Monday, 08 April 2013 12:55

Easter Showcase Write Ups

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Easter Sunday Showcase Team Photo Easter Sunday Showcase Team Photo

The Easter Sunday Showcase was a magical event.  We never expected a turnout like we got.  We certainly didn't expect the talent level that was there for our first event like this.  We were concerned about having the event on Easter Sunday but we did this so that many of our GYFL alums and other kids who wanted more exposure and off season competition to get better could get what they needed.

These events have become so popular over the last couple of years that sometimes 200 or 300 kids will show up, which makes it very difficult for the individual kids to get repetitions, or be evaluated by the scouting services.  We felt the need to do something "boutique style" that would have a very small number of athletes, so that each one could get more than enough attention and more than enough coaching.  The evaluation part was important to us as well and we felt as thought it was important to have Rivals.com on board.  Currently, they are the leader in the industry and kids and parents wanted the opportunity to be evaluated by them.  We invited all of the top scouting services and were fortunate enough to have TerrapinTimes.com and FoxSports come out as well.  The only date that Rivals could commit to was Easter Sunday, so that is why we had it on that day.

With that being said, it was exciting and humbling to see 71 elite athletes show up to compete and I think they got more than their moneies worth.  Our coaches were fantastic.   The majority of our coaches have NFL experience, two of them are current NFL Players.  Austin Howard, the starting OT for the New York Jets evaluated our OL.  Ricardo Silva, a Safety for the Detroit Lions was on hand to coach up the DB's.  12 year veterans JB Brown and Richie Anderson coached up the DB's and WR's respectively.  9 year veteran Lamont Jordan handled the RB's.  8 year veteran and media celebrity Lavar Arrington coached our LB's.  A number of elite HS coaches rounded out our staff.  Eric Henderson from Lake Braddock taught our QB's, and Deonte "Big Juice" Holden from DeMatha put it on our DL. Mitch Suplee, who is one of the top OL coaches in the area rounded out the top notch staff.

This event was not designed for the 5 Star and 4 Star kids that already have tremendous exposure.  They did not need this.  They already have a ton of offers and have mastered the circuit.  Four Star athletes like Damian Prince (Bishop McNamara), Caleb Henderson (Lake Braddock), Deandre Payne (Friendship Collegiate), and Mark Allen (DeMatha) could not benefit from this local event, no matter how nice it was.  However, they still showed up to support Grassroots and we appreciate them so much for that.   It was a star studded event.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the recap, we want to make sure to always let the public know what our purpose is and what it is not.  We have no intention of trying to create an entity that sidetracks High School coaches in the recruiting process.  There is much concern in the High School Coaching community that these "Non Scholastic Events" like High School Showcases, 7 on 7 tournaments, combines, etc., are going to take recruiting out of the hands of High School Coaches and put it in the hands of 3rd parties.  Most coaches point to AAU Basketball as being the culprit and there have been reasons for the concern, but basketball is not the only sport that has been influenced by 3rd party organizations. 

For decades, travel baseball teams like Cal Ripken's teams for example, have been where the best high school baseball players have played and we don't hear the same level of animosity directed at those groups.  Travel Soccer teams dominate the high school soccer landscape and we don't hear the same level of animosity directed towards those groups.  Elite lacrosse teams control that arena as well.  It seems as though every other sport except football has year round, elite, club level options that the top player gravitate to, but AAU basketball is the only one that is the target of such negativity.

We want to go on record as making a committment that have no intention of trying to imitate ANY of the other sports, not just AAU Basketball.  We respect what they ALL do, and if those entities in ALL of the sports were not having an impact on the kids that the parents believe is positive, those parents would not invest their time and resources with them.  If college coaches did not see a benefit in those organizations, they would not recruit kids from them and they would no longer exist.  We are trying to bridge a gap and bring high school coaches and the Non-Scholastic events together for the ultimate benefit of the kids.

We will continue to do what we do, and that is make a sincere effort to be a blessing to these babies and doing it in conjunction with High School Coaches.  We have always reached out to attempt engage with them and we always will.   We thank all of the High School coaches that supported us by recommending these events to their athletes.  We won't let you down.  For those that still need to vet us further to determine if our hearts are in the right place, we will be here with open arms after you have finished your vetting process and realize that we are who we say we are.

EASTER SHOWCASE WRITE UPS!

If you have read our other write ups, you will notice that we selected the top players from each position (max of 5) and included Honorable Mentions, when applicable.  We just can't do it like that this time.  There was way too much talent!  We are writing this up similar to how the scouting services write theirs up in narrative form, with a focus on highlighting every athlete that warranted a mention.  We are not including a photo's of every athlete that will be mentioned.  We will include the photos on this write up of the very top kids that our evaluators rated at each position.

Please go into this knowing that every athlete that participated will not be mentioned in this write up. That does not mean that we don't believe they have potential to go to the  next level.  Scouting talent is NOT an exact science.  Scouts don't see everything and they are human beings who are not always perfect.  As a matter of fact, we are never perfect.  Different scouts like different things and this was a snapshot from one day in March of 2013.  It is a synopsis of what scouts witnessed on this day.  This is not the. "end all be all" for you.  If you made this write up, congratulations!  You will be getting exposure that you may or may not have received previously.  There are some new names to this list that we did not know existed.  But, don't for one minute believe that because you made one write up that you have arrived. because you haven't.

You will have to contninue to work your tail off to maintain whatever ranking, or position, or evaluation that you currently have.  This is not time for you to think you have arrived because you made this list.  Be proud of yourself and this will be confirmation that your hard work is paying off, but it hasn't paid off yet until you sign your name on the dotted line in February of your graduation year.  Until that day, you better keep grinding and stay humble, because somebody that didn't make this list is not going to be happy and they will be coming after you.

If you did not make this list, we want you and expect you to be disappointed.  It will be the disappointment that will be your fuel as you get in the gym this week in an effort to either improve you game, or to prove us wrong.  You will have many opportunities after this to prove us wrong if you think we missed you, or overlooked you.  That was not our intention.  Our evaluators are looking at ID numbers on the back of shirts and evaluating what they see.  We know that we are going to miss some of you.  We know that these showcases are NOT football and until you get the helmet and shoulder pads on, we really don't know who the real football players are.  These events can tell us who the athletes are and who has positional skills.  Those are very important and don't ever lose sight of that.  But, in the end, you have to be a football player and that is not something we can evaluate at events like that.  So, keep all of that in mind when you read these write ups.

If you didn't make it, we expect you to be frustrated and maybe even mad.  Those are good emotions for football players to have if you effectively use them as fuel and motivation, and you don't give up!  Disappointements are a part of this game and if you play it long enough, you will experience your share of it.  Successful athletes are the ones that get knocked down, but don't stay down.  How you handle disapointment is going to determine how far you go in this game.  Are you going to be angry, curse out Grassroots and say, "I am not going to any more of those events?"  Or are you going to go back to the drawing board, ask us what you need to do to improve and get back to work?  That is the million dollar question guys.  With that being said, please read and enjoy!

Quarterbacks by Randy Carrington:

We had some outstanding signal callers at the event.  Four Star Rivals prospect Caleb Henderson was not supposed to participate, but before we  knew it he was out there throwing balls.  He has a rocket arm and is well worth his lofty ranking and his numerous offers.  But, we had some kids who are not nearly as high on the radar screen that we believe will be in those discussions after successful Spring Circuit seasons.

Colar Kuhns of Calvert Hall (Pictured below) was outstanding Sunday.  The rising Senior has very good footwork and a strong arm, but his accuracy was what stood out the most.  The kid has good size at 6'2 and 210lbs and looked awesome at the Showcase.  He exhibited the ability to "Make All The Throws", which is a phrase that is normally used to describe quarterbacks that have the total package.  We don't time 40 yard dashes at the showcases, so we can't comment on speed, but he looks mobile enough to get out of trouble.  Should have a breakout year.  Earned an invite to the Rivals Camp in New Jersey and with a strong showing there, we expect his ranking to move up the charts.  Calm, cool, and collected in the pocket and has the presence that effective QB's need to lead their team.

Colar Kuhns (Calvert Hall)  John Lovett (DeMatha HS)

John Lovett (DeMatha HS pictured Above) and Colar were neck and neck according to the evaluators, so don' take the fact that he was listed below Kuhns as an indicator that he was not as effective.  We used alphabetical order on these two because they were both that good! Lovett came down to DeMatha from New York for his Junior year and was dropped right in the middle of the pressure cooker called the WCAC.  He had a very solid year, but his kid is only 16 years old and he has improved so much in the last year that we almost didn't recognize him.  He was zipping strong armed balls all over the Champions Field House on Sunday.  His confidence is off the charts.  His accuracy was tremendous.  The rising senior threw tight spirals that were very catch-able balls are his signature.  He and Colar went after each other all day and they are both Division 1 QB's in our opinion.  Shows excellent leadership qualities for such a young kid.  Has a chance to raise his stock as well throughout the rest of the spring circuit.

Jalen Jones of Old Mill was exceptional.  Great height standing 6'2, with a lean and muscular frame.  He literally has rocket for an arm and show great athleticism on the day.  He was very impressive and put himself on the map.  The rising senior should have a breakout year.  Tarik Smith of Friendly is a rising Junior who followed up an impressive Sophomore showcase with an equally impressive Easter showing.  Good size at 6'0 and 165lbs.  Very similar in QB type with Jones.  Very mobile and competitive.  Accuracy needs work, but he has a chance to be very good.  Kasim Hill of Gilman, who is already 6'2 and 190lbs in the 8th grade made a case for himself that he is ready to compete with the big boys.  The kid has flawless mechanics and a strong arm.  Very accurate for a young kid.  If you did not know that he was still in middle school you would think he could be a rising Junior or even senior.  He will special if he continues to work hard and remains humble.  Take that to the bank.  We saw potential in Robert Harris III of Surratsville as well.  Nice body with a strong arm and intangibles.

Running Backs by Robert Harris:

We had a number of young running backs at the event.  We didn't get as many 2014 backs as we expected, but the kids that showed didn't disappoint.  Our evaluators only know the kids by ID#, so we don't discriminate based on class.  If a 9th grader scored the highest on the day, he deserves the top spot for that day.

The best evaluation of the day went to a 9th Grader Lorenzo "Lo Lo" Harrison from DeMatha (pictured below).  The 5'8, 178lb dynamo was just remarkable.  Low center of gravity allow him to cut on a dime.  Quickness and speed was off the chart.  He picked up all of the concepts taught by Lamont Jordan with ease and executed flawlessly.  This kid is just special.  Upper body has been sculpted in the weight room and we believe he is ready to follow up a 700 yard freshman year with a spectacular sophomore campaign.

Lo Lo Harrison (DeMatha HS)Joshua Burke (Suitland HS)

Joshua Burke from Suitland HS (pictured above) was very impressive on the day.  The 5'9, 174lb back showed versatility at the event and was solid in every aspect.  He showed very good speed, quickness, and agility.  He showed great hands out of the backfield and a high football IQ.  Burke is a rising Senior who we expect to have a breakout year and put himself in the discussion with a strong spring circuit.  Rising Junior Malik Harvin from Laurel HS caught our evaluators by surprise.   We had not heard about this kid, but numbers don't lie and his speed and quickness could not be denied.  He was very explosive and competitive.  at 5'8 and 147lbs, he is going to have to get in the weight room and get stronger to play at the next level, but he has the natural ability to be very good. 

2012 GYFL Offensive Player of the Year Abdul Adams of Wilson HS got it done at the showcase.  He has the total package.  Great size at 5'11 and 170lbs as a 9th grader.  Has a sculpted body based on a commitment to the weight room that is evident by his physique.  Worked really hard and showed great speed and quickness.  Sky is the limit for Abdul.  Rising Senior Alex Schultz of DeMatha HS was the best FB prospect at the event.  Low center of gravity and powerfully built.  The 5'8, 192lb stud showed great quickness and an extremely high football IQ.  Truly excels with the shoulder pads and helmet on, but did a great job at this event as well. 

Ronald Bell of Friendly, Darius Hinton of Franklin, and Malonta' Patterson from Dunbar of Baltimore were also impressive on the day.  Keep your eye out for an 8th Grader named Darius Golston, who will be attending Seneca Valley in the fall.  Great body and nice intangibles.  He held his own with the big boys.


Wide Receivers by John Panker:

This was the most difficult position to evaluate because the talent was absolutely off the charts.  We could have picked any number of players for the photo and to be honest, we felt that it would be unfair to single out one from this group so we chose not to.  The following group of receivers were all spectacular and are in no particular order.

Robbie Walker of Gonzaga made the switch from RB to WR for this event.  The 5'10, 175 athlete can do it all.  He showed great speed, quickness, agility and hands.  Versatile athlete that can fill a variety of roles at the college level.  The rising Senior should pick up some offers with a strong Spring circuit and effective one day college camps.  DJ Turner of DeMatha has the total package as a slot receiver.  Not very tall at 5'8, but solidly built at 175lbs, with speed and quickness to burn.  Virtually unguardable in one on ones.  He runs precise routes and catches everything.  The rising Senior should have a killer year.

Nicolas Nelson of Suitland HS was a kid that took advantage of the event.  We did not know about him before Sunday, but we certainly do now.  Great size at 6'0 and 182lbs.  Scored high in EVERY category.  Great looking prospect and rising senior that may be  under the radar but should not be.  Can't wait to see him in pads to see if he looks as good on film, but in shorts and T-shirt, he gets it done!  Another kid that came out of nowhere to blast on the scent was Byron Barney from Atholton.  Another kid with very good size at 6'0 and 172lbs.  Top line speed, quickness, and agility.  Very good hands, with crisp route running.  Another kid we need to keep an eye on for th fall. 

We were impressed with Morgan Scroggins from Calvert Hall.  Just a rising sophomore that is a highly skilled route runner with great size at 6'0 ande 177lbs.  Juwan Hikim of Wilson just tore the Easter Showcase up like he did the Sophomore event.  Quick, slot receiver is similar to DJ Turner and will give defenses fits.  Mitch Mona from St. Johns showed tremendous athletic ability on both sides of the ball.  He is in the WR write up, but this kid got it done as a DB too.  WCAC better watch out for this kid.  He can play.  Keep your eyes out for Jaron Woodyard from Watkins Mills HS.  Just a freshman, but this kid gave DB's fits all day long.  Very hard to guard.  Kalin Powell from Wise is a phenomenal athlete that was impressive as a WR and a DB.  Expect him to have a breakout year.   Chris Jones of DeMatha did not catch the ball today as he was recovering from a broken finger, but he is clearly the class of the receiving corps with speed and crisp route running ability that is second to none.  Without him participating in the receiving drills, it would not be fair to add him near the top, but to fail to mention his immense talent would be unfair as well.  The 6'3, 190lb gazelle is a Major D-1 prospect from the class of 2014.

Offensive Lineman & Defensive Lineman by Austin Howard:

We didn't have a ton of Offensive Lineman at this event, but the ones who showed were very good.  The cream of the OL crop was led by two players, whose pictures are included below.  Terrance Davis from DeMatha and Justin Hilliard from Good Counsel stood out the most from the group.  Davis is a mammoth of a young man at 6'3 and 302lbs.  The rising sophomore as long arms that he uses very well to keep DL off of his body.  He has a very good base and quick feet for a big kid.  Still very young with a lot to learn and time to learn it, but he will be special if he keeps working hard.  Hilliard is a stout 6'2 and 245lbs.  Solidly built and fundamentally sound.  Sky is the limit for him as he continues to get stronger in the weight room and even more technically sound.  Should be an awesome OG at the next level.  Rising Junior should have a standout year for the Falcons.

Terrance Davis (DeMatha HS) Justin Hilliard (Good Counsel HS)

Zachariah Titus of Quince Orchard HS is a rising senior who does not have the prototype size of a lineman.  He stands 5'7 and 208lbs but to be quite honest with you, he was one of the most technically sound linemen that we have seen in quite some time.  His height will not jump off the screen to college recruiters, but his ability and his film most certainly will.  We were beyond impressed with this kid.  Noel Hijazi of St. Johns HS put on another good showing.  The rising sophomore should have a stellar career for the cadets with his low center of gravity and powerfully built body.  He is up and ready for any and all challenges and competes like crazy when the whistle is blown.   Devante Fox from DeMatha had a strong showing.  The 6'3, 380lb DT should be dominant in the run game because of his size.  Competitive and hungry for respect for his senior year, he worked his tail off to impress the scouts and he did just that.

On the Defensive side of the ball, the DeMatha boys just showed out.  The Stags have two bookend DE's that are going to give teams fits this year.  Rising Senior Deonte "Little Juice" Holden (pictured below), who picked up offers from Cincinnati and East Carolina this week was pretty much unstoppable in one on ones.  He has his weight up to 220lbs on a 6'4 frame and hasn't lost any of his quickness.  Way too fast for most OT's to stop from getting the corner, and wire strong enough to bull rush them once he has them on their heels trying to cut off the corner.   He was dominant on the day and is in the process of learning the OLB position, which if successful will make him a versatile assett to any college program.

  Deonte Holden (DeMatha HS) Deandre Kelly (DeMatha HS)

Deandre Kelly (pictured above) is the other half of the dynamic duo that gave OL fits on Sunday.  The kid is 6'3 and 235lbs and is a rising Junior.  He has the total package of speed, size and quickness.  He was able to beat OT's around the corner with ease, then set them up for an array of spin moves and swim moves that he has perfected working with Lavar Arrington.  He always has great hands and used them effectively to get the OL hands off of him to control him, which threw them off balance and allowed him to get into the backfield with ease.  These two kids are going to be a problem.

St. Johns came to the event with an impressive slew of athletes at a variety of positions.  None was more impressive than this kid Eric Assoua.  The rising Junior has great TE/DE size already at 6'2 and 215lbs, but he stood out on the defensive side of the ball.  His speed and and quickness devastated the OL who tried to block him.  Needs to bulk up a bit to take on the run with the pads on, but in pass rushing situations, he is going to create havoc for the Johnnies opponents this year.  DeMatha was well represented at the DL position with Johnathan Sackey Addo as well.  The rising senior is a mammoth of a kid at 6'4 and 390lbs.  He moves well for a big man and is very powerful.  He competed hard and was effective as a DT.  One of the names to look out for us current 9th Grader Marvin Flyth from Arundel HS.  Flythe has the total package to be a special prospect coming from Anne Arundel County in a few years.  6'1 and 215lbs right now, but has a frame to put on weight and will be at least 6'2 and 240 before he leaves high school.  Will be a certified menace to offensive linemen. 

8th Grade Phenom Camaron Spence of Gilman HSmore than held his own with the High School Boys.  We wanted to test him out and see how much work he is going to have to do to be ready to compete as a 9th Grader at Gilman and after this showing, we are confident that with a commitment to the weight room and dedication, he will be ready.  the 6'3, 265lb Spence showed great footwork and quickness for a kids so young.

Linebackers by John Harris:

Without question, the cream of the crop according to the Great Lavar Arrington was Santoni Graham of Bishop O'Connell HS (pictured below).  To look at Santoni's body, there is no question that he has made a commitment to the weight room.  Perfect sized HS middle LB.  Standing 6'1 and 230lbs, he looks like he is physically ready to suit up for a Division 1 program right now.  Picked up reads well, and attacked them with quickness.  Has the ability to move laterally, which will be critical for him.  Did a great job in coverage on smaller and quicker RB's out of the backfield.  His true value is in shutting down the run game and we won't be able to see him in his glory until the pads are on, but trust us when we tell you this kid is the real deal!

Santoni Graham (Bishop O'Connell HS)

The next layer of LB's were very competitive and will be very good.  Nathan Jones of Wilson HS put in another great performance to follow up his Soph Showcase work where he was a top performer.  The rising Junior has a great frame at 6'0 and 209lbs, and can easily be 220lbs before he leaves HS.  Quick learner and very good athlete, who we expect to have a breakout season.  Malik Bridgers from Millford Mill was another one of those guys who was not on our radar screen but took advantage of the event and made a name for himself.  The 6'0, 193lb rising senior was solid across the board in every category.  Very good at everything.  Needs to put on some weight to be effective at the next level, but looks athletic enough to possibly play safety if need be.  Alex Shultz of DeMatha was equally impressive on both sides of the ball and made this write up as an LB, as well as FB.  Impressive coverage skills and quickness, with a nose for the ball.  The rising senior is not tall at 5'8, but he will bring the wood at a solid 192lbs.  A couple of rising Sophomores caught our eye on the day.  Travon Hollis of Calvert Hall was impressive on the day at LB as was Daqwan Hill of Good Counsel.  At almost 6'0 and 216lbs, Hollis has a chance to be a dominant run stopper.  Hill, who is a big time RB prospect for the Falcons is a solidly built, 207lb athlete that is very versatile.

Defensive Backs by Coach William "Coach Hubbie" Griffin:

This was as hard to evaluate as the Wide Receivers.  We had a ton of elite caliber Defensive backs that stood out.  We can't put everybody's photos up, but there were 2 that distinguished themselves enough to warrant a photo.

Ronald Bell of Friendly HS (pictured below) has just stolen everyone's heart this month.  This kid is 5'7 and 155lbs soaking wet, but every time we have an event, his scores are always at the tippy top.  The kid is cat quick, and fearless.   He  has blazing speed and great ball skills.  The only thing he lacks is Height, but he makes up for it with timing and leaping ability.  When receivers did get their hands on the ball, nobody was better at reaching in and ripping it out before the WR could tuck it then Bell.  We think this kid is special and hope that he does not get overlooked by colleges because of his height.

  Ronald Bell (Friendly HS)   Jaron Woodyard (Watkins Mills HS)

Juron Woodyard of Watkins Mills HS (pictured above), will have no issues with his height when recruiters evaluate him.  We can't imagine what they could take issue with.  The kid has it all.  The rising sophomore is already 5'11 and 160lbs.  He will be 6'1 and 180 by the time he graduates and he will be a shut down corner.  Great speed, great agility, with the ability to break on the ball.  His hips swivel naturally and he attacks the ball at it's highest point.  Young fella has the entire package and will have a great HS career.

This group stood out on the defensive side and earned high praise.  Devin Williams of St. John's is making the transition from LB to DB this year and doing it very well.  Williams committed to Stanford after his freshman year to play LB, but his size has remained steady about 5'10 and 185lbs, which is more suited for safety.  His backpedal is smooth, as are his transitions to the ball.  Not a burner, but quick enough to cover TE's and backs out of the backfield.  A bruising hitter that will show his true value when the equipment is strapped up.  The rising senior has opened up his recruiting and I think colleges will be quite pleased with his footwork and hip work, in addition to the 4.6 GPA he is carrying.   We think a 4.6 GPA warrants a photo, don't you?

 Devin Williams (St. John's HS)

Jamar Wilson, the rising junior from Northwest HS caught us off guard by ripping up the sophomore showcase, and he followed that performance up with a strong showing at this event.  Small and quick like Bell, but will make a college that doesn't get caught up on height very happy.  Terry Chisley of Bethel HS in Hampton, VA made the second trip all the way up here for this opportunity and he did not disappoint.  This kid is a rising sophomore with all the tools to be a big time Major D-1 recruit.  If Va Tech is on their job in the Tidewater area, which I am sure they are, this kid is all over their radar screen.  Great body, with speed, agility, and ball hawking skills.  More importantly, he is a competitor and you can see it in his eyes.  The last DB that showed us special potential on this day was Cedric Content from Blake HS.  The kid is as aggressive as it gets.  Stays in the hip pocket of WR's and competes on every single rep, just like Chisely.  Great physique at 5'8 and 155lbs.

A number of these other Defensive backs distinguished themselves on the offensive side of the ball as well and in no particular order.  Guys like Juwan Hikim of Wilson who showed great cover skills, and Robbie Walker of Gonzaga who surprised us with his ball skills.  We didn't know Lo Lo Harrison from DeMatha could play DB, but he showed some of the best skills out there.  Mitch Mona of St. Johns was equally impressive in coverage as he was running routes.  Malik Harvin of Laurel was quite effective as a DB as was Nicolas Nelson of Suitland.  DJ Turner of DeMatha was another kid that excelled on both sides of the ball.  Kalin Powell of Wise was another one who jumped off the page, along with Byron Barney of Atholton.

This was by no means the end of the talent, but those kids got the highest scores on this day.  Malcolm Harley of McNamara was right there on the cusp, as was Christian Melgar of Carroll and Travon Stott of Good Counsel.  All these kids have very bright futures.

Read 7673 times Last modified on Saturday, 02 November 2013 12:25

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