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May 5, 2004

Sleepers emerge from Baton Rouge NIKE Camp

BATON ROUGE, La. - Anytime you get 200-plus Division I prospects in the same place for a camp to showcase their abilities you are going to have a contingency of players that will step up and impress everyone watching. That is exactly what happened to these 10 guys at the LSU NIKE camp on Sunday. They flew in under the radar screen before the camp, but that's not the case anymore.

Lafayette (La.) Carenco athlete Lucas Taylor is exactly that, an athlete. This is a kid who could project at running back, wide receiver or anywhere in the defensive backfield on the next level. He showed great speed and agility in each of the drills and showed why he already has several scholarship offers to his credit. While the elusive Taylor is capable of playing several positions on the college level his future is likely at wide receiver.

Once the campers finished testing and split into group work by position everyone followed the quarterbacks hoping to see Ryan Perrilloux light it up, which he did. However, as the day wore on another quarterback stepped to the forefront to prove that he is worthy of Elite 11 consideration. Lafayette (La.) St. Thomas Moore quarterback John Hundley certainly made a name for himself on Sunday afternoon.

During the one on one drill it was almost as if he and Perrilloux were trying to outdo the other one. What everyone got instead was a showcasing of talent from two great players. There were several good quarterbacks in attendance, but there was no question which two had the star power on this day.

Aside from Glen Coffee the prospect that may have benefited most from the LSU NIKE camp was Jennings, La., safety Gary Riggs.

Riggs had a major stock increase on the day as he was shutting everyone down. He has great size and has the look of a safety to the point of knowing exactly what position he plays the second he walks in the room. Riggs may have bolted from two-star status to national recruit literally in a matter of a few hours. He already has one offer from Ole Miss and you can be guaranteed that more are on the way over the next. Riggs is very quick, agile and fluid and that is exactly why he is one of the fastest rising prospects in the South.

Everyone knows about Mobile (Ala.) Williamson tight end Gabe McKenzie by now, but his teammate, linebacker Antonio Coleman had a super day as well and showed why schools like Auburn, Louisville and Southern Miss have offered him a scholarship.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Coleman could play linebacker or defensive end on the college level. At the beginning of the camp the prospects are asked to work out at the position in which they think they will play in college. Coleman chose to work out as a defensive end. He was the lightest guy in the group, but still managed to stand out. He has great quickness and long arms which is a key for a defensive end.

Another prospect who emerged from the camp was West Monroe, La., defensive lineman Matt Slocum.

All day long Slocum was destroying everything and everyone in his path. The campers did not even have pads on and Slocum played with that natural mean streak that college coaches are looking for. In drills he dominated every player until he got to New Orlean's Al Jones and even then it was grudge match as Slocum went toe-to-toe with one of the nation's top defensive lineman. Slocum likely earned himself a spot in the Louisiana top 10 come rankings time as well as quite a few scholarship offers.

One prospect that very few people have heard about coming into camp was Canerco (La.) defensive end Chris Jones. The 6-foot-3, 239-pound Jones ran an impressive 4.69 second 40-yard dash. He passed the eyeball test of several Rivals.com recruiting analysts and publishers as soon as he came through the picture line. As the day progressed his talent became more and more obvious and his stock continued to climb. Jones has already picked up offers from South Carolina and Oklahoma State and is receiving interest from several other schools.

Another prospect who caught the attention of a lot of people just by passing the eyeball test was Vicksburg (Miss.) Warren Central linebacker Jesse Pedyfoot.

While Pedyfoot plays linebacker on the high school level, it would be a mistake to discount the possibility of his playing defensive end in college. He is 6-foot-3 and weighed in at 223 pounds, looking every ounce of that and more. He does not have great speed, but is very agile and fluid. He has great football savvy. Pedyfoot has yet to pick up his first scholarship offer, but is definitely a name to keep an eye on throughout the May evaluation period.

Likely the shortest prospect at the camp was Spring (Texas) Westfield running back Darrell Charles, who checked in at just over 5-foot-7 and weighed 185 pounds. He may not be big, but he certainly packs a punch. Charles instantly drew comparisons to Kansas State running back Darren Sproles based on size and build. Their running style is similar as well, as Charles is dangerously agile and very strong. He may be small, but he was one of the most chiseled prospects at the camp and took his opportunity to impress everyone in attendance.

Collierville, Tenn., offensive lineman Scott Eller had a great showing at camp. He caught the eye of several onlookers during drills. Eller dominated everyone in drills much the same way Slocum did. Eller had his hands full with Jones, but then again who wouldn't. He certainly proved that he can compete with the nation's elite players. The only knock on Eller could be his height. At 6-foot-1, 300 pound some may slap the "too short" label on him, but the bottom line is that the kid can get the job done on the highest level and he proved that at this camp.

Overall it was a very good day for the kids from Mobile, Ala. Wide receiver Aubrey Bell of Prichard (Ala.) Blount had a good day as well. The big question mark surrounding Bell all along has been his speed. He consistently ran in the high 4.6's last year, but has since worked hard on improving his time and posted a 4.5 in the forty. With that time and a 6-foot-3, 200 pound frame Bell will have college coaches drooling all over him. He didn't just run an impressive forty time though. All day he looked sharp in drills and ran great routes in one on one drills. He showed great leaping ability and soft hands all day long. Now that Bell has answered the one question surrounding his ability as a prospect, he is well on his way to being on of the top players in Alabama.


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