By Deana King
YORK, S.C. -- Over 95 prospects came to the Palmetto State to compete in the VTO Elite 100 event held on the campus of York Comprehensive High School. The prospects took advantage of beautiful, sunny weather to compete and get better at their individual game. Prospects came from all over the Southeast to compete.
Most of the individual awards headed north to the Tar Heel State as seven North Carolinians took home MVP awards.
Some of the fiercest competition was in the trenches. Although there were not many offensive linemen that attended, there were some bright spots. Class of 2016 Taleni Suhren (Ardrey-Kell N.C.), class of 2016 Nathan Murray (Bell County Ky.), and class of 2015 Cody Kluttz (Butler N.C.) were named as some of the top offensive linemen. Suhren, who claims interest from Clemson, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Charlotte took home MVP honors at the OL position.
"I think I did pretty good," Suhren said. "There were a lot of drills that I did mess up on, but I recovered and did the best I could. It's a great camp. It's a great opportunity to come out and show out. There was lots of great competition here."
On the defensive side, there was a surprise. Class of 2016 Shomari Wallace (South View N.C.) showed up to participate as a TE, but VTO Sports co-founder Vince Jacobs suggested he switch to the defensive side of the ball. That advice paid off as Wallace was named as the MVP of the DL. Other top defensive linemen were 2015 Jerome Brown (Mallard Creek N.C.), 2015 Rhett Huddleston (Ardrey Kell N.C.), 2016 Emmanuel Ukhueligibe (Seventy-First N.C.), and 2015 Travon Ricketts (Mallard Creek N.C.).
The quarterback position had some very tough competition as 13 signalcallers battled. Taking the top honors with the QB MVP was class of 2015 Garret Cloer (Orange N.C.). Cloer showed outstanding arm strength and accuracy.
"I went out and gave it my all," Cloer said. "God has blessed me with a lot of talents and that is what I do each day."
Other top quarterbacks were 2015 Deshawn Andrews (York S.C.), 2015 Austin Bradley (Orangeburg-Wilkinson S.C.), 2016 Bryce Maginley (Ardrey Kell N.C.), and 2015 Cody Montgomery (Lewisville S.C.).
At the running back position, Class of 2015 Stephon Young (Mallard Creek N.C.) took the MVP honors. He beat out 2016 Keyshawn Canady (Wallace-Rose Hill N.C.), 2016 Connell Young (Dudley N.C.), 2016 Michael Grimsley (South Florence S.C.) and 2017 Paul Moore (York S.C.).
Class of 2015 Vernon Grier (Mallard Creek N.C.) won the WR MVP by making some circus catches. Other top receivers were 2015 Daurice Simpson (York S.C.) and 2016 Otumos Payemanu (Athens Drive N.C.).
At the tight end position, there were only two prospects competing after Wallace's departure to the DL. 2016 Corey Bridges (Riverside S.C.) took home the MVP honors by edging at 2016 Josh White (Ardrey Kell, N.C.).
The linebacker position had 13 prospects to compete and was a tough competition. Class of 2015 Justin McMillon (West Forsyth N.C.) took the MVP award. McMillon said, "I think I did well. We had a lot of raw talent here and I'm truly blessed to earn this award." Other top linebackers were 2015 Donte Freeman (Ardrey Kell), 2015 Armand Pendergrass (York S.C.), 2015 Dev Williams (York S.C.), and 2015 Andre Donaldson Jr. (Westover N.C.).
The MVP of the defensive backs was 2016 Simeon Gatling (Dudley N.C.). Gatling was making plays all over the camp.
"I think I did real good," Gatling said. "I want to give glory to God for blessing me with my abilities and thank the coaches for working with me."
Other top defensive backs were 2016 Jeremiah Bogan (Riverside S.C.), 2017 Joaquim Willmore (York S.C.), 2016 Omari Wingard (Ardrey Kell N.C.), and 2016 Anthony Williams (Ardrey Kell N.C.)
The VTO Staff selects a special "Sleeper Award" to a participant that shows outstanding ability. Class of 2016 QB Mark Rew (Ben Lippen S.C.) was selected as the recipient.
Three individuals from this camp got a special invite to the Rivals Camp Series Presented by Under Armour. Those winners were wide receiver Daurice Simpson, defensive back Jeremiah Bogan, and defensive lineman Shomari Wallace. Running back Paul Moore was selected to compete in the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge in Jacksonville in July.
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