Once the skills position players moved on from individual drills and into 1-on-1s, it became clear that the defensive back group put their best foot forward early and often. Junior West Bloomfield (Mich.) cornerback Obbie Jackson led this competitive group on the day and took home Overall MVP honors thanks to his suffocating coverage, high energy and above average ball skills, poking his hands in to disrupt quite a few would-be catches.
Despite giving up a few inches at 5-foot-10 to a few of the more physically-imposing wide receivers, Jackson held his own and hung in stride with even the taller receivers. Jackson frequently requested reps with several of the top wide receivers at the event, hand-picking match-ups that proved to be exciting battles. Regardless of who Jackson was assigned to, chances are that a pass was not completed as Obbie was virtually unblemished on the day.
Defensive Backs Prove Stingy
With Jackson taking home Overall MVP honors from the cornerback position, it is safe to assume that the defensive back position was loaded with talent. This was evident as talents such as Flint (Mich.) Beecher 2015 defensive back Jawuan Taylor and 2016 defensive back Jelani Taylor ran tight coverage and were frequent culprits of broken up passes. Despite both checking in at under 6-foot, the Taylor brothers showed excellent ball skills and hip fluidity during each stage of competition. These are two qualities that will keep their names relevant all offseason on the camp circuit.
D-Line Talent in Abundance
While the defensive backs stole the show in the skills position portion of competition, the defensive line may be the deepest position to compete at Camp Pride. Romulus’ Immanuel Stinson was in good company on the defensive line as Saginaw Arthur Hill (Mich.) underclassmen Lawrence Gordon and Will Rodgers also solidified themselves as superior talents early on. Gordon was undefeated in 1-on-1 play highlighted by an intense battle with Southfield (Mich.) offensive tackle Calvin Graves. Determined to reach the pad representing a quarterback on each rep, Gordon used a vicious spin move with strong hand work to fight off offensive linemen.
Following Gordon’s lead, Rodgers was perhaps the most impressive talent with all things considered as the freshman DE / TE combo excelled on both sides of the ball and was selected as a defensive line MVP. Rodgers’ most effective move on the day was a well-developed up and under move that allowed him to bypass opposition with ease. With his hand on the ground, Rodgers displayed terrific jump off the line of scrimmage and used proper leverage to make his up and under even more effective.
In addition to Gordon and Rodgers, the defensive line was stocked full of talent with 2015 Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice defensive tackle Marc Miller seeing success as well as 2015 Southfield (Mich.) defensive end Aaron Cooper. With a solid build and above-average strength, Miller pushed blockers around with relative ease at times and showed a high level of determination with an active pursuit and leg drive in 1-on-1 reps. Cooper, however, relied on his quickness and burst off the line to keep offensive linemen at bay. There were several times on the day were Cooper lit up the field with electric reps that wowed the large crowd that followed his performance with a close eye.
Sending quite a few athletes to Camp Pride, Farmington (Mich.) High was well represented on the day. Sticking with the trend of the day, the Falcons certainly contributed to the defensive back talent in attendance with 2015 cornerback Kario Salters. Throughout the 1-on-1 portion of the camp, Salters proved to be tough competition for opposing wide receivers with two interceptions and several more knockdowns. Also from Farmington’s defensive unit is sophomore linebacker David Reese who was named a linebacker / defensive line MVP. Paired with his speed and size, Reese’s physical drive proved to be too much for most opponents as he dominated on the day. As of right now, Reese is hearing from Michigan, Michigan State and Cincinnati, but should see his recruiting profile elevate with subsequent showings similar to Saturday’s. Highly-coveted wide receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick was also in attendance from Farmington, but did not participate.
Romulus Deep With Talent
Not to be outdone, Romulus (Mich.) High School also sent a handful of athletes who impressed on both sides of the ball Saturday. Junior wide receiver Darius Jackson led them on offense.
Flipping to defense, Romulus sent two highly impressive prospects that look to see their stock rise with solid performances such as at Camp Pride. Defensive end Immanuel Stinson, who holds offers from Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Akron and Toledo, is a physically-complete prospect that has considerable upside as he continues to develop. Stinson benefited from his low pad level and quick jump off the line as he was able to maneuver both around and through multiple offensive linemen who briefly stood in his way. Stinson’s teammate, linebacker Reggie Johnson, was equally impressive and was selected as one of the linebacker MVPs as well. Johnson moved well throughout individual position drills and continued to show good burst and take proper angles in 1-on-1s.
Live Arms at QB
With plenty of quality competition on hand to test their skills, a strong collection of signal-callers took to Camp Pride on a mission to throw darts past what proved to be tight coverage all day. Junior Lansing (Mich.) Everett quarterback Lane Porter was perhaps the most impressive of all quarterbacks in attendance, looking the part of a quality college quarterback. Porter has a high ceiling thanks to his live arm and height at 6-foot-5, but also showed strategic decision making and refused to force passes into windows that did not exist. These windows were few and far in between for Porter who possesses the zip to fit the ball into precise locations and did so with ropes all over the field. Porter may also have had the catch of the day as well, leaping into action to catch his falling mother just inches off the ground in the icy parking lot afterwards. Nice work, Lane.
Muskegon (Mich.) Mona Shores junior quarterback Tyree Jackson also had a good day and spun the ball well in various passing situations throwing to unfamiliar receivers. During stationary passing drills, Jackson placed his throws with accuracy and speed, roughing up the hands of whichever receiver happened to be on the other end of his live passes. Jackson also looked light on his feet and showed off fundamentally-sound footwork in both the five and seven step drop.
Hailing from Flint (Mich.) Southwestern is another dangerous dual-threat quarterback that had himself a day on Saturday in junior Daniel Walker. While he has flown under the radar up until this point, Walker has a skill set that is very sought after in certain college programs. Walker not only has the arm to play college football, but the agility, speed and elusiveness to cause the defense to play him honest in order to prevent long gains on the ground.
Several other quarterbacks showed promise and solidified themselves as names to watch at future camps. Bay City (Mich.) West freshman Bruce Mann III opened eyes with not only his accurate arm, but also the agility that he possesses. Mann, who also played defensive back in 2013, could develop into a quality player at either position, though he worked out at and impressed at quarterback on Saturday. Coming in as a relative unknown, Flint (Mich.) Powers sophomore quarterback Tommy Beaubian hopes to change that after a nice showing at Camp Pride. While height may be a concern for Beaubian down the road, arm strength certainly will not be as he displayed an impressive arm for a sophomore. On his first rep in 5-on-5s, Beaubian took a long shot downfield and completed a forty-plus yard bomb to his wide receiver in stride, setting the tone for what was a nice outing all around.
Several Offensive Linemen Stand Out
Going against a strong defensive line group, the offensive lineman at Camp Pride had their work cut out for them. Two juniors from Southfield (Mich.) fought back from a strong defensive line push and ended up victorious more often than not were Calvin Graves and Marques Grimes. Standing at 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-5 respectively, Graves and Grimes were light on their feet for such sizeable athletes and were hard to shake. Graves is a bit more polished of the two, sporting a sound kick and poke step. Grimes also competed well and finished his blocks with force.
One name that should gain traction this offseason is 2015 Skyline (Mich.) offensive tackle Grayden Scovil. Transferring to Skyline from Arizona, Scovil is quickly acclimating himself to the Michigan camp scene. At 6-foot-5 and 315 lbs., Scovil had the size and strength to compete with nearly whoever lines up against him. Scovil used a lightning-quick poke step to mirror his man, but also kept pass rushers at bay with a strong shuck move. While Scovil did find himself on his heels at times, he was typically able to recoil and regain his composure before the conclusion of the rep.
Working out against a strong group of talent, Romeo's Matt Doan stood up several defensive linemen in pass protection in 1-on-1s. Doan displayed a strong kick step that allowed him to stay lined up with both quick and powerful pass rushers alike.
Young WR Corps Shows Flashes
While the narrative points to a defensive back throttling on Saturday, the reality is that the wide receivers in attendance all competed very well and helped to elevate the level of play as a whole. Specifically, Saginaw (Mich.) Heritage junior Jalen Young stood out as the one player who was able to frequently create separation between he and the defender while pulling in a series of acrobatic catches on the day, earning him MVP honors at his position. Young has the looks of a slot wideout at this point, and his deceptive route running combined with quick feet make him a good candidate for that role at the next level.
Several underclassmen wide receivers pushed Young for that MVP award, however, and put the pressure on Young. Wyandotte (Mich.) Roosevelt Donnie Corley ran sharp routes and used his length to work around defensive backs on the day, leading a strong batch of talented sophomore wideouts. Mt. Pleasant (Mich.) sophomore Kalebb Perry also had himself quite a day and tested out well in agility drills, yielding credence to the Perry’s high ceiling as a Division One prospect.
Running Backs Show Versatility
Standing at 6-foot-4 and 225 lbs., junior Grant (Mich.) athlete Dakota Scholten brings more to the table than most traditional high school running backs. Scholten uses his size to explode through would-be tacklers in an attempt to reach the second level and excited those in attendance with his surprising quickness and acceleration. In addition to his exploits at running back, Scholten played linebacker last year for Grant and is receiving collegiate interest at tight end. Scholten took home MVP honors at the running back position on Saturday.
Another name to watch at running back that performed well at Camp Pride is Canton (Mich.) Plymouth junior Charles Turfe, a back who is fielding interest from Central Michigan. On tape Turfe is very hard to bring down and he brings this competitive spirit to the camp circuit as well, turning in a very spirited performance that was highlighted by his quick feet and shiftiness coming out of the backfield on either running or passing sets.
2016 Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s athlete Daelin Hayes participated in individual agility drills and worked out at linebacker. He did not participate in 1-on-1s, but was highly impressive in the limited extent of his workout.
2015 Saginaw (Mich.) Heritage Brian Cole also dropped by Camp Pride momentarily, but was not a participant on the day.
Special thanks to Ralph Arnett and Stuart Schweigert of Star Studded Elite for the opportunity to evaluate a large crop of highly-talented prospects.