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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 Blog continues to take a look at some of the early returnees...
*Golden Tate will be one of the most heavily-recruited athletes out of the state of Tennessee next year, and for good reason. After all, all the 6-0, 185 pound athlete did as a junior at Hendersonville Pope John Paul II last fall was score 25 touchdowns and account for more than 2,800 all-purpose yards on his way to being named the state's Division II Mr. Football. Tate used his 4.4 speed to hurt defenses in numerous ways last fall, rushing for 1,072 yards and also piling up 864 yards receiving, and he certainly is no longer just a Volunteer State secret in the recruiting world. Already Tennessee, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State have offered Tate, and he has also has strong interest in top programs like Miami, Notre Dame, Georgia and Florida. Tate will show his stuff with many other top prospects in the South at the April 29th NIKE Camp in Athens.
*It's never easy following in the footsteps of a well-known older brother, and for Land O'Lakes (Fla.) QB Joe Weatherford, it might be even tougher, as not only is he the younger brother of Elite 11 and current FSU starting QB Drew Weatherford, but three of Joe's other nine brothers and sisters have also gone on to play Division I athletics as well. The 6-4, 190 pound junior isn't showing any signs of wear however, as he's coming off a breakout 2005 season in which he completed 108 of 195 passes for 2,000 yards with 15 touchdown passes and just five interceptions, helping his team to a 9-2 record. Following the season, Weatherford was named all-district and all-conference and he's also started receiving mail from schools all over the country. It doesn't sound as if he'd like to follow Drew to FSU at this point, as Joe lists his current favorites as Stanford, UConn, UCLA, Notre Dame and Texas. Weatherford plans on camping at Notre Dame this summer and will also attend the NIKE Camp on May 20th in Gainesville.
*He doesn't get nearly the national attention he deserves, but San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine quarterback Chris Forcier should definitely be mentioned among the nation's top players at his position. Forcier has a handful of offers on the table and just received offer No. 6 from Big 12 country on Tuesday. Forcier, a 6-3, 180 pounder, picked up early offers from Mississippi, Mississippi State, Oregon, San Diego State and Wisconsin and landed another one earlier in the week. "Nebraska just offered him Tuesday," St. Augustine coach Jerry Ralph said. "Things have been really busy with Chris right now. In addition to the offers he has, USC and UCLA are very hot on him as are Miami and Florida. Georgia, Clemson and LSU are recruiting him very hard as well and Michigan loves him too."
*One of the more intriguing prospects in New Jersey this year will be Piscataway QB/Athlete Tony Logan. The 6-0, 180 pounder has electric speed and could play multiple positions at the college level because of it. He threw nine touchdowns and ran for another eight despite not playing in most of Piscataway's games a year ago after transferring in from another school. Last year he attended the Elite 11 regional camp in Atlanta and was one of the top underclassmen there, and his reported 4.3 speed in the 40 and tremendous athletic gifts have already drawn offers from Maryland and Rutgers. Logan lists his favorites as Notre Dame, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia and Penn State, and he'll attend the May 6th NIKE Camp in State College.
*Although he plays at a small school, there's no denying the huge year that Art Evans had last fall at Lakeland (Fla.) Evangel Christian. The 6-1, 170 pound WR/DB put up monster numbers on both sides of the ball, catching 62 passes for 1,359 yards and 16 touchdowns while totaling 55 tackles and 11 interceptions, three of which he returned for scores, on defense. Not surprisingly, Evans was a Class 1B all-state pick following the big year, which wasn't his first, as he had nine picks as a sophomore in 2004. Evans attended the NIKE Camp in Tallahassee last spring, where he ran a solid 4.65 40 and a 4.31 shuttle, and already has pulled in his first offer, from the Duke Blue Devils. Currently Evans lists Alabama as his favorite, where his friend and former teammate at Evangel Chris Rogers plays, followed by Miami, LSU, Florida and FSU. He'll attend the NIKE Camp in either Miami or Gainesville this spring.
*After a solid junior season in which he totaled 50 tackles and six interceptions, Beaumont (Texas) Ozen cornerback Ben Wells is beginning to attract top colleges and already has his first offer in hand. The 6-1, 185 pound Wells, who was an all-district and all-area pick as a junior, has been offered by TCU and is also receiving mail from most of the Big 12 plus LSU, Ohio State and others. Currently Wells' list of favorites is compromised of Oklahoma State, LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Texas, Georgia, Miami, Oregon and TCU. Wells carries a 3.2 GPA and has scored an 1100 on the SAT. He will attend the NIKE Camp on April 22nd in College Station.
*Cambridge (Ohio) is home to one of the Buckeye State's most productive running backs over the past two seasons. 5-8, 170 pound Stephen Ford ran for 1,187 yards and 15 scores as a sophomore in 2004 and topped those numbers significantly this past fall, rushing for 1,941 yards and 30 touchdowns on his way to Division III first team all-state honors. Ford, who claims 4.49 speed in the 40, also had 123 yards and two more touchdowns receiving last fall, scoring a total of 32 touchdowns in just 10 games. His current lists of favorite schools include Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, Indiana and Cincinnati, and he'll attend the May 5th NIKE Camp in Columbus.
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 ([email protected]) or Greg Biggins ([email protected]) if you are in the West.