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2017 ESPFC Pooler Top Defensive Performers

By Barry Every
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Size, athleticism and long term potential were taken into consideration deciding the top performers at the camp, as seen by Southern Pigskin Recruiting Analyst Barry Every.

Pooler, Georgia – This past Saturday over 75 athletes were on hand to take part in the Explosive Southern Pigskin Football Camp. Each participant was measured and then ran a 40-yard dash. They also took part in individual position drills, agility training and one-on-ones.

Each athlete was evaluated by their position coach and awards were given out to the top performer at each position. Being recognized for outperforming your peers is a great honor, but it does not guarantee success at the next level. Contrary to popular belief coming away without honors does not translate to failure.

Below are the top defensive performers as seen by Southern Pigskin Recruiting Analyst Barry Every. Size, athleticism and long term potential were taken into consideration deciding the top performers at the camp. For some players they are simply too young and lack the size and/or experience to outshine the competition.

There are other factors that will determine whether a college can recruit a prospective student-athlete. Make no mistake, character and academic prowess will directly affect a prospect's ability to be recruited. And of course a player’s production on film is paramount in the evaluation process. 

Benjamin Brewton, DE/OLB, 6-4/205, Beach, GA (2018)

This young man passes the preverbal eyeball test. Brewton has excellent height and length for a potential weak side defensive end or outside linebacker. His arms stretch from Savannah to Statesboro and his frame will easily hold another 35 pounds of muscle mass. Brewton was quick off the snap of the ball causing opposing lineman to overset. Though his 40-time was not superb he does have the desired quick twitch muscle fibers required of the position.
He will need to hit the weight room with a passion to gain the desired muscle mass. If he decides to run 40’s in the future someone will need to take the time to show him proper technique coming out of the blocks. Brewton is someone that should garner looks from non-power five FBS and FCS schools. His film is impressive enough to seize the attention of college recruiters.

Michael Campbell, CB, 5-10.5/150, McIntosh County Academy, GA (2018)

Campbell has decent height for a potential cover corner at the next level. But the eye opener for college recruiters should be his top end speed. Campbell put up two sub 4.4 40’s on grass. And when challenged in a runoff versus the other top five speedsters in the camp he came away with the honors of fastest man. During individual drill work he displayed a smooth balanced backpedal and quick hips. Add to that the fact that he already boasts a 1,100-plus SAT score. Elite speed and grades should attract serious interest.
During the one-on-ones Campbell became a bit sloppy with his technique. He relied too heavily on grabbing receivers with his hands. Campbell must trust his skillset and superior athletic ability. Look for him to garner attention from FBS and FCS schools.

Hunter Hall, OLB/S, 6-0/190, Glynn Academy, GA (2018)

Hall is a bit of a tweener when it comes to projecting his position at the next level. He is a bit undersized for linebacker but could project as a strong safety at the next level. He has no bad body weight and a frame that could add at least 20 more pounds of muscle mass. Hall showed excellent lateral movement during agility drills weaving in and out of the bags. He also put up an impressive 4.6 40 that should garner attention. Hall is also an excellent student that opens up opportunities at colleges that have higher standards than the NCAA minimum requirements.
Look for the Military Academies to take interest along with high academic FCS schools like Furman. Hall was the leading tackler last year for one of the top GHSA AAAAAA schools in Georgia. He also has the instincts that allow him to react quickly and find the ball carrier.

Justin Jeffery, CB/S, 6-2/170, Richmond Hill, GA (2018)

Jeffery really surprised me with his length; I had no idea he was well over 6-foot tall. He also has arms that hang down to his knees ideal for breaking up passes. Jeffery put up a solid 40-yard dash and he can really cover a ton of real estate with his long elegant strides. He has been ranked as a possible tall corner but after seeing him in action this weekend he may best project as a free safety. During one-on-ones he made an incredible interception on a ball thrown in the flats.
He does need to work on transitioning from his backpedal to attacking the ball. But once he starts running forward this kid can flat out fly. This is why he probably projects as a safety and not corner. But ball hawking safeties are a necessity versus the pass happy offenses taking over the college landscape. Jeffery is already attracting attention from several FBS and FCS colleges.

Davonte Johnson, DT/OG, 6-2/285, Jenkins, GA (2018)

I was a bit surprised that Johnson worked out at defensive tackle considering the fact that he is one of the top interior offensive linemen in the (912). He has a huge barrel chest and a solid power base so it is possible that he could project as a nose guard at the next level. He is very physical at the point of attack and possesses superior upper body strength.
Johnson still projects as a guard or possible center at the next level in my opinion. A quick peek at his highlights shows a guy that can get to the second level and packs serious power in his punch. He should attract interest from FBS and FCS schools.

Makenly Newbill, DE/ILB, 6-1.5/235, South Effingham, GA (2018)

Newbill is another new name for me. He really caught my eye during one-on-ones coming out of his three-point stance like a bullet. He plays with good pad level and has the nimbleness to counter inside when the outside speed rush is taken away. Though he lacks the ideal length for a defensive end at the next level he does have long arms that he uses to keep defenders off his body.
He needs to work on adding more upper body mass to match his superior lower body strength. This fall he is making the switch from defensive end to inside linebacker which may end up being the position he projects best at in college. You have to love his aggression and competitiveness on the field of play. Believe it or not he is an adept athlete on the hardwood.