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April 19, 2004

Breaking down the Columbus NIKE Camp

COLUMBUS, Ohio - If you were looking for the catches of the day this past Saturday, then your local pond or lake wasn't the place to be. The Columbus NIKE Training Camp at Ohio State would have been your best bet, because numerous blue-chip receivers on hand. From the looks of it, college coaches won't let any of these lunkers get away.

Keepers like Ryan Allison of Lake Orion, Mich., Ryan Dawson of Parkersburgh (W.V.) South, Donald Washington III of Indianapolis Franklin Central and Talonnie Russell and David Grimes of Detroit St. Martin DePorres were abundant, but they weren't the only big fish that are highlighted in this Rivals100.com breakdown of the second NIKE Training Camp for 2004.

Quarterbacks
While there probably weren't any five-star quarterbacks on hand, several quarterbacks could potentially become high-level national recruits by the time they are finished, and each had a good camp in one way or the other.

Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier quarterback Rob Schoenhoft was one of the most impressive looking quarterbacks from a physical standpoint. With his frame, he almost looked like a tight end. Still, he did posses a good throwing motion and was able to put the ball in the right spots time after time in one-on-one situations and throughout the drills.

Pittsburgh Seton-LaSalle quarterback Bill Stull also looked extremely impressive. His build was more like what you'd think of with a quarterback and he was extremely eager to learn from the NIKE Training Camp coaches.

He didn't have the strongest arm of the camp, but when it came to the little things, Stull delivered and looked like the type of quarterback who should have plenty of scholarship offers by the time recruiting ends the spring evaluation period.

Jason Forcier of San Diego Saint Augustine was making unofficial visits to several schools throughout the Midwest and ended up at Ohio State on Saturday. He did nothing to take away from the thought that he'll be one of California's best quarterbacks.

Forcier threw what rivaled Schoenhoft for the prettiest ball at the camp and his mechanics were impeccable. He said after the camp that he would like to get out of California and play somewhere in the Midwest.

Antonio Bass is already known as one of the top two or three players overall in the state of Michigan, and he didn't disappoint on Saturday. While he wasn't truly in his realm as a passer, there is little doubt that Bass has some amazing physical ability and looks like he can step on the field right away.

He just didn't get to showcase his true ability as a dual-threat athlete because of the passing technique drills, but there is little doubt he's still one of the nation's best quarterback/athletes.

Other quarterbacks who impressed included Orville, Ohio, standout Tim Hiller and Pemberville (Ohio) Eastwood Kevin Leady.

Running backs
Two guys stole the show at the running back position, and it's no surprise that both are being highly recruited.

Dayton (Ohio) Chaminade-Julienne running back Javon Ringer turned in one of the best overall testing phases of the camp.

The 5-foot-9, 186-pound rusher clocked a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, a camp-best 3.87-second shuttle, jumped 36.9 inches in the vertical and had 20 reps in the bench press. He then carried over that impressiveness in the drills and in one-on-ones. You can see now why he's considered one of Ohio's top overall players.

Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain standout Mister Simpson sat out of the drills because he tweaked a muscle testing, but after putting up 31 in the bench-press there was little doubt as to why he rivals Ringer as one of the top backs in the state.

Another impressive back was Jay Oakley of Greensboro (N.C.) Ben L. Smith. He clocked in at 4.5-seconds in the 40-yard dash, and he was solid in the drills portion of the camp. With his impressive physique he almost looked like a fullback, yet wherever he ends up, he'll make a college coach happy.

Wide receivers/tight ends
Speed was the name of the game at the receiver's position as nobody could believe that Lake Orion, Mich., receiver Ryan Allison clocked in with a time of 4.28 seconds, so he then tested again and clocked in at 4.31.

"It is kind of funny," Allison said. "When I was lining up at there, everybody thought they would be able to stick right with me, but I was running right past them. I guess people didn't respect my speed."

But the end of the one-on-one drills, respect had been earned. Cornerbacks often gave him a five-yard cushion instead of the bump-and-run coverage that seemed the norm throughout the camp.

At least six Division I receivers on hand at the camp, including Detroit St. Martin DePorres teammates David Grimes and Talonnie Russell.

Grimes and Russell weren't the biggest, and they didn't bust out the best 40-yard dash times of the camp (Russell had a 4.5), but when it came to catching they were unmatched. Grimes had a pair of soft hands that seemed to be able to snag about every dart thrown his way. Russell put on a cut-back move on a defender after a catch that would make Barry Sanders proud.

Donald Washington III from Indianapolis Franklin Central looked silky smooth in drills and showed why he's one of the Midwest's best receivers. Keith Massey of Columbus (Ohio) Marion Franklin had amazing ability to cut on his routes, and Otis Wiley of Carman (Mich.) Ainsworth looked the part and did have several good catches, but seemed like he would be more comfortable at the safety position.

Two of the camps' biggest surprises came from Marion Franklin athlete Alex Daniels and Parkersburg (W.V.) South star Ryan Dawson, who worked out with the receivers. Not much was known about either player heading into the camp, but they showed that they are going to be high-level recruits with their performances on Saturday.

That's especially true for Daniels. Simply put, he is a freak.

Daniels looked all of his 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and timed in at 4.5-seconds in the 40. What was even more impressive is that this big guy was out running with the receivers and beating defenders in drills. His hands weren't the best, but with his frame and ability to play all over the field, he might find a home on defense - maybe outside linebacker on the next level.

He didn't test in the bench because of a strained shoulder that he suffered in track, but there is little doubting from his physique that he would have easily put up 185 pounds more than 25 times.

Dawson timed in at 4.5 seconds in the 40 and was extremely physical and hard to match up with. You'll be hard pressed to find a better player in the state of West Virginia after seeing what Dawson did on Saturday.

Offensive and defensive lines
Coming into the camp, everybody knew about Lakeview (Ohio) St. Edward offensive tackle Alex Boone, and the big guy didn't disappoint again Saturday. Well, he did disappoint himself, actually.

Boone, who is Rivals100.com's early pick for the top offensive tackle in the nation, ran a 5.1, which was disappointing, according to him. Still there was little doubt that he was the top lineman at the camp and could have been the top overall player at the camp easily.

Yet Boone wasn't the only lineman at the camp to take a big step forward.

Another Ohio offensive lineman who got the attention of many in attendance was Zach Hennis from Plain City Jonathan Alder. On size alone Hennis was hard to miss. He measured 6-foot-7 and weighed in at 309 pounds. Hennis ran a respectable 5.31 40-yard dash, and his other time wasn't too shabby, either, at 5.38. He also looked great in one-on-one drills and his footwork was impressive.

While he wasn't the tallest lineman at the camp, Covington (Ky.) Catholic offensive guard Mike Donoghue was extremely strong and showed amazing footwork. He was almost always able to get his feet into the right positions to keep up with the speed rush and when he was able to lock on, he'd use his big-barreled arms to push the defender away.

Linebackers
The linebacker position wasn't one of the strongest at the camp, but a few did impress, including Shaker Heights, Ohio, standout Nick Simon and Highland Park, Ill., inside backer Scott Smith.

Simon looks like he's added a few more pounds of muscle since Rivals100.com evaluated him this past fall. He was an animal in drills with his aggressive nature and nose for a football. Look for Smith's stock to continue to soar after an impressive showing Saturday.

Defensive backs
Dayton (Ohio) Chaminade-Julienne cornerback Brandon Harrison clocked in at a blazing 4.28 seconds in the 40 and he was also one of the most physical defenders at the camp. He used his strong upper body, great feet and ability to close on the ball to lock down the receivers in position drills.

He was named the camp's most valuable player.

"I like to play physical," Harrison said. "I like to get up in the guy's face and use my strength to push him off his route. Then I can keep up with him and close and make the interception. But I love to be physical at the line of scrimmage and then let my speed take over."

Like the receiver spot, the defensive backs were loaded with high-level Division I talent.

Rivals100 selection Melvin Rice of Chicago Morgan Park looked amazing in the drills and his frame and build make him able to match-up against extremely physical receivers. While he didn't run the best time that he wanted at 4.5 seconds, it's still clear that he's going to be a very impressive lockdown corner in college.

His teammate, Pagel Williams, didn't look too shabby either. Even though his specialty is returning punts and kicks, Williams showed that he has the ability to be a solid coverage man too. The biggest question with him is his height, because he is under 5-foot-10.

David Jones of Belfry, Ky., was talked about as being one of the best players in the Bluegrass State and he didn't disappoint. His physical build and frame make him an ideal cornerback prospect. Brad Jones of Canton McKinley doesn't havee blazing speed with a 4.6-second time in the 40, but he more than hold his own. With his size - at more than 6-feet - he could even project as a safety prospect.

For expanded coverage of the Columbus NIKE Training Camp, you should check out StudentSports.com. Access to StudentSports.com requires an additional membership. Coming Soon! The best is getting better. The Rivals.com Recruiting Database will include all authentic data from this summer's NIKE Training Camp schedule.


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