TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - On Saturday morning, the Nike Camp Circuit will extend into Tuscaloosa, Ala., following a stop on Friday at the University of North Carolina. Though the camp will be held at the Alabama campus, expect much more than just Alabama talent to walk past the registration desk.
The top players from all over the Southeast will be converging on the Alabama practice fields to compete and strut their stuff in the last Nike Camp in the Southeast region.
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The Peach State will be importing some of the best talent at the camp as several of Georgia's top prospects are expected to be in attendance, led by Rivals100 cornerback Branden Smith. Smith will be putting his 10.5 100 meter-dash speed to the test in the State Finals for track next weekend, but this weekend he will be displaying his cover skills and athleticism in Tuscaloosa.
Another Georgia prospect that knows a thing or two about speed is Chamblee, Ga., running back Warren Norman. Though he has yet to compile a long offer list, Norman's blistering speed at the Camp could give his recruitment a kick-start.
While Norman is awaiting his first offer, several Georgia imports will be coming to camp already committed to their college of choice. UGA linebacker commit Chase Vasser is slated to make an appearance and will be joined by two fellow Bulldog commits in linebacker Zach Mettenberger and offensive guard Dallas Lee.
LSU commit Kevin Minter will also be on hand in the linebacker group looking to boost himself up to four-star status.
Jamal Patterson out of McDonough (Ga.) Henry County has got an extensive list of offers to choose from and with his great size and athleticism should be one of the top wide receivers in attendance.
2008 NIKE CAMP SCHEDULE
Miami, Fla. – Camp Recap
Gainesville, Fla. – Camp Recap
Los Angeles, Calif. – Camp Recap
Fort Worth, Texas – Camp Recap
Baton Rouge, La. – Camp Recap
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
Other Georgia prospects to keep an eye on will be Izaan Cross, a defensive lineman out of Flowery Branch and Nigel Mitchell-Thornton, a big, physical linebacker out of Stephenson, Ga.
The Magnolia State also looks to have a good group of players in attendance. While several of the state's best are still questionable for the event, one confirmed attendee represents not only the best in the state but the best in the nation. Fletcher Cox has great size and freakish speed at defensive end and will have an opportunity to prove himself against some high-quality offensive linemen on Saturday.
Also from Mississippi, fullback Reuben Corley has confirmed attendance. The South Panola standout showed up recently at a Rivals.com Five-Star Academy looking as impressive physically as any fullback all year. On Saturday he will show whether or not he has the athleticism to boot.
From just North of the Alabama line, some strong Tennessee prospects will also be taking the stage. Will Jackson, an offensive lineman from Knoxville Farragut, has offers from Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, West Virginia and others at 6 feet 4 and 280 pounds.
Memphis Kingsbury running back Gabriel Hunter has an Alabama offer and will be putting on display the skills that allowed him to rush for more than 2,600 yards as a junior in Tennessee's 5A classification.
Parkview Baptist offensive lineman Carneal Ainsworth out of Louisiana was not able to make the LSU Nike Camp last weekend so he will be making the trip to Tuscaloosa to represent the Pelican State.
Meanwhile even one of the best from the state of Texas will be in attendance. Pro-style quarterback Ryan Mossakowski out of Frisco (Texas) Centennial has offers from both Alabama and Auburn along with several other programs nationwide. The strong-armed prospect fared well at the U.S. Army All-American Combine is looking to continue his success on the camp circuit this weekend.
The Natural State will be represented well by a few players from the same school. Though five-star cornerback Darius Winston will not be making the trip due to a groin injury his West Helena (Ark.) Central teammates Eric Smiley and Turell Williams will both be in attendance. Williams is already committed to Arkansas as a running back and Smiley is a defensive end with early offers from Tulsa and Ole Miss.
Of course, despite all of the talent from surrounding states, there will be loads of homegrown talent at the event as well.
One of the most highly recruited players regardless of state or position in the camp, if not the country is the No. 13 prospect in the country, five-star Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick should have plenty of competition on hand for him to properly defend his billing as the nation's top cornerback.
Alvin Hines, a defensive back from Pelham, Ala., with Auburn and Kentucky offers will be one of those players expecting to compete with Kirkpatrick.
Several of the top Alabama prospects will be spending their afternoon on the defensive line. Auburn commit Terrence Coleman out of Mobile (Ala.) Williamson will be one of the top defensive linemen in attendance. Alongside him will be Anthony Orr out of Sparkman, Ala., who will be coming in sporting Auburn and Alabama offers.
Brandon Moore out of Montgomery Carver also holds offers from both of the in-state powers along with Clemson, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Orwin Smith out of Phenix City (Ala.) Central will be ensuring that Alabama is well-represented at the offensive skill position too. The running back currently claims offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, UAB, Minnesota and Vanderbilt.
The multi-state event will be a fitting close to the Southeast portion of the Nike Camp tour.
For more on the NIKE Football Training Camps, check out StudentSportsFootball.com.