HOOVER, Ala.- The National Select 7-on-7 Tournament featured many high-level football prospects. Rivals.com recruiting analyst JC Shurburtt was there for all of the action and breaks down the top 10 prospects from the event.
This ranking is a college prospect ranking and takes into account how a player will project at the college level and beyond.
Jones dominated this event last summer and came back one year later a bigger, stronger and faster receiver. Foley is breaking in a new quarterback and is replacing several other players from last year's squad, yet Jones still led them to the semifinals of the event. Jones' showing proved that he is a prospect that, despite his lofty ranking, will continue to work and develop at the college level and beyond.
One look at Bolton and you think linebacker, but then when he runs routes and catches the ball you may think otherwise. Bolton has outstanding soft hands and caught multiple touchdowns during the event, helping Norcross reach the consolation finals. His size and strength help him win more than his share of battles against defensive backs in traffic.
The biggest question surrounding the talented Green is where will he play in college? Will he have to bulk up, put his hand down and play defensive end or will he only slightly have to bulk up and play linebacker? The answer is both. Though Green did not see a great deal of action in this format, when he did he showed he was good enough in space to play some linebacker at a higher level. His extremely long arms, first step and frame also make him a candidate to play with his hand down as well.
Harbin played wide receiver during this event, so his ability at defensive end couldn't be evaluated. But what could be evaluated was his overall athleticism, which is superior for a 6-foot-5, 235-pounder. Harbin looked so good running routes and catching passes that seeing some red zone spot duty at tight end in college wouldn't be out of the question. Harbin also is the poster child for the amount of talent in Alabama this year. He currently is the No. 11 overall prospect, a testament to the state's depth.
Rucker was the surprise of the event. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder showed a tremendous ability to get separation from defensive backs, excellent speed and great hands during the course of the event. He showed the ability to get open deep and make adjustments on long passes, catching several long touchdowns during Whitehaven's run to the quarterfinals. Several schools, including Ole Miss, know about Rucker, but expect many more to jump in the mix before all is said and done.
Butler runs good routes and has good hands. The wiry wide receiver also does a nice job of making quick moves after the catch and turning up field, something that more than likely makes him hard to tackle in a football game, rather than difficult to tag in a 7-on-7 event. Butler is extremely crafty and is able to work the middle of the field and find holes in zones. He also uses his excellent body control to make the tough catches toward the sideline. Butler was a nice complement to Bolton in leading Norcross to the consolation finals.
A Class of 2009 prospect, DeCicco is going to have to get bigger to emerge as a major college prospect at tight end, but he has the frame to do it. For now, he's a matchup nightmare for smaller defensive backs in a 7-on-7 format. He's a 6-foot-4, 200-pound target that runs excellent routes and has soft hands that could ultimately develop into one of the better prospects at his position in next year's class.
Cooper is a tall, fast receiver who has the ability to get open deep, make people miss in the open field and has excellent hands. He is a prospect that really caught everyone's attention during Thursday's action and continued to have a solid showing throughout the weekend. Cooper is under the radar as far as his recruitment is concerned, but whichever school signs him will be getting a steal.
Jackson is very similar to Cooper, though not quite as tall. Jackson probably is a better overall receiver than Cooper now, but without as much upside. The Georgia Tech commit showed why he was a prospect the Jackets jumped all over early in the process as he uses his speed to get open deep and has the hands to make the tough catches.
Walls recently transferred from Memphis Wooddale to Olive Branch and helped lead the Mississippi power to the consolation championship. Walls is a high-effort linebacker. He hustles, he never gives up on a play and he's willing to do what it takes to help his team win. Walls also is a good athlete with excellent strength and good speed. He's more of an inside linebacker than an outside linebacker at this point and has the chance to get on the field early, depending on which school he picks.
Note: Five-star offensive lineman Lucas Nix participated in the event for Thomas Jefferson, but only as a center snapping the ball to his quarterback, therefore he wasn't included on this list. That is not, however, a reflection of his ability as a prospect.