Woody's World: News, notes and more from Carolina Experience Showcase
CHARLOTTE -- Players from the Carolinas converged on Charlotte on Friday for the Carolina Experience Football Showcase, an opportunity for recruits to put their names on the radar before an uncertain fall unfolds. Plenty of players impressed with their performances, including a pair of national-level prospects in Ohio State running back commit Evan Pryor and North Carolina linebacker commit RaRa Dillworth turned out to compete as well.
CLASS OF 2022: Top 100
The Ohio State commit was a surprise entrant at the event, but it didn't take long for him to make himself known. It was clear pretty quickly that Pryor was one of the best prospects in attendance. During one-on-ones he took on the best the linebackers group had to offer, and nobody could cover him, including four-star Dillworth. In this setting, Pryor looked more like an all-purpose guy, but either way he looks like a great fit for the Buckeyes offense.
A prospect whose stock has been on the rise in 2021, Dillworth impressed with his speed and ability to move in space. He has drawn comparisons to former Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, and while he might not have the length or coverage ability of Simmons, he is still a prospect with a very high upside. Dillworth, a North Carolina commit, fits the new era of linebackers well and assuming he can add weight without losing much speed, he should be able to move all over the defense for the Tar Heels at the next level.
Blake, a South Carolina commit, is listed as an athlete in the Rivals.com database and chose to workout at wide receiver at the event. The more I see him and the more I know about the Gamecocks defense, I still wonder if he might end up playing defensive back at the next level. He has pretty good ball skills, but his route-running was a big rusty, which isn't a surprise after such a long break. We probably have Blake a little undervalued right now just based on his upside, but it would have been good to see more consistency at an event where he was one of the best prospects in attendance.
An early four-star in the Class of 2022, Twitty is a big-bodied wide receiver who presented matchup problems for smaller defensive backs. Already 6-foot-4 plus and more than 200 pounds, it will be worth watching to see if Twitty stays at wide receiver or maybe moves to flex tight end down the road. A lot of his best reps on the day were doomed by poor throws from the quarterbacks.
The highest-ranked defensive lineman at the event, Neal had a target on his back and drew some pretty competitive matchups during one-on-ones. More of a run-stuffer, Neal still has some work to do when it comes developing an array of pass rush moves. He did win his share of reps, but most of that had to do with his strength as opposed to his technique.
The nation's No. 1 all-purpose back was on hand to check out the action, but he didn't participate since his high school team is already back in team activities. He paid close attention to the running backs and even took some time to chat with Pryor. It's clear from looking at him that Shipley didn't use the lockdown during the spring as an excuse not to work out and he looks to have added some muscle heading into the fall.
The brother of former South Carolina now Utah quarterback Jake Bentley and the son of South Carolina assistant coach Bobby Bentley, Brooks was among the best quarterbacks at the event. He has good mechanics and a strong arm and should be a name that FBS schools become familiar with in the coming months.
Franklin is really coming into his own as a prospect and he earned the admiration of his fellow quarterbacks as well as the wide receivers. He's added weight to his frame since the last time I saw him and he was throwing the ball with more confidence as well. Franklin is still waiting on his first offer, but with a big year, that will surely change.
One of the top 2023 quarterbacks in the Southeast and with an offer from Georgia already under his belt, it's not surprising that Loftis was the most consistent and impressive quarterback in attendance. He has terrific arm strength and he showed a nice ability to fit the ball into tight windows. In a normal summer where he was able to throw in front of coaches, Loftis would probably already have a number of offers. Either way, it shouldn't take long for more to roll in.
McDermott was receiving Power Five recruiting interest last fall and has some FCS options, but most people in the Carolinas are surprised at his lack of FBS opportunities. Perhaps he was hurt by not getting to throw for coaches this summer, but he took advantage of his opportunities at the camp. He routinely put the ball on the money showing good arm strength. Depending on how his senior season goes, he could be a late steal for some program.
Shaw turned heads with both his height and his throwing ability and he was also one of the most consistent performers at any position. On a day where some quarterbacks were hesitant to let the ball rip, Shaw had no problem letting it fly and he became a favorite of the event's receivers. Shaw doesn't have any offers yet, but that should change.
UNDERCLASSMEN TO KNOW
One of the standouts among the defensive line group, Allen has good size and was quick getting off the ball at the line of scrimmage. In a normal year, it seems pretty likely that a prospect like Allen would have his first offer in hand already, but instead he is still waiting for the first one to come in.
Another talented young defensive back, Barksdale was up to the challenge against every wide receiver he faced and despite being on the smaller side. He wasn't afraid to get physical either. He's part of a loaded South Pointe team, so he should get plenty of looks over the next few years.
Carroll made the trip down from Virginia and made one of the most exciting plays of the day, a leaping interception during one-on-ones that earned quite the celebration among the defensive players. He has good length and was able to cover a lot of ground and looks like he has room to add more weight to his frame.
Another rising sophomore, Cook stood out physically among the wide receivers and showed some pretty nice hands during one-on-ones. With his size and strength, he's already a matchup problem. He should be a name to know in South Carolina.
A versatile athlete who has also played running back in his career, Depass is a talented young defensive back who showed nice coverage skills during one-on-ones. He also drew praise from the coaches throughout the event and is a name to know in the state going forward.
Listed as a linebacker in the Rivals.com database, Groulx elected to workout at tight end at the event and he showed good hands and competitiveness. The younger brother of former four-star wide receiver Nolan Groulx, it's not a surprise Liam wanted to try his hand on offense. But given his frame and athletic ability, his highest upside might be on defense.
Miller caught my eye during one-on-ones and he's light on his feet for a big-bodied defensive lineman. A rising sophomore, Miller has the chance to develop into a prospect down the line depending how he continues to grow. His highest ceiling might be playing inside at defensive tackle.
A big-bodied defensive tackle that schools were hoping to see camp this summer, Smalls remains a big of a mystery in terms of just how big of a recruit he can be. He worked at the three-technique during one-on-ones but didn't show as many pass rush moves and instead relied more on brute strength.
As he continues to develop, he will surely pick up some more moves, but his future could also be inside as a pure zero-technique. Smalls has an FBS future for sure, and it will be interesting to watch which schools jump in the mix.
A prep school prospect who is a bit of an enigma, Brown was probably the most impressive defensive lineman in attendance. Of course, with him being older than most, that is sort of to be expected. Background information on Brown is scarce, but he has big-time talent and college programs usually find a way to identify talent, even if it's not easy to find.
Can you still be a sleeper as a three-star prospect? Grabill certainly thinks so as he continues to wait on more offers after a run of strong camp performances this summer. Working out at both tight end and wide receiver, it was a long day for Grabill but he made several impressive plays.
He runs crisp routes and has very good hands. If he does make the full-time move to tight end he will have to add some bulk, but he looks to have the frame to do it without losing much of his speed.
Rennels has a number of FCS offers and recently reeled in an official offer from Florida International as well. The big-bodied defensive tackle easily overpowered most of the offensive linemen he faced and he looks like he could be a nice piece in the middle for a college defense.
One of the most outspoken prospects at the event, Simmons made a name for himself during one-on-ones, winning several reps and declaring himself "The King of the Jungle" after a few wins. An accomplished wrestler, Simmons is long and athletic and was pretty quick coming off the edge. Shortly after the event, he was offered by Georgia State, his first FBS offer to date. It seems unlikely that it will be his last, based on his showing at the event.
It wasn't a very deep offensive line group, but Turner impressed with his frame and length. He was working on the outside at tackle but it looks like he could also easily slide in at guard. Turner has some early FCS options, but he should have even more, and it looks like he will be a nice find for some program.