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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 Junior to Watch Blog returns to take a look at some of the early returnees...
*6-1, 210 pound linebacker Vincent Williams has put in the work, and now the work is beginning to pay off. The Davenport (Fla.) Ridge Community standout, who first burst onto the scene at the Miami NIKE Combine and Camps prior to his junior season, is now up to four offers after a big junior season and strong showing at the Orlando NIKE Combine this January. Playing both at defensive end and outside linebacker as a junior, Williams totaled 121 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and nine sacks, while also adding 605 yards and four scores rushing, to earn Class 3A third team all-state honors last fall. His 86.36 SPARQ Rating was tops of over 600 attendees at the January NIKE Combine in Orlando, and his 4.77 40, 26 reps on the bench and 34.1-inch vertical jump apparently impressed the Florida staff, as the Gators came through with his first offer just four days after the combine. Since then Williams has also added offers from LSU, FSU and most recently Alabama. The Seminoles were Williams' childhood favorite, but he promises to explore all options before making his decision and also likes the Gators, LSU, Ole Miss and Alabama. Williams will showcase his skills April 22nd at the NIKE Camp in Tallahassee.
*Williams isn't the only NIKE Combine standout who's seen increased recruiting attention after testing off the charts. Miami (Fla.) Archbishop Carroll speedster George Baker clocked the fastest 40 time at the Feb. 3rd NIKE Combine in Miami, at 4.37, and the 5-11, 167 pounder has since received his first offer from Ole Miss. Baker could end up at either running back or defensive back in college and lists the Rebels amongst his early favorites along with Miami, Florida, FSU and South Carolina. Baker was an all-Dade small school performer last fall, rushing 93 times for 1,010 yards and 11 TDs while tallying 50 tackles on defense. He'll attend the April 1st NIKE Camp in Miami.
*Another Sunshine Stater with early offers is 6-4, 310 pound offensive guard Joe Looney out of Lake Worth High. Looney had 36 pancake blocks and allowed zero sacks as a junior, earning Class 6A second team all-state honors. He showed good athleticism at the recent Miami NIKE Combine, clocking a 5.58 40 and also benching 24 reps of 185 pounds. Looney has started every game since his freshman year and currently lists Rutgers (offer), Auburn, Miami, Florida and Georgia in his top five. Ole Miss, Central Florida and FIU have also offered. Looney will show his stuff with the rest of South Florida's top talent at the April 1st NIKE Camp in Miami.
*Kerrville (Texas) Tivy linebacker Kyle Prater impressed last spring at the NIKE Combine in Houston, recording a 77.28 SPARQ Rating, and after an excellent junior season, the offers have begun coming in. The 6-2, 215 pounder, who totaled 126 tackles and three sacks and earned all-area honors, has offers from Nebraska, Oklahoma, LSU and Texas Tech. Football runs in Frater's family as his grandfather played at Baylor, his father played at Kansas and his brother John is currently playing linebacker at Wyoming. Judging from Kyle's current list of favorites, it looks like he'll be another Prater who won't follow in his relatives' footsteps, as he likes LSU, Oklahoma, Georgia, Nebraska and Texas Tech. Prater looks forward to attending the April 28th NIKE Camp in Fort Worth.
*When looking at top SPARQ Rating results from NIKE Combines, quarterback isn't typically a position that will have many top performances, but Birmingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christian's Barrett Trotter isn't the typical quarterback. The strong-armed 6-1, 195 pounder posted an 81.42 SPARQ Rating at the recent Atlanta NIKE Combine, including a 33.6-inch vertical jump and 25 reps of 185 pounds on the bench press. Trotter isn't just a workout warrior, as he was a Class 5A honorable mention all-state selection last fall after hitting 200 of 316 passes for 2,423 yards and 22 touchdowns, while also rushing for 477 yards and seven TDs. 2006 was Trotter's second straight season over 2,000 yards passing, as he completed 178 of 287 passes for 2,074 yards with 19 scores as a sophomore in 2005. Trotters early favorites include Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Virginia, and he has an early offer from Troy. Trotter will look to assert himself amongst the South's top QBs at the April 21st NIKE Camp in Athens.
*Athletic defensive tackles are hard to find, and because of this, 6-3, 290 pound Richard Cunningham should be a heavily-recruited player before all is said and done this year. The Hamilton (N.J.) Hamilton North-Nottingham standout had 87 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, nine sacks and forced five fumbles last fall, earning all-league honors, and his 4.8 reported speed is excellent for an interior defensive lineman. Cunningham has picked up one offer so far from Temple and lists Rutgers, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Boston College and Penn State as some of his early leaders. Cunningham is set to attend the May 13th NIKE Camp in Piscataway.
*Quick-Hitters: Damascus (Md.) linebacker/strong safety Josh Francis has picked up his first offer from Kent State and Michigan State could be next for the speedy 6-0, 185 pounder... Big-time Virginia Beach (Va.) Salem RB Kevin Whaley, who ran for 1,900 yards and 37 TDs as a junior and has an offer from Virginia Tech, is one of several top Mid-Atlantic prospects set to test at the Baltimore NIKE Combine on March 10th...
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.