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July 8, 2010One of the nation's premier 7-on-7 tournaments wrapped up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama last weekend, where the BadgerSports Elite 7on7 tournament featured some of the top talent in the country.
Teams from across the southeast brought the best talent they had to offer. Among those talented players were a number of Auburn targets for the 2011 class.
Rivals' Southeast Recruiting Analyst Barton Simmons broke down a few of the Tigers targets on WJOX Recruiting Central Tuesday night.
One of the Tigers top defensive targets is Griffin (Ga.) defensive end Xzavier Dickson. Dickson recently named a top three of Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia, with the Tide currently in the lead.
"He is obviously a defensive lineman at the next level, but played a little tight end," Simmons said on the Birmingham-based radio show. "He's not exactly playing his college position, but it's impressive to see a guy that big go catch passes and be a threat. He's a guy that could get downfield and certainly looked the part from a physical perspective."
Rivals rates Dickson as the no. 8 defensive end in the country, and the no. 145 overall player in the country.
On the offensive side of the ball, Ocean Springs (Miss.) wide receiver Joseph Morrow was in attendance as well. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound prospect recently named Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, and Mississippi State as his top four schools, and seemed to have a solid performance at the tournament as well playing for an undermanned Mississippi team.
"I've seen Joseph a few times in the offseason, and I've been underwhelmed at times previously," Simmons said. "He's got good size and is a leaper, but this event I was really impressed with him. He had to play a lot of snaps and was in on a lot of reps, and he made a lot of plays and showed the ability to go up and get the football. He's a good football player."
Rivals rates Morrow as the no. 58 receiver nationally, and the no. 16 player in the state of Mississippi for 2011.
A player that has seen his stock rise all summer is Homewood (Ala.) running back Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah has already won two running back MVP awards at the Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa Nike camps, and was out to show he belonged once again last weekend.
"He played both ways, I'm a huge fan of Ameer," Simmons said. "He's so explosive, can start and stop on a dime, really sudden with the ball in his hands, and did all those things with the ball that we've seen all summer. He backed it all up."
Auburn is keeping an eye on the Birmingham area prospect, and is targeting Abdullah more as a corner than a running back early on. Abdullah has gotten more work at corner in recent camps, and seems to be catching on quickly.
"He even played some corner and revealed another side of his game that is appealing," Simmons said. "He can play both ways, he could play defensive back in college I believe. He's got the hips, he can back pedal, and I think he could play on offense or defense."
Rivals rates Abdullah as the no. 9 all-purpose back in the country, and the no. 14 player in the state of Alabama in 2011.
Other top Auburn targets that participated in the tournament were Madison Heights (Mich.) Madison cornerback Valdez Showers, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard safety Wayne Lyons, and Greenwood (Miss.) Amanda Elzy cornerback Jermaine Whitehead.
Showers remains very interested in Auburn, and has said he'd like to visit the Plains before the season starts.
Lyons is one of the top safeties in the country and is currently showing interest in Auburn, but in-state Florida may lead for his services.
Whitehead is one of the top athletes in the southeast, and although he's committed to Mississippi State, Auburn continues to pursue the 6-foot, 183-pound prospect on the offensive side of the ball.
The no. 2 defensive end in the country according to Rivals was scheduled to be in attendance as well, but Thomasville (Ga.) Thomas County defensive end Ray Drew couldn't make the trip. Auburn continues to be heavily in the mix for Drew.
Get a full rundown of the tournament's top performers here.