March 27, 2013

Rivals Camp Series Orlando: What We Learned

MORE: Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour

ORLANDO -- The third weekend of the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour wrapped up Sunday and many top story lines emerged from the events. Here are Five Things We Learned from the camp at Lake Gibson High school in Lakeland, Fla.

1. Florida isn't only for WRs and DBs

There were only two players who earned invites to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge on Saturday and both of them came from the linebacker position.

Kain Daub and Dillon Bates both had solid days, backing up in person what we already knew about them as players. Now they'll have a chance to go toe-to-toe with the best players from around the country.

Generally, camp settings aren't the best place for hard-hitting linebackers to shine, but Daub and Bates both showed that they can do their part in pass coverage as well as run support.

As the offseason wears on, each player is likely to make a decision -- Daub said he's a month or so away while Bates likely won't be too far -- so the chance to see them in person before they shut things down was one of the highlights of the Orlando stop.

2. There are still some hidden gems in the Sunshine State

With offers being handed out earlier in the process every year, it's not too often a player of Byron Cowart's caliber comes into an event without any offers.

During warmups and position drills, Cowart looked the part of a standout defensive end, and once one-on-ones started he showed he was more than just a physical specimen. The rising junior dominated against more seasoned offensive linemen, showing a nice set of moves to go with his size and strength.

Following the event, he said he's been hearing from schools but is still waiting for his first offer, but if he performs in spring practice like anything close to what he did on Saturday, it will only be a matter of time.

[ WATCH: One-on-one with four-star LB Dillon Bates ]

3. The Gators are getting it right

After turning around the program on the field in the fall, Will Muschamp and company continue to do solid work in their own backyard on the recruiting trail.

Gators commits Duke Dawson and Travaris Dorsey both made top performers for their respective sides of the ball, proving that they're worthy of their spots in the class.

Dorsey was particularly impressive, showing a mean streak in one-on-ones and backing up his trash talk by stoning some of the best defensive linemen at the event. As he continues to bulk up and add more muscle, Dorsey should develop into exactly the type of lineman SEC teams are looking for.

Dawson recovered from a rough start by making a few big plays in one-on-ones, including a "pick-six" interception that drew praise from the coaches and cheers from his fellow campers.

4. Two QBs can spin it

With plenty of skill position players on hand to deliver the ball to, quarterbacks De'Andre Johnson and Zack Darlington turned in quite the performances. Johnson is an early commit to Florida State and his running ability is well-documented, but on Sunday he showed the arm to match. He has a very strong arm and has no problem delivering the ball downfield and once he refines his footwork he could make a push for the top quarterback stop in Florida next year.

Darlington is on the radar of several Big Ten schools and he's hoping that more Southeast schools take notice. He's also a dual-threat who helps keep traditional power Apopka rolling, but Saturday it was all about his arm. He puts nice touch on his passes and his throwing ability combined with his underrated athleticism make him a nice fit for a spread attack.

5. Anyone can step up

Coming into the event it would have been hard to imagine that Cowart and fellow class of 2015 member RayRay McCloud would have walked away with MVP honors, but they came to compete and were rewarded for their efforts.

McCloud was named offensive MVP after working out at wide receiver, running back and even lining up to take reps at defensive back late in the day. His willingness to challenge some of the camp's best players helped him win over the camp's coaches and the Rivals analysts at the event.

Joining the two as surprise performers were Tampa (Fla.) Plant wide receiver Luke McFadden and Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast wide receiver Jaha McCray.

None of the four have offers yet, but on a level playing field Sunday they showed that they can compete with some of the best.



FEATURED PRODUCT


 

Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2007 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.