Dre Kirkpatrick certainly didn’t disappoint, and he had a huge bull's eye on his back the moment he stepped foot on the practice field. Receivers brought their A-game against the nation’s top defensive back. Kirkpatrick shut down several, but he also learned what it was like to go up against elite competition. Scout.com left the camp very pleased with our top prospect in the South.
“I haven’t said this in a long time, but he may be the best defensive back I have personally seen since Eric Berry,” said Scout.com defensive backs coach Don Cox. “He is such a raw prospect with tremendous athletic ability. He has a lot of adrenaline. Once he gets his fundamentals and technique down it’s going to be scary.”
“I was real hard on him today because I wanted to bring out the best in him. He has a lot of God-given ability. He is special. He realized why I was hard on him, and he hopefully he listened to a few things I was telling him to work on. Other than that he was by far the best guy I had out here today.”
Coach Cox was in his element with a lot of talented defensive backs who were all sensational including Alec Ogletree (Newnan, Ga.), Martez Thompson (Pascagoula, Miss.), Brandon Porter (River Ridge-John Curtis Christian, La.) and Khairi Usher (Merdian, Miss.).
Usher is certainly soon to receive offer No. 1 after heavy praise against elite competition.
Ogletree is a name to keep a watchful eye in the 2010 class.
The player who drew more praise in the 2010 class was Cadarious Sanders from LaGrange-Troup, (Ga.). He was smooth in all drills and was a lock-down cover corner.
Several top quarterbacks in the Southeast attended the camp with Zach Mettenberger, four-star from Athens-Oconee County, (Ga.), receiving the top overall nod from Scout.com quarterbacks' coach Tim Glanton.
“Zach Mettenberger was my No. 1 today,” Glanton said. “He is probably the best overall quarterback I have seen this year. I would rank him and AJ McCarron as the top two guys I have seen this whole year. Zach just has great size, is accurate and has a real strong arm. I like him a lot.”
McCarron missed the camp in Auburn, but coach Glanton worked with him at another Under Armour/Scout.com combine in Mobile in January.
Raymond Cotton, quarterback from Mobile-Faith Academy, (Ala.), came to the camp with a chip on his shoulder. He looked completely different player from the Under Armour/Scout.com combine in Mobile in January.
“[Raymond] Cotton looked very nice today," Glanton said. "He looks like he has improved a lot since Mobile. He looks 10 times better. He was throwing the deep ball today, and it was looking good.”
A few other quarterbacks who drew high praise from coach Glanton included Brendan Cross (Alpharetta-Chattahoochee, Ga.), Josh Hollingsworth (Hamilton, Ala.), Tyler Russell (Meridian, Miss,), Clayton Moore (Louisville, Miss.) and Tony Caldwell (Douglasville-Douglas County, Ga.)
The wide receiver unit was another very strong position with Jamal Patterson (McDonough-Henry County, Ga.), continuing to show why he has garnered numerous offers.
Dre Kirkpatrick (left) vs. Jamal Patterson (right)
Patterson was very fluid in the agility drills and everything came to him with
ease. He picked apart defensive backs in the one-on-ones. He and Kirkpatrick had a few classic match-ups with both winning at least one competition when matched together.
Patterson’s teammate, Markeith Ambles, is a 2010 receiver who was terrific in the one-on-ones. He projects as one of the top prospects in the region and will sport major D-I offers this time next year.
One player who may see his stock soar is T.J. Hoyt from Lincoln, (Ala.). The 6-foot-3, 195-pound prospect has great size and speed. He had several nice grabs for the day.
Several other receivers who caught our eye during the event included Mujahid Assad (Mobile-Williamson, Ala.), LaVoyd James (Mobile-Williamson, Ala.), Chris Smith (Merdian, Miss.), Arthur Williams (Smiths-Glenwood School, Ala.), Caleb Lewis (Northport-Tuscaloosa County, Ala.), Rashad Wynes (Warner Robbins, Ga.), Marlon Anthony (Marietta-Kell, Ga.) and Izauea Lanier (Gordo, Ala.).
The tight ends and running backs were separated during agility drills, but they worked together during one-one-ones. The best may have been Darrell Smith (Gadsden City, Ala.) Smith is a gifted athlete who could play either side of the ball and decided to work with the offense Sunday afternoon. He showed great speed, quickness and hands in all drills and
matched up great against the linebackers.
Justin Jones, the 6-foot-7, 235-pound prospect from Conyers-Heritage, (Ga.), looked good as well. David Paulsen, from Marietta-Walton, (Ga.), had a solid performance. He made several nice catches during the one-on-ones.
Several great running backs were showcasing their skills, and the show-stopper was Demond Dennis from Atlanta-Carver, (Ga.). Dennis used his blazing quickness during the one-on-ones and seven-on-seven to get past the linebackers and safeties. It was quickly realized why Alabama and Auburn were the first schools to offer.
Other running backs who were singled out included Orwin Smith (Phenix City-Central, Ala.), Kelvin James (Gadsden City, Ala.), Dae Spence (Opelika, Ala.), Al-Terek McBurse Winter Springs, Fla.) and 2010 prospect D.J. Vinson (Pinson-Clay-Chalkville, Ala.).
No one would disagree the best looking unit out of all positions were the linebackers. The top overall performer was Nico Johnson from Andalusia, (Ala.). Johnson has bulked up since the last time we saw him and certainly has five-star written all over him. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound prospect was solid throughout the day and looked great is pass coverage against running backs and tight ends.
Nigel Mitchell-Thornton (Stone Mountain-Stephenson, Ga.), was physically very
impressive. He and Brandon Watts (Sandersonville-Washington County, Ga.), were two who caught the attention of all and had the physical attributes to match their talent. Another player who impressed was Josh Rowe (Opelika, Ala.).
Jonathan Davis (Tucker, Ga.), continues to perform as one of the best prospects in the
Southeast and eager for scholarship offers to go along with his elite talent.
Other physically imposing linebackers who stood out included Chase Vasser (Gainesville-Chestatee, Ga.), Eric Fields (Warner Robbins-Northside, Ga.) and Derrick Webb (Memphis-Whitehaven, Tenn.).
A few select junior linebackers were invited with Barry James (Mobile-Williamson Ala.), and C.J. Moseley (Theodore, Ala.) projecting as two of the hottest names in the South in 2010. They did not disappoint with a strong showing with the upper classmen.
The defensive linemen who looked good in agility work and technique drills included Abry Jones (Warner Robbins-Northside, Ga.), Terrence Coleman (Mobile-Williamson, Ala.), Jamar Travis (Brewton-W.S. Neal, Ala.) and Quinton Dial (Pinson-Clay-Chalkville, Ala.).
The offensive line unit is not as deep in the South as compared to years past, but several who were in Auburn Sunday afternoon received high marks for their performance. Brandon Moore (Montgomery-Carver, Ala.) had the look and moved well during drills. Evan Swindall (Hoover-Spain Park, Ala.) turned some heads as well.
Other linemen who stood out included John Sullen (Auburn, Ala.), Jeremy Simmons (Ashland-Clay County, Ala.), Billy Autrey (Columbus, Miss.), Sam Watts (Conyers-Salem, Ga.) and Daniel Blitch (Gainesville-North Hall, Ga.).
This is not a complete list of standouts at the Under Armour/Scout.com Southeast Elite camp with numerous stories, photo galleries and video highlights posting throughout the week from several Scout.com writers.