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March 14, 2006Note: We hope you enjoy this free story on StudentSportsFootball.com. Student Sports produces the NIKE Camps, NIKE Combines, Elite 11 Quarterback events and coverage of these elite events plus top recruiting coverage will be part of our premium coverage all spring and summer. If you haven't subscribed to StudentSportsFootball.com until now, this is a perfect time to start!
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...
*Poll anyone in attendance at last year's NIKE Camp in State College and the player that probably turned more heads than anyone else was not a rising senior like 95% of the participants. It was the 6-3, 299 pound defensive lineman that wore black tights and talked more trash than John Randle in his prime - Marvin Austin out of Washington (D.C.) Coolidge. Austin did something that day that made him more than just a sidenote at the camp -- he backed that talk up, earning the Underclass MVP honor on the day after dominating in one-on-one drills and clocking an unbelievable 4.83 40 at 299 pounds. Austin's been a star ever since and after a strong junior season during which he racked up 86 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and eight sacks to earn all-D.C. honors, he's now regarded by many as perhaps the top defensive line prospect in the nation. College coaches seem to think so too, as Austin has already reeled in 40 offers with no end in sight. Austin lists USC, Florida State, Miami, Penn State and Maryland as his current top five and has offers from all schools except the 'Canes, which should offer soon. Austin would like to attend school with his good friend and fellow top D.C. prospect Arrelious Benn out of Dunbar, and the two will both attend the NIKE Camp in State College on May 6th to battle for MVP honors.
*His last name maybe Little, but his game is definitely large, as 6-3, 210 pound athlete Greg Little out of Durham (N.C.) Hillside could be the top prospect in the Tar Heel State for the Class of 2007 by the time all is said and done. Last fall, playing primarily as a running back, Little racked up huge numbers, rushing 160 times for 1,166 yards and 26 touchdowns while also catching 23 passes for 475 yards and four scores. Despite mostly taking hand offs in '05, Little is a very smooth route-runner and projects as a receiver, and one of the top receiver prospects in the country, at the college level. He has bests of 4.5 in the 40, a 38-inch vertical jump and a 325-pound bench press, and it's no surprise that 11 schools have already offered Little a scholarship. Little lists his current top five as Notre Dame, Miami, Tennessee (offer), Virginia (offer) and Penn State. He also has offers from Nebraska, Duke, South Carolina, Florida, Wake Forest, NC State, Ole Miss, Clemson and North Carolina, and is in the process of making unofficial visits to most of those schools this spring. Little will also attend the May 21st NIKE Camp in Clemson, hoping to stamp himself as the next big thing out of North Carolina as Carl Johnson did a year ago in Athens.
*Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central is loaded for next year, with five players already holding offers and another couple that should also sign D-I out of the Class of 2007. One of the Raiders more overlooked players to this point by the media is 6-4, 280 pound two-way lineman Jatavious Jackson, but while the big fellow may not be the talk of messageboards and chatrooms, he's already pulled in offers from the likes of Florida, West Virginia, Ole Miss and Alabama. Jackson did most of his damage on the offensive side of the ball last year, putting his agile feet and good technique to use at tackle, where he earned all-county and third team all-state honors. Jackson reports a best of 4.9 in the 40-yard dash, certainly very quick for a 280 pounder. His current college favorites include Miami, Florida, FSU, Ohio State and West Virginia and he'll attend the NIKE Camp in Miami on April 9th with his other notable teammates from Glades Central.
*Dawsonville (Ga.) Dawson County defensive lineman Logan Walls is coming off a productive junior season and his intense style is already drawing comparisons to another Peach State DL, former Georgia standout and current Cincinnati Bengal David Pollack. The 6-2, 270 pounder totaled 87 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss and seven sacks as a junior, and he also a workout warrior with a best of 4.9 in the 40 and a 325-pound bench press. Walls doesn't just do his damage on defense either - last fall he blocked four punts as well as a field goal. Walls has picked up an early offer from BYU and lists the Cougars amongst his favorites along with Georgia Tech (favorite team growing up), Georgia, Auburn and Clemson. Walls will attend the April 29th NIKE Camp in Athens.
*6-5, 220 pound quarterback Steven Threet out of Adrian (Mich.), who the blog has spoke highly of in the past, picked up his second offer over the phone Monday night from Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets join Indiana as the first two schools to officially offer the strong-armed passer who ranks as one of the top QBs in the Midwest. Threat threw for 1,592 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior and will attend the May 5th NIKE Camp in Columbus.
*It's looking like a super year for quarterbacks in the state of Michigan and another one to keep an eye on is St. Mary's Prep signal caller Justin Siller. Siller started as a sophomore at Detroit St. Martin Deporres in '04, passing for 1,680 yards and 24 touchdowns, and showed well at the NIKE Camp in Ann Arbor last spring as an underclassman. When Deporres closed following the end of the school year, Siller and several teammates enrolled at St. Mary's and immediately made the school a powerhouse program, as the Eaglets stormed to an 11-0 start before Siller injured his hand and St. Mary's went down in the playoffs to Brother Rice, a team they had already defeated twice with him in the lineup. The 6-3, 191 pounder enjoyed another big year though as a junior, passing for 19 TDs and 1,435 yards with just one interception and also running for 11 scores to earn junior all-state honors. Siller already has picked up three offers from Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota. He'll attend the May 5th NIKE Camp in Columbus.
*One more top Michigan QB that will be in Columbus on May 5th is East Grand Rapids' DeMarcus Grady. The 6-2, 195 pound Grady is cousins of current Michigan RB Kevin Grady and his classmate at EGRHS Kelvin Grady, who will head to Michigan on a basketball scholarship. DeMarcus is also a talented basketball player like Kelvin, but his future is probably more solid on the gridiron, where he could play quarterback as well as any number of positions in college due to his athleticism. Grady threw 10 touchdowns in '05 and is generally regarded as one of the state's top 20 football prospects with his strong arm and 4.5 speed in the 40. Central Michigan has already offered and Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan, Ohio State and Northern Illinois rank as Grady's early college favorites.
*Shannon (Miss.) wide receiver Darrius Young emerged last fall as one of the top deep threats in the state and now the 6-1, 205 pound speedster is developing into on of the state's top prospects in the Class of 2007. Young caught 25 passes for 680 yards, an eye-opening 27.2 yards per catch, and seven touchdowns last fall. Following the season, he was named to all-state, all-region and all-area teams for his efforts. His performance has also drawn attention from schools around the country as he's receiving mail from most of the SEC and has offers already from Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The Rebels are Young's current favorite, followed by Texas, USC, Alabama and Florida, and he'll attend the NIKE Camp in Athens on April 29th looking to compete with other top WRs from across the South.
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@example.com) or Greg Biggins (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are in the West.