Camp Insider: Commits shine as camp comes to a close


by - Senior Writer -
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4-star DE Justin Mascoll out of Snellville (GA)

CLEMSON – The finale of Dabo Swinney’s high school camp featured three of the Tigers’ committed prospects working out for the coaching staff.

Defensive end Justin Mascoll, linebacker Mike Jones and wide receiver Derion Kendrick all worked out in the session. We heard new defensive tackle commit Darnell Jefferies was supposed to work out, but I didn’t see him while I was with the defensive line groups.

I’ll start with Mascoll, the 4-star out of Snellville (GA) South Gwinnett. My first thought when I was watching him is that physically he reminds me a lot of Kevin Dodd at the same age, even though Mascoll is further along in his development. He’s lean and rangy with a big wingspan, and I liked the fact that he has a quick first step.

There’s another thing I like to watch when I’m out there – how does a prospect respond to coaching? I’ve seen a lot of “can’t miss” guys come through camp who refuse to acknowledge advice or criticism, and they look off in the distance with a bored look on their face while a coach is talking to them.

Mascoll drank in every word, nodded his head, said yes sir and no sir and showed he’s the type that will take instruction. Todd Bates is gonna have a lot of fun when Mascoll gets on campus.

*That takes us to Jones. He worked out with Venables (of course), and it was fun to finally see Mike in action. It’s easy to tell the kids who are getting good coaching, and he’s obviously getting it at IMG. There is one drill where the player comes out of the cones, faces up to a coach and at the last second the coach points a direction. It’s designed to help players change direction in a heartbeat, and they never know which direction will be picked.

Jones was fluid and his change of direction and quickness jumped out. His feet are quick and he gets his hips turned in a flash. I wish I could have seen him in tackling drills, but we were kicked out before that happened.

*One linebacker that stood out in the A group with Jones is 2020 prospect K’Darious Poole of Palatka (FL) St. Augustine. He doesn’t have a Rivals or 247 profile yet, but he will. He’s a technician during drills, and he went at everything with a full motor.

He’s one of the kids brought to camp by former Clemson player Rodney Blunt in the City Streets to Student Athletes program. Venables quickly learned his name and would tell the other linebackers to “watch this” when Poole started a drill. His performance reminds me of the first time I saw current linebacker Jalen Williams work out with Venables.

*There really isn’t a lot more to say about Kendrick that I haven’t already written. He’s smooth, and he just glides. Alexis Barrett, who might be helping us out once football starts, had the best statement of the day as we watched Kendrick run routes.

“You could put a glass of water on his head, and tell him to run a route and I doubt he’d spill a drop,” she said. “His head never moves.”

That about sums it up.

Ray Thornton

*I told you about 2019 TE Keon Zipperer earlier this week. He has worked with tight ends coach Danny Pearman’s group all week, but he worked out with Venables and the linebackers Thursday. Venables would smile every time Zipperer would do a drill and say, “See. Playing linebacker is easy.”

*The highlight in the defensive backs group was Phenix City (AL) Central 2019 safety Ray Thornton.

Thornton (6-2, 190) owns a Mississippi State offer and one scouting service said he was a star at Alabama’s camp a week ago. He just looks like a rising star. It’s interesting to note that he is also a teammate of 5-star receiver target Justyn Ross.

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