July 29, 2009

Big names arrive at FBU Top Gun

PAISLEY, Fla. - The first day of the FBU Top Gun Camp in Florida brought in top players from around the country including numerous members of the Rivals100 and Rivals250. And while the first practice was rained out due to a heavy thunderstorm and lightning, there was plenty of news coming from Paisley and the big men on both sides of the ball certainly passed the eyeball test.

The first player to arrive was five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd from Philadelphia. Floyd has been on a Southeast tour of schools, checking out Miami, South Florida, Florida International, Florida and South Carolina. The 6-foot-3, 310-pounder, who is ranked as the No. 1 player in the country at his position, said that he was impressed with Miami, Florida and South Carolina on recent visits. He is also interested in Penn State, Boston College, North Carolina and others. Floyd said he will take official visits to Florida and Boston College for sure.

Floyd was joined along the defensive line by fellow five stars Ronald Powell and J.R. Ferguson. Powell, a 6-foot-4, 230-pounder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the country, hails from Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde and said he's interested in Florida, Southern Cal, Tennessee, UCLA and Cal. He's been in Gainesville visiting Florida since Friday Night Lights last Friday and will take an official back to see Florida when they host Tennessee. This appears to be a battle between USC and Florida and both schools have told him he can play both tight end and defensive end. Not either or, but both. Powell has a bit of a cold so it's uncertain whether or not he'll work out Thursday and Friday.

Ferguson has also been visiting many schools and has been to Miami, Florida, Florida State, South Carolina and others recently. He hopes to cut his list down from 21 schools to 10 or 11 before he heads off to Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy. The 6-foot-3, 272-pounder hopes to cut his list as early as next week. He is ranked as the No. 17 prospect in the country.

Portland (Ore.) David Douglas defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa arrived late from the west coast on Wednesday. The 6-foot-3, 234-pounder is ranked as the No. 19 prospect in the country and lists Cal, Florida, Southern Cal, UCLA and Oregon State but it's pretty clear when talking to him that Cal is the team to beat.

Rounding out the ridiculously talented group of defensive linemen at the event is Greensboro (N.C.) Page defensive end Gabe King. King, a 6-foot-6, 253-pounder, is ranked as the No. 29 prospect in the nation, has narrowed his choices down to Cal, Alabama and Oregon and arrived at the event wearing a Crimson Tide t-shirt. Cal will be tough to beat, but Alabama has clearly moved way up on his list.

With five of the nation's top 30 prospects playing along the defensive line and at the event, a huge target is on the back of Hillsborough (N.C.) Cedar Ridge offensive tackle Robert Crisp. The 6-foot-7, 299-pounder is the highest-ranked offensive lineman at the event. He is ranked as the No. 3 offensive tackle in the country. Crisp confirmed his commitment to NC State upon his arrival and said that both he and his embattled teammate Peter Singer are headed to Raleigh to play for Tom O'Brien.

Other offensive linemen of note who arrived at the event included New Brighton (Minn.) Irondale tackle Jimmy Gjere, Petersburg, Va. offensive guard Quinton Spain and Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha tackle Arie Kouandjio.

Gjere, a 6-foot-7, 275-pounder, is committed to Minnesota and Spain, a 6-foot-5, 330-pounder, is committed to West Virginia while Kouandjio, a 6-foot-6, 314-pounder, is open but schools like Alabama, LSU, Cal, Tennessee and Miami stand out. Gjere is the No. 6 tackle in the country while Kouandjio is No. 26 and determined to move up. Spain is ranked as the No. 3 offensive guard in the country.

The Signal Callers

Wheaton (Ill.) Wheaton North quarterback Taylor Graham and Houston (Tex.) Second Baptist signal-caller Connor Wood both arrived on Thursday. Graham, a 6-foot-4, 211-pounder, is committed to Ohio State while Wood, a 6-foot-4, 209-pounder, is committed to Texas. Both prospects are four-stars.

BYU commitment Jake Heaps from Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline is scheduled to attend but hadn't arrived as of this writing. Other quarterbacks of note who arrived include Philadelphia (Pa.) Northeast's Malik Stokes, Tampa (Fla.) Alonso's C.J. Bennett and 2011 standout Jerry Neuheisel from Los Angles (Calif.) Loyola. Bennett is committed to Wyoming while Stokes remains uncommitted. Neuheisel is the son of UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel.

Backs and Backers

The highest-ranked player to arrive at the event is Temple, Tex. running back Lache Seastrunk, a 5-foot-11, 192-pounder who is ranked as the nation's No. 2 prospect. Seastrunk's list is long and we hope to get a few leaders out of him over the next couple of days.

Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft running back D.J. Morgan arrived from the west coast late. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder is committed to Southern Cal and is ranked as the No. 20 player in the country. Stamford (Conn.) King & Low Heywood Thomas athlete Silas Redd also arrived and will play both running back and defensive back at the event. The 5-foot-10, 187-pounder is committed to Penn State and is a Rivals100 member.

2011 stud running back Marlin Lane from Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland also arrived. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is committed early to Clemson but said he wants to take all of his official visits.

At linebacker, Stamford, Conn. Stud Khairi Fortt arrived and is narrowing his list down to six schools this week. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder will almost certainly pick Penn State, North Carolina and Southern Cal as three of those six. Fortt is ranked as the No. 2 outside linebacker in the country. He's joined by Frederick (Md.) Thomas Johnson outside 'backer Nick Forbes, who is ranked as the No. 4 prospect at his position. Forbes is a solid commitment to Cal and said he plans on taking no other visits.

Greensboro (N.C.) Northern Guilford outside linebacker Chris McCain, a 6-foot-6, 203-pounder, also arrived on Thursday. McCain, who is ranked as the No. 14 player at his position, likes Cal, Oregon and Maryland as his favorites. And Coconut Grove (Fla.) Ransom Everglades outside linebacker Gideon Ajagbe, ranked right behind McCain at No. 15, was a surprise arrival. The 6-foot-2, 197-pounder is committed to Florida and very solid.

The Air Game

Finally, the biggest name wide receiver that showed up on Thursday was McDonough (Ga.) Henry County star Markeith Ambles. The 6-foot-2, 182-pounder showed up with his Tennessee gear after committing to the Vols on Tuesday. Ambles is ranked as the nation's No. 43 player.

Carlsbad (Calif.) La Costa Canyon wide out Kenny Stills, the nation's No. 22 player at his position, was supposed to attend but has cancelled. Durham (N.C.) Mt. Zion wide receiver Tehvyn Brantley, a 5-foot-8, 161-pounder who has done well at every camp this spring and summer, also arrived. The three-star has an offer from North Carolina.

At defensive back, Greensboro (N.C.) Northern Guilford athlete Keenan Allen arrived as well and could work out at wide receiver as well. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder is down to Alabama, Oregon and Clemson with many expecting the Crimson Tide to win out. Allen is getting close to a decision. Interestingly, he chose to play NCAA 2010 as Oregon on Xbox and he said he hasn't made his decision yet, but sources indicate it would be a big upset if Alabama doesn't win out. Allen is ranked as the No. 31 prospect in the country.

Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne safety Sean Parker arrived late from the west coast. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder said he's wide open and likes Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, USC and Alabama. Many expect Notre Dame to win this battle but Parker said that everyone says that because the Irish are the only school he's set an official visit with.

Yet To Arrive

The 2010 big names that didn't arrive as of this writing include Geismar (La.) Dutchtown defensive back Eric Reid, an LSU commitment, San Diego (Calif.) Cathedral Catholic tackle Alex Crosthwaite, a Cal commitment, and Thibodaux, La. receiver Trovon Reed who is uncommitted.

2011 standouts yet to arrive include Richmond (Va.) Hermitage linebacker Curtis Grant, Baton Rouge (La.) Redemptorist offensive lineman La'El Collins, Cibolo (Tex.) Steele running back Malcolm Brown, San Antonio (Tex.) James Madison running back Aaron Green, Valdosta, Ga. tight end Jay Rome and Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline wide receiver Kasen Williams.

Thursday will begin individual position drills, one-on-ones and 7-on-7 play.


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