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April 26, 2005

The Dominion dominators

BLACKSBURG, Va. - With the surprise addition of the Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville rising seniors, the Blacksburg NIKE Camp boasted one of the more talented groups of players so far. As most would expect, the bigger names dominated the action at times, loading the Blacksburg NIKE Hot 11 with players most diehard recruiting fans have been hearing about for the last few months.

1) OT Antonio Logan-El - Logan-El made our job easy on Sunday when it came to picking out and selecting the top player at the camp. While there were other great performances, none came close to the massive lineman's overall day. The Forestville, Md. native (and Maryland commitment) checked in at 307 pounds on his nearly 6-foot-5 frame, ran the 40-yard dash in almost 5.0 seconds flat and did 20 reps on the bench. His shuttle time (4.77 seconds) was better than many running backs, but none of the numbers truly represent what he did in the one-on-one drills. Dominating at every turn, Logan-El began by driving one defensive lineman 15 yards backwards and then shut down defensive end John Graves, one of the best pass rushers in the county. An awe-inspiring performance.

2) WR Brandon Caleb - You have to feel bad for Caleb in one respect because his performance at almost any other NIKE Camp so far would have earned him overall honors in our book. With a sleek, athletic frame (6-foot-1, 194), Caleb was as smooth as expected but even more polished than most would have thought. Athletic ability is one thing, and Caleb has that, but football skills often come later. Not for Caleb however, as he is clearly well coached and does everything precisely. He runs excellent routes, catches the ball out in front with his hands and turns upfield quickly for extra yardage. And his on-field burst belies his 4.59-second 40-yard dash time - he clearly has football speed. In a few years, he'll be one of the top wide receivers or defensive backs in the country if he continues to develop.

3) WR Raymond Small - Small certainly has room to fill out his frame and it would help if he gained an inch or two before heading off to college, but if neither happens he'll still be a terrific prospect. At nearly 5-foot-11 and 173 pounds, Small has excellent straight-forward speed, but his true strength is in his route running. Small sells everything well and gets in and out of his cuts very quickly. Add a good pair of hands, elusiveness and quick feet to that package and you have a dangerous offensive, defensive and special teams player. Sounds familiar for Glenville High School, no?

4) CB DeNathian Robinson - Like Small, Robinson hails from a program that is known for producing top athletes (Phillip Brown, Elan Lewis are the latest from Phoebus). Any 5-foot-10 cornerback needs a few of things to be successful -- closing speed, change of direction ability and the ability to elevate. Robinson has all of those with a 36-inch vertical with excellent hips, allowing him to stay with speedy receivers and still go up for the ball against bigger players.

5) WR Troy Pascley - Pascley has excellent size (6-foot-2, 182 pounds), runs very well and is also very compact in his routes. In one-on-one situations he's very solid, rarely dropping any passing and allowing separation by selling his routes. He came to NIKE to show he's one of the best and certainly impressed many in what turned out to be a stong wide receiver field.

6) WR Brent Vinson - Vinson, like Caleb and Small, could end up on either side of the football. Unlike Caleb and Small, Vinson doesn't have much football experience (one year) and it shows at times. But with a sub 4.4-second 40-yard dash, a nearly 40-inch vertical and a 6-foot-2 frame, his athleticism is off the charts. While his routes aren't crisp yet and he tends to think too much, Vinson surprised us in the one-on-one drills by becoming a dominant player. Once he gets another season or two of football under his belt, watch out.

7) DE Marcus Anthony - Not as well known as some of the other defensive linemen coming in, Anthony is quickly making a name for himself and showing why NC State was an early offer. Anthony showed excellent quickness off the edge and gets low and uses good leverage and body lean when coming around the outside. Anthony is also a high-energy player with a great motor and seems to be very coachable. He's not as physically gifted as some of the other linemen, but he's a baller pure and simple.

8) DT Daryl Robertson - Finding defensive tackles is hard enough these days, but finding ones who can rush the passer is quite rare. Robertson showed the widest array of pass rushing moves of anyone on the day, using an impressive spin move in one situation, a bull rush in another and a swim move in yet another. He's quick to get an offensive lineman's hands off him and explodes off the ball well enough to knock most off balance. He could be a defensive end in a 3-4 defense if needed or an inside tackle in a 4-3, he's that versatile.

9) WR Daven Jones - Jones isn't as explosive as his teammate Small, but he's bigger and stronger and almost as athletic. The Wisconsin commitment is well-coached and tough for smaller defensive backs to handle. Had the pads been on, Jones likely would have been every more effective as his strength would have been more evident. As it was, he was clearly one of the most polished players on hand during the day.

10) DE Robert Rose - Before anyone realized that the Glenville players had shown up, Rose created a buzz as soon as he walked in the door. He just looked like a football player and many were wondering who he was and why he wasn't on any list. Rose has a great frame with room to pack on more muscle and is a smart pass rusher who picks up tendencies quickly. Inside or outside Rose is effective when getting after the passer.

11) RB Josh Adams - The one thing about camps that is always troubling is that the running backs and linebackers rarely get to show what they can do compared to all the other positions. That's why players like Adams need to be watched carefully in drills. Adams has very quick feet, changes direction on a dime and has good hands out of the backfield. He's still a bit thin, especially in his legs, but he has that scat-back look about him that will make him dangerous on all three downs.

For expanded coverage of the Blacksburg NIKE Training Camp, you should check out StudentSportsFootball.com. Access to StudentSportsFootball.com requires an additional membership. Coming Soon! The best is getting better. The Rivals.com Recruiting Database will include all authentic data from this summer's NIKE Training Camp schedule.


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