GAINESVILLE, Fla. - After a terrific kickoff event at the University of Miami, stop two on the Nike Football Training Camp tour heads just a few miles North to Gainesville to see if the North Florida talent can stack up to the show that was on display in South Florida.
Judging by the list of names that are slated for appearances on Sunday, Northern Florida is up for the challenge.
One of the premier names in the entire event plays at one of the premier positions. Tampa (Fla.) Plant quarterback Aaron Murray has offers from all over the country and has almost as many Florida passing records. He will be showing off his big arm and will not be hurting for targets.
Lamar Scruggs out of Fletcher high school is a wide receiver with a college-ready body and offers from all over the southeast to his credit. At 6 feet 2, Tallahassee Leon wide receiver James Green has an impressive frame as well and plans to be at camp with offers from the likes of Auburn, Ole Miss, UCF and South Carolina in his back pocket.
Another big body that could play either wide receiver or tight end is East Gadsden standout Lance Ray. He also has several offers to his credit and his stock could continue to rise with a strong showing in Gainesville.
Despite all of these big names, Murray may be content simply throwing to a teammate who is also scheduled to be on hand. Orson Charles, who is transferring to Tampa Plant to play with Murray as a senior could be the best target of the bunch. The Rivals250 member already has an extremely impressive offer list led by Florida, Georgia, LSU and Miami.
The running backs in attendance should be no less impressive than the wideouts. In a state that is absolutely loaded with standout running backs, several of the best in the state will be on hand on Sunday.
One player that will have an opportunity to state his case as the best back in the state is Trent Richardson out of Pensacola (Fla.) Escambia. Once a new name on the scene, Richardson has quickly become one of the more coveted backs in the entire country.
2008 NIKE CAMP SCHEDULE
Miami, Fla. – Camp Recap
Gainesville, Fla. – April 13
Los Angeles, Calif. – April 20
Fort Worth, Texas – April 26
Baton Rouge, La. – April 27
Chapel Hill, N.C. – May 2
Tuscaloosa, Ala. – May 3
Columbus, Ohio – May 9
State College, Pa. – May 10
Stanford, Calif. – May 17
Eugene, Ore. – June 7
Provo, Utah - June 14
One name that could soon shoot up recruiting boards is Mariana, Fla. athlete Bradley Battles. While he already has several offers to his credit, a strong showing against such an elite group of backs could send his stock soaring.
The top running back talent isn't limited to Florida either. Rivals100 member Desmond Scott is heading down all the way from North Carolina to compete at the event.
The linebackers that will have their hands full with that group of running backs but the talent level indicates that they should be up for the task.
FAMU linebacker and Rivals250 member Willie Ferrell just picked up offers from Iowa and Ole Miss to add to his already long list and will be coming to the field Sunday ready to prove he's worthy of even more offers.
Another name to watch will be Larvez Mars out of Apopka, Fla. The undersized backer is a huge hitter but his athleticism will likely impress in the camp setting as well as he is still waiting on his first official offer.
Michael Gilliard one of Georgia's best will be taking the trip from Valdosta to put his athleticism on display and he will be joined by two of the top defensive backs scheduled to show up.
Greg Reid and Gerald Demps form one of the best secondaries in the South at Lowndes High School but in college they will be bitter rivals as Reid has already committed to Florida while Demps is heading to Tallahassee to be a Seminole.
At the line of scrimmage, there are some great matchups that should develop, particularly if anyone can find a way to slow down Madison County defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel. The five-star prospect is unblockable in most one-on-one settings and will provide a good measuring stick for the offensive line.
Another good measuring stick is fellow Florida State commit Brandon Jenkins. The athletic rush end will be a tough matchup off of the edge will have an opportunity to justify his Rivals250 ranking.
The sleeper of the defensive line group may be Alex Williams of FAMU High School. Only a year into his football career, Williams has 19 sacks and one official offer from Iowa. There is no doubt that the basketball star has the length and athleticism to surface as an elite recruit and Gainesville will be the perfect stage for that emergence.
The offensive line is headlined by Kamran Joyer and Andrew Carter, both players with impressive offers. But the best of the group may not be the biggest. Corey Gaines may not have the measurables of some of the nation's highest rated players but the Rivals250 member will be looking to prove that he is one of the nation's best interior linemen, on either side of the ball.