The team will participate in several 7on7 events, but they will also tour various campuses including Kent State, Akron, Penn State, Temple, Villanova, Ohio State, Miami University, Cincinnati, Louisville, Toledo, Bowling Green, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, Michigan, Notre Dame, Purdue and Northwestern. The tour will conclude in Bradenton, Florida at the Under Armour IMG 7on7 on June 29.
The tour is designed to help players gain exposure to all levels of college football and to help with sponsorships and fundraising to allow them the means to travel.
The tour is embraced by a number of local high school coaches who will be on the tour or help along the way including Terry Smith (Gateway), Mark Lyons (Central Valley), Harvey Smith (Imani Christian), Muzzy Colosimo (Greensburg Central Catholic), Mike Booth (Gateway), Don Smith (Gateway), Lou Berry (University Prep), Roy Hall (Jeannette), Wayne Wade (Clairton), Dave Kotuby (Western Beaver), Greg Perry (Seton LaSalle), Joe Headen (Susquehanna Township), Jim Wehner (Baldwin), Bob Palko (West Allegheny), Ron Butschle (Sto-Rox), Lou Cerro (Montour), Don Holl (Seneca Valley) Chris Spooner (McDowell) and several others.
Players from as far away as Philadelphia came to the camp. Here is a recap of some of the players we had the chance to watch.
Monessen (Pa.) gunslinger Chavas Rawlins is known as a top dual-threat quarterback. Rawlins isn't known as a prolific passer. He had some ups and downs at the camp, but although he is raw and unrefined there is a lot to work with. Under the right system, Rawlins has a chance to be a very special player. Clymer (Pa.) Penns Manor athlete Danny Ferens led the Comets on an amazing playoff run last season. Ferens is a running quarterback, but on Saturday he showed that he is as equally dangerous with his arm. Pittsburgh (Pa.) Seton LaSalle quarterback Luke Brumbaugh was very impressive in the individual portion of the camp. Philadephia (Pa.) Roman Catholic quarterback Michael Keir was arguably the most impressive passer in the building. Bangor (Pa.) Pius X sophomore A.J. Long looked very good. He is a talented young man. Once he started trusting his arm and letting loose he stood out. Eight grade prospect Eric Taylor is as impressive of a junior high quarterback as I have seen. He will be fun to watch in the coming years.
The running back group wasn't very big and a few of the more talented prospects like Aliquippa's Dravon Henry worked out at other positions. Jeannette (Pa.) native Shavonta Craft is diminutive, but very explosive out of the backfield. Cranberry (Pa.) Seneca Valley product Forrest Barnes is built like a receiver and showed some flashes at the camp. Baldwin (Pa.) back Dorian Brown is one of the better running back prospects in the area, but it is hard for an every down back to shine in these settings. Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway tight end Jaymar Parrish was very impressive. Body wise we see him as an fullback type and he could be a nightmare of a match-up due to his athleticism.
You would have to start with Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley five-star Robert Foster who headlined a very talented group. Foster wowed onlookers with his speed and ridiculous athleticism. His route running is catching up with his speed and hands. Normally, you would expect a five-star kid with 30+ offers to relax at a camp like this and not to be as competitive as others with something to prove. You would be wrong if you thought that. Foster took more than his share of reps as every defensive back wanted to prove themselves against him.
Clairton (Pa.) two-way star and the states best small school player Tyler Boyd showed why he is a very high four-star as he dominated the competition and made it look easy. With a strong spring, Boyd could contend for five-star status. Some folks have questioned his speed, but they wouldn't question it if they saw him in person. Bangor (Pa.) Pius X standout DuBois Ross is learning the receiver position and he has shown to be a quick study. Ross has been a running back, but wide receiver is his position at the next level. Ross may have been the most consistent wide out at the camp. He is very dangerous in the slot. McDonald (Pa.) South Fayette receiver Zach Challingsworth looked to be close to 6-foot-3 with a frame that should allow him to get a lot bigger. You could see him develop into a big receiver like former Norwin standout Michael Shanahan or even a hybrid type of a tight end that schools are looking for now. Dormont (Pa.) Keystone Oaks sophomore Ricky Rodgers continues to impress. He looked to be a solid 185-190. Some think he could grow into a dominant outside linebacker, but it would be tough to not play him on offense. He should be one of the states most highly recruited players in the class of 2014.
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Brashear receiver Dashaun Roberts came out of nowhere and had an outstanding camp. It was easy to get overshadowed with the amount of talent on display, but Roberts just kept making plays. Another City League player who shined was University Prep's Myles Catlin who came alive in 7on7's with several tough catches. Boyd is not the only star at Clairton, he is joined by wide receiver Terrish Webb who showed how dangerous he is in the slot displaying a great burst and the ability to split the seam.
Greensburg (Pa.) Central Catholic sophomore Nathan Stone is an impressive looking player and one of the best pure MIKE backers we have seen, so far this year. Pittsburgh (Pa.) Allderdice two-way standout Bishop Gethers should dominate the City League this year. We have seen how productive he is at running back, but we didn't know how good of a linebacker he is. Gethers is an impressive athlete and also an outstanding student. He should earn some offers this spring. Aliquippa (Pa.) sophomore Donovan Cobb looks to have hit a growth spurt and he was very impressive for an underclassmen. He closes quickly and showed good lateral speed sideline to sideline. Aliquippa has had it share of players who played defensive line and then blossomed into linebackers most recently Donnell McKenzie and Brandon Lindsey, but sophomore Jaleel Fields looks bigger than both of them at the same age and he is impressive. Fields is one of the top two-way linemen in the WPIAL and his athleticism is uncanny for such a big player.
This was arguably the best group of defensive backs we have seen at a camp in Western Pennsylvania. You just don't find that many good defensive backs, especially when two of the best Foster and Boyd are playing offense, but this group more than held its own. We'll start with one of Boyd's teammates Titus Howard who is every bit of 6-3/6-4 and his ability to run with these guys and cover like he does is unreal. He still has to fill out his body, but he is an uncanny athlete for someone that tall. He never shied away from competition and went against anyone and everyone. I still think eventually he grows into a safety, but I would not sell him short as he is very capable at cornerback.
If there is a verbal leader of the Swag defensive unit it is Pittsburgh (Pa.) Imani Christian cornerback Brendan Edwards. Edwards will talk, but he backs it up, as in your face cover corner. He jawed at Foster all day and he managed to get the best of him a few times. Edwards got his feet wet in 7on7 last year, but this year he looks poised to be an impact player.
The underclassmen were among the players who stole the show. The talented sophomore duo of Gateway Gators Montae Nicholson and Anthony Davis were among the best players at the camp. Davis is one of the best pure cover corners in the state, regardless of class. Nicholson just made play after play, including an impressive pick six in 7on7 action. Aliquippa (Pa.) two-way standout Dravon Henry although only a sophomore did not look at all out of place against some of the regions top talent. He made several impressive plays and was rarely beaten.
Watching Central Valley last season it was hard for me to fathom that Jordan Whitehead was only a freshman and now having seen him up close and about to become a sophomore I am still baffled. Whitehead is built like a kid ready for college and he plays like one as well. He has the potential to be a national recruit ala teammate Foster.
Several SWAG alumni visited the camp including Demetrious Cox, Jaylen Coleman, Jaquan Williams, Eric Blinn, Isaiah Faulk and Dustin Creel.