Camp Confidential: Day Five/Six

by - Senior Writer -
5-star LB Raekwon McMillan drew a big crowd.

CLEMSON – Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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’s high school camp hit its apex during Thursday afternoon’s session, but I want to catch up on the events of the entire day.

First of all, I want to apologize for the delay – things have obviously been hectic with the vandalism to Howard’s Rock, but I was at the session last evening and both sessions today, so here is a recap of the things we saw and things we learned.

I spent a good portion of the morning session looking at the linebackers, but wanted to take the time and look at all of the defensive prospects after spending much of the first day on the offensive side of the ball.

Five-star prospect Raekwon McMillan certainly drew a big crowd as he worked with defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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and some of the other coaches during linebacker drills.

First off – McMillan might be the most impressive linebacker prospect I’ve ever seen at one of Dabo’s camps, at least from a physical standpoint. He looks every bit the 6-3, 235 pounds that he is listed, and might even be a bit heavier. However, don’t mistake that weight for fat. He just looked thick and strong as he worked through the drills, and his size didn’t take away from his speed and quickness during the drills. In fact, he was blowing past much smaller players.

There is no doubt that he is an inside backer – especially with his size – but I wonder if he would ever move to defensive end if he keeps growing. His combination of size and speed would be a sweet combination for a rush end.

Clemson commit Korie Rogers
Four-star linebacker commit Korie Rogers from Buford (GA) also worked out in that group, and he looked like he is better suited for the outside. Another backer that was a standout during the session was Swansea’s John Sutton.

One of the coaches at the clinic told me that Sutton might just be the best linebacker at the camp, and that includes McMillan. Sutton has long arms, and when he wraps up and hits someone during the drills, there is an audible pop. The coach told me that Sutton looks like a “violent” football player, and that statement became even more true a few seconds later when Sutton slapped at the bag and Venables ran over to Sutton and hollered, “great bend, way to be violent."

Two other linebackers caught my eye – Daniel’s Michael Peppers is thick, but he showed quick feet and a good burst during the drills. The rising senior will be part of a Daniel defense that Lions head coach Randy Robinson tells me might be the best they’ve had at Daniel in quite a while.

The other backer that has been a standout at the camp is Blythewood’s Jalen Willams, a 2014 prospect. Williams has actually been the star of several of the drills, and it isn’t just me that has noticed, Every time the linebackers ran through a drill, someone would come over to me (usually another high school coach) and ask me about the “kid in the dreads.” Williams has offers from Air Force, Appalachian St., Wofford and Furman, and I have to think the smaller school offers are because of his height – he is listed at 5-11, but seems to be a tad shorter. However, Williams more than held his own with the big boys during the drills.

I also spent a lot of time with the defensive backs today, and need to start off with what I’ve seen out of new secondary coach Mike ReedMike Reed
Defensive Backs Coach
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in a coaching session. Reed has TONS of energy, and he not only explains every drill, he actually does the drill himself once or twice just to show the players what he wants done. On a hot day, it would be easy for a coach to sit back and just instruct, but Reed is hands-on and seems to be a great teacher.

The first group I watched had Columbia (SC) AC Flora safety Rion Davis, who is probably the top 2015 safety in the state of South Carolina. Davis is big and physical, and his coach told me during the drills that he expects Davis to be at 210 pounds by his senior year. I almost expected the Clemson coaches to offer Davis before he left camp, but that didn’t happen. However, schools like FSU are pushing Davis for visits, and I expect the offers to come down the pipe fairly quickly.

Another big safety in camp is Carl Tucker from Concord (NC) Robinson, and he worked out in the same group as Kaleb Chalmers of Greenwood and (top 2015 CB in South Carolina) and Mark Fields, who is the top 2015 corner from North Carolina. Clemson has offered Fields, who also boasts offers from Tennessee and North Carolina St.

The far side of the practice field featured the groups of defensive ends coach Marion HobbyMarion Hobby
Assistant Coach / Defensive Ends
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and tackles coach Dan BrooksDan Brooks
Assistant Coach / Defensive Line
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. Hobby had a nice-looking group, led by 4-star prospect Jalyn Holmes (who also drew a big crowd) and 3-star prospect Ricky Leonard. Both players are physical – they still need to refine their techniques – but have the physical presence to be standout players.

Albert Huggins of Orangeburg-Wilkinson has offers from Clemson, Alabama, Florida, FSU and a host of others. He worked with Hobby during the morning session, and at first glance he doesn’t look like he weighs his listed 279 pounds. Then you watch him work out, and you see the strength and the power in his upper body, and you realize he just oozes potential.

Another prospect with solid potential is Andrew White, a 2014 prospect out of Sumter (SC) Lakewood.

We will have more on the afternoon session in part two, which will post later.

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