February 22, 2014

Postcard from camp: New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS -- The Rivals Camp Series Presented by Under Armor kicked off its second year in the Big Easy on Saturday, hosting seven players from the Rivals250 at East Jefferson High School in Metarie, La.

On a picturesque day in the Crescent City, with the temperature reaching 70 degrees, Rivals Camp Series Football Director Al Luginbill headed up a talented team of coaches in directing the prospects through a day of drills, teaching and competition.

Tyron Johnson and Jashon Cornell led a field of 202 total prospects, which also included Baton Rogue (La.) University Laboratory School super sophomore and LSU commit Dylan Moses. Cornell ventured all the way from St. Paul, Minn., to compete against some of the Southeast's best talent in hopes of improving his Rivals.com ranking.

"The competition at the wide receiver position was some of the strongest that we have ever seen," Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell said.

Amongst the wealth of talent at that position, three young prospects had big days. Johnson, the No. 43 ranked player entering camp, proved he was worth every bit of his ranking on Saturday afternoon, if not more.

"There were a lot of people under me pushing me like Stanley Morgan to be the best," said Johnson, who plays at New Orleans Warren Easton Senior. "They are good receivers, and with me competing versus them, I'm going to reach the peak of how good I really am."

"Today was a learning lesson," Johnson said when asked about the competition levels at the camp. "It was really cool to go up against the DB's you'll be seeing in the future."

Speaking of Morgan, he also stood out today according to Farrell.

"I didn't know he was this good," Farrell said. "He catches absolutely everything."

Morgan also spoke well of the competition.

"It definitely helped me get better to go up against the best of the best today," he said. "I really focused on getting better this week in my practice (leading up to the camp), and I think I did real good today."

Cornell was one of the lone competitors not from the state of Louisiana and definitely won the award for most miles logged to compete. The defensive tackle prospect flew from St. Paul to compete against the highly touted talent from the Southeast.

"I came down here to improve and to help my ranking," Cornell said. "Frankly, I think Rivals has me underrated, so it was to learn and show out and prove myself. It was a tough day of travel, and I think I'm one of the top guys."

The Rivals.com analysts agreed. The Minnesotan took home the camp's best defensive lineman award.

While the day was filled with outstanding catches and great play in the trenches, one moment did get top billing. Morgan made the catch of the day when he ran a go route down the sideline and made a leaping one-handed catch.

"It's tough to pick just one (moment), but Stanley's catch definitely stood out to me," Farrell said.

Morgan said: "I put a double move on (the defensive back) and then made a play. It was definitely the best catch I made all day."

Because of their elite level performances, Johnson and Cornell earned invitations to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Baltimore, Md., this summer, which will be held at M&T Bank Stadium, the home of the Baltimore Ravens.

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"There are a couple of others we were close to pulling the trigger (on giving an invitation), but we wanted to wait just a bit since it was the first stop of the tour," Farrell said.

The Rivals Camp Series Presented by Under Armor handed out awards to the best player at his respective position at the conclusion of the day:

Quarterback: Deuce Wallace - Reserve (La.) Riverside Academy
Running Back: Dylan Moses - Baton Rougue (La.) University Laboratory School
Wide Receiver: Tyron Johnson - New Orleans Warren Easton
Offensive Line: Cody Ford - Pineville (La.) Pineville
Defensive Line: Jashon Cornell - St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin Derham Hall
Linebacker: Michael Divinity - Marrero (La.) John Ehret
Defensive Back: Malik Antoine - Baton Rogue (La.) University Laboratory School

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