IMG Academy is playing host to the 7v7 National Championship this weekend and GatorCountry.com is out in full force covering the event. After a full day of watching football – I know, tough gig, right? – Dan Thompson, Nick de la Torre and Richard Johnson sat down to discuss how pool play went and broke down the top 10 performers from Saturday.
Nick de la Torre: Alright guys, we saw a lot of football today and before we break down our top-10 performers from pool play on Saturday let’s talk quickly about some players that impressed us but just missed the cut.
Nick de la Torre: I’ll start off with Florida tight end commit C’yontai Lewis. How much did you guys get to see of him and what did you think of the future Gator?
Dan Thompson: C’y was a solid player. He has a long stride, pretty good hands, very long arms, and is much taller than most of his competition. He needs to work a little bit on route running and making cuts. He seemed to round off his cuts on his routes, rather than plant his foot and make the 90 degree angle for an out route, for example. He needs to add some weight, actually probably 20-30 pounds, but he is a good prospect.
Richard Johnson: I watched two of C’y’s games intently. In the first game he was only targeted twice but what I was able to see was how effortlessly he moved. He isn’t an awkward runner at all, at 6-5 he simply glides through his routes. In his second game I was disappointed in a drop he had, it was a bit of an adjustment as the ball was thrown behind him but he should have caught it. I also have questions about whether he can block or not with his body frame; he needs to put on weight.
Nick de la Torre: That’s right on the money with what Lewis told us that the coaching staff asked him to do. The staff told him they would like him to be around 230-245. That’s probably not realistic for him to do on his own before he gets on campus, but he has the frame to be able to support that additional size. I’m very impressed with his hands and I think he will help his team this weekend and is a player to watch develop at Florida.
Dan Thompson: C’y obviously has a long stride, but I am not sure it makes up for his lack of speed. He isn’t a fast player or quick. His long stride helps him a bit, but I worry that he won’t be able to gain separation at the next level.
Richard Johnson: But does he really need that quickness? It isn’t like he’s a slot guy whose size only affords you a tight window to fit the ball into. If you throw the ball up, he will go get it. He isn’t the only person on Tennessee Gold that impressed me though, RB Roc Thomas also stood out.
Dan Thompson: Roc was good. He has great quickness and solid size. He has built out his frame well. He was often targeted by the Tennessee Gold quarterback when C’y or Bo Scarbrough wasn’t targeted and did a good job catching most of the balls thrown his way.
Richard Johnson: In the first game Thomas had a really nice catch in the corner of the end zone for a score. He didn’t jump off the field as the most dominant prospect on the TN Gold team, but that’s primarily because he isn’t the featured guy on that team 100% of the time.
Nick de la Torre: It’s hard to stand out with Bo Scarbrough on the field, but we’ll get to Bo a little later.
Dan Thompson: I think the last honorable mention slot should go to Jeff Holland. He is a 2015 guy. But the linebacker was good in coverage, closed quickly, and had a couple of good plays on the ball on defense. He was eye catching because he was solid and did things the “right way”, not because he was overly outstanding, or made a show-out play, if that makes sense.
Nick de la Torre: I didn’t get to see too much of Holland today. He’s definitely a player that I’ll be on the look out for tomorrow.
Richard Johnson: I got to talk to Holland a bit while he was on the sideline. He has no top 10 yet and doesn’t have a timetable for when he’ll narrow it down, but he was sporting some Auburn gloves today. His uncle played basketball with Charles Barkley at Auburn back in the ‘80s. He visited Florida Tuesday and says Muschamp would have him play Will Linebacker and he likes how close Gainesville is to home.
Nick de la Torre: Alright guys before we get too long winded let’s get into our top 10 performers from Saturday’s pool play.
No. 10 Trey Smothers – CB – Gadsden, Alabama
I spent a good amount of time watching Tennessee Gold to check out Bo and C’y and I started to notice a cornerback who was shutting kids down. When I got the chance to talk to him after all the games were done I asked Trey if any receiver had caught a pass on him all day, simply because I hadn’t seen him give up a reception. His response? “No sir.” And believe me, he was letting every receiver know that they weren’t going to catch a pass against him.
Richard Johnson: Smothers was another bright spot on that Tennessee Gold team but it was interesting because he’s an unknown guy. High on talent and ability, just not that big physically which is probably why he gets passed over so often. I’ll level with you though, he called me sir too when I asked him a question, and me being a 20 year old, I think that makes him pretty awesome.
Dan Thompson: Trey is certainly an underrated guy. Only has one offer (Western Kentucky), but I feel like he is a solid player FBS player. He has good size at 6-foot-0, 172 pounds. He is quick, plays with a lot of ‘swag’, and is an overall good player. There is not much more to say. He wasn’t challenged after a while because he was locking down every receiver he went against.
Nick de la Torre: No. 9 J.C. Jackson – CB – Immokalee, Florida
Richard Johnson: J.C had some interesting matchups, when I was looking at him at least. He was matched up with a guy that was twice his weight probably for whatever reason, or he was matched up with another kid that he could just bully because he was so much bigger than him. You know what you’re getting with Jackson, a big physical corner, that’s the reason Florida wanted him. Another intriguing thing about him is the fact that he played no receiver today. He wants to be showcased as corner, he wants to be recruited as a corner and he wants to play corner. It’s why he isn’t currently still pledged to play in Tallahassee.
Nick de la Torre: You’ve got that right. That was a big sticking point in his recruitment.
Dan Thompson: JC is a natural physical corner. He is great in press coverage, even put a few guys on the ground. He covers tight, has a great back pedal and had quick hips. All things you look for in elite cornerbacks.
Nick de la Torre: Moving on up the list brings us our first 2015 prospect…
No. 8 George Campbell – WR – Tarpon Springs, Florida
DK you spent some time watching and talking with George, what did you think?
Dan Thompson: I have seen George twice. Once at the NFTC and here. He is a tall wide receiver with crisp routes, great hands and plays hard every play. He played offense and defense today. He had a couple of touchdowns, including a 40-yard touchdown in which he juked the corner and put him on the ground. He also had two interceptions in the one game I saw him on defense. He is very level headed and is going to be a 5-star wide receiver next year. He would be a top-10 wide receiver in the country next year, as a junior.
Nick de la Torre: He even impressed Cam Newton today. Newton called George out and he responded with a touchdown on the very next play against Cam’s team.
Dan Thompson: He isn’t the fastest wide receiver on the field, but he is a playmaker and excelled against some good competition today, and a few months ago at the NFTC…all while recovering from a wrist injury.
Nick de la Torre: No. 7 Tyler Queen – QB – Kennesaw, Georgia
Richard, you spent a lot of time watching Queen and had the chance to talk to him last week at Will Muschamp’s camp. What did you think of Queen?
Richard Johnson: Physically, he’s a little chubby I know, at 6 foot (even though his mom told me 6 1/2) but the way he throws the ball has me entranced. Not only can he throw the long ball, but he also is accurate throwing the ball into tight windows. His throwing motion is also very quick, he doesn’t waste any motion from the beginning of his delivery to when the ball leaves his hand. He will grow a few inches and he’ll lose 10-15 of those pounds, he currently plays at around 230. But don’t let his frame fool you; he did rush for over 900 yards last season. When things aren’t going his way, he tends to pout and that’s ok, he’s 16 years old, the son of the head coach and he led a scoring machine at North Cobb High School to the state semi finals in his sophomore year. It’s natural to react the way he does when situations are adverse because for him, situations haven’t really been that adverse. On Saturday he showed me he could compete and he isn’t afraid of a big moment. He led a game winning drive marching down the 40-yard field on four throws. On the very next play the opposing team scored on their first play. Queen marched his team back on the field and North Cobb scored again and won the game. He isn’t scared to lead a team in the clutch.
Nick de la Torre: That’s true. His team finished 3-1 on the day and only outscored their opponents by just three points.
Dan Thompson: I liked Queen. He had a great spiral with a ton of velocity. He put the ball on point nearly every throw. He doesn’t have ideal size, and hopefully for him he will grow. He has a lot of the tools you look for in a college quarterback. Unfortunately, in the 7v7 tournament style you cannot see a quarterback’s mobility because they are stuck behind the line of scrimmage. He did have at least two come from behind wins in the last couple of seconds, so that says a lot about his poise and confidence.
Richard Johnson: This team isn’t built for a competition like this. His is a high school team; it isn’t a squad composed of cherry picked all stars from the Atlanta area. He’s simply doing the best with what he has.
Nick de la Torre: No. 6 Kevin Toliver – CB – Jacksonville, Florida
Richard Johnson: Toliver was the best corner at times on team Top Recruit, and considering a battery of DBs that includes Duke Dawson (who we’ll get to later) and J.C Jackson that’s really saying something. Hard to miss in purple shorts and yellow gloves he reps LSU proudly and they have a good get in a very long limbed DB.
Dan Thompson: Toliver, related to former LSU wide receiver Terrence Toliver, was a very physical corner. He has great size at 6-foot-2, 183 pounds and will be a showstopper at the next level. He has every tool you look for in a cornerback – size, speed, hip movement and good form. He has been committed to LSU since he was a freshman in high school. They are getting a good one. He plays with a ton of confidence. In all of the plays that I watched him, he was never beat.
Nick de la Torre: The Central Florida Top Prospects gave up the second fewest points on Saturday and Toliver’s teammate checks in at No. 5 on our list.
No. 5 Duke Dawson – CB – Cross City, Florida
Nick de la Torre: We’ve written extensively here at GC about Duke so we’ll keep it brief. Duke missed the first game but made his impact felt with two interceptions in his team’s second game of the day. Duke also had an interception that sealed Top Recruit’s third win of the day. Duke played the route well, mirroring his man well and was able to go up, snag the ball with one hand and come down with the pick.
Dan Thompson: Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Duke play today. In the games that I watched he had not yet arrived to the tournament (delayed travel). But based on what I saw at the NFTC, he has great tools and they were obviously showcased today.
Richard Johnson: Duke showed up a bit tardy, but he brought his game with him and that’s all that matters. He had two pass breakups and an interception. On the first breakup Dawson showed the innate ability corners must have to recognize when a ball is arriving in a receivers’ hands at the last possible second and turn around and swat it away. That’s done by trusting your skill level, being confident in it, and also being able to read the receivers eyes, he really impressed me. The interception was technically negated by a penalty but it was a bad call. He went up and snagged it with one hand and ripped it out of the air, he controlled it to the ground and it was impressive.
Nick de la Torre: No. 4 Sean White – QB – Plantation, Florida
Richard Johnson: He’s small, but he can spin it. When you’re throwing to guys like Ermon Lane though it tends to make you look a bit better in these types of competitions, but I won’t penalize him for it. He consistently put the ball where it needed to be (something honorable mention TE C’yontai Lewis’ QB did not do when Lewis was targeted).
Nick de la Torre: White’s offer list isn’t very impressive at the moment but he earned a spot at the Elite 11 next week and a solid performance should get his name out there.
Dan Thompson: White is a great passer. He has a nice bounce in his drop back, puts every pass right on point, checks down his receivers quickly and has great field vision. His recruitment is exploding right now, for good reason. He was the best quarterback at the event, by far.
Nick de la Torre: White impressed me at the regional qualifier we attended a couple of months ago. I went to scout Quincy Wilson and left wondering whom the heck the quarterback was. I’ve watched white at two 7v7’s and at a spring practice. He has yet to disappoint. He’s consistent, has great feet and like Richard said; he puts the ball where it needs to be.
Dan Thompson: He is taller than Queen and can still fill out his frame a bit more.
Nick de la Torre: No. 3 Artavis Scott – ATH – Tarpon Springs, Florida
Richard Johnson: Didn’t see much on him; definitely need to check out Team Tampa tomorrow.
Dan Thompson: Art is a baller. He played offense and defense today. He is a more natural wide receiver and he will play wide receiver in college. He scored a couple times in games that I saw him. He is extremely quick and can make a lot of people miss. He catches nearly everything thrown his way.
Nick de la Torre: Absolutely. But he also played very well at corner today. He doesn’t look as natural on the defensive side of the ball and projects as a receiver at the next level but he got the job done today that’s for sure.
No. 2 Bo Scarbrough – ATH – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Personally, I was more impressed with Bo at linebacker today. What do you guys think?
Richard Johnson: This kid was phenomenal at linebacker and might have to get moved there in college. The guy’s closing speed was amazing cutting off the angles between him and the receivers almost nullifying the concept of yards after the catch.
Nick de la Torre: There was no such thing as YAC if the ball was thrown within 10 yards of Bo.
Dan Thompson: Bo is a talent. He played RB/WR and LB today. He is being recruited as a RB, but he could play WR or LB in college. He is a very talented player that is quick, has great hands, and incredible vision. He was one of the best linebackers at the event, and that isn’t even his primary position.
Richard Johnson: He’s also very powerful, I did not envy the receivers that begun their routes with a Scarbrough jam to the chest. Also one hand tagged a kid and shoved him over, it looked inadvertent, he just packs a huge punch.
Dan Thompson: His speed allowed him to have incredible range. The middle of the field was cut off almost every play.
Nick de la Torre: Let’s wrap Bo up with this, he’s currently committed to Alabama but his cousin C’yontai Lewis is in his ear every day about joining him at Florida. He says he’s solid to Bama but I wouldn’t close the book on his recruitment just yet.
And No. 1 on our list…
No. 1 Ermon Lane – WR – Homestead, Florida
Dan Thompson: Ermon did not play a lot today. Why? Because their team was so dominant that he didn’t have to. He played WR and some safety. He wins the top overall player not because of the amount of time he played, but because of the body of the work that he did play and how dominant he was during that time. Ermon is fast, runs great routes, and catches everything. He has a great vertical leap and is very fluid.
Richard Johnson: He is as advertised. By far the best player on any field in any game and really had his talents showcased in SFE’s 52-7 rout of Core 6.
Nick de la Torre: The thing with him is that every team he goes up against knows him, knows what he is going to try to do and game after game they can’t stop it. If the South Florida Express and Central Florida Top Prospects matchup that will be the biggest test Ermon gets this weekend.
Dan Thompson: That is the only team that can even remotely come close to stopping Ermon.
There you have it. Those are the 10 players that stood out most to use today (and a few extra).
Make sure you stay tuned throughout Sunday as the tournament moves into the double elimination bracket tournament that will eventually crown a National Champion.