Sunday, April 26, 2009
Updated: April 27, 3:07 PM ET
Finch could be Florida's top RB
By Craig Haubert
The Nike Football Training Camps tour made its second appearance in the talent-rich state of Florida this year with a tour stop in Tallahassee. The talent level was not as deep as it was a few weeks ago in Miami, but this event certainly did have some good 2010 and 2011 prospects.
Oftentimes, running backs can get lost in the shuffle at events like this; the drills are better suited to showcasing the skills of players like quarterbacks and receivers among the offensive skill positions. It's surprising then, that a running back made the biggest impact. Roy Finch (Niceville, Fla.) caught my eye with his thick, muscular frame that is beyond ideal for a back at this age. He had a well-defined upper body with a big back and towering traps. He does not have great height, but he certainly presented an impressive build and eased some concerns about whether he could carry the load as a college runner. During drills, Finch displayed excellent acceleration and good straight-line speed. He showed he can run low to the ground and make quick cuts without having to gear down much. He also displayed good hands catching the ball. At these showcase events, one player will stand out at a position and become the measuring stick against whom other participants want to test themselves. Among the competition between the linebackers and running backs, Finch was that guy.
The receivers had some talent and arguably were the strongest group in attendance. One receiver we were interested in seeing was Sean Tapley (Jacksonville, Fla. / Raines), a South Carolina commit. Tapley is on the ESPNU 150 Watch List, so his stock did not have a long way to jump. His performance helped solidify to us that he is one of the best in the nation at the wide receiver position. He has good size and a solid muscular frame, which he can still fill out more. He ran well and showed good burst out of his breaks. He had good hands and displayed the ability to pluck the ball out of the air. Tapley has been committed for a while and is a bit of a sleeper nationally, we feel, but off his film and what we saw today he deserves some recognition. South Carolina fans should be happy to have him on board early.
Also fitting into the stock up category is Karlos Williams (Davenport, Fla. / Ridge); the rising junior was one of the most impressive prospects at the camp. Williams didn't look like a young man in either build or ability. The future safety ran with the wide receivers and was among the best in a fairly strong group. He is a long-limbed kid with good bulk for his build and big hands. He moved well and showed good ball skills. He said he plans to play defense in college, but Williams likes to work with the receivers in events like this because it is more fun and it also helps him as defensive player to understand route running and recognition. Williams very likely will be a hot recruit for the 2011 class with interest from programs like Florida State, LSU, Georgia and Florida.
The sleeper at this event lurked deep in the heart of the defensive-line trenches. In the one-on-one drill, Corey Lampley (Dothan, Ala.) quickly demanded attention. He is a big kid at more than 300 pounds, but lacks ideal height at just under 6 feet. Despite his less-than-impressive build, Lampley did impress with the way he used his hands. He was extremely violent with his weapons, consistently using them on his reps to take on and defeat blockers in pass-rushing drills. He had a strong club move and would work off that to try to get to half-a-man and throw a rip move and power his way to the quarterback. He displayed a good motor and kept jumping in to get reps. He needs to keep improving his quickness off the ball, but Lampley displayed some ability to be disruptive in the trenches. His lack of height may make some cautious, but shorter defensive tackles have been successful. He says he currently has an offer from New Mexico and is receiving interest from Troy. We wouldn't be surprised to see few more schools take a chance and jump in the mix.
This camp did not have a particularly strong group of quarterbacks, but it was not void of talent. The MVP of the camp at QB was Clint Trickett (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian). The son of Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett, Clint was working in familiar surroundings at the FSU practice fields and looked comfortable. He is a very lean and wiry kid with a competitive nature. He displayed a strong arm but lacks ideal size for the position with a small frame (6-2, 175) and needs time to keep physically developing. A sleeper at the position is Tarean Austin (Tampa, Fla. / Hillsborough). Austin is a prospect with good size and very raw skills.
This was a good group. The leader clearly was Kadron Boone (Ocala, Fla. / Trinity Catholic). The Under Armour All-American was impressive in build with good height and a thick frame for a receiver. He displayed good straight-line speed and soft hands that were able to pluck the ball out of the air. After seeing him in action and on film, it is no surprise that he is a highly coveted prospect at the wide receiver position. Cornelius Whitehead (Mount Dora, Fla.) also performed well. He is a good early pickup for Central Florida.
The big-name in attendance was Florida commit Ian Silberman (Orange Park, Fla. / Fleming Island). He is an impressive-looking kid with a tall and athletic build; he almost looked liked he belonged with the tight ends. He performed well during one-on-ones and faired well in his matchup against Florida State commit Darious Cummings (Titusville, Fla. / Astronaut). With his build, Cummings needs to watch his pad level. We do wonder how much bulk he can add -- he is a kid with thin hips. He displayed good ability and upside overall, and hopefully he can continue to fill out that big frame of his. Montae Jones (Tallahassee, Fla. / Godby) is a 2011 prospect who showed flashes. The big-bodied Jones said there is early interest from programs like Florida State, Ole Miss and Missouri.
The big name in attendance at this position was FSU commit Darious Cummings. He impressed us on film with his explosiveness and showed some of that on Sunday. What we didn't see on film that we did see at the camp was a build that could have Cummings playing defensive tackle in college, after all. He plays on the interior of his line in high school, but we originally thought he may be better suited for defensive end. After seeing his thick build and the frame to add more size, though, Cummings may be better suited to stay inside. The MVP of the camp at this spot was Jericho Lee (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby). He is a thickly built and barrel-chested defensive tackle who says he can bench 370. He currently has no offers, but said he is very interested in Florida State. 2011 prospect Giorgio Newberry (For Pierce, Fla. / Central) passed the eye test. He is a tall kid with long arms and the frame to keep adding bulk. The defensive end said he has early interest from programs like Iowa State and Cincinnati. He is a kid to keep an eye on.
Telvin Smith (Valdosta, Ga. / Lowndes), who came down from Georgia for this event, performed well with the linebackers. He is an athletic kid with nice upside and versatility. He has the type of frame that could settle in at outside linebacker or fill out and be a defensive end in college. He even said that he has been told by some that if he got any leaner he could be a safety. So while it's tough to say where he will land position-wise in college, it is not tough to say the kid has some good ability. He ran well in one-on-one coverage drills against the backs and also showed a competitive nature, continually jumping in to get reps. Smith said South Carolina just offered and also has offers from programs like FSU, LSU, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Purdue.
Michigan commit Marvin Robinson (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) stood out with the defensive backs. He is a physically imposing and athletic safety prospect. He showed good ball skills and moved well. On film, he displays a good feel for the game. In talking with Robinson after the camp, he said he still wants improve on his ability to read plays. Robinson said he plans to graduate early, and it looks like the Wolverines scored a good one from the Sunshine State.