PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- With only one camp remaining in the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour, what did we learn from the New Jersey stop? Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman tells us.
1. Wide receivers won the day
Going into the New Jersey edition of the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour, it was thought that the defensive backs were in for a long day, and it proved prescient as the wide receivers really made them pay.
Four-stars K.J. Williams, Chris Godwin and Freddy Canteen were the highest-rated receivers and had very good days but they were outplayed by three-stars Noah Brown, who won offensive skill player MVP, and Curtis Samuel. Brown and Samuel are listed as athletes and can play multiple positions but the really dominated the defensive backs for the majority of the day.
Sophomore receivers D.J. Moore and Juwan Johnson also turned heads after making exceptional plays. Delane Hart, Chris Jones and Garrett Dickerson were also dominant during one-on-ones. Johnson, Hart, Jones and Dickerson all have big frames and used it to their advantage. Moore, on the other hand, has a smaller frame, but is an excellent athlete. He made a ton of very impressive plays, but the second half of his one-on-one competitions were hampered by a minor leg injury.
2. Quenton Nelson is the real deal
If there were any doubters about Quenton Nelson's skills, he made them believers last weekend. Last year, Nelson still had some baby fat on him and some people questioned his physicality. On Saturday, Nelson showed up weighing about the same but he had slimed down and added muscle weight. It seemed like that new strength increased his confidence and made him more of a finisher.
Nelson's exceptionally quick feet made it nearly impossible for any defensive end to beat him to the outside or counter to the inside. His strong, wide base helped him stop any bull-rush attempt by a defensive lineman. The most impressive thing about Nelson was his patience. He took a big kick step on the snap of the ball and waited to the defender to try to make a move. Nelson was able to slide his feet to get in front of the defender and time his punches almost perfectly. Nelson turned in a very impressive performance at Saturday's camp.
3. Jersey strong
Piscataway High School, the site of the Rivals Camp Series Presented by Under Armour, hosted standout players from seven states and Washington, D.C. Not only were those players trying to show they're the best, but they were also trying to show that their respective state has the best players.
The location of the camp dictated that most of the players were from New Jersey and Pennsylvania but many of the states in New England were well-represented. Top performers were from Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Delaware and, of course, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The most top performers, however, play their high school football in New Jersey.
With all the big-name players in the 2014 class that were on the field in New Jersey, underclassmen fought hard for a share of the spotlight. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Rashan Gary, Rahshaun Smith, Daivon Ellison, D.J. Moore, Juwan Johnson, Jarrett Guarantano and Chris Chugunov led the way for the underclassmen. Fitzpatrick was invited to the upcoming Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge. On the heels of an excellent showing in New Jersey, Gary picked up an offer from Florida this week. Smith, Johnson and Guarantano already have scholarship offers and Moore, Ellison and Chugunov will surely be receiving heavy interest soon.
The success that the wide receivers had is directly correlated with the quality of the quarterback play and there were clearly some good quarterbacks at the New Jersey camp. Darius Wade, a Boston College commit, Jarrett Guarantano, Chris Chugunov, Brandon Wimbush, Brandon McIlwain, Jake Zembiec and a few other signal-callers had very good days.
Recent Maryland commit William Ulmer did not play to play as well as expected and the star quarterbacks of the day were the underclassmen, particularly Guarantano and Chugunov. Both were named offensive top performers and Wimbush and Zembiec were also recognized for their performances.