Core 6, run by several former Big Ten players, is quickly becoming the go-to training program for kids in the Chicagoland area and their Winter Showcase on Monday featured some of the top talents from Illinois and Indiana.
The top names in attendance were Dan Voltz (OG / Barrington), Jordan Diamond (OT / Chicago Simeon), Nick Mangieri (LB/TE / Dunlap), and Faith Ekakitie (DT/DE / Lake Forest Academy), all of whom have Division-1 offers. Other top names included Simeon QB Robert Gregory, Lake Forest RB Owen Williams, Elkhart Central (Ind.) WR Urston Smith, and Avon (Ind.) RB Charles Davis, all Division-1 prospects. The event also featured several 2013 prospects who will be among the Midwest's best, Lemont OT Ethan Pocic and Barrington OG Mason Darrow.
The MVPs of the event were Voltz for the linemen, Gregory for the skill positions and Lake Zurich's Jack Lynn for the linebackers. Voltz moves well for a thicker kid, which was evident during the agility drills that made up the majority of the event. Gregory is a pure athlete, who I think is a quarterback, but if any school disagreed, he's definitely athletic enough to project to safety or receiver. Lynn is a sleeper to watch. He's about 6'3, 205-lbs, had a good junior year and is a solid all around athlete.
I was impressed with Ekakitie's ability to move at his size. He's very thick. After seeing him in person, I definitely think he's an interior guy at the next level, as he's going to keep getting bigger, but he's quick and explosive for a kid of his size.
Mangieri is a nice athlete at 6-4, 6-5, 230-lbs. Some schools see him as a tight end, others as an outside linebacker or defensive end. I could see a 3-4 team like Notre Dame giving him looks as a stand-up edge rusher.
Urston Smith is a very good athlete. He's long and was one of the more explosive and quicker athletes at the event. I saw him twice over the summer and liked his skill set. He'll be one to watch over the spring and summer.
Other sleepers: Edwardsville's Garrett Jenssen is a nice sized (6-4, 230) kid who played interior defensive line last year, so he's a bit of a tweener, but I like his frame and he moved around pretty well. Boylan Catholic's Dean Lowry is another big framed kid (6'5, 230) who had a good year. He's a Division-1 prospect. Chicago Brother Rice's Andrew Walker is on the short side, but well built and I've seen both he and his twin brother Martez (not in attendance yesterday) play and they're very good athletes. Ekakitie's teammates, running back Quai Chandler and Richard Barber are solid looking prospects, as is Loyola's Malcolm Weaver and Lake Forest's athletic Brandt Pfefier.
Four-star junior DT Vincent Valentine of Edwardsville was in the building, but an injury kept him from participating. Valentine did give a recruiting update, telling us he has ten offers now and is looking to stay in the Midwest.
Full updates on Valentine and the other prospects at the event will be up all week. For more on Core 6 and their services, visit http://www.core6athletes.com.