OXFORD, Miss. - A perfect 75-degree May day in Oxford did not turn out the number of prospects that were in Athens or that will be in Palo Alto, but the quality of talent was top notch. In fact, it can be said that pound for pound this was one of the better camps.
The day was highlighted by a tremendous group of running backs. Highlighting the group was an amazing performance by Lafayette (La.) Northside stallion Keiland Williams. The 6-foot, 215-pound Williams ran the 40-yard dash in below 4.5 seconds and dominated drills
"I thought I had a pretty good day out there today, but I thought that I could have done better," Williams said. "I'm so glad I came though because I learned a lot and got to see where I stack up against some of the best players in the nation.
"I got a lot of today and it will help me at my new school."
Williams' new school is Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy, where he will play this fall. He is ineligible to play his senior year in Louisiana due to a missed credit early in his high school career and will play at Hargrave against college-level prospects and will still have four years of college eligibility.
"I report up there Aug. 11," Williams said. "I know it's going to be tough, but I'm excited. I have been doing the workout they sent me. I know it will be tough, but I think its an advantage because I will be competing against much better talent than any of these guys in high school are."
Williams has offers from LSU, Ole Miss and UCLA already and says the Tigers are the strong favorite.
QUARTERBACK The camp was not very deep at the quarterback position, however, it may have had the nation's top signal caller in attendance in Springdale, Ark. product Mitch Mustain.
Mustain was excellent in every facet of the camp. He looked good in testing, agility drills, SPARQ training and one on ones. He throws a crisp, tight ball and is as smooth of a quarterback as one will ever see. He is a good athlete, but his strength is as a drop-back passer. After Sunday's performance, it is easy to see why he has 25 scholarship offers on the table.
The other star quarterback of the day was Macon (Miss.) Noxubee County star James Patterson. There is no doubt, that physically, Patterson was the most impressive quarterback at the camp. He is very well put together and throws the ball with a lot of heat. He is still very raw, but is a tremendous athlete and has a ton of upside.
Oxford, Miss. quarterback Matt Malouf also had a solid day and looked the part of a college prospect. He showed solid mechanics and good arm strength most of the day. He threw a few floaters in one on one's, but for the most part the hometown boy was a bright spot at the quarterback position.
RUNNING BACK The group of running backs at the Oxford NIKE camp was as good as any group that we've seen all year. Williams pretty much dominated all day long at the position.
Baton Rouge (La.) Tara star Jarius Wright looks the part of a college running back. He is built like a truck and is extremely agile for someone as muscular as he is. He tested well and had a great day in the drills and during one on one's. He was not one of the more talked about running back's going into the camp, but certainly showed he can compete with some of the best in the South.
Another running back from the Pelican State that showed out was Jonesboro (La.) Hodge product Charles Scott. He is another prospect who has the body to play college football immediately. He was somewhat disappointed with his 40-yard dash time, which was in the 4.6 range, but has great lateral quickness. While he has solid speed, it's his strength that sets him apart from most running backs. On film, he always manages to break into the open, whether it's by running over the defender or shaking them off.
There are several very solid running backs this year in the Magnolia State and most of them attended Sunday's camp. Perhaps the best performance came from Lumberton, Miss., tailback Terry Grant, who had a good all-around camp. He's not as big as Williams, Wright or Scott, but certainly a very thick athlete who moves well and has good speed.
Biloxi, Miss., running back Damion Fletcher showed very quick feet and good speed in all of the drills. Meridian, Miss. standout Cordera Eason is a big athlete with decent speed, but his caveat is his power. He showed up late and it took him a while, but he settled in and had a good day. Terry, Miss. star Anthony Dixon could be the sleeper of the group. He has good size and moves extremely well, but isn't a guy that will test off the charts. He has, however, all the intangibles to be a good one.
WIDE RECEIVER Ole Miss could have a bright future in its passing game if Sunday was any indication of how Kosciusko, Miss., wide out Terry Levy and New Orleans (La.) O.P. Walker star Kendrick Lewis will perform once they suit up for the Rebs.
Both Levy and Lewis fared very well in the one on ones. Levy is a big, lean athlete who runs well and is skilled at using his body against the defender. Lewis is somewhat smaller, but slightly quicker and a very smooth athlete who can make the tough catch and creates separation in his routes.
"I thought that I did really well today," Lewis said. "I wanted to show some people what I could do and I think I did that. There were a lot of great wide receivers and defensive backs out here so it was good to see where I stacked up among them."
New Iberia (La.) Westgate athlete Jared Mitchell is one of those versatile prospects that could've worked out as a wide receiver, defensive back or running back and fared well. He has good speed, good size, great hands and is well put together. He managed to get open nearly every time and when he didn't, he still managed to catch the ball with a defensive back draped on him.
There may not have been a more physically impressive prospect there than New Orleans (La.) John F. Kennedy wide receiver Courtney Smith. Smith looked like a tight end physically, but has a wide receiver's athleticism. He showed great footwork in the rope drill and ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.6-second range.
St. Charles (la.) La Place wide receiver Casey Robottom had a very solid day in the one on one's. He may have been the quickest and most shifty of any receiver at the camp. Dallas (Tex.) Wilmer-Hutchins standout Xavier Rambo also fared well.
OFFENSIVE LINE The Natural State showed up in strong force on Sunday, but not just with the performance of Mustain. Another Arkansas star showed up and showed out in Pocahontas, Ark., offensive tackle Jim Hart.
Hart is an enormous athlete, who is almost pure muscle. He moved very well and was one of the best lineman in the rope drill showing great footwork.
DEFENSIVE LINE Lafayette (La.) Northside defensive tackle Jarrod Shaw is a man among boys. He is a massive individual who showed great footwork in the drills and moved well laterally and is quick off the ball. His 40-yard dash time left something to be desired, but in the case of a defensive tackle, the shuttle showing lateral quickness and the vertical jump showing explosion off the line are much more important.
"I did better than I thought I was going to in all of the testing," Shaw said. "I think playing basketball has helped me a lot with my lateral movement. I really learned a lot out there and learned some tricks on how to separate yourself from everyone else."
Louisville (Ky.) Central defensive tackle Corey Peters has lost weight and looks to be in better shape from when Rivals visited with him at his school in March. He has packed on the muscle and moves very well for a man of his stature.
Memphis (Tenn.) Briarcrest Christian defensive end Greg Hardy is a name to remember. He is a tall, lean athlete who moves well and had an excellent performance on Sunday. He did not play his junior year because he transferred and had to sit out. He has already picked up offers from LSU and Ole Miss and more could be on the way now that he has had his coming out party.
Hahnville (La.) Boutte defensive end Kentrell Lockett also had a very solid showing.
LINEBACKER The group of linebackers in Oxford was a very deep group with the star of the show being Rolling Fork (Miss.) Humphries County inside linebacker Jamon Hughes, who is built like a truck and simply dominated all day long in drills. He does every thing well and is a prospect whose stock is soaring.
"He does everything well," NIKE linebackers coach Chris Gizzie said. "He was physical in the one-on-ones. I wouldn't be surprised if he's a coach's athlete, or has somebody close to him that's a coach. The way he sees things and understands what you coach, he seems to know the game a lot better than others. That just makes all the angles and everything else you try to teach a athlete that much better."
Jackson (Miss.) Callaway outside linebacker Derrick Odom had a solid day. He is a lean linebacker who has great speed and was awesome in drills. Meridian, Miss., outside linebacker Roshaad Byrd also had an excellent day and showed why he has already earned an offer from Mississippi State.
DEFENSIVE BACK Destrehan (La.) athlete Jai Eugene has a world of upside potential. He did struggle at times in the one on one drill, but showed flashes of the great player that he can be. He has the change of direction, speed and athleticism to be a special player.
Memphis (Tenn.) Melrose cornerback Kenyatta Fullilove had a superb day. He tested off the charts, showed perhaps the quickest feet at the entire camp during the rope drill and played lights out in the one on ones. He's not the biggest in the world, but makes up for every bit of it in speed and quickness.
Troy (Ala.) Charles Henderson defensive back Zaccheus Etheridge proved he is a definite D-I talent with his performances on Jared Mitchell, doing an excellent job in covering one of the top wide receivers at the camp. Also, C.J. Bailey of Moss Point, Miss. has a super ability to back pedal and has great speed and very flexible hips and did well in one on ones.