There may not have been one overwhelming performance at this past weekends Nike camp in Miami but there were still several players who shined all camp long making it very tough to pick a camp MVP. The wide receiver position was arguably the strongest in the camp and that's where we decided to go for our choice as the top player in the event.
The criteria for our camp MVP is two fold- a player who does well in both the testing and football portions of the camp. Some players test off the charts but can't play the game while others stand out in the position drills but don't test well enough to gain consideration for camp MVP honors.
Following the testing portion of the camp and position drills, Homestead (Fla.) linebacker Maurice Harris looked like the leading candidate for camp MVP. He tested off the charts earning the top SPARQ Rating of the day (90.91) and looked smooth and active in the position drills. Although he performed well in the one on one drills as well, Harris finished as the No. 3 LB in the event according to our lead LB coach Chris Gizzi and came up just a little short.
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There were several very good linemen on both sides of the ball and had mammoth tackle Kevin Bryant, 6-6, 380 pounds out of Hallandale (Fla.) worked out (said sore hamstring limited his mobility, still did camp best 39 reps on the bench) who knows what might have happened. One scout in the area told us he feels Bryant might be the state's best offensive and defensive lineman.
When the one on one drills kicked off, we watched the linemen go at it for a bit and then flocked over to the wide receiver/defensive backs. Our lead WR coach, Tom Shaw, had told us earlier that there were three receivers who were really turning heads for him.
Those three were Jermaine McKenzie from Bradenton Academy (Fla.), Taurus McKinley out of Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central and Alphonso Bryant from Homestead (Fla.).
"All three of those kids are big time," Shaw said. "It's tough to pick one who is the best in the group but all three of those kids can really play. All three can run, have good hands and are aggressive going after the ball."
We arrived just in time to see Bryant streak right past a defender for an easy touchdown and a few players later, make an incredible leaping reception jumping over the defender who had blanket coverage on him. At a rock solid 6-0, 190 pounds, Bryant tested off the charts as well running a 4.46-40, 4.28 in the shuttle, jumped 33 inches in the vertical and did 21 reps on the bench and his 84.65 SPARQ Rating will be one of the best of any receiver test this year.
So after taking everything in and talking to the rest of the staff, we decided Bryant deserved the honor of camp MVP.
"Wow, I was never expecting that," an excited Bryant said Monday morning. "My main goal coming in was to improve on every one of my marks from the camp last year and to try and learn something to help me become a better player. I worked really hard in the off-season, especially on my strength and improved my bench reps from 14 to 21. I also learned a lot about what I need to work more on like route running and things like that.
"I had a great time at the camp and it's a great experience to be able to come out and showcase our skills. I was a little nervous last year but I was more relaxed coming in to the event this year because I knew how everything was going to be so I could just go out there and compete hard. There were some real good defensive backs out here and it was fun competing against them."
Bryant was on the Rivals.com pre-season 100 to watch team and has been on the all-Dade team since his sophomore year. We love his combination of size, speed and athleticism and feel he has every tool to be a big time college player in a few years. On the recruiting front, the receiver has received several offers already and told us six schools stand out right now.
"Miami is my top school followed by Florida State, Florida, Clemson, USC and LSU," Bryant said. "I have offers from Miami, Florida St,ate Florida, South Carolina and Pittsburgh and letters from just about everywhere else. I want to take my trips and go through the recruiting process before I make a commitment anywhere."