Sunday April 6 is an exciting day for recruiting fanatics. It marks the kickoff of the most prestigious camp circuit in the country, the NIKE Football Training Camps. And what better spot to kick things off than on the campus of the University of Miami where the top players in South Florida plan to showcase their skills. And what a group it is.
The level of talent expected to be on display at the University of Miami borders on absurd and should serve as a tremendous kickoff to the camp season.
The Running Backs
The 2009 class in the state of Florida features a crop of running backs that is as deep and talented as any class in years. While some of the players are known commodities, many backs continue to emerge. More will be sure to be unveiled this weekend but the top talent will also be taking the stage.
Lonnie Pryor, the 6-foot-1 195-pound burner out of Okeechobee is one of the headliners that has reserved a spot in the camp and he already holds offers from countless programs such as Florida State, LSU, Auburn, Florida and Clemson.
Pryor will be joined by one of the fastest risers in the country of late in Miami Palmetto speedster Jaamal Berry. Berry, who has garnered offers from Auburn, Florida, LSU and others should shine in the camp setting due to his great feet and change of direction.
Two sets of state championship teammates are planning on putting their winning mentality on display over the weekend. The Naples High School speed and power combo of Greg Pratt and Carlos Hyde is the first. Pratt's shiftiness and breakaway ability teamed with Hyde's strength and power to help Naples win the 3A Florida State Championship.
Miami Northwestern also had a state championship run you might have heard of and its two-headed attack at running back plans on putting on a show at the Miami complex. Tyresse Jones recently picked up his first official offer from Troy and Daquan Hargrett has reeled in offers from West Virginia, Minnesota and South Florida to date.
The camp will not be lacking 2010 talent either. Jakhari Gore, already considered one of the top backs in the class of 2010 is expected to be in attendance.
The Wide Receivers
As always, the state of Florida is home to a number of talented and speedy wide receiver prospects. Among the future college difference-makers that will be in attendance on Sunday is Nu'Keese Richardson, this year's top target out of the talent hot-bed of Pahokee. The Rivals100 member holds offers from Florida, Michigan, Florida State and South Carolina among others.
Miami Norland's Xavier Rhodes should vie with Richardson as one of the camps top wideouts evidenced by his offers from Miami, Florida State and FIU.
Two wide receivers that should see their offer numbers skyrocket in coming weeks and months are Rodney Smith out of Archbishop Carroll and Jairus Williams out of Miami Central. Both wideouts stand at 6-foot-5 and should see their stock rise with a good performance over the weekend.
Smith already holds offers from the likes of Minnesota, Central Michigan and USF and with his size and athleticism will likely be a big name down the line.
Another wideout poised to take off is Miramar's Stedman Bailey. Bailey will be the top target as a senior for Miramar's highly-touted quarterback prospect Eugene Smith who is also expected to be in attendance.
Along with Miramar's star quarterback Smith who holds offers from nearly every major program East of the Mississippi River, the camp will also feature some quarterbacks that could be equally as impressive at other positions.
New Hallandale transfer Victor Marc stands at 5 feet 11 and weighs 208 pounds and despite his strong arm, could be a great asset at either linebacker or running back on the next level. Marc already holds offers from North Carolina, Ohio State and Clemson among others.
Wayne Times also has tremendous upside as an athlete and will be taking over the helm at the prestigious program of Miami Northwestern after the departure of Jacory Harris who is now quarterbacking at the University of Miami.
A prospect to keep an eye on is Deerfield Beach's Denard Robinson the athletic quarterback has already picked up a handful of impressive offers and looks to raise his stock with a strong showing on Sunday.
The class of 2010 is represented by promising North Broward Prep prospect Brandon Doughty. With good size and a strong arm, Doughty could emerge as one of the top quarterback prospects in Florida for the next class.
The Defensive Backs
Taking on the challenge of covering the talented South Florida receivers and the strong group of quarterbacks is another outstanding position group state-wide.
Headlined by Plantation High School's Brandon McGee, the defensive backs will be a terrific group and should set up some great matchups with the wideouts. McGee is joined on Sunday as well as in the fall by his two Plantation teammates Vladimir Emilien and Josh Robinson. Both Emilien and Robinson are gaining offers by the day and along with McGee, make up one of the nation's top defensive backfields.
Several other highly-touted defenders will be on hand in the secondary on Sunday including Ricardo Dixon out of Hallandale, Tevin McCaskill out of Miami Northwestern as well as 2010 prospect Khalid Marshall, also out of Northwestern.
Michael Carter of Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely continues to gain offers from some big name programs and raise his stock with camp and combine performances. Sunday should be no different for the 6 foot cornerback.
Lamarcus Joyner of the 2010 class should also be one of the top players on hand, regardless of class.
2008 NIKE CAMP SCHEDULE
Miami, Fla. – April 6
Gainesville, Fla. – April 13
Los Angeles, Calif. – April 20
Fort Worth, Texas – April 26
Baton Rouge, La. – April 27
Chapel Hill, N.C. – May 2
Tuscaloosa, Ala. – May 3
Columbus, Ohio – May 9
State College, Pa. – May 10
Stanford, Calif. – May 17
Eugene, Ore. – June 7
Provo, Utah - June 14
The linebacking corps will be led by Rivasls100 prospect Frankie Telfort. Telfort is an undersized but physical linebacker with tremendous speed that should impress in the Sunday camp setting.
Quanthony Fletcher is a much bigger backer at 6-1, 240 and he holds offers from South Carolina, Florida State and Florida. Despite his size, he has shown that he can be a very effective defender in the pass game and will likely showcase that ability once again on Sunday.
Two more linebackers to keep an eye out for are Brent Singleton out of American Heritage, who currently holds an offer from Louisville, and Shane Gordon, a Cypress Bay linebacker with a South Carolina offer.
The trenches will be manned by some big bodies with some big-time offers.
Naples standout Nick Alajajian has offers from nearly every major program in the Southeast and is included among Rivals.com's most recent Rivals100 list.
Also on that list was Antwan Lowery out of Miami (Fla.) Columbus High School. At 6 feet 3 and 300 pounds, Lowery boasts offers from schools such as Miami, Auburn, Rutgers and Florida.
Glade Central's Henry Orelus is a highly recruited offensive line prospect that has ended his recruitment early with a verbal commitment to LSU. On the other side of the line Olivier Vernon should feel right at home on the Miami campus as the defensive end prospect has also committed early, selecting the Hurricanes as his future teammates.
Another top 2010 prospect could also potentially be one of the top prospects overall if defensive tackle Todd Chandler can play to the level that he has proven capable of. The Miami Northwestern defender started as a sophomore on his team's 6A state championship run.
For more on the NIKE Football Training Camps, check out StudentSportsFootball.com.