Wednesday summer camp report

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The Michigan summer camp completed its final full day of activities on Wednesday with a strong group of defensive backs in attendance, as well as rising junior DeShone Kizer, who is certain to attract plenty of recruiting attention in the coming year and a half.

Quarterback

DeShone Kizer of Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic was the top signal caller at the camp Wednesday, putting on an excellent display of arm strength and accuracy. While the camp setting is not the best location for a quarterback to show off athletic skills, it is well known that Kizer excels in that area as well. He had occasion inconsistencies with his shorter passes, but that will improve as he develops his footwork and technique. The one aspect of Kizer’s game that impressed us the most, however, was his deep ball. He throws a very pretty and accurate ball on the deep fade nine routes.

Another pair of 2014 prospects with the size and skill to attract the attention of college recruiters included Brent Lyles of Indianapolis (Ind.) Pike and Jeremy Holley of Sheffield Lake (Ohio) Elyria Catholic. Among the 2015 prospects, Jayru Campbell of Detroit Cass Tech showed up for the afternoon session.

Wide Receivers

altThe top performer at wide receiver and one of the best players at all positions on the day was 2013 wide receiver Taivon Jacobs of District Heights (Md.) Suitland. While he is a much smaller receiver at 5-10 and roughly 165 pounds, he demonstrated amazing quickness and speed. The recruiting services haven’t shown him much love in the rankings, but it was clear why schools such as Florida State, Ohio State, Nebraska, West Virginia and Miami have offered scholarships to the young athlete. He will need to add some weight to play in college, but he was just too quick to cover at the camp on Wednesday. A true deep threat, he adjusted extremely well to the long balls.

This is an interesting situation when it comes to Michigan’s recruiting efforts. The Wolverines are still actively pursuing quite a few wide receivers, including both larger prospects like Laquon Treadwell and small speedsters like Alvin Bailey. While it seems difficult to imagine that there is room for one of each with two receiver commitments already in hand, it could all depend on how many scholarships will be available. Jacobs was very good at the camp and may just be able to earn one of those spots. He has the added advantage of being a potential special teams return man in addition to his receiving skills.

Other receivers of note included rising senior Gary Jones of Grand Junction (Mich.) Allegan and rising junior Brandon Colon of Sherman (Texas), who both displayed a nice combination of size and speed. Another 2014 prospect to watch was Dominique Booth of Indianapolis (Ind.) Pike, who joined his quarterback at the camp.

Running Back

Wednesday was not as strong of a showing at the running back position, but one prospect to keep an eye on is 2014 rusher Ashton Jackson of Trotwood (Ohio) Madison. He is not a big running back at around 5-10, 180 pounds, but he showed good speed, quickness and also caught the ball well.

Offensive Line

Among the linemen, the player that stood out the most to us was a 2014 prospect that has received virtually zero attention from the recruiting services so far in Isiah Moore of Tiffin (Ohio) Columbian. He possesses a very nice combination of size and athletic skill, but also seemed to have a persistent style of play, working well through the whistle. While not much is known about him at this point, he will be one to watch out for down the road.

A pair of rising juniors from Massillon (Ohio) Washington, Nathan Devers and Chase Lash, also stood out. Devers was the most noticeable to us, but Lash will also attract the attention of college recruiters over the next year and a half.

Other underclassmen of note included OL Brendan Ballard of Sebewaing (Mich) and Nate Oquendo of Chicago (Ill.) Mt. Carmel, who are both 2014 prospects. Travis Kendle of Fairplay (Md.) Williamsport is a 2015 prospect that showed the potential to attract attention in the years to come.

While Michigan is finished recruiting offensive linemen for 2013, there were a handful of solid prospects at the position who participated on Wednesday, including Vinnie Palazeti of Flint (Mich.) Powers, Mike Bloom of Pinkney (Mich.), Aaron Sumner of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech and Tyrell Porter of Ypsilanti (Mich.) Lincoln. From that group, Sumner and Palazeti stood out the most for their potential to play on the interior of the offensive line at the next level.

Defensive Backs

altWednesday featured the strongest group of defensive backs this year, with several future college players in attendance. Michigan 2013 commitment Gareon Conley of Washington (Ohio) Massillon was on hand, showing off and excellent combination of size and fluidity.

Rising junior Damon Webb of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech continued to live up to the hype, showing up for the afternoon session and performing exceptionally well. He breaks and closes so quickly and attacks the ball in the air that there were times it appeared quarterbacks had mistaken him for their primary target. As we noted after the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp, he is easily a top-100 prospect for 2014.

2014 safety Darius West of Lima (Ohio) Central Catholic stood out physically and also showed the athletic skill to attract scholarship offers next year. Other rising juniors to keep an eye on included D’Andre Payne of Washington D.C. Woodson, Troy Vincent Jr. of Baltimore (Md.) Gilman, Reginald Ware of Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara and Jason Strange of Pickerington (Ohio) Central.

Among the 2013 class, noteworthy participants included Shareef Shabazz of Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville, Shawn Facione of Marion (Ohio) Harding, Matt Robinson of Mansfield (Ohio), Demory Monroe of Upper Marlboro (Md.) Fredrick Douglas and Tene Samuto of North Bathesda (Md.) Georgetown.

Linebacker

A pair of 2014 Detroit Cass Tech teammates, Deon Drake and William White, showed up for the afternoon session. Drake in particular stood out for his performance in the seven-on-seven session, breaking quickly and giving pursuit. Another rising junior to watch in attendance was Tinashe Bere of Cincinnati (Ohio) Sycamore.

A rising senior prospect that we noticed on Tuesday, but were unable to properly identify at the time, was Granyl Smith of Gahanna (Ohio) Lincoln. He’s not very tall at around 5-11, but the solidly put together player could attract the attention of smaller schools. Others of note in the 2013 class included Kentrell Taylor of Massillon (Ohio) Washington, Khourey Carter of Columbus (Ohio) Eastmoor and Tre Roos-Williams of Lincoln City (Ind.) Heritage Hilles.

Defensive Line

Among the defensive linemen, the prospect that stood out the most to us was 2014 tackle Enoch Smith Jr. of Chicago (Ill.) Mount Carmel. He already has a very solid build at around 6-2, 260 pounds and moved well for a big guy. We’re not sure how much more weight he can hold, but he is definitely a prospect that will attract some attention next year.

Another rising junior, Gelen Robinson of St. John (Ind.) Lake Central also stepped up as a player to look out for in 2014. A pair of rising juniors that joined the top group in the afternoon session were tackle Brandon Long of Matthews (N.C.) Butler and end Chance Weizt of Lima (Ohio) Elida.

Among the seniors in attendance, the biggest standout was Nate Jeppesen of Portage (Mich.) Central, who has several Mid-American Conference offers for his skills as an offensive lineman. At the camp, he worked out exclusively on the defensive lineman. Other 2013 players of note included Jason Smith of Rutherford (N.J.) St. Mary and Kinosha Spencer of Stow (Ohio) Walsh Jesuit.

Other Notes

Michigan commitments Mike McCray and Csont’e York were on hand to watch the activities on Wednesday. That marked the fourth day in a row that McCray has been around observing the camp.

Prior to the morning session, Greg Mattison spoke in front of the camp to introduce former Wolverine safety Marcus Ray as an inspirational speaker. For Mattison’s part, he told the interesting story of how he was watching film of Ray in high school playing at linebacker. He loved his instincts and aggressiveness, but couldn’t figure out though if it could work at the collegiate level given his size. As he was pondering the matter, he heard the voice of Bo Schembechler behind him, asking what he was doing. Mattison explained the dilemma he had with Ray, to which Bo glanced at the film and replied “you dumbass, he’s a strong safety.”

Ray went on to speak, talking about the important role that the camp played in earning a scholarship, and encouraging the campers to continue working hard through the finish. He also discussed his own missteps in college, reminding the players in attendance the importance to doing things the right way.

 

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