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June 28, 2008

Southeast frosh shine at Ultimate 100

MORE: Schuman's National Underclassmen Combines | Rivals.com Scouting the Nation

ATLANTA Riverwood High School in Atlanta, Ga., was the spot for Schuman's Ultimate 100 Camp for the class of 2011 recently which showcased a talented group of rising sophomores. There was loads of speed and athleticism on hand and as the southeastern stop on the camp circuit, the event lived up to the lofty reputation that has accompanied athletes from the South.

However, despite the speed on hand at the skill positions, maybe the most impressive all-around prospects of the day came out of the quarterback group. Following their freshman season, most quarterbacks have a long way to go in development both physically, mentally and mechanically. Two quarterbacks on Saturday looked anything but underdeveloped 15-year-olds.

The quarterback MVP on the day was Price Litton, a tall, strong-armed prospect out of Mattews (N.C.) Weddington. Everything about Litton's day said star. He had a mature, commanding presence in the huddle and off of the field. He showed a strong, accurate arm and terrific feet and mechanics. At times you had to remind yourself that Litton was only a rising sophomore.

At 6 feet 2, 184 pounds, Litton's physique is already ahead of the curve. He also put up very respectable numbers at nearly every testing event. He repped 135 pounds 28 times, ran a 4.47 shuttle, and posted a 30-inch vertical.

If there was a weakness, Litton showed that he has some improvements yet to make in his decision-making and his timing. But even that can be forgiven due to the unfamiliarity that he had with his receivers and their patterns. His arm, upside, mechanics and intangibles should make him an elite prospect in the coming years.

If not for Litton, Mt. Airy (Ga.) Habersham Central quarterback Austin Brown would have easily stolen the show. Brown was another quarterback that played well above his age and looked very ready to step into a major role in high school football.

Brown has good size at this stage in his development at just under 6-1. He also has a strong arm and can make some throws that college quarterbacks would envy. Entering his first year as a starter at Habersham Central, Brown has plenty of time to grow into his role as a tremendous quarterback prospect.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE RBs/WRs

The quarterbacks had a number of very worthy targets on the afternoon both at the wide receiver position and out of the backfield at running back.

The top running back of the day was out of El Dorado, Ark. At only 5-foot-5, the Cameron Mahone weighed in at a compact and powerful 170 pounds. Though he put up good numbers with a 28.5 inch vertical and a 4.65 shuttle, Mahone really set himself apart once the 7-on-7 competition started up. Several backs put up better testing numbers but no one was more productive and dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield.

By the end of the day, Mahone had earned the nickname "Little Barry" from the camp director Dave Schuman in honor of his Barry Sanders-esque style of running.

While Mahone was perhaps the best back during the 7-on-7 competitions, several other running backs made a name for themselves on both the morning test session and the afternoon football drills. Caleb Chasteen out of Garden Central High School ran the fastest time among the running backs with a 4.45 40 while Devin Young was solid in several events, running a 4.59 40 and jumping 9'5'' and 30.5 inches respectively in the standing broad and vertical jumps.

Gadsden City looks like it has even more talent coming up through the ranks to add to its roster that already includes two Rivals100 prospects in the 2009 class. Alonzo Harris already has nice size at 6-0.5, 183 pounds and he showed some very good athleticism in the afternoon drills and passing games. He also had one of the more complete efforts in the testing. His standing broad jump went for 9'10'' and he verticaled 30 inches.

The wide receiver position was home to the best all-around athlete at the event in Tacoi Sumler out of Miami (Fla.) Gulliver Prep. Fittingly Sumler took home the overall MVP award with a remarkable day. Along with the MVP award he also won the fastest man, and fastest shuttle awards. He ran a blazing 4.41 in the 40 and took the shuttle award with a 4.31.

His fast times don't just reflect track speed. The 5-9.5 150-pounder was very dangerous coming out of the slot for his 7-on-7 team and became his team's most dangerous weapon as a pass-catcher.

One of the toughest matchups for the defensive backs was wide receiver Cameron Montgomery out of Orlando (Fla.) Jones. At 6-0, 192 pounds, Montgomery teamed up with his quarterback Price Litton to become a dangerous red zone threat. Of all the wideouts, Montgomery probably had the most upside and potential based on his frame and his ability to catch the ball.

While several receivers made their presence felt, two tight ends proved to be quite the matchup problem as well. Michael Caldwell out of Crestview, Fla. won the tight end MVP at 6-3.5 and 230 pounds Even at that weight he was able to run a sub-4.7 40, broad jump 9-5, and vertical 30 inches.

Milan, Tenn. also has a budding tight end star. Christian Coleman showed very good hands and athleticism for a rising sophomore that is already 6-2.5 and 220 pounds. He could grow into an athletic offensive lineman but he certainly has the ball skills to compete as a tight end.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE DBs/LBs

If not for Sumler's incredible day in the testing, a defensive back may have taken home the award for overall MVP. Brice Hunter out of Lowndes, Ga. had a phenomenal day in the defensive backfield. Hunter really has a lot going for him as a defender. He has great size and strength at just under 6-0 and 195 pounds. Because of that size he is great in press coverage at the line of scrimmage yet he still is very fluid and natural in his backpedal. Though he spent the day as a cornerback, his body-type really projects him better as a safety and he could really even end up as a very athletic linebacker.

The most impressive aspect of Hunter's game was his ball skills. He probably led the camp in interceptions on the day and he found the ball in a variety of ways. He high-pointed the ball in traffic for one pick and then scooped one off his shoe-laces just plays later. With Hunter, the rich get richer at a loaded program like Lowndes High School.

As good as Hunter was all day, he still almost missed out on the MVP award based on the play of Clim Robbins. Robbins locked down his side of the field all day in the 7-on-7s and if there was a pass completed on him, it didn't happen often. He has great hips and instincts on the island and looks to thrive on the one-on-one competition at cornerback.

Much like Robbins, Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley defensive back Jeremy Reynolds was impressive due to the lack of activity to his side. Very few balls fell safely into a receiver's hands on his side of the field and the 5-8.5 athlete doubled as a very effective wide receiver on offense.

At linebacker, one of the more athletic prospects roaming the second level was Cameron Jones from Mauldin, S.C. Already growing into a good frame at 5-10 180 pounds, Jones played with a high-intensity level all day, showed good ball skills, and had the athleticism to be very versatile on the defensive side of the ball.

The MVP among the linebackers was a player that just made plays all over the field. Charles Benning from Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen had solid numbers at 5-11, 210 pounds with a 33 inch vertical and a 4.51 shuttle, but where he separates himself is just his playmaking ability on the football field. The more game-similar the atmosphere becomes, the better Benning gets.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE OL/DL

The numbers were small among the offensive and defensive line prospects on Friday but there were some players that made a name for themselves that were anything but small. Maybe the most impressive player of the lot was Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven defensive tackle Terry Redden. The defensive line MVP measured in at 6-1, 267 pounds and bench-pressed 155 pounds 29 times but that doesn't tell the whole story regarding his strength.

On his first one-on-one rep of the day, the imposing prospect was put on his back. He may not have lost another rep all day. He showed great power with the bulrush and couldn't be handled by any of the offensive linemen. He has a strong base but moves very well for a youngster of his size and should develop into a very good prospect for the west Tennessee program.

Redden's best battles were against offensivel lineman Tanner Crum from Mt. Carmel, Ill. Crum has good size at 6-1.5 and 270 pounds and was very tough to move throughout the afternoon in the one-on-ones. His performance earned him the offensive line MVP award .

Other linemen that stood out in the afternoon session included Alex Bearden out of Trussville (Ala) Springville, Zach Johnson out of Dawsonville (Ga.) Dawson County and Jacob Ingle out of Burlington {N.C.} Walter Williams.

ODDS AND ENDS

The strongest man award went to Shaman Richardson, a 5-10, 268-pound lineman that benched 155 pounds 43 times.

Austin Sweatt walked away with the wide receiver MVP award thanks to his sure hands and his very crisp routes.

One of the top overall athletes both on the field and in the testing was Joshua King. King jumped 32.5 inches in the vertical, ran a 4.38 shuttle and had the best standing broad jump at 10 feet.

One of the more intriguing prospects at the event was Lonnie Ballentine, a towering cornerback who will may grow out of the position. He was one of six Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven players in attendance.



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