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Garcia's Takeaways: OL steals the show at Rivals Camp Series in Miami

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Rivals Camp Series spent the weekend in South Florida and the typically loaded event was just that on Sunday. The entire state of Florida, and beyond, was represented by a deep group of participants. Let’s look into some of the takeaways from the camp:


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In preparing for the Miami-area event, there was probably an expectation to see depth at key positions like quarterback, wide receiver and even defensive back. But the offensive line group set the tone early on with a deep group of competitors, from elite talents like offensive tackle Ziyare Addison backing up lofty rankings to mid-level prospects showing they deserve a quick rise up the list during the next update.

Look no further than Sanford (Fla.) Seminole interior projection Max Buchanan, who held off Addison for MVP honors in a very close call. He won just about every rep he took and showed why programs like Clemson, Miami, Florida State, Ole Miss and Penn State are working on landing his commitment.

Like Addison and Buchanon, fellow rising-senior Gavin Blanchard looked incredibly consistent up front.

The class of 2026 group represented, too, with standout showings from Chancellor Barclay, Canon Pickett and Gabriel Osenda.


Michael Clayton II
Michael Clayton II

The state isn’t historically known for producing quarterbacks but that is slowly changing, and the group that competed Sunday will continue that trend. Four-star Michael Clayton took home MVP honors, but he was pushed by Penn State commitment Bekkem Kritza and fellow blue-chippers like Brady Hart, Dereon Coleman and others.

Even younger talent turned heads at the position, too, led by 2028 arm Neimann Lawrence. The young gun lived up to the hype and then some with his showing on Sunday. In the 2027 group, a pair from Central Florida made waves in Lake Minneola’s William Jackson and Tampa-area standout Joaquin Kavouklis, along with local talent Zach Katz, among others.

This run of highly-recruited quarterbacks in the Sunshine State shows no signs of slowing down.


The most anticipated group to take the field did not disappoint in the high-end talent or depth departments. There wasn’t a position in which we had a harder time selecting not only the MVP, but even the contenders because it could have ballooned to double-digits despite a strong secondary group combating the pass-catchers. Four-star talent Vernell Brown III took home the trophy in the end, edging Auburn commitment Denairius Gray and fellow blue-chipper Koby Howard near the top of the list.

The other contenders would have likely been closer to the MVP conversation in other settings. Kayden Dixon-Wyatt, Winston Watkins, Waden Charles, Julius Jones Jr., Larry Miles and Preston Parker Jr. each had head-turning moments in their own right. Combined with the strong quarterback unit, it was not the ideal day to be a defensive back in south Florida.


Derrek Cooper
Derrek Cooper

Projecting prospects who come up playing all over the field in a place like South Florida is as fluid as it gets. Many are tabbed athletes for simple reasons, like great skill at multiple positions. Then some take it to another level, something onlookers saw in real time Sunday. Class of 2026 athlete Derrek Cooper worked out at running back and took home MVP honors despite experience at wide receiver and SEC scholarship offers to play defense. More time at another position could have helped the coveted sophomore contend for more honors.

Right behind Cooper was fellow 2026 Jordan Campbell, who took reps at running back, wide receiver, tight end and even on defense. The Miami commitment is likely to play defense at the next level after breaking out as a pass rusher in 2023. Other two-way, do-it-all recruits who made play after play Sunday included talent from throughout the state in Orange City (Fla.) University’s Jermane Hayes, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood’s O’Lantae Dean and Davie (Fla.) Western’s Samuel Mitchel IV, who earned his ticket to Sunday with an impressive combine showing on Saturday.



Not only did lesser-known or unrated recruits show well on Sunday against a more coveted group of prospects, but one nearly took home positional MVP in cornerback Leonzay Merzius. The Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna junior was physical at the line of scrimmage, even more at the catch point while working a technically-sound game from a leverage standpoint. He has just one offer to date from Ohio. No disrespect to the Bobcats, but they won’t be alone on the list when all is said and done.

Each position group had onlookers looking back at rosters. On the offensive line, Noah Devine worked with a lot of grit and leverage in winning the majority of his reps. On the other side, Alex Yearwood looks like he could be a strong late find for a program. On the skill side, combine invite Antwaun Parham looks built like a college receiver right now, making big plays down the field at the catch point. Defensive back Kallen Martinez, now at IMG Academy, is another without stars who not only looked the part at a lengthy 6-foot-1, but he made plays working downhill against a variety of pass-catchers.