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The first batch of 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...
*One of the proudest high school football programs in Florida is Orlando Edgewater, and this year the Fighting Eagles should have one of their top recruits ever. 6-2, 220 pound Lorenzo Edwards began his career at Edgewater in noteworthy fashion, becoming the first freshman ever to start on Edgewater's varsity, and he has progressed nicely into one of the Sunshine State's top prospects for the Class of 2007. Last fall as a junior, the strong safety/outside linebacker helped Edgewater to a 12-2 record, recording 120 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, three sacks and five interceptions on his way to Class 6A second team all-state honors. Edwards is a terrific athlete who posted a solid 68.49 SPARQ Rating at last year's NIKE Camp in Miami and should be close to 80 this spring with a 4.6 40 and 34-inch vertical jump. The offers have already began to flow in, from top programs all over the nation like Miami, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Nebraska and many more. Edwards remains open with recruiting and is looking forward to returning to the Miami NIKE Camp this spring on April 9th.
*One of the top offensive line recruits on the East Coast for the Class of 2007 figures to be Washington (D.C.) Coolidge offensive tackle Lamar Milstead. This 6-6, 280 pounder is blessed with great athletic ability and had a terrific junior season, earning All-DCIAA honors while helping his team to a 9-3 record. Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, NC State and Georgia have already offered the big tackle and look for more to come down the pipe for Milstead in the near future. Milstead's mother Lyndon attended Maryland and he grew up rooting for the Terps, so it's no surprise that Maryland currently sits as his leader followed by Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Kansas State. Milstead plans on camping at Virginia, Maryland and Georgia this summer and will attend the May 6th NIKE Camp in State College as well.
*Speed is the name of the game in football, and even though he may be undersized by traditional linebacker standards at 5-11, 205 pounds, Lilburn (Ga.) Brookwood's Rennie Curran more than makes up for it with 4.5 speed and tremendous strength. Last fall Curran tallied an amazing 198 tackles, four sacks and one interception, helping Brookwood advance all the way to the Class 5A state title game before a loss to Lowndes ended the Broncos' season at 14-1. Following the season, Curran was a first team Class 5A all-state selection and the attention is still coming his way following his stellar junior campaign. This week Curran picked up his third offer, from Auburn, as the Tigers joined Mississippi State and Georgia Tech as schools that have already informed Curran he has an offer waiting. Curran lists his current favorites as Georgia, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Miami and FSU, and he'll be one of many top standouts in the South who will camp, compete and learn on April 29th at the NIKE Camp in Athens.
*Another smaller linebacker who also is achieving big-time both on and off the field is 5-11, 205 pound Barquell Rivers out of Wadesboro (N.C.) Anson. Rivers totaled 156 tackles and 14 tackles for loss last fall on his way to earning all-state and Class 3A Defensive Player of the Year honors. Rivers' big junior season has already led to early offers from the likes of Virginia, NC State, South Carolina, Penn State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Florida and North Carolina. Out of those offers, Penn State, Florida, Virginia Tech, Virginia and NC State currently top Rivers' list of favorites and he hopes to pick a school where he can balance out football and academics. He reports 4.6 speed in the 40 and a 275-pound bench press and will attend the April 29th NIKE Camp in Athens.
*Rivers isn't the only player to watch returning at Anson, as athlete Michael Bowman also had a big junior year, rushing for over 1,200 yards to earn all-conference honors. Bowman played primarily wingback last year but with his size (5-11, 165 pounds), and speed (reported 4.38 40), he could likely end up at cornerback or wide receiver in college. Bowman has already reeled in offers from South Carolina and Virginia Tech and also likes Florida State and Florida. He will also attend the NIKE Camp in Athens on April 29th.
*Several small but effective backs have come out of Ohio over the past couple of years, most notably impact freshman like Tyrell Sutton (Northwestern) and Javon Ringer (Michigan State). 5-9, 180 pound Antoine Moore may be next in line after a junior season which saw him rush for over 1,500 yards and score 15 times on his way to earning Division I first team all-state honors. Moore is quick and elusive with bests of 4.5 in the 40 and 4.1 in the shuttle, but also has good strength with a 315-pound bench press. His favorite colleges at this time include Northwestern, Miami-Ohio, Akron, Toledo and Cincinnati and he plans on camping with the Wildcats, Bearcats and Zips this summer. Moore will look to show his stuff on May 5th at the NIKE Camp in Columbus.
*Hamilton (Ohio) DE Charlie Hatcher may not have been a first team all-state pick last fall, but the 6-5, 260 pounder has already picked up his first offer from Miami-Ohio and is receiving steady mail from all of the Big 10 plus Notre Dame, BC, Stanford, Louisville and others. The big end with 4.7 speed and a 300-pound bench totaled 62 tackles and five sacks as a junior and is also a wrestler and track and field participant at Hamilton. Currently Hatcher lists his favorite schools as Michigan, Boston College, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Iowa. He'll attend the May 5th NIKE Camp in Columbus.
*Last year Lexington (Ky.) Catholic QB Justin Burke had a record-setting senior year on his way to NC State. One of the recipients of Burke's many touchdown passes was 6-1, 180 pound Wes Caldwell, who put up some staggering numbers of his own in '05, reeling in 64 passes for 1,191 yards and 21 scores as LexCath won a state title. Caldwell was a third team all-state pick following his big junior season and should show well the the NIKE Camp in Columbus this spring with reported 4.4 speed in the 40 and a 36-inch vertical jump. Caldwell's current favorite colleges include Louisville, NC State, Michigan State, Clemson, Kentucky and Tennessee, and he has already been offered by I-AA Eastern Kentucky.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Greg Biggins (email@example.com) if you are in the West.