BATON ROUGE, La. – The debate might be over before it started.
With five NIKE Training Camps now already completed and not too many quarterbacks stepping to the forefront on the national recruiting scene, Reserve (La.) East St. John quarterback Ryan Perrilloux took a major step toward entrenching himself as the nation’s top quarterback with a sparkling performance Sunday at LSU.
Perrilloux, who measured in at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds but didn't test in the 40, was simply mesmerizing.
There wasn’t a pass that he couldn’t complete. He displayed incredible arm strength – the strongest that Rivals100 has seen so far on the NIKE Camp tour – along with the uncanny ability to put touch on the ball and get it in the right spots. Combined with athletic receivers, Perrilloux torched the defensive backs at the camps with throw after throw.
The fade, check.
The 10-yard out, check.
The 20-yard out, check.
The stop-and-go, check.
You name it, Perrilloux could sling it, proving that all of the talk about him being one of the nation’s best signal-callers for the Class of 2005 wasn’t just hype. He’s the real deal and it’s no surprise that Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Ohio State, USC and Texas are his top teams and he has offers from about 50 other teams.
When asked if he was the nation’s top quarterback, Perrilloux didn’t lack confidence and didn’t hesitate with an answer that only a true-star quarterback would be able to give.
“I have a stronger arm than every quarterback,” he said. “I’m more accurate than any quarterback. I’m faster and bigger, and really think I’m best quarterback in the country. My favorite pass is the 18-yard out. Nobody else can make that throw but me.”
He was right – at least at the NIKE Camp in Baton Rouge. However, there were a few other quarterbacks that are going to see their stock shoot up based up on their performance.
If Perrilloux was the top quarterback in the camp, Lafayette (La.) St. Thomas Moore’s John Hundley would be right up there in the same neighborhood as him. Not many people have been talking about Hundley, but he threw a great pass, was always accurate and his arm strength was one of the better of the camp.
NIKE Camp quarterback coach Bob Johnson said several times that he was having a hard time picking between Perrilloux and Hundley for the top honors of the camp, so definitely Hundley opened up quite a few eyes on Sunday.
Coming into the NIKE Camp, there was rampant speculation that Mobile (Ala.) Davidson tight end Gabriel McKenzie was the top player in Alabama, and he didn’t do anything at all to alter that train of thought on Sunday.
McKenzie measured in at 6-3, 218 pounds, but clocked a somewhat average time of 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Yet, that time doesn’t do him justice. McKenzie was ripped like nobody else, had a long and lean frame and was incredible throughout the footwork drills and in the pass-catching situations.
There were few linebackers that could hang with him, and he looked honestly like a player that should contend for Rivals100 recognition when the first set of national player rankings are released in June.
Coffee definitely looked the part of a high-level blue-chip recruit with his amazing frame, great footwork and soft hands out of the backfield. Charles, who only rushed for 129 yards on 29 attempts as a junior because he played behind Iowa State bound Webster Patrick, was the talk of all of the running back coaches. He tore up the camp and watch out for his stock to skyrocket after an amazing performance at Baton Rouge.
New Orleans St. Augustine strongside defensive end Al Jones was the star of the defensive linemen, even though quite a few players in the group will end up being heavily recruited.
There was only one player on the offensive line that could block Jones, and that was Collierville, Tenn., offensive guard Scott Eller. Eller was impressive against every other defensive lineman, but Jones finally ended up getting the best of him – as an elite national recruit should. There is little doubting that Jones is special, and with his great frame and explosion off the football, it’s easy to see why Miami, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and West Virginia have already offered him a scholarship.
Jones, however, wasn’t the only impressive defensive lineman.
New Orleans (La.) Abramson defensive end Alonzo Horton, Baton Rouge (La.) Parkview Baptist defensive tackle Lyle Hitt and outside linebacker/defensive end Antonio Coleman of Mobile (Ala.) Williamson all showed signs of being players that will be highly ranked.
Horton measured in at 6-2 ½ and 209 pounds, Hitt showed amazing technique and feet even though he wasn’t the tallest d-lineman at the camp and Coleman was also put together like the speed-rushing defensive end that is so prominent in the Southeastern Conference.
Another defensive lineman to keep an eye on is Matt Slocum of West Monroe, La. Slocum tested off the charts at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds and clocked in with a 4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash. Slocum apparently still has a lot of room to grow, because his brother is 6-foot-10 and played basketball at Texas A&M.
Some are talking about him being a top 25 player in the state of Louisiana, but after Sunday it’s going to be very hard to keep him out of that top 10. And knowing West Monroe’s proud tradition of sending numerous kids to the next level, he’ll have plenty of scholarship offers to choose from.
And Texas sleeper Quinton Johnson is not a sleeper anymore. Johnson, who was easily 6-3 and 300-plus pounds, was impressive on both sides of the ball Sunday but will likely project as an offensive guard. With offers on the table from Arizona and Houston, watch and see if his name makes a move up the lists of college coaches.
At receiver Perrilloux and Hundley had plenty of targets to throw to.
Pritchard (Ala.) Blount star Aubrey Bell had a lot of question marks surrounding him heading into the camp, but after measuring in at 6-2 ½ and 203 pounds and running a 4.5 in the 40, he solidified his case for one of the better players in Alabama.
And you can not totally remove the sleeper tag from Mamou, La., receiver LaTerryal Savoy.
Despite only having one offer from Michigan, Savoy looked like he was the class of the receiver group. He tested well, coming in at 6-2, 185 pounds and had a 4.6 40. He still might end up being a safety in college, but he has all of the physical tools, great change of direction, solid hands and explosive play-making ability.
Several defensive backs impressed, including Alexandria, La., stud Nick Harris, who was a solid 208 pounds, and Jennings, La., cover man Gary Riggs stood out with his stick-like glue coverage.
Harris actually looks like he projects more as an outside linebacker because of his frame and Riggs had amazing coverage ability, great feet and wasn’t afraid to get physical. Riggs looked like he could easily be a national recruit at safety because of his size or he could be the new wave of taller and more physical corner.
For expanded coverage of the Baton Rouge NIKE Training Camp, you should check out StudentSports.com. Access to StudentSports.com requires an additional membership. Coming Soon! The best is getting better. The Rivals.com Recruiting Database will include all authentic data from this summer's NIKE Training Camp schedule.