What I liked: Adam Friedman from North Carolina camps
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Throughout the last week and a half, college prospects have been attending a smattering of satellite camps at Howard University and Bowie State University area that featured coaches from Michigan, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Boston College, Wake Forest and many others. This two-week run of camps culminated with Saturday night’s annual Freak Show camp at University of North Carolina under the lights in Kenan Memorial Stadium. Rivals.com’s Adam Friedman was on site at UNC as well as those satellite camps and here is what he liked.
DARNELL WRIGHT IS STILL ELITE
Five-star Darnell Wright, the top ranked offensive lineman in the Rivals100, hasn’t done any camps this spring but hasn’t lost a step. The No. 2 prospect in America was outstanding at the UNC Freak Show on Saturday night. He took one or two reps to get adjusted to the speed and strength of the competition and then didn’t lose another rep the entire night. Wright’s athleticism, aggressiveness, and the way he plays with an edge made it clear to everybody in attendance that he was head and shoulders above the rest of the group.
Wright wasn't the only lineman that stood out, though. Luke Wypler, a 2020 four-star, was phenomenal on the interior of the offensive line. He took reps at guard and center, showcasing his versatility and fearlessness. Wypler's technique was outstanding and he was one of the stronger players in attendance. Four-star Will Harrod has lost some weight and his technique was significantly better than previous offseason performances. Jakai Moore, a 2019 three-star prospect, and Aaryn Parks, a 2020 four-star, were two of the better linemen that participated on Saturday night.
Anton Harrision, a four-star in the 2020 class, shined at one of the other satellite camps. He was shed some bad weight and his becoming a much more patient pass blocker. Harrison is still a work in progress but the potential is there for him to be a dominant player in college.
Keep an eye on Brayden Bapst. A converted tight end, Bapst is garnering a lot of attention and few offers for his size and athleticism. He will need to add a lot of mass in college but a number of schools really like his skills and the trajectory of his development.
THE BATTLE BETWEEN SHYHEIM BATTLE AND TONY DAVIS
Shyheim Battle has been of college coaches’ radar for a long time but Tony Davis, a Duke commit, needs more attention and it is starting to come. Already a four-star in the new Rivals250, Davis just added an offer from Michigan this past week and posted a 4.5 second 40-yard dash and an 11-foot broad jump at the Freak Show. Those are really impressive numbers for a 6-foot-2 defensive back. Battle grabbed the spotlight early in the one-on-one session but Davis stormed back and everybody seemed to agree he had the best camp of the defensive backs. Make sure to track Davis’ recruitment over these next few weeks as things could really pick up.
Davis and Battle were just two of the players in a loaded defensive back group. North Carolina commit Giovanni Biggers has all the physical tools to be a solid college player and his size should help him see the field relatively early in Chapel Hill. Josh Moten, a four-star 2020 cornerback, is an impressive physical specimen. He did a good job using his length to his advantage and really closed on the ball well. Garrett Williams and Brendan Harrington haven't gotten the attention these other defensive backs have but both are very solid prospects with good skills in man coverage.
At a camp at UNC on Friday, defensive backs Bryce Steele, Trey Rucker and Ke’Von Hunter were a cut above the rest. Steele is just finishing his freshman year but already has an outstanding build for a safety prospect. Rucker’s stock has been trending up over the last month or so but he had some not-so-good moments in the one-on-one session. He is still a good prospect but could find himself playing closer to the line of scrimmage instead of safety deep down the field. Hunter is about to enter his junior season but he showcased impressive range and made a ton of plays on the ball. He’ll be one to watch as the recruitment of the 2020 class picks up.
C.J. CLARK'S PROGRESS
C.J. Clark has always been a very talented defensive tackle with good hand techniques and a solid understanding of how to play with leverage but there was a concern he was carrying too much extra weight and was lacking conditioning. He put all those concerns to rest on Saturday night, showing up a trim and very solid 300-pounds and taking more reps in one-on-ones than any other defensive lineman. Clark's quickness out of his stance helped him beat almost every offensive lineman he faced. If his first step didn't beat them, he had the hand techniques to break free and brute strength to drive them backwards. With his commitment coming on Monday, the Tar Heels are battling it out with NC State and Georgia.
The rest of the defensive line group was very talented as well. Class of 2020 four-year defensive end Desmond Evans was clearly one of the best athletes is attendance regardless of position. He's gotten strong and seems more willing to mix up his pass rushing move that in years past. Christian Rorie is listed as a defensive end right now but he has the look of a prospect that will grow into a defensive tackle. Defensive end Monkell Goodwine, a long, athletic prospect, is definitely a name to remember in the 2021 class.
Golden Achumba has been steadily gaining momentum on the recruiting trail and for good reason. He has shown improvement with every event he attends. At one of the recent satellite camps Achumba showcased his skills on both sides of the ball and schools are willing to take his commitment for either offensive guard or defensive tackle. Achumba admits he likes defensive tackle better but is willing to play guard too.
THE YOUNG QUARTERBACKS
Tyler Van Dyke, Brady Martin and Drake Maye proved to be the main attractions in the quarterback group on Saturday night. Van Dyke and Martin, both 2020 prospects, showcased their strong arms and supreme accuracy throughout the drills portion of the camp, garnering praise from the spectators and coaches. Maye, a taller 2021 prospect, has a lot of physical ability and will look to put up some impressive game film this year, his first as a full-time starter.
Connor Bazelak, one of North Carolina's top remaining quarterback targets in the 2019 class, had a very good showing and seemed very engaged with the coaching staff. His mechanics were relatively sound and it was good to see how quickly he developed solid timing with the receivers. Down to Missouri, Duke and North Carolina, a commitment from Bazelak could be just around the corner.
Two of the other eye-catching quarterbacks from the past few camps were Howard commit Hollis Mathis and 2021 signal caller Chad Martini. Mathis is more of a dual-threat quarterback but his quick release and arm strength should serve him well at the next level. Martini has a chance to be one of the better quarterbacks on the East coast once he is a senior. He has a strong arm but is still growing into his big frame. As he gets older he will tighten up his throwing motion and get the ball out of his hand quicker.
JORDAN HOUSTON AND EMERY SIMMONS HAVE SOLID CAREERS
Emery Simmons and Jordan Houston were two of the better skill position players at these past few camps. Simmons, an Indiana commit, was the consensus top wide receiver at the Freak Show on Saturday night. He popped a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and defensive backs had a hard time sticking with him in one-on-ones. Simmons is very strong and easily broke press coverage with proper hand techniques. Once he got into the open field his route running skills took over and he had no problem creating separation.
Houston has come a long way over the past two years and has turned into a very good prospect, particularly for schools running a spread offense that throw to running backs a lot. He has excellent speed and quickness, making him a dominant prospect in the one-on-one setting.
Wide receiver Ali Jennings and North Carolina commit Welton Spottsville were two other bright spots at the Freak Show. Spottsville has added a lot of good weight but it hasn’t slowed him down at all. Jennings is a great target down the field and over the middle. Both made some very good plays on Saturday night.
Corey Dyches and Osei Dixon were two wide receivers from the satellite camps that stood out. Dyches is a very raw prospect but he is an excellent athlete that can just make big play after big play. Dixon is a strong receiver that runs crisp routes. He caught the eye of a lot of coaches and some even asked if he played defense as well.