Birmingham NFTC: Defensive Preview

Offensive line is as deep as it gets as far as offensive prospects at the Birmingham NFTC go, but they'll all be trying to make a name against the camp's overall headliner and five-star defensive tackle Daron Payne. The Alabama talent isn't the only top-tier defender set to compete, however.

All eyes at the Birmingham Nike event will be on Daron Payne, but there will be a steady group of top-tier offensive linemen trying to slow he and his position group down.

The back-seven positions are just as talented for Sunday's event, in multiple classes.

Defensive Line

The aforementioned Payne is the top prospect in attendance. An Irondale (Ala.) Shades Valley product, the five-star and top prospect in Alabama is considering several schools, but will likely come down to the in-state SEC pair. The same may eventually be said for other top prospects along the defensive front.

Staying on the interior, four-star Mississippian Fletcher Adams has a similar offer list to Payne, and he plays with similar success. Underclassmen Darius Whitfield could be the most intriguing trench prospect to track, however. The two-way Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's talent will play defensive tackle on Sunday and already has SEC offers to his name. Whitfield's older brother is 2014 Alabama signee Joshua Casher.

On the edge, there will be plenty of speed to track. Quandeski Whitlow, out of Opelika (Ala.) High has been the hottest defensive end in the state in racking up spring offers and is into double digits with several in the SEC and ACC. Fellow three-star Anfernee Mullins is on his way there in terms of his stock rising. Others from Alabama like Kendell Jones and Isaac Nickson have turned a lot of heads of late and could easily emerge as the MVP of the event.


The top linebacker prospect in attendance is Volunteer State four-star Joshua McMillon, who holds considerable SEC offers, but he's just the tip of the iceberg in a deep linebacker group.

In-state Ole Miss commitment Fred Walls is expected to compete, as is SEC prospect and fellow 2015 three-star Richard McBryde from Alabama.

Perhaps the top underclassmen to keep an eye on is another two-way talent, in 2016 Madison (Ala.) Academy's Malik Miller. Already with offers from Alabama, Auburn and several others, he's being looked at as a power back or second-level defender at the next level. Fellow in-state sophomore Jeremiah Moon already has four-stars next to his name, along with an SEC extension from Mississippi State.

Defensive Backs

As steady as any position group at the event is the secondary, again led by multiple four-stars.

Tennessee's Rico McGraw, a Scout100 cornerback, made a spring commitment to Georgia and is still being pursued by other SEC programs in the process. Alabama's top cornerback, Maurice Smitherman, is also set to compete. The speedster has more than 40 scholarship offers including most of the SEC and ACC at this time. He's working with a top five of Florida State, Florida, Mississippi State, Clemson and Georgia. Fellow Alabama cornerback Jarek Taylor is also hot in recruiting, with a handful of offers to his name.

Louisiana is well represented in the secondary, too, led by four-stars Kevin Henry and Xavier Lewis. Henry is an LSU commitment and Lewis can pretty much name his school at 6-foot, 180 pounds. Three-star Pelican State standout Deshawn Raymond's offer list is just as impressive. Three-star Antonio Parks is Lewis' teammate, though he's more of a safety at this time.

Mississippi State verbal Armani Linton headlines that state's products in attendance, looking to up his current three-star rating at safety.

One Alabama underclassmen to eye is 2016 standout John Broussard, who recently picked up a Kentucky offer. He emerged at the MVP camp in February as the top defensive back performer and has been hot ever since.

It's safe to say the wide receiver group could be in for a long Sunday, but there are always surprises along the way.

For all the latest news and notes from the Nike Football Training Camp, check out Scout's complete 2014 NFTC coverage. Recommended Stories

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