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March 14, 2012
Rivals.com/VTO camps filling up with top talent
The Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 Showcases took five states by storm last year, playing host to three of the nation's top 10 players in the class of 2012, more than 20 four-stars, more than 50 three-stars and 16 prospects that played in either the U.S. Army All-American Bowl or the Under Armour All-American Game.
This year the showcases will be in 10 states and the first two, in Alabama and Georgia, are a little over a week away. Led by defensive lineman Dee Liner, the Alabama event is starting to blow up.
Last Spring, the first year the showcases expanded to multiple states, players such as Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek offensive tackle D.J. Humphries, Shelby (N.C.) Crest defensive end Jonathan Bullard and Olney (Md.) Good Counsel wide receiver Stefon Diggs took their five-star talents to the showcases. With showcases run in only Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, the talent numbers were beyond impressive.
This spring, starting with the first weekend in Alabama and Georgia (March 24-25), the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 Showcases will be in 10 states. In addition to Alabama and Georgia, the camps will once again be in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, but also are branching out into Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The events kick off in Alabama at Leeds High School and in Georgia at Marietta High School on March 24 and 25 respectively. Registration is still open for all events and the Alabama camp is really picking up steam led by Muscle Shoals, Ala., defensive lineman Dee Liner, Prattville, Ala., offensive lineman Austin Golson and Pinson Valley, Ala., wide receiver Earnest Robinson. Liner and Robinson are committed to Auburn while Golson is committed to Florida State. Autauga (Ala.) Autauga Academy tight end O.J. Howard, an Alabama commitment, has also expressed interest in attending.
Other notables for Alabama include Gadsen (Ala.) Gadsen City wide receiver B.J. Hammond and Cottondale (Ala.) Paul Bryant wide receiver Tony Whitehead who both have multiple SEC offers. Cordova (Tenn.) St. Benedict running back Jordan Wilkins, who has offers from Arkansas, Michigan, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and others, and Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven running back Mark Dodson Jr. and many of his teammates will also be back for the second straight year to compete. Class of 2014 running back Racean Thomas from Oxford, Ala., is also set to compete and has early offers.
In Georgia, the event is headlined so far by 2014 stars Demarre Kitt, a wide receiver from Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek with offers from Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina and others and Nick Glass, a defensive back from Atlanta (Ga.) St. Pius X School who has early offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, UNC, Oklahoma State and others. Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton receiver Ryan Jenkins is also on board and has offers from Clemson and Louisville and Norcross, Ga., cornerback Shon Akins, who has a Cal offer, is also all set. Marietta, Ga., wide receiver Tyree Harris will strut his stuff on his home turf and show why he has an offer from Mississippi State and Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson athlete Ali Groves will represent his school. He has offers from Florida, Missouri, South Carolina and others. He will be joined by defensive lineman Jonathan Wynn, also from Stephenson.
A few others who have expressed interest in attending the Georgia event include 2014 running back Stanley Williams from Bethlehem (Ga.) George Walton Academy, a Georgia commitment, and Norcross, Ga., running back Alvin Kamara, who has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee, USC and others.
Following that weekend, the camps will be in South Carolina at York Comprehensive High School on March 31 and at Mallard Creek High School on April 1.
In South Carolina, the headliners are 2014 standouts Kevin Crosby from Bamberg (S.C.) Bamberg-Ehrhardt and Dexter Wideman from Saluda, S.C., as well as 2013 Jalen Stevens from Goose Creek, S.C. Crosby is a linebacker with early offers from Alabama, Florida, Clemson, South Carolina, Oklahoma, USC and others while Wideman is a defensive tackle with early offers from Clemson and South Carolina. Stevens is a linebacker with an early offer from North Carolina.
The North Carolina event will obviously be highlighted by the Mallard Creek prospects led by the state's No. 1 player, wide receiver Marquez North. North has offers from Florida, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, UNC, NC State, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee and others. He will be joined by teammate Brian Walker, a defensive back with offers from Auburn, UNC, NC State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and others. Fellow cornerback Anthony Covington has offers from UNC, NC State, Virginia and others and offensive lineman Tevin Lawshe has an early offer from East Carolina.
North Carolina is also highlighted by early signups from 2013 linebacker Peter Kalambayi from Matthews (N.C.) Butler who has offers from Clemson, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and others and LaChaston Smith from Statesville (N.C.) South Iredell who has offers from Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and others. Class of 2014 running back Derrell Scott from Havelock, N.C., who has early offers from North Carolina, South Carolina and East Carolina, will also be on hand as will Johnathan Lloyd from Graham (N.C.) Southern Alamance, a 2014 athlete with offers from Florida, Ohio State, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia Tech and others.
The next weekend, the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 will be in Virginia. Olney (Md.) Good Counsel cornerback Kendall Fuller, the nation's top player at his position, leads a strong group of prospects planning to attend the camp at Highland Springs High School in Richmond, Va. He will be joined by Rivals100 teammate Dorian O'Daniel and teammates Kirk Garner, Andre Levrone, Reggie McGee and 2014 standouts Kobie Walker, Sam Mustipher and others.
Others who have signed up already include Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods linebacker Matt Rolin, Midlothian (Va.) Manchester defensive back Holland Fisher and Richmond (Va.) Hermitage running back Derrick Green. The trio boasts offers from programs like Virginia Tech, Virginia, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, North Carolina, NC State, Clemson, Miami, Auburn, Oklahoma, Penn State, USC and many others. Fisher is already committed to Virginia Tech. Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside running back Taquan Mizzell, Nokesville (Va.) Kettle Run athlete Michael Parker, Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy linebacker Yannick Ngakoue, Pomfret (Md.) McDonough offensive tackle Na'Ty Rodgers and 2014 rising superstars Da'Shawn Hand from Woodbridge (Va.) Woodbridge Senior and Andrew Brown from Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River are also expected to attend. Offensive lineman Braxton Pfaff from Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian Academy, who has offers from Virginia and Virginia Tech.
After the stop in Virginia on April 7, the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 Showcase heads to Ohio and Pennsylvania the weekend of April 14 and 15. On Saturday, April 14 the camp will be held at Princeton High School in Cincinnati Ohio and will then head to Gateway High School outside of Pittsburgh for Sunday, April 15. Pitt has just started to roll with early commitments from McDonald (Pa.) South Fayette wide receiver Zach Challingsworth, who has offers from numerous MAC schools, and Clairon (Pa.) Clairon Area linebacker TJ Armstrong, who also has MAC offers, will be on hand. There will also be plenty of talent from Gateway itself and sign up for the event has just begun. 2014 linebacker Brenon Thrift from Munhall (Pa.) Steel Valley is also on board and has an early offer from West Virginia.
Ohio is building momentum as well with early commitments to the camp by Brookfield (Wisc.) Central defensive end Chikwe Obasih with many others from states outside of Ohio also showing interest. Prospects from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan as well as Wisconsin are all starting to show early interest.
The tour moves to New Jersey for Sunday, April 22 at a location still to be determined for what should be a star-studded event.
A few of the headliners include Wyomissing (Pa.) Wyomissing Area linebacker Alex Anzalone, the Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek duo of Dajaun Drennon and Myles Nash, Philadelphia (Pa.) West Catholic running back David Williams and 2014 quarterback A.J. Long from Bangor (Pa.) Pius X. This group has offers from programs like Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Stanford, USC, Arizona, Michigan State, Nebraska, Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA and many others.
Hicksville (N.Y.) Holy Trinity quarterback Christopher Laviano, who has a Rutgers offer, wide receiver Zach Grant from Haddonfield (N.J.) Paul VI, who has a Syracuse offer, and Mays Landing (N.J.) Oakcrest linebacker Brandon Bell, who has offers from Rutgers, Maryland, West Virginia, Northwestern, UConn and others, are all recent sign-ups for Jersey as well.
The next two weekends the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 Showcase heads back down south to finish the tour. On Saturday, April 28, Florida is the destination and West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Fla. is the place. The Florida camp already has some huge names like Seffner (Fla.) Armwood defensive back Leon McQuay III, Tampa (Fla.) Tampa Bay Tech wide receiver Richard Benjamin and Orlando (Fla.) Evans wide out Dominic Walker who have offers from schools like Florida, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame, South Florida, Vanderbilt, USC, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and others. Winter Haven, Fla. running back Adam Lane, an early Florida commitment, as well as Navarre, Fla. tight end Jordan Leggett, an early Clemson commitment, are also on board. Miami (Fla.) Dr. Krop defensive end Paul James, who has offers from Alabama, Miami and Tennessee, is another big name already signed up.
Following that will be the final camp in Louisiana on Sunday, May 6 at Dutchtown High School outside of Baton Rouge. Registration for this event was just opened last week and players like defensive tackle Antonio McGhee from Bossier City (La.) Parkway has offers from South Carolina, Oregon State and Tulane and 2014 Beaumont (Texas) Ozen star safety Tony Brown have already signed up. Loranger (La.) athlete Jeryl Brazil, an early LSU commitment, and Destrehan (La.) wide receiver Rickey Jefferson, who has offers from LSU, Florida State, Alabama, USC, Tennessee and others, have also both said they are attending.
If you are the coach or parent of a prospect with D-I offers or likely to receive D-I offers, or the prospect himself, contact Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org, via Twitter at @rivalsmike or via Facebook.
These camps are INVITE ONLY and you must pre-register to attend, there will be no walk ups allowed.