HOOVER, Ala. - The talent showcase that was the National Select 7-on-7 Championships was also the national coming-out party for a pair of young quarterbacks and many other previously undiscovered players.
With many known commodities on hand, it was stunning to see the other players who shined.
National Select 7-on-7 Championships Top Performers
WR, 6-0/185, Griffin (Ga.) High
Daniel was one of the brightest spots for an otherwise disappointing Griffin team. One of the best teams in Georgia 4A faced an early exit from the tournament. Daniel's best game was early in pool play where he was repeatedly targeted and scored several touchdowns. He showed an explosive release from the line as many teams did not check him early as well as very soft hands hauling in a number of receptions. He secured the last spot in the all-tournament team over Kenton (Ohio) High receiver Max Morrison.
WR, 6-3/190, Hoover (Ala.) High
Denson was one of the hot names coming into the tournament. His quick rise from unknown player to Auburn commit was jump-started by his performance at the Palmetto State Showdown two weeks ago. While Denson was, once again, nearly impossible to guard, his team was not able to stick around long enough for him to move higher up the board. Size and speed are major plusses in his game. Denson can still get better, which is a scary thought.
ATH, 6-5/230, Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett
Uzomah primarily lined up at quarterback for the Bulldogs and was very effective at times. However, when it was crunch time and a play was needed, he would slide out to the wide receiver position and was as dominant as any player on the field. At 6 feet 5 and with a wealth of talent, Uzomah will become an even hotter commodity as the season progresses. He currently sits with 19 offers and says Auburn, Florida and LSU are the leaders right now.
ATH, 5-11/190, West Monroe (La.) High
Turner was named the defensive MVP for the tournament, and with good reason. He shut down nearly everyone he faced. Early in pool play, teams would test him, but his breaks on passes, deflections and interceptions quickly spread around the coaches' ranks. By the end of pool play, it was clear everyone knew where not to throw. Turner recently landed an offer from LSU and is a big reason why coach Don Shows said that this could be the best defense he has had at West Monroe.
WR, 6-0/175, Atlanta (Ga.) Grady
The nearly impossible to cover Swann caught everything in sight and was repeatedly brought up in conversations among coaches and media members. Swann nearly led Grady to the event finals before it stumbled against Kenton (Ohio) in the consolation bracket. Displaying very good body control and above-average speed, Swann was a must-have on the all-tournament team. He is currently ranked No. 48 in the nation and has been having a great summer, playing well at multiple 7-on-7 events.
QB, 6-1/202, Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen
Messer looked like a man on a mission, leading his team through tournament play undefeated and into the finals. The 6-1 QB was out to earn a star ranking and may have done it with his play. He was fairly consistent and displayed one of the strongest arms of the event. McGill-Toolen has plenty of weapons and could be a team worth paying attention to on the national level as the school is almost always a team to be reckoned with in south Alabama.
WR, 6-3/185, Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman
Peake entered the tournament as one of the highest-rated players by Rivals.com, checking in at No. 91 nationally. He was nothing short of spectacular, catching close to double-digit touchdowns. While Dorman did not make it as far in the tournament as it would have liked, it was not without the best effort of one of the best wide receivers in the nation. Peake's commitment to Clemson is very solid, and he expects Dorman to compete for another state title. He leads a very potent offensive attack for the Cavaliers.
WR, 5-10/180, Montgomery (Ala.) Carver
With a talented group of wide receivers, this was the second straight event in which a player who originally did not have a Rivals.com profile earned one. Pitts is a Wes Welker-type receiver who is able to go over the middle as a possession receiver. He can also make tremendous athletic plays in the air, and he routinely out-jumped players who were bigger and in better position. A few games into his senior season should produce offers for Pitts.
QB, 6-2/185, Kenton (Ohio) High, Class of 2012
Mauk was voted as the tournament MVP, leading the Wildcats to the final four. Mauk's arm strength and ability to see the field was impressive. In a 7-on-7 event, many quarterbacks are content to play the seams and middle of the field. Mauk, however, was consistently throwing outside the numbers to the sideline - even from the far hash to the complete outside. Mauk already has offers from Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Missouri and Ball State. He will be one of the higher-rated QBs in his class.
QB, 6-6/235, Montgomery (Ala.) Carver, Class of 2013
The MVP voting was turned in before the championship game; otherwise, there may have been a different outcome. Johnson effectively used his pump fake to routinely draw in safeties and go over the top. He was primarily a basketball player but, with good coaching, could turn into one of the best quarterbacks in his class. There are a lot of raw skills that need to be developed, but the tools are certainly there. Leading his team to the event title gets him the No. 1 spot on the all-tournament team.