Underclassmen summer camp roundup
Written by Matt Pargoff   

With Michigan’s 2013 recruiting class nearly filled, the annual summer camp held last week was expected to be an underclassmen event. It did not let down. While there were a number of good senior prospects in attendance, we take a look at just the 2014 players, and a handful of 2015 athletes, ranking the top participants at each position group.

Quarterback

Top performers
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1. DeShone Kizer of Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic – Kizer had a very strong showing on Wednesday, showing off an extremely pretty and accurate deep ball. He has plenty of arm strength and puts the ball on the spot with great ease. He was inconsistent at times with the shorter passes, but will be able to develop that aspect of his game with improved footwork and technique.


2. Chance Stewart of Sturgis (Mich.) – Stewart returned to the Michigan summer camp for the second year in a row and once again showed why he is attracting the attention of college recruiters. He has added weight in the last year and improved his arm strength, but could still fill out his frame quite a bit more. He remains strongly in the running to receive a scholarship offer for quarterbacks in the 2014 recruiting class.

3. Michael O’Conner of Chattanooga (Tenn.) Baylor – O’Conner was the first quarterback to stand out at the camp, participating in Monday’s action. Much like Stewart, he has great size and ability, and is still in the process of filling out his big frame. Just a 2015 prospect, he could well jump ahead of Stewart in terms of his stature as a recruit, given that he is a year behind in development.

Solid Standouts

Brandon Key of Broken Arrow (Okla.) looked solid, but did not have quite the zip on his ball as the other top signal callers noted. Other rising junior quarterbacks of note included Brent Lyles of Indianapolis (Ind.) Pike and Tyler Weigers of Beverly Hills (Mich.) Detroit Country Day quarterback. Jayru Campbell of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech is a 2015 prospect to keep an eye on.

Wide Receiver

Top Performers
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1. Drake Harris of Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian – Among the first 2014 prospects at the summer camp to earn a scholarship offer from the Wolverines, Harris was one of the elite performers during Tuesday’s action. A tall athletic receiver, he excelled both in tracking down deep passes and in going up to snag the high jump balls. He is also a top basketball prospect.

2. Corey Holmes of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas – Holmes put on an excellent display of speed and athleticism on both Monday and Tuesday. He is very quick and smooth in and out of his cuts. The one drawback was that he had inconsistent hands, going through periods where he struggled to hang onto the ball. There is no questioning his potential, however, and he earned a scholarship offer from the Wolverines at the camp.

3. Kendric Mallory Jr. of Trotwood (Ohio) Madison – Mallory was among the standouts of the wide receiver group during Monday’s activities. He has excellent height at around 6-2 and proved to be a very solid looking athlete. A teammate of Michigan linebacker commitment Mike McCray, Mallory could be one to watch out for in 2014. He already has a scholarship offer from Illinois. 

Solid Standouts

Brandon Colon of Sherman (Texas) may not have elite speed, but he is a solid looking big wide receiver for the 2014, who has great height and caught the ball well. Another 2014 prospect of note was Dominique Booth of Indianapolis (Ind.) Pike.

Running Back

Top Performer
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1. Damien Harris of Berea (Ky.) Madison Southern – The clear top underclassman running back in attendance, Harris had a very strong showing during Tuesday’s camp activities. He is not a very tall athlete at around 5-9 or 5-10, but appeared to be a very solid 200 pounds. What makes that particularly impressive is that he is a member of the 2015 class, with three full years of high school ball to go before he will sign with a college. In addition to his size, he showed off plenty of athletic ability and earned a scholarship offer from the Wolverines with his performance.


Solid Standout

One player of note in the 2014 class was Ashton Jackson of Trotwood (Ohio) Madison. He is a smaller running back that will definitely need to add size before playing at the collegiate level, but he showed off good speed, cutting ability and caught the ball well.

Despite the one major standout, it wasn’t a great summer camp for underclassmen running backers overall. There were a few “maybes” we noticed that have either yet to be properly identified or that don’t yet warrant mention. But for the most part, there wasn’t as much to see as with other position groups.

Offensive Line

Top Performers
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1. Tommy Doles of Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian – Because of the rotation of offensive linemen on Tuesday, we were unable to see Doles in action to give a proper scouting report. He gets automatic recognition as the top offensive line underclassman at the camp, however, as he received a prompt scholarship offer from the Wolverines for is performance. 

2. Isiah Moore of Tiffin (Ohio) Columbian – One of the standout performers of the linemen on Wednesday, Moore came to the camp as a virtual unknown. That is likely to change pretty quickly moving forward, as he has an excellent combination of size, athleticism and tenacity.

3. Nathan Devers of Massillon (Ohio) Washington – Devers already has a scholarship offer from Toledo and he had a solid showing at the at the Michigan camp on Wednesday. A teammate of Gareon Conley, the young lineman would likely fit best at guard or center in college, but still needs to add more weight.

Solid Standouts

Jordan Van Dort of Zeeland (Mich.) West was arguably the top lineman at the camp on Monday. Chase Lash of Massillon (Ohio) Washington already has the size needed to play at the collegiate level and also showed off some solid skills. Other 2014 players of interest included Brendan Ballard of Sebewaing (Mich) and Nate Oquendo of Chicago, Ill.

A trio of 2015 prospects of note in attendance were Travis Kendle of Williamsport (Md.), Jon Runyan Jr. of Mt. Laurel (N.J.) and Chase Van Hoef of Grand Haven, Mich.

Defensive Back

Top Performers
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1. Damon Webb of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech – The rising junior continues to stand out in the camp setting. He only participated in the afternoon session on Wednesday, but showed off superior skills as a defensive back, breaking up several passes that went his way, both in seven-on-seven and one-on-one action. He breaks and closes very quickly and seems to consistently attack the ball in flight.

2. Monte Nicholson of Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway – Nicholson stepped up in the seven-on-seven Tuesday morning and earned a scholarship offer from the Wolverines with his performance. He reminded us somewhat of Cato June at the same stage, given that he is already around 6-2, 200 pounds, but appears to have plenty of more room to grow, which could affect his position at the collegiate level.

3. Darius West of Lima (Ohio) Central Catholic – West may ultimately fit best at the collegiate level as a safety, but he showed off plenty of speed and athleticism for someone his size. Another 2014 prospect, he already has scholarship offers from Illinois, Cincinnati and a host of MAC programs. That list is certain to grow during and after his junior season on the field.

Solid Standouts

Troy Vincent Jr. of Baltimore (Md.) Gilman looked good during Wednesday’s camp action. He is the son of the former NFL first rounder Troy Vincent Sr., who played his college ball at Wisconsin. D’Andre Payne of Washington D.C. Woodson also had a solid showing. Tyree Kinnel of Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne is just a 2015 prospect, but could be one to watch out for down the road.

Linebacker

Top Performers
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1. Joe Henderson of Shaker Heights (Ohio) – Standing in at 6-4, 215 pounds, Henderson still has plenty of weight to gain to properly fill out his frame, but he showed off excellent athleticism at his current size during Tuesday’s camp action. Likely an outside linebacker at the collegiate level, he impressed enough with his play at the camp to earn a scholarship offer from the Maize and Blue.

2. Dorian Hendrix of Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne – Possessing a shorter stalkier build than Henderson, Hendrix was a very solid looking middle linebacker prospect at the camp. He showed good reactions during seven-on-seven action and enough athleticism to play at the next level. Already carrying an offer from Illinois, he reminded us a bit of Kenny Demens at the same stage in his development.

3. Deon Drake of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech – Like the other Cass Tech players, Drake only participated in the afternoon session of Wednesday’s camp. He looked good though, standing out in seven-on-seven action by breaking quickly and pursuing the ball. While he has similar measureable to Hendrix, he is less physically developed, which could actually allow him to play with more weight in college.

Solid Standouts

Tinashe Bere of Cincinnati (Ohio) Sycamore was among the Wednesday campers that stood out. He has a solid build and showed good potential to play inside linebacker at the collegiate level. Other 2014 campers of note that showed up throughout the week included Jalen Dingle of East Point (Mich.) South Lake, Greer Martini of Woodberry Forest (Va.) and William White of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech.

Defensive Line

Top Performers
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1. Enoch Smith Jr. of Chicago (Ill.) Mount Carmel – Arguably the top defensive lineman at the camp regardless of class, Smith had a very solid showing during Wednesday’s action, moving very well for a player his size. The only question we had was if he can continue to add weight to his already well-defined 6-2, 260 pound frame, or if he will be forced to play as a smaller defensive tackle at the next level.

2. Conor Sheehy of Milwaukee (Wisc.) Marquette – Among the standouts in camp action on Monday, Sheehy displayed a good combination of size and athleticism. A 2014 defensive end prospect, he is a fan of the Wolverines and could be one to keep an eye on down the road.

3. Gelen Robinson of St. John (Ind.) Lake Central – The younger brother of brother of Michigan basketball signee Glenn Robinson Jr., Gelen has stated a preference for the gridiron. The young defensive end prospect looked better as the week went on, but will still need to develop his upper body to play at the next level.

Solid Standouts

Other 2014 prospects of note included a trio of defensive linemen participating on Monday in Daniel Cage of Cincinnati (Ohio) Winton Woods, Brady Pallante of Naples (Fla.) Collier and Michael Barwick Jr. of Cincinnati (Ohio) Summit Country Day.



 
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