February 20, 2008

Showcase for sleepers and underclassmen

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - While there were many common names to recruiting fans in attendance at the Rivals.com Five-Star Academy and Premier Showcase on Sunday evening at Rutgers, there were also some players who came out of nowhere and some underclassmen who made an impression. Here are some sleepers to watch out for, led by New York defensive end Dillon Quinn, and some youngsters to keep an eye on.

Rutgers Five-Star Academy | N.J. Premier Showcase Hot 11

N.J. Premier Showcase Sleepers

1. DE Dillon Quinn, Pawling (N.Y.) Trinity Pawling

Checking in at 6 feet 6 and 270 pounds, Quinn had every head turning when he showed up. With a frame loaded with muscle, he looks like an NFL player already. But looking good and being a player are two different things. Quinn looked a little uncomfortable as an offensive lineman early, getting beaten once and holding his own after that. But when he switched to defensive end, he bull rushed every lineman with ease, often pancaking them. His one-handed pancake on one of the more physical linemen was a thing of beauty in the one-on-ones.

2. ATH Leon Kinnard, Baltimore (Md.) Loyola

Connecticut won't be pleased that Kinnard was so impressive at the Showcase. The Huskies were his lone offer heading into the event but the 5-foot-9, 178 pounder will draw more attention once word-of-mouth begins. Kinnard was one of the better cornerbacks in the one-on-ones and is very smooth turning his hips and changing direction.

3. WR Jeremy Crayton, Piscataway, N.J.

Crayton isn't the fastest wideout but he runs good routes and has a knack for getting open. He also has good hands and adjusts well on the football.

4. DB Darlos James, New Rochelle (N.Y.) Iona Prep

James is 5 feet 9 and 162 pounds but plays bigger and is sticky in coverage. He is fluid in his backpedal and has the quickness to run with most receivers. One-on-ones are set up for wideouts to dominate but James made his share of plays.

5. LB Vaughn Edwards, Atco (N.J.) Winslow Township

Edwards may lack ideal size as an outside linebacker but he was solid in coverage and ran very well. The linebackers were covering some very small and quick running backs at times and Edwards had some good reps.

6. DE Michael Larrow, Union, N.J.

Larrow has a good frame to build on and has quickness, he just needs to be more physical and aggressive. After a timid start, he started to get more physical and initiate contact in the one-on-ones. He's very raw, but has potential.

7. DE James Frazier, Elizabeth, N.J.

Frazier is super skinny and raw with his basketball player build, but he's also very quick and has excellent feet from playing hoops. He lacks great strength but his speed off the ball gave offensive linemen fits in the one-on-ones.

8. OL Nicholas Cattolico, Delran, N.J.

Cattolico's calves are as thick as most wide receivers waists and he's a nasty, physical lineman. His attitude came across right away in drills and he was tough to move in one-on-ones. He loves to mix it up and could be a steal for someone at guard.

9. OL Matt Couch, Camphill (Pa.) East Pennsboro

Couch is undersized and doesn't make you look twice physically as an offensive lineman just yet, but he's been coached very well. He keeps his feet, anchors well and uses his arms to keep defenders off balance. He was one of the more effective offensive linemen at the event.

10. DB Derrick Thomas, Greenbelt (Md.) Eleanor Roosevelt

Thomas has good size and could end up as a safety in college. He wanted as many reps as he could get, stayed with most of the wideouts and played the ball well. He could be this year's Roosevelt player who blows up.

N.J. Premier Showcase Top Underclassmen

1. QB Malik Stokes, Philadelphia (Pa.) Northeast

It wasn't a strong group of quarterbacks in attendance and Stokes, the younger brother of Je'Ron, might have been the best. Part of that could have been that he and his brother hooked up as much as possible, but even when he was throwing to someone else his spiral was tight and the ball got there fast.

2. RB Corey Brown, Springfield (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara

It's hard to gauge the running backs and linebackers at these events, but Brown showed quickness, good hands and the ability to shake defenders when running pass routes. He'll be one to watch for 2010.

3. DB Jordan Haden, Fort Washington (Md.) Friendly

Haden, the younger brother of Florida cornerback Joe Haden and of Boston College running back Josh Haden, is bigger than either at the same stage at 6-foot-0 and 195 pounds. He played defensive back and was erratic but his true position down the line is linebacker and he showed the hips and quickness to be a very good one for 2010.

4. WR Najee Salaam, Passaic, N.J.

Salaam is already huge for a 2010 checking in at 6-foot-3 and 179 pounds and he uses his body well. He has long arms, can shield defenders and will only get better as he gets bigger and faster. He's very raw right now when it comes to route running and catching the ball, but he could be a monster in another year.

5. LB Ryan Cobb, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep

Cobb has been compared by some to Boston College linebacker Brian Toal at the same stage of development. While that's a stretch, his potential is enormous as he can run, change direction and close well.


...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!