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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...
*The Sunshine State was home to one of the nation's top QB recruits last year in Nease's Tim Tebow, and college coaches are already looking towards the state this spring in pursuit of another highly-regarded signal caller, Trinity Catholic's John Brantley. The 6-3, 188 pounder first appeared on the national radar with a strong showing at last spring's NIKE Camp in Tallahassee, matching Tebow and some of the other seniors throw-for-throw in drills and also clocking very good 4.64 in the 40. Brantley followed that up with a huge junior season, hitting 177 of 284 passes for 2,835 yards and 41 touchdowns with just five interceptions, leading Trinity Catholic to the Class 2B state title and earning second team all-state honors. When his junior tape began making the rounds, the polished pocket passer began to see national offers head his way. Currently Brantley holds written offers from the likes of Florida, FSU, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Alabama and Texas to name a few. "Johnny is planning to narrow his list down to six or seven shortly and then we'll head out and make some unofficials to spend some one-on-one time with the QB coach and staffs at each of his schools," says Brantley's father John, who played linebacker at Florida during his college days. Brantley currently lists his favorites as Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma, and he'll attend the May 20th NIKE Camp in Gainesville.
*Down in South Florida, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna is home to a number of bonafide D-I prospects in the Class of 2007, and one of the Lions' best is 5-11, 175 pound defensive back Akeem Auguste. The 4.5 speedster played a huge role on Chaminade's 11-2 team last fall, recording 60 tackles, intercepting seven passes and starring as a kick returner, where he took back two punts and two kickoffs for scores. Following the season Auguste was named to the Class 2A all-state second team and the all-Broward County team as well. Ole Miss is the first school to send him an official offer and he lists the Rebels amongst his favorites along with Miami, Florida, Georgia and Virginia Tech. Auguste will attend the April 9th NIKE Camp at Miami along with the rest of South Florida's top prospects.
*Yesterday the blog profiled two of Missouri's top prospects in QB Logan Gray and ATH Lamark Brown. Another top Show Me State player to keep an eye on is 5-11, 190 pound running back Derrick Washington of Raymore-Peculiar. Washington was the man for the Panthers in '05, rushing for 1,342 yards and 22 TDs, adding another 861 yards and seven scores on receptions, while returning three kickoffs for touchdowns. His 32 touchdowns earned him a spot on the Class 5 all-state team and also led Ray-Pec to a 13-0 mark and the Class 5 state title. Washington was also a Class 5 all-state pick in 2004 as a kick-returner, and rushed for 1,196 yards and 13 TDs as a sophomore. The coaches at Missouri have already taken notice and sent Washington an offer, and Mizzou ranks as one of his early leaders along with Florida State, Kansas State, Iowa and Wisconsin. Washington reports 4.5 speed in the 40 and will attend the April 30th NIKE Camp in Baton Rouge.
*Clemson has gotten off to quick start in recruiting this spring, already reeling in commitments from five of the Palmetto State's top prospects. One of early Tiger pledges is 6-6, 280 pound right offensive tackle David Smith out of Greenville High. Smith committed to Clemson the day before Valentine's Day after a solid junior season during which he anchored the offensive line for Greenville's 10-3 squad. Smith, a very athletic big man with a best of 4.9 in the 40-yard dash, will attend the NIKE Camp in Clemson on May 21st.
*6-1, 205 pound linebacker Albert Craddock out of High Point (N.C.) Southwest Guilford has picked up his first offer from Auburn, according to his coach Bryan Davis. "Albert was offered this past week by Auburn. Texas is also very interested, as he was described as the best LB prospect that they had seen so far." Craddock had 68 tackles, three interceptions, returned two fumbles for scores and rushed for 1,074 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall in just eight games. He also clocked a 4.4 40 at last year's Shrine Bowl Combine in North Carolina. Craddock will attend the May 21st NIKE Camp in Clemson.
*Staying in the Tar Heel State, Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth athlete John Stamper is currently holding an offer from Wake Forest and looking for more. The 5-11, 190 pounder has had a prolific three-year career already at West Forsyth, earning all-conference honors from his freshman year on and starring last fall at strong safety and linebacker, totaling 117 tackles and 17 tackles for loss while blocking numerous kicks. An explosive athlete with bests of 4.4 in the 40, 310 on the bench and a 33-inch vertical jump, Stamper will likely play strong safety at the college level and may double-sport, as he's also been offered already as a baseball player by UNC-Greensboro. Stamper lists his current favorites as Clemson, Wake Forest, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee, and he'll attend the NIKE Camp at Clemson on May 21st.
*Another top linebacker that hasn't gotten a lot of recognition yet is 6-1, 220 pound Noah Keller out of Kearney (Neb.). Keller stand outs on tape with his ability to quickly read and fly to the football with his 4.56 speed. Very strong with a 325-pound bench, Keller is also a sure tackler, totaling 118 stops, including 10 tackles for loss last year on his way to all-conference honors. He lists Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Iowa and Miami as his early top five and will attend the NIKE Camp in Columbus on May 5th.
*All-state quarterback Rocco Pentello gets a lot of headlines at Westerville (Ohio) South, but the Wildcats have a second Class of 2007 prospect in B.J. Cunningham who could be more heavily recruited before all is said and done. At 6-1, 185 pounds with 4.5 speed in the 40 and a 36-inch vertical jump, Cunningham is a dangerous weapon at the wideout position that had a big junior season, catching 41 passes for 700 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns in '05. An all-conference, all-district and honorable mention all-state pick, Cunningham has already picked up offers from Toledo and Miami-Ohio and is getting mail from most of the Big 10 as well. A dynamic athletic who is also a terrific basketball player, Cunningham's favorite colleges include Ohio State, Miami, Michigan State, Texas and USC. He'll attend the NIKE Camp in Columbus on May 5th.
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 protected]) or Greg Biggins ([email protected]) if you are in the West.