March 14, 2007

Premiere Showcase flashes Jersey skill

Martinsville, N.J. - The second annual Premier Showcase held by TEST Sports Clubs in Martinsville, N.J. began on Monday with the top skill position 2008 and 2009 prospects in New Jersey going head-to-head. Led by stud recruit Will Hill from Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep, the Garden State looks loaded with speed.

Hill, one of the nation's top pure athletes, didn't disappoint physically showing off a thicker body on now 6-foot-3 frame. Hill worked out as a defensive back on the evening and flashed his quick feet and change of direction. One of the highlights of the evening came when Hill went head-to-head with Metuchen, N.J. wide receiver DeJuan Miller, who has excellent upside. While Hill came away with an interception on the play, a case could have been made for a flag as well.

Hill is still growing into his frame and is very long making him arguably the top cornerback prospect in the country. His long arms, instincts and quickness allow him to break on the ball and his increasing strength provides problems for wideouts off the line of scrimmage. Hill has offers from nearly every top program in the country and claims no early leaders although Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Rutgers, Southern Cal and others have all been mentioned early.

Miller, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs over 200 pounds, is a huge wideout prospect who gets off the line very quickly and has quite a bit of wiggle off the snap for a big man. Miller has excellent body control and good hands but still needs work on sharpening his routes and has trouble stopping quickly at times. However, his ceiling is as high as anybody's in Jersey, including Hill. Miller has offers from Oklahoma, Michigan, Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers and many others.

The other wideouts on hand were also impressive. Marlton (N.J.) Cherokee wide receiver Lynell Payne has excellent size at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and runs very sharp routes. He also has good hands but needs to work on his body control a bit. He seems to have room for another 15 or so pounds. Payne has offers from UConn and Clemson early.

Hammonton (N.J.) St. Joseph's wide receiver Norman White also showed flashes and has great size at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds. White fights the ball at times and needs to get much stronger, but he sells his routes well and can make tough catches look easy. He's also very coachable.

Christopher Pantale from Wayne (N.J.) Wayne Valley is being recruited as a linebacker but many will begin to check him out as a tight end. Pantale is 6-foot-5, 225-pounds with a big frame and soft hands. Pantale has offers from Syracuse and Virginia.

On the defensive side of things, West Orange (N.J.) Seton Hall Prep cornerback Grant Mayes has excellent size and long arms. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has safety size and could even grow into a linebacker with his frame. He showed solid coverage skills in one-on-ones.

Irvington, N.J. safety Dawon Nolton also has excellent size and showed quickness in coverage. At 6-foot-0 and more than 200 pounds, he's another prospect who could grow into a linebacker if needed.

Montclair, N.J. cornerback Terrence Mumford doesn't have the size of Mayes or Nolton, but he was very good in coverage and physical. He has very good closing speed. Bridgewater (N.J.) Immaculata athlete Mike Kuhn is a tremendous athlete and overcomes a lack of size with a physical attitude and speed.

The running backs participated in the passing one-on-ones and no one was more impressive than super sophomore Theo Riddick. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder from Immaculata has good size for a 2009 prospect and showed great hands and quickness. Fellow 2009 stud Nyshier Oliver from St. Peter's Prep showed off the quickest feet aside from Hill and Teaneck, N.J. senior-to-be Rashad White showed off his jets as well.

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