could end up as a linebacker for someone at 196 pounds. Charlotte (N.C.) West Charlotte defensive tackle Curtis Porter also looked the part at 6 feet 2 and 334 pounds.
Look for more on the Charlotte Five-Star Academy over the next few days on Rivals.com.