May 8, 2006

Athens Nike Eval: South Carolina Players Part II

Athens, Ga - As it is each year, the Nike Camp on the campus of the University of Georgia was loaded with talent with athletes from all over the Southeast, as well as some stragglers from other areas of the country as far as Michigan. South Carolina had close to thirty players on hand and we had a chance to eyeball all of them during their testing phase, their SPARQ workouts, skills drills, and one-on-one sessions. All of the Palmetto staters did well at the camp in their skills and their position one-on-one sessions, and most did well during the testing phase. Here is Part II of the series on SCVarsity.com's evaluation of South Carolina talent that was on hand at the Athens Nike Camp.

Offensive Players:

The quarterbacks on hand at Nike that we saw from South Carolina had good showings. Dutch Fork's Zack Cornett had a solid work out. The testing phase went well for Cornett and he looked good in the skills drills. His performance in the one-on-ones was really difficult to evaluate because of the wide variety of receivers and routes that were mixed in the same group, and the limited touches because of the number of players. Despite that, Cornett showed very good footwork in the pocket with above average arm strength.

One that I was impressed with was Summerville quarterback Reid McCollum. This sophomore (rising junior) is 6-3, 200+ and looked very good in skills drills. He's got a long, strong body and shows good quickness. In the skills drills, he showed good arm strength and accuracy. Again, in the one-on-ones it was difficult to evaluate because of the lack of reps, but when he was in, his mechanics were solid and his passes were accurate. Its beyond me how he wasn't the starter for the Wave this past season.

Tye Wright of Richland Northeast High School worked out with the wide receivers and looked very good. Tye played some quarterback for the Cavaliers most of last season, but I feel wide receiver is the spot that he can get recruited at as a IA player. He looked good in skills and one-on-ones with the wide outs. He's got very good hands and ran sharp patterns.

Marcus Carroll of Greenwood High School tested exctremely well, finishing in the top 20 SPARQ scores. He had the fastest 40 time of all South Carolina players (4.45), ran a 4.44 shuttle, 19 reps on the bench, and a 34.2 vertical jump. He showed very good footwork in the skills drills, and in the one-on-ones, displayed some very good field speed. He's going to be a player that can play running back or defensive back for the Eagles.

Dutch Fork's Jeff Dimary worked out with the wide receivers and while he can probably play that position well, I would have liked to have seen him working against the wide outs. He went through the skills drills strong, showing good route running as well as soft hands. While he didn't do anything that screamed out during one-on-ones, he made some good receptions and showed good seperation. I still say he's stronger on the defensive side of the ball and could be one of the top DB's in the state.

Other players that did well in skills and one-on-ones, from the limited time that I was able to see them, were Irmo running back Mario Carter, who I think will be one of the more productive backs in the state this year if he stays healthy and Riverside wide receiver Trey Williams. Williams looked sharp in the skills drills, but I did not have an opportunity to see him in one-on-ones. Irmo tight end Myron Rogers was one I was looking forward to watching, but he had a nagging injury that sidelined him during the testing phase and was unable to participate.

We already talked about A.J. Green and Brandon King in part I.

Defensive Players

Clearly, the most impressive defensive player of the day was Charles White of Blythewood, who we talked about in Part I. Beyond White there were some other outstanding performers.

I was very impressed with Ridge View defensive back John Synovec. I do believe he is going to have to move to linebacker to play at the next level, but he looked good in skills and one-on-ones. He also turned in one of the top 40 times in the camp (4.50).

Spring Valley's Brandon Weeden worked out with the LB's and did great in all phases of the camp, including the SPARQ testing where he finished with one of the Top Ten ratings with an 82.46.

Dutch Fork defensive lineman Aaron Province is an intriguing player. He did not blow anyone away during the testing phase, but he looked very good in the SPARQ drills, the skills drills, and in one-on-ones. While I don't think he's going to attract major DI attention because of his size, he could easily be a I-AA player.

Other players that we did not have a chance to watch in one-on-ones but did well in the skills and testing phase were Spring Valley's Norman Washington, who I feel is really a sleeper at his position. He played DB for the Vikings last season, but has put on some weight in the off season and could really play outside at linebacker, depending upon how Coach Jimmy Noonan decides to use him. Irmo sophomore Rickey Nickles did well in the testing phase of the camp, with a 4.19 shuttle. Tanner Smith of James Island (DB/WR) ran a sub 4.0 shuttle.

We will continue to breakdown some video and attempt to evaluate South Carolina players who were present in Athens for a possible Part III in this series.




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