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The first batch of NIKE Camp registration information has been mailed out to prospects all over the country and already many are beginning to return their forms and confirm their spots for one of the 12 NIKE Camps across the country. Today the Blog continues to take a look at some of the early returnees...
*Ole Miss is off to a very fast start recruiting-wise for the Class of 2007, with five early commitments. One of those five pledges is 6-1, 190 pound running back Robert Elliott out of Okolona (Miss.). Elliott committed to the Rebels three weeks ago over an offer from Mississippi State after a banner junior season in which he earned Class 2A all-state honors after rushing for 1,816 yards and 20 touchdowns while adding another 404 yards and five scores receiving. An explosive athlete with a best of 4.43 in the 40, Elliott will look to improve his game on April 30th at the NIKE Camp in Baton Rouge.
*With 16 offers and counting, D'Angelo McCray is already one of the most heavily pursued juniors in the nation. The 6-4, 260 pound TE/DE out of Jacksonville (Fla.) Andrew Jackson will have his pick of schools when all is said and done, thanks to his tremendous size and athletic ability. With reported 4.6 speed in the 40 at 260 pounds, McCray was a threat both catching the football, 18 catches for 369 yards and a score, and at defensive end, with 52 tackles and 13 sacks, as a junior. Currently the Sunshine State standout lists Florida State, Florida, Notre Dame, Clemson and Tennessee as his five favorites, with offers from all five plus Georgia, South Florida, South Carolina, Louisville, Central Florida, Alabama, Nebraska, Illinois, Ole Miss and a few others. McCray will put his skills on display at the NIKE Camp in Gainesville on May 20th.
*Following in the footsteps of a big-name recruit like former EA SPORTS Elite 11 QB Harrison Beck is never easy, but Clearwater (Fla.) Countryside QB L.D. Crow made it look like a walk in the park last fall, filling the Nebraska signee's shoes and leading his team to a 9-1 record and a district championship. The 6-3, 218 pounder threw for 1,387 yards with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions, hitting 64 percent of his passes in Countryside's ball-control attack. Crow attended the Elite 11 regional camp a year ago in Miami and showed well for an underclassman and figures to be one of the top QB prospects in the South this year. Rutgers has already offered and currently the signal caller lists his five favorites as Stanford, Miami, FSU, Notre Dame and South Carolina. Crow carries a 4.1 GPA and will attend the April 9th NIKE Camp in Miami.
*One of the most decorated players in Western Pa. following the 2005 season was productive two-way player Dom DeCicco out of Jefferson Hills Thomas Jefferson. The 6-3, 198 pound safety/wide receiver was a second team all-state pick after a big year in which he helped his team to an 11-2 mark with five interceptions on the defensive side of the ball to go along with 28 catches for 600 yards and 15 total touchdowns. DeCicco, a great athlete with bests of 4.6 in the 40 and a 35-inch vertical jump, had 11 TD catches a year ago, and also returned two punts, one kickoff and one fumble for scores. Currently he lists his favorite colleges as Penn State, Tennessee, Pitt, Ohio State, Iowa and West Virgina, and he'll attend the May 6th NIKE Camp in State College.
*Playing in a pass-oriented offense always benefits the receivers and 5-11, 170 pound Austin Tolliver took full advantage of that situation last fall, catching 64 passes for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns at Shreveport (La.) Captain Shreve on his way to Class 4A all-state honors. A great route-runner with soft hands, Tolliver is also deceptively fast, having clocked a 4.70 40 last fall on slow turf at the NIKE Camp in Oxford and should better that time this spring at the NIKE Camp in Baton Rouge on April 30th. The son of former NFL QB Billy Joe Tolliver, Austin has already been offered by New Mexico State and Hawaii, and lists is favorite schools as Notre Dame, Auburn, Texas, Texas Tech and Hawaii.
*Another productive receiver to watch for out of Louisiana, who many state observers feel could end up being a top recruit before all is said and done, is 6-4, 200 pound Jasmine Dalton of Independence. Dalton was a Class 3A all-state pick last year after a big season in which he caught 50 passes for 740 yards and six scores while also adding a TD on the ground. He had an ever bigger year as a sophomore in '04, reeling in 38 passes for 757 yards and nine scores. With his size and 4.6 speed in the 40, Dalton should be a hotly pursued target and he's already getting mail from most of the SEC plus Southern Miss, Duke and Boston College. He lists his favorites as LSU, Texas, Ohio State, Southern Miss and Michigan and will attend the April 30th NIKE Camp in Baton Rouge.
*Although he plays at a small school, there is no hiding the talent of 5-11, 167 pound WR Julius Graves out of Reidsville (N.C.). Graves was a Class 2A all-state pick last fall after a huge year in which he caught 50 passes for 823 yards and 10 scores, rushed for 684 yards and seven touchdowns, returned two kickoffs for scores and even threw a TD pass. A breakaway threat everytime he touches the ball with reported 4.3 speed in the 40, Graves is already receiving mail from the likes of NC State, Clemson, Duke, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Michigan and Notre Dame. He plans on attending camps at UNC, NC State and Clemson this summer and lists those schools in his top five along with USC and Miami. Graves will attend the April 29th NIKE Camp in Athens.
*He may not be the biggest back, but his 4.41 speed in the 40 and a productive junior season are beginning to attract colleges to 5-8, 170 pound RB Adrian Abner out of DeSoto (Texas). Abner rushed 179 times for 1,180 yards and six touchdowns in 2005, earning all-district 7-5A honors and his team's offensive MVP award. He's already getting mail from schools all over the Big 12 as well as Indiana, FSU, Iowa, Colorado State and Wisconsin. Abner currently lists his top five as Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Miami, Oklahoma and Texas and he'll attend the NIKE Camp on April 22nd in College Station.
If you are a coach or parent that would like to get a top junior involved with the NIKE Camps, NIKE Combines or Elite 11 Quarterback events, or featured on the Junior to Watch Blog, email Brian Stumpf if you are located in the Eastern or Central part of the country (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Greg Biggins (email@example.com) if you are in the West.