Talented trio headed to The Opening

RB Kelvin Taylor and two elite DBs shine at talent-rich Miami NFTC

Updated: April 16, 2012, 9:40 PM ET
By Corey Long | ESPN RecruitingNation

MIAMI -- Defensive back Sojourn Shelton of Plantation (Fla.) has five personal goals he wants to accomplish in football before the end of his senior season.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound junior can check one off the list as he was one of three players from Sunday's Nike Football Training Camp that was invited to The Opening, a competitive training event that will be held in Beaverton, Ore., from July 5-8.

Glades Day (Belle Glade, Fla.) running back Kelvin Taylor and Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.) athlete Will Likely were also invited.

Shelton, who was named defensive backs MVP at the camp, said his desire to be in The Opening came from the influence of his former teammates on the South Florida Express 7-on-7 squad.

"I remember watching Duke Johnson and Deon Bush and Tracy Howard participate in the event last year on TV," Shelton said. "And when they came back they told us about the experience and how much they learned from the coaches while they were there.

"So when I came to this event it was for the sole purpose of being the best defensive back here and earning an invitation to The Opening to continue to legacy of players from the South Florida Express at the event."

Shelton, who committed to Florida State last summer, says he still has a long way to go to accomplish the rest of his goals.

"There's plenty of work to do because I want to get to the playoffs and compete for a state championship," Shelton said. "And I want to be part of the Under Armour game as well so I need to continue to work hard and perform on the field like I did today at camp."

Despite his commitment to the Seminoles, Shelton remains willing to check out other programs and has earned offers from Wisconsin, Tennessee, South Carolina, UCF and Akron.

"I hadn't talked to too many coaches lately because I was preparing for the ACT and I took it Saturday," Shelton added. "Now that that's out of the way I'm going to step up and start communicating with these coaching staffs a little more.

"Right now I would say South Carolina and UCF are showing the most interest outside of FSU and they are definitely trying to get me on campus and get me to think about changing over."

Likely (5-7, 175) said The Opening was a nice honor but admitted he was a little disappointed not to win the defensive backs MVP award.

"I'm real competitive and whenever I'm involved in a situation like this I want to win," Likely said. "But I'm excited to be part of The Opening, I saw a little bit of it on television last year and it looked like they were having a good time."

TBD Editor
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSFlorida commit Kelvin Taylor of Glades Day (Belle Glade, Fla.) lived up to the hype with a physical performance at the Miami NFTC.

Taylor (5-11, 200) actually showed his physical side during Sunday's camp. In a one-on-one blocking drill against linebackers, Taylor challenged American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) linebacker Michael Deeb and took him to the ground. Afterward Taylor, a Florida commit, did the Gator chomp in front of Deeb.

"I just got a little caught up in the moment there because it was such a fierce battle and he's a great player," Taylor said. "He took it well, though. We were just getting a little hyped up."

White wins battle at QB

Class of 2014 prospect Sean White of Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood, Fla.) held off several top underclassmen to win the quarterbacks MVP award Sunday.

White (6-1, 185) had to face some of the area's top defensive backs but showed solid consistency throughout.

"I was really happy with the way I threw the ball today," White said. "There were some good receivers out here but there were a lot of elite defensive backs and it took all my concentration to make the right passes."

One thing White had going for him is familiarity with the opponent.

"I've competed against a lot of these guys in 7-on-7 competitions so I knew some of their tendencies," White added. "The key is just focusing and using the knowledge I have to my advantage."

White currently has no offers but says he's hearing from Miami, Wake Forest, Notre Dame and Florida State. He attended FSU's junior day back in late January.

Yearby prepping for busy camp schedule

Miami Central (Miami) running back Joseph Yearby (5-10, 190) took MVP honors for his position over talented teammate Dalvin Cook and now the Class of 2014 prospect is ready to take his show on the road.

"I've been running track right now, but once the summer comes I'm going to be ready to hit some camps," Yearby said. "I'm definitely going to do the Miami camp and the FSU camp but I'm also looking at Friday Night Lights and some out-of-state camps.

"I'll probably go to Auburn and I might check out Ole Miss and Alabama, as well."

Yearby rushed for more than 2,000 yards as a sophomore and has already drawn interest from some of the major programs in the region.

"I've already received verbal offers from Florida State, Alabama, Miami, Florida and West Virginia," Yearby said. "Everyone's going to come see me in the spring so that number might increase a little."

Extra points

• Columbus (Miami) wide receiver Jesus Wilson was named MVP of the wide receivers thanks in part to some very smooth route-running. Wilson (5-9, 160) is being looked at as a slot receiver and return specialist by several schools and already has offers from Florida State, West Virginia, Marshall, Florida International, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State.

• Norland's (Miami) Paul James (6-3, 245) was the MVP of the defensive linemen and won the award over the efforts of top line prospects Maquedius Bain (Davie, Fla./University School) and Alvonte Bell (Miramar, Fla./Everglades). James has offers from Tennessee, Alabama, Kansas, Marshall, Miami and Florida International.

• Hialeah (Fla.) offensive lineman Jomel Ribalta took home MVP honors at his position despite a strong effort in one-on-one blocking drills by Cypress Bay's (Weston, Fla.) Jason Rae. Ribalta (6-3, 325) is a rising senior with an offer from Minnesota and interest from Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Louisville, Rutgers and UCF.

• Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) linebacker Evan Harvey took linebacker MVP honors over top prospect Matthew Thomas from Booker T. Washington (Miami). Harvey, who is originally from Pennsylvania, has interest from Duke, Penn State, Michigan State and South Carolina.

Corey Long

Reporter, RecruitingNation