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April 20, 2012

Rivals/VTO Sports camps spark attention

MORE: Five-Star Challenge | Rivals/VTO Sports page

Sophomore quarterback Will Grier of Davidson Day (N.C.) was flying way under the radar when he arrived at the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 camp on April 1 in Charlotte.

Then his made his presence known.

The 6-foot-3, 171-pound Grier, who had thrown for more than 3,700 yards in 12 games last year, established himself as one of the top skill position players on hand.

Following the event, Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell wrote: "Grier is a young quarterback who needs to add a lot of strength and size to his frame, but he was very consistent with his accuracy in both intermediate and long passes, and his release is compact and quick. He is solid in his drops, sets himself well before throwing and his mechanics are advanced for a young quarterback. His ability to drop the ball into tight spots was most impressive and despite his thin frame he has good arm strength."

For Grier, good news arrived a little more than a week later when offer No. 1 came from East Carolina.

"I think colleges [heard] that I can play and that I separated myself from the other QBs there," Grier said of the camp. "It was definitely a positive."

Grier was not the only prospect to earn his first offer shortly after competing in a Rivals.com/VTO camp. Two that come to mind are outside linebacker Kight Dallas of Lithonia (Ga.) Arabia Mountain and sophomore receiver Braxton Berrios of Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road.

Dallas was offered by South Carolina following the Georgia camp, and shortly thereafter he committed to the Gamecocks. Not long after Berrios caught everything in sight in Charlotte, North Carolina pulled the trigger.

This weekend, the eighth Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 camp of the season takes place in Piscataway, N.J. After that, only two events remain - April 29 in Winter Garden, Fla., and May 6 in Geismar, La.

Thus far, the camps have included top-end talent, emerging underclassmen and breakthrough sleepers. The campers, who are coached at the events by former NFL players such as Mo Collins (Oakland Raiders) and Myron Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals), haven't disappointed.

In Alabama, Rivals100 performers Dee Liner, an Auburn defensive end commit, and Alabama tight end commit O.J. Howard were terrific. Ditto for four-star running backs Jordan Wilkins and Mark Dodson Jr..

In Georgia, Auburn four-star defensive end commit Carl Lawson and wide receiver Ryan Jenkins were among those who stood out.

Sophomore stars Kevin Crosby and Donell Stanley, and junior defensive end Jaylen Miller displayed their talents in South Carolina and left all impressed.

In North Carolina, defensive ends Tyquan Lewis and Lewis Neal were practically unblockable, and outside linebacker Peter Kalambayi solidified his Rivals100 ranking.

In Virginia, where more than 50 prospects on hand had Division I offers, cornerback Kendall Fuller lived up to his five-star billing. Meanwhile, sophomore defensive end Da'Shawn Hand put on a clinic and showed why he just might be the nation's top player in his class.

In Ohio, the nation's No. 7 player - cornerback Cameron Burrows, who has pledged to Ohio State - was among those on hand, and Notre Dame quarterback commit Malik Zaire dazzled with his dual-threat abilities.

In Pennsylvania, North Carolina RB/ATH commit Ryan Switzer and receiver Tyler Boyd, who has multiple offers, made strong impression with their various skills.

"It was fun," Dodson said of the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 experience. "It was a great learning experience. And it was great just to get my feet wet and get prepared for the spring."

Liner, now one of the nation's most well-known recruits, burst onto the scene at the 2011 Rivals.com/VTO Sports camp in Alabama. For the notoriety that came with his dominant performance as a sophomore, he is forever grateful.

"If it wasn't for them putting me on the map last year, I wouldn't have all the offers I have now," Liner said.

There are still openings for the upcoming Florida and Louisiana events, but the deadlines for each are fast approaching. Those interested in competing in Florida should contact Chris Nee at chris.nee.cn@gmail.com. For Louisiana, contact Brian Perroni at brianperroni@hotmail.com.

Notable participants

CB, Cameron Burrows: five-star prospect

CB, Kendall Fuller: five-star prospect

DB, Holland Fisher: Rivals100, Virginia Tech commit

OL, Austin Golson: Rivals100, Florida State commit

RB, Derrick Green: Rivals100

TE, O.J. Howard: Rivals100, Alabama commit

LB, Peter Kalambayi: Rivals100

DE, Carl Lawson: Rivals100, Auburn commit

DE, Dee Liner: Rivals100, Auburn commit

RB, Taquan Mizzell: Rivals100

LB, Dorian O'Daniel: Rivals100, Clemson commit

RB, Mark Dodson Jr.: Rivals250

OL, Derwin Gray: Rivals250 CB, Tim Harris: Rivals250, Virginia commit

WR, Uriah LeMay: Rivals250

ATH, Michael Parker: Rivals250

CB, Jalen Ramsey: Rivals250

OT, Na'Ty Rodgers: Rivals250

DE, Wyatt Teller: Rivals250

RB, Jordan Wilkins: Rivals250

QB, Malik Zaire: Rivals250, Notre Dame commit

WR, Carlos Burse: 4-star prospect

OT, Shamire DeVine: 4-star prospect

OT, Jeremi Hall: four-star prospect

OLB, Yannick Ngakoue: four-star prospect

DE, Chikwe Obasih: four-star prospect

DB, Quin Blanding: 2014 standout

DT, Andrew Brown: 2014 standout, Rivals Five-Star Challenge invitee

OT, Orlando Brown: 2014 standout

ATH, Kevin Crosby: 2014 standout, Rivals Five-Star Challenge invitee

DB, Nick Glass: 2014 Georgia commit

DE, Da'Shawn Hand: 2014 standout, Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge invitee

WR, Demarre Kitt: 2014 Georgia commit, Rivals five-star Challenge invitee

ATH: Johnathan Lloyd: 2014 standout

DB, D'Andre Payne, 2014 standout

ATH, Bo Scarbrough: 2014 standout, Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge invitee

OL, Donell Stanley: 2014 standout, Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge invitee

DB, Jalen Tabor: 2014 standout, Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge invitee

RB, Stanley Williams: 2014 Georgia commit



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