2017 ESPFC Pooler Top Offensive 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 offensive 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.
John Cano, OG/OC, 6-1/274, Brunswick, GA (2018)
What he lacks in height he makes up for with superior lateral movement. I personally felt that Cano was the most athletic offensive lineman in the camp. He put up a very solid 5.3 40-yard dash time. But it was his ability to counter the movements of pass rushers that really caught my eye. Cano does an excellent job of staying squared up on defenders. He also shows the aptitude to get to the second level on film.
My one piece of advice for him would be to work on learning to snap the ball. This could improve his visibility to college recruiters. Cano is most likely an FCS level interior offensive lineman.
Deon Durden, WR, 6-2/165, Tattnall County, GA (2019)
Tall receivers are a high priority at the next level. Not only does Durden have the length that causes mismatch problems for smaller defensive backs he has excellent top end speed. Durden put up a solid 4.5 40 during testing. His long arms allow him to make plays over top defenders when covered. Right now he is a raw route runner but that should improve considering he is just a sophomore.
Unfortunately Durden does not have the film at the varsity level that matches his untapped talent. He needs to continue to gain muscle mass in order to combat physical corners while honing his route running. He is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Toot Johnson, RB, 6-0/190, Effingham County, GA (2018)
Without a doubt Johnson was the most physically impressive looking prospect at any position in the camp. He is chalked full of quick twitch muscle fibers from head to toe. Johnson came in second in the 40-yard dash for fastest man in the camp. Speed is definitely not a question mark. Johnson has the frame to eventually play at around 210-pounds in college. He is a one-cut downhill runner that can bounce off defenders for extra yardage.
The biggest area of improvement would be route running and becoming a viable target in the passing game. Johnson would make an ideal A-Back in a triple option attack like those run at Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech.
Jacob McLeod, OG, 6-3.5/330, South Effingham, GA (2018)
Webster’s has a picture of McLeod for its definition of barrel chested. This behemoth possesses superior upper and lower body strength as he can bench press and squat the weight of the world. Though he plays offensive tackle in high school he best projects as an interior offensive lineman in a power rushing attack. McLeod was very physical at the point of attack and is really nasty finishing off one-on-one drills. His hard work paid off as he was honored as OL MVP.
McLeod could work on adding more hip flexibility by adding a dose of stretching to his workout routine. He has a tendency to attack during pass protection. McLeod needs to get into his pass set and just sit there and punch and replace. This workout warrior is someone that regional FBS and FCS schools should have on their radar.
Stephaun “Tank” Peters, WR/S, 6-1/180, Groves, GA (2018)
Despite coming into the camp with a slight hamstring issue Peters was still able to come away with WR MVP honors. Peters has good length and the uncanny body control to adjust to the ball once it is in the air. He also runs excellent routes and can reach top end speed in a hurry. Peters does a great job of selling his routes and corkscrewing defensive backs in the turf. But in the end it’s his incredible ball skills that make him standout amongst his peers.
I still like Peters as an athlete and would not pigeon hole him into one position just yet. Take a look at his hudl film and you will see a ball-hawking defensive back that is not afraid to come up and lay the wood. Peters does need to start making a serious long term relationship with the weight room. That being said he is someone FBS colleges should seriously be considering offering soon.
Craige Saxton, QB/ATH, 6-0/195, Tattnall County, GA (2018)
This young man has a rocket launcher for an arm. Add to that the fact that he has excellent top end speed and can change of direction on a dime. That is the definition of a dual-threat quarterback. There was not a spot on the field he could not reach from the pocket. Saxton has a nice smooth throwing motion and gets good depth in the pocket on longer routes. A glance at his hudl film shows a whirling dervish that can’t be hemmed up. If he can’t play quarterback at the next level he can surely play another position.
As a quarterback Saxton needs to use touch on shorter passes. He has a tendency to bullet pass everything. He must harness his power and show finesse on the fade or dumps to the back. Schools in the southeastern section of the country should at the very least evaluate Saxton as an athlete.
Jeremy Smith, RB, 5-11/180, Jenkins, GA (2019)
Smith was the other back that possessed good size and a lean body structure that could easily house more weight. He looked very quick in drills and can really explode out of his final cut. But what really set him apart from the other backs was his ability to be a pass receiving threat. He ran sharp routes and does a nice job of getting his head around to find the ball. Once he hauls in the pass, Smith demonstrated excellent vertical explosion. My advice is for college recruiters to get Smith on their lists now before he explodes this fall.
He did not get the carries this past season to really have enough film to evaluate. Smith played behind senior Joe Burke who was the team’s leading ball carrier. He needs to continue to hone his skills at camps and patiently await his opportunity for a Warrior team that is loaded to make another surprising run this fall.
Bobby Judah Tyson, OC/OG, 6-3/320, Beach, GA (2018)
The other behemoth offensive lineman in the camp was Tyson. The difference here is the fact that Tyson is already an accomplished center that could also project as a guard. Tyson has excellent lower body structure and size. His massive power base allows him to sit in his chair and stonewall pass rushers. He proved to be a hard worker that was willing to learn from the ESPFC coaching staff.
His ideal playing weight is probably closer to 305-pounds. I’d like to see him work on shifting some of his upper body mass around. Right now he is a bit top heavy. That being said true centers are hard to find and Tyson does possess a powerful punch.
Winston Wright, Jr., WR/ATH, 5-11/155, Memorial Day, GA (2019)
Wright again put up impressive 40-numbers running a 4.49 and a 4.51 back-to-back. But Wright is more than a straight ahead speedster. He has excellent change of direction and can really stick that plant foot and create separation. Wright also has excellent hands as he attacks the ball away from his body. His skillset is ideal for projecting as a quick slot receiver, corner or punt returner. He is already on several recruiting lists and should garner offers in the near future.
Most likely the issues recruiters are having are the level of completion he faces in the GISA. Personally if I’m a college recruiter from up north looking for elite Georgia speed I’d be all over this guy. On top of that he is an excellent student.
Mason Yost, TE, 6-4/226, Bolles, FL (2018)
Wow, is this one good looking athlete on the hoof. Yost has long muscular legs almost like a bodybuilder. His frame will allow him to eventually play at around 255-pounds, ideal for projecting as an every down tight end at the next level. Right now he excels more as a run blocking tight end but he has the skills to be a viable option in the passing game. Yost already has an offer from Army, so academics are definitely an asset. Heck I’d even work him out as a defensive end in camp because his body structure is incredible.
Yost needs to spend more time running routes out of the three-point stance. He is most likely not a hybrid tight end in college. His body type is also perfect for playing on all special teams. More offers are surely on the horizon considering he plays for one of the most high profile teams in the country.