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May 19, 2006

Gainesville NIKE Camp preview

Saturday's Gainesville NIKE Camp on the campus of the University of Florida should be one of this year's deepest in terms of major Division I-A talent. Prospects from throughout the Southeast and many of the Sunshine State's best are expected to be on hand to test their skills against top-flight competition.

Here's a look at some of the expected highlights at each position.

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks
The strongest group of signal callers, top to bottom, is expected to be at the Gainesville camp.

Texas commit John Brantley of Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic and Tampa Jefferson's Stephen Garcia are the top two quarterback prospects in the Sunshine State for the class of 2007. Both bring different strengths to the table, which will be on display on Saturday.

Garcia holds scholarship offers from multiple schools, including Florida, South Carolina, LSU, Auburn and others.

Logan Gray of Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge will travel to Gainesville for the camp. The dual-threat prospect has scholarship offers from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri and others.

San Antonio (Texas) Churchill's Nick Fanuzzi, a Miami (Fla.) commitment, also is expected to be in attendance as is Joe Weatherford of Land O'Lakes, the younger brother of Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford.

Want a sleeper to watch? Try Landrum (S.C.) prospect Mark Cann. The tall passer is from a tiny school on the North Carolina-South Carolina border, but has all the tools to be a good collegiate quarterback. N.C. State has been showing a lot of interest in the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder of late.

Running backs
Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview running back Caleb King is expected to be on hand for workouts at UF. Potentially the top running back prospect in the Southeast, King will get the opportunity to show off his talents against some of the top prospects from around the region. Georgia, Auburn, Southern California and nearly every other program has extended King a scholarship offer.

Recent Florida commit Chris Rainey of Lakeland will be on hand. It is expected that he will improve on his 4.42-second 40-yard dash time he posted at last year's Tallahassee NIKE Camp.

What Jacksonville (Fla.) Andrew Jackson running back Troy Pollard lacks in size, he makes up for with speed and burst. He is a sleeper to keep an eye on Saturday.

Wide receivers
Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central star Deonte Thompson will take his considerable speed and match it against some of the best defensive backs in the Southeast. Thompson has scholarship offers from nearly every school in the country.

Columbia (S.C.) Richland Northeast athlete Mark Barnes projects as a wide receiver and will get the chance to show off his skills at that position Saturday. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder has scholarship offers from Southern California, South Carolina, Notre Dame and others.

Brantley's favorite target, Dion Lecorn from Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic is another blazing Floridian who will test himself in the one-on-one drills Saturday. Lecorn ran a 4.48 40 in Tallahassee last year and it is believed that he will improve on that time. Recently, he has named Florida and South Carolina as his top two.

A pair of Georgia prospects, D.J. Donley of Folkston Charlton County, and Willie White of Kingsland Camden County, are big, athletic targets who hold multiple scholarship offers.

Offensive linemen
Two pairs of teammates, Ernest McCoy and Jatavious Jackson of Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central and Lashawn Pouncey and James Pouncey of Lakeland, are prospects of interest in this group. Both pairs come from highly-successful high school programs and will compete. McCoy and Jackson are massive linemen who move well, have a mean streak and a tremendous competitive spirit about them. The same holds true with the Pounceys.

Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley offensive lineman Quintin Richardson is big and athletic. It will be interesting to see how he competes against some of the defensive line talent that will be at the camp.

Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County tackle Steve Sutton is a big prospect that moves his feet well. He's a sleeper to watch for among the offensive linemen.

Tight ends
Auburn commit Bailey Woods of Marietta (Ga.) Walton likely will test off the charts for a prospect his size and further solidify his place among the elite tight ends in the Southeast. Woods name isn't always mentioned when talking about the top prospects at his position in the country because his high school team rarely throws the ball and he doesn't have the stats.

Recent Clemson commit Rennie Moore Jr. from Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County also will be a prospect at this position to watch.

DEFENSE

Linebackers
There perhaps isn't a more impressive Florida linebacker on tape than Lynn Haven Mosley standout Carlton Johnson. Johnson always is around the football and has a knack for making big hits and big defensive plays. Saturday, he will get the opportunity to further prove that he deserves consideration to be among the elite linebackers in the country.

Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Ole Miss all have offered Johnson.

Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers prospect Chris Walker will be one to keep an eye on. Miami (Fla.), Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, LSU and others have offered the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder.

A couple of Floridians that could emerge as sleepers, Josh Linam of Tavares and Aaron Gresham of Mayo Lafayette, are both impressive on film. A good showing Saturday could solidify their status as high major prospects.

Defensive lineman
Darien (Ga.) McIntosh County Academy's Allen Bailey will cross the state line to compete in Florida. Bailey's attention has been on the Sunshine State somewhat in recent weeks as he has named Miami (Fla.) his leader on multiple occasions publicly. Georgia, Florida and Alabama also remain in the hunt for the pre-evaluation Rivals100 selection.

Jacksonville (Fla.) Andrew Jackson's D'Angelo McCray is a prospect that has made headlines in recent weeks, picking up an offer from Southern California. The Florida commit will make a few official visits, but still is firm with the Gators. Saturday, he will get a chance to further impress with his size and mobility.

Defensive tackle Ian Williams of Lyman has seen his scholarship offer count grow into double digits. The 6-foot-1, 300-pounder will get the chance to escalate his stock even further with a strong showing Saturday.

Cliff Matthews of Cheraw (S.C.) is a big, athletic defensive end with great upside. Multiple programs, including Auburn, Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina and Tennessee have extended a scholarship offer to the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder.

Nick Gentry will come in from Prattville (Ala.). Though somewhat undersized, Gentry has good speed and a good motor. Notre Dame, Alabama and others have offered Gentry.

Another Alabama prospect, Mountain Brook defensive end Drew Traylor is a prospect to keep an eye on. Several schools, including Clemson, South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, have extended an offer to the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder and word is he has big upside.

Defensive backs
All eyes will be on the cornerback position as two of the Southeast's best are expected to show.

Columbia (S.C.) Richland Northeast's Gary Gray, a Rivals.com Junior All-American, will travel to Gainesville to compete against the receiver talent in Florida. The South Carolina commit is expected to fully participate in all aspects of the camp.

Ahmad Black of Lakeland (Fla.) is one of the top prospects at this position in the state of Florida and will be looking to increase his stock with a stellar showing Saturday.

Pensacola (Fla.) corner Chris Lett is another prospect to watch among the defensive backs. He claims offers from Auburn and Florida and is getting interest from Alabama, among others.

For complete coverage of the Gainesville NIKE Training Camp, log on to StudentSportsFootball.com.



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