SpartanMag.com looks at who we believe were the top performers from the Michigan State Camp that was held on Saturday. Numerous players lived up to the hype and few stepped their game up. SpartanMag.com breaks it down
The Spartan commitment did not have to perform on Saturday, but he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to compete. Shelton showed that he is a fluid athlete that has an extra gear. Shelton was smooth catching the ball and took several short passes and turned them into big gains with one efficient move. Shelton showed why he was a top priority for Coach Dantonio and the Michigan State staff.
Hicks ended up tweaking his ankle and missed the afternoon portion of the camp. However, he more than showed enough in the morning session to impress. Hicks was the most natural cornerback at the camp. He showed the ability to stay low in his back pedal and flip his hips and break quickly. The Spartans offered Hicks early in the process and having him back on campus certainly cannot hurt MSU's chances with him.
The Spartans wanted to offer a quality defensive end at this camp and Cooper made the most of the opportunity. His consistent, high-level of play is what made the difference. Though he still has to add some weight on his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame, Cooper routinely beat the offensive linemen with a variety of techniques. Cooper's performance in East Lansing came on the heels of an outstanding performance at the Sound Mind-Sound Body Camp. There he also caused problems for numerous BCS level linemen.
Milano was somewhat of an unknown to SpartanMag.com early in the day, but that certainly did not last long. In the morning he showed that despite being a safety, he has the ability to cover players in 1v1 situations. In the afternoon though is where he really excelled. Milano is one of those safeties that likes to be a field general and excels at reading and reacting. He definitely showed that he has Big Ten ability and is a player SpartanMag.com will be following up with very soon.
Michigan State wanted Jeppesen to come to camp and work as a defensive tackle and it is a good thing they did. Not only did Jeppesen show he has the ability to play the position at the next level, but in the process he put himself in contention for a Spartan scholarship offer at some point. Jeppesen worked much of the day with former Spartan Kevin Pickelman and showed some of the same qualities that made Pickelman such a valuable player for Michigan State last year.
It is impossible to see all the players perform all the time, but when the OL went to the 1v1 portion Carr was the top performer. Carr was the only offensive lineman that consistently was able to compete with Cooper and Jeppesen. Carr may of not won ever rep, but he more than held his own. At a legitimate 6-foot-4, 290-pounds, Carr improved his stock on Saturday. His play was similar to that of 2012 prospect Daron Brown who put himself on the radar last year after camp. Carr however is more polished that Brown and should end up in t a BCS school.
Friend has seen his stock rise steadily this spring and he stopped into Michigan State looking to earn a scholarship offer. Friend has excellent size and the biggest question is what position he will play in the future. Friend has a frame to add quality size and possibly play offensive tackle. The word is Friend would prefer to stay at tight end if possible. Friend worked at tight end most of the day on Saturday, but jumped in and took some reps at offensive line during the 1v1 portion.
The future Spartan had a mixed day. While it is obvious that Powell has the athletic ability coaches like to see, he did not look comfortable in the drills which focused on 1v1 coverage skills. Where he did excel was when he was allowed to drop into safety and let his athletic ability take over. The difference in play and even confidence was visible. Powell is a player that wants to read and use his superior athletic skills to come up and either hit players or play the ball.
Redding has been the buzz of several camps this spring but it has not translated into offers, yet. No wide receiver in the Midwest has the combination of hands, leaping ability and body control that Redding has. The question is whether he has the speed and ability to add more size on a thin frame. Look for the Spartans and several other teams that saw him perform on Saturday to turn up the heat on him over the next few weeks.
Gourdine has picked up some quality offers in recent weeks and based on what we say they are well deserved. Gourdine is a tall safety and he will only get bigger as times goes by. Gourdine could grow into an outside linebacker before all is said and done and that may not be a bad thing. He does not mind playing close to the line and likes contact. Gourdine may not end up getting a Spartan offer, but he should find a BCS home for sure.
Other players who impressed and could easily end up playing in the Big Ten and even possibly for Michigan State.
DE James Conner of Pennsylvania: Quick DE that was tough to block
TE Pete Cender of Michigan: Yet another solid performance
DE DaWuane Smoot of Ohio: Impressive physically, his best football is ahead of him
TE Dylan Chmura of Wisconsin: Can't argue with the bloodline
CB Aregeros Turner of Ohio: Cat quick prospect that could play multiple positions
WR Brandon Moore of Michigan: Under the radar WR with impressive physical talent
DE Jake Slobin of Michigan: Undersized recruit with great motor that plays with very good leverage
WR Damario Jones of Michigan: The next in-line form Westland John Glenn
OL Jack Ford of Michigan: Stock on the rise lineman
TE Zach Crouch of Michigan: Showed that he is a player to remember.
Note: The above list focuses on class of 2013 prospects. Class of 2014 and 2015 HOT List will come later this week.