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January 29, 2013Saturday marked the commencement of this year's QB1 Quarterback and Wide Receiver Training Days and session one, held at Hammond School in Columbia, South Carolina got us off to a great start. With the roster being full, we were able to see a lot of talent from around the state and North Carolina, allowing us to instruct, evaluate, and identify potential in each player at each position.
TOP LEVEL TALENT
It did not take long to find the top level talent in the camp. Summerville tight end Sean Smith (6-6, 220) was an eye popper from the time he stepped onto the field and when we began work outs, it was evident that this 2014 player is a top level prospect. He displayed great athleticism during agilities and when phase II skills session began, he demonstrated a very strong skill set as a receiver, with great feet and excellent hands. Smith was a favorite of the quarterbacks in the phase III "skelly" session. After watching his film last week and then seeing him in camp Saturday, Smith is SCVarsity.com's top tight end prospect for 2014 and is sure to move into my 2014 Top Twenty.
Other wide receivers who were impressive were Fort Dorchester's Corey Rawlings (2014), First Assembly (Concord, NC) D.J. Foster (2014), and Boiling Springs' Jason Hill (2015). Rawlings (5-11, 165) is a very athletic receiver with great hands. It is surprising that his home offense doesn't take advantage of his skill set as a receiver. Last season, he only had one ball thrown to him and it was for a touchdown. Foster (5-8, 165) showed great athleticism, was strong in his route running, and had very good hands. He plays defensive back, as well, and on film displays the ability to play that position at the next level, as a strong DII prospect. Hill (5-9, 170) had very good hands and was strong in route running. As a sophomore, he has some more physical development yet and is only going to get better.
The quarterbacks had their share of impressive players, as well. Union County's Ben Beck (6-3, 175) demonstrated a very strong skill set with strong mechanics. Beck, a 2014 Class player, won the rising sophomore class in the 2011 QB1 Quarterback Challenge, and could be one of the favorites this year for the overall competition to become the QB1. Beck recently transferred to Union County from Woodruff.
Two sophomores who looked good in camp were Daniel's Andy McCall and First Assemly's (Concord, NC) Jordan Lane. McCall (5-11, 160) showed a strong skill set and a strong arm in both skills session and the skelly session. Lane (6-2, 190) had the stronges arm in camp. With only one year of quarterbacking under his belt, Lane has some mechanical issues we are working on, but his accuracy and arm strengh indicate just how good he can really be when he is finally polished.
FRESHMEN ON THE RISE
There were several freshmen (Class of 2016) players who caught our eyes with their prowess, as well. Quarterbacks Austin Estes of Belton-Honea Path, Dutch Fork's Corey Douglas, Liberty's Tyler Burgess, Garrett Styles of Easley, and Spring Valley's Ryan Lee all looked strong in the younger group. This is a crowd that is only going to get better and the way they performed in skills and skelly's is an indication that this class competition will be strong at the 2013 QB1 Quarterback Challenge.
Ben Lippen's Alec Deboer (6-0, 180) and Spring Valley's R.J. Bacon (6-1, 160) were the lone freshmen wide receivers in camp, but it would have been hard to tell them apart from the older receivers in skills and skelly's. Deboer showed great athleticism, speed burst and excellent hands in work outs. He worked on running crisper patterns and with some work on adjustments to the ball and field awareness, he's going to be a very good prospect down the road. His father, Rob, was a two-sport standout for the South Carolina Gamecocks. Bacon was strong in the skills session, really showing the ability to stick his foot in the ground impressively for a freshman, and had great hands in the skellys.
MIDDLE SCHOOL CROWD TALENTED
We had good representation by the middle school crowd at camp, as well. This is a group that is more about instruction than it is about evaluation at this point. Our goal for this crowd is to correct the mechanics before they become bad habbits. This crowd always impresses me with their hustle and attentiveness. While they all have potential, some that stood out at wide receiver were Greenville's Parker Wingate, who had to get the hustle award because this kid only has one gear - full speed. White Knoll's Aydan Fields was very impressive with his hands, not dropping a ball in drills or skelly's all day.
The middle school quarterbacks frequently struggle in the early part of these training days because after warm ups, we move the eighth graders up too the bigger high school ball; that is the ball they will use next season and we want them to develop with that ball in their hands. Greenville's Jacob Harris, Gastonia (NC) Jacob Bolin, Easley's Noah Price, and White Knoll's Bryce Fields all got better as the day went on and they were able to get aclimated to the larger ball. In the skelly session, they all showed marked improvement and will continue to do so as they go through the QB1 QB-WR Training Days.
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