Antwann Randle-El and the Lifting as We Climb Foundation brought the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp series to Illinois, and Randle-El's alma mater, Harvey Thornton High. There was some talent there, and Scout.com was on hand for a report.
The Sound Mind Sound Body camp has grown from one camp in Detroit to a series across the country. Last year, SMSB joined forces with Antwann Randle-El's camp in Harvey, where the current Pittsburgh Steeler started his football career.
This second year, the camp grew quite a bit, both in number of participants and quality of talent. As with all of these camps, emphasis was placed not only on football drills and skills ("Sound Body"), but also on off the field issues ("Sound Mind").
The kids were privy to speakers from all walks of life speaking on topics from religion to goal setting, HIV awareness, and the recruiting process. Of course, the bulk of the day was spent on the field, and here are some players who caught our eye.
Mika'il McCall / RB / Dolton Thornridge
He came in as the most decorated prospect of the camp, and his physical stature alone turned heads. McCall is very well put together, even bigger than he had appeared to me on tape. He also showed he could catch the ball out of the backfield, and it was easy to see why he has a handful of BCS scholarship offers.
Jacolby Owens / WR / Dolton Thornridge
Owens is a big receiver, in the 6'3-6'4 range. He is a good athlete who showed the ability to go up and get the ball. He just needs to gain more experience and continue working on the position specific things like route running and making some of the easier catches, but he has a lot of tools to work with. I'd expect more colleges to take a look at him this fall.
Charles Knowles / WR / Harvey Thornton
Knowles is a kid we liked last year in a couple select games, and Thornton head coach Bill Mosel told us that he caught 16 touchdowns last year. At this camp, he worked mostly at quarterback, but in his few reps at receiver, the 6'3, 180-lber showed why he is a D1 prospect there. He says Ball State, Nebraska and Illinois are among the schools recruiting him.
Dimitrius Hardwick / QB / Harvey Thornton
Hardwick throws a very nice ball. His passes have good spin, and he showed a good sense of timing and accuracy. His height will keep many schools from seeing him as a quarterback, but I think he can play there in the right situation. He did take some reps and receiver, and I think bigger schools will look at him there or as a defensive back.
Nathaniel Whittington / DE / Harvey Thornton
He is pegged by Coach Mosel as one of Thornton's top prospects. Whittington is a thicker kid, about 6'2, and in the 265-lb range. He showed good athleticism and ability to get off the ball and is one to watch this season.
Damien Bell / RB-WR / Harvey Thornton
Bell is only about 5'7, but has a solid frame, and some burst and explosion. He also displayed his pass catching abilities, an important asset, as I think he will fit best in a spread offense, and possibly as a slot receiver.
Elisha DeRamus / WR / Harvey Thornton
Not one of Thornton's bigger names, DeRamus had a very good day. He runs good routes, showing a knack for getting open and has good hands. He's one to keep an eye on.
Brandon Loyd / WR / Thornwood
Loyd is a smaller receiver, but was one of the quickest players at the camp. He has a great burst and got deep on defensive backs, and ended up showing good ball skills as well, adjusting to long passes in the air.
Corey Thomas / DT / Chicago Lindblom (2012)
Lindblom is not a program I've heard too many guys coming in and out of him, but they had a bunch of kids show up and have good showings. Thomas was the most impressive of all of them. He has great size already at 6'3, 290-lbs, and after earning All-City honors as a sophomore, I think colleges will begin to find out about him.
Gerry Butler / WR / Homewood-Floosmoor
Butler is a smooth wideout who runs good routes and has good hands. He does all the little things well. He's not the biggest kid, but he can play somewhere on Saturdays.
We will have more from the camp in the coming days.