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MVP Camp News and Notes

By Matt Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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Despite the presence of great athletes from different states in the southeast, it was prospects from the southern Georgia and northern Florida regions which stole the show at the camp.

Sunday afternoon was a huge day in the world of college football recruiting, as many of the top high school prospects from across the southeast gathered in Valdosta, Georgia, for the 2014 MVP Camp.

Known as one of the premier high school showcases in the region, the MVP Camp drew elite prospects from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and even Virginia.

Despite the presence of great athletes from different states in the southeast, it was prospects from the southern Georgia and northern Florida regions which stole the show at the camp.

With four- and five-star prospects present in abundance, it was a relative-unknown to the recruiting world who walked away with the camp’s overall MVP award.

De’Andre Gardenhire-Washington, a 2016 defensive end from Camden County High School in Kingsland, Georgia, took home the camp’s highest honor after thoroughly dominating the competition in the morning and into the early afternoon. This honor comes just one year after he was named the Top Underclassman in attendance at the 2013 event.

The highlight of Gardenhire-Washington’s day came at the very end of the camp, as he was matched up with the top offensive line prospect in attendance for a pair of one-on-one showdowns. With the entire camp gathered around to watch the matchup, Gardenhire-Washington easily defeated his opponent on both of his attempts, letting out a fierce shout of jubilation after his final victory.

Gardenhire-Washington is still awaiting his first collegiate offer, which is rather amazing when watching him perform in person. He is a rangy athlete with a solid frame, exceptional length and a lightning quick first step. He also displayed an advanced array of pass-rushing moves and a competitive nature which was matched by few at the camp.

Just as Gardenhire-Washington was named the Top Underclassmen at the 2013 MVP Camp, another prospect from Coastal Georgia walked away with the honor this time around.

2017 defensive back Richard LeCounte from Liberty County High School in Hinesville, Georgia, impressed the coaches in attendance with his elite speed, foot quickness and ball skills.

Timed at 4.47 in the 40-yard dash to start the day, LeCounte would go on to shut down every receiver that came his way the remainder of the afternoon. After he made it very apparent early on that he was impossible to beat with speed, most receivers tried to defeat LeCounte by relying on shorter routes with quick cuts. LeCounte countered by bursting out of his breaks to deflect numerous passes.

He concluded his day by jumping an underneath route and intercepting the pass in the one-on-one showcase, after which he spiked the ball in celebration.

LeCounte is currently rated as a five-star prospect in the 2017 class, and he has already received offers from the likes of Auburn, Alabama, Florida and Ohio State.

North Florida also got into the action on Sunday, as 2015 Florida State commit DeAndre Johnson from First Coast High School in Jacksonville was named as the Top Performer at the quarterback position.

Johnson, who likely will break the Florida record for most career passing yards in 2014, was easily the most accurate passer on the field throughout the duration of the event. He delivered a very catchable ball, and he was by far the most advanced signal caller in attendance with his technique and fundamentals.

Johnson’s young brother, Tyreke, who is a 2018 prospect, also showed very well at the camp, gaining recognition from many of the camp’s coaches as one of the top prospects in attendance. Though he has not even entered high school, the younger Johnson brother already has nine scholarship offers in hand.

The final southern Georgia prospect to walk away with an award from the MVP Camp was 2015 prospect Jarvis Belcher from Ware County, who was named as the Top Performer at running back.

Belcher shares time in the backfield with elite 2016 prospect Dedrick Mills at Ware County, which has greatly hindered his statistical production up to this point.

Even so, Belcher proved to be a nightmare for defenders in space, as he won the vast majority of his one-on-one matchups with ease. He is a very diminutive back, but he is a dangerous player when he finds space in the open field. Belcher has also spent some time at wide receiver at the high school level, and he appears to be capable of playing either position at the next level.

The top prospects from the region won’t have  much time to rest on their laurels, however, as most of these same players will be in attendance for the upcoming “Explosive Southern Pigskin Camps” in March.

For more information on how to register for these camps, please visit www.ExplosiveSports.info

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at matt@southernpigskin.com.