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June 29, 2012
The annual New Level Athletics Elite 7-on-7 National Championship will hit Brooklyn, N.Y. this weekend, and an impressive amount of talent is expected to compete for the title.
Top prospects from Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and several other states will converge. Coming off a big win at the Rutgers 7-on-7 this past weekend, Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy could be the team to beat led by 2015 quarterback David Sills.
The quarterback position will be highlighted by Sills, a USC commitment, and Kevin Olsen of Wayne (N.J.) Hills, who is committed to Miami. Sills continues to impress at events and we look for more of the same this weekend. For Olsen, this will be his first public camp aside from the Elite 11 in New York, so it should be interesting to see how he performs in a 7-on-7 setting. Other quarterbacks who should stand out include Mackay Lowrie, Damon Mitchell and Corwin Cutler, as well as 2014 prospects Darius Wade and A.J. Long.
Running back is not exactly the glamor position at a 7-on-7, but a few top backs will look to change that. Leading the way is Taquan Mizzell of Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside, who proved at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge this past weekend that he is a running back with wide receiver skills. David Williams of Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Charter School has excelled during previous 7-on-7 competitions and should do the same here. Also looking to make their mark will be Wendell Smallwood and the New York City duo of Augustus Edwards and Laray Smith.
The deepest position on offense is wide receiver. While the talent pool is deep, John Diarse of Monroe (La.) Neville is at the top of the group. The LSU commit will have some local competition from Chavoski Collins of Livingston, Tex., who holds offers from both Texas and Oklahoma. The Mid-Atlantic wide receiver group is led by Tyler Boyd of Clairton, Pa. and William Fuller of Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic. Both receivers are slender, athletic and big-time playmakers. Other rising seniors who should flourish in the 7-on-7 setting include Dhameer Bradley, Ricky Jeune and Andre Patton. The underclassmen wide receiver group is lead by Jamil Kamara of Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor, who already has more than 10 offers. Also looking to make an early statement will be K.J. Williams, Freddy Canteen and Chris Godwin.
Finally on the offensive side of the ball are the tight ends, which have a few top prospects. Four-star Standish Dobard of New Orleans (La.) Edna Carr is the No. 8 tight end in the country and committed to Miami back in April. Cameron Serigne of Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods recently committed to Wake Forest and will look to prove himself against top competition. Meanwhile, Jalyn Holmes of Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor has already positioned himself as one of the top 2014 tight end prospects in the country.
The deepest position overall at the event is at defensive back, where it will be difficult to even follow everyone. We have to start with the Louisiana trio of Jeryl Brazil, Tre'Davious White and Noel Ellis. Brazil and White are already committed to LSU, while Ellis is a Texas A&M commit. That trio, who are all playing on the same team, will make it extremely hard for any offense to click. It may seem impossible for any team at the 7-on-7 to match this talent at the defensive back position, but there are plenty of stars on the other side as well. All hailing from Texas, rising senior Jaylon Scott, along with the incredibly talented 2014 trio of Tony Brown, Brandon Simmons and Edward Paris, should make things a nightmare for opposing offenses.
In the Class of 2013, there are defensive backs from coast to coast looking to prove themselves this weekend. Devin Butler, Tim Harris, Rashad Kinlaw, Jarrett Ross and Jahmere Irvin-Sills all have the talent to dominate a wide receiver. The same can be said for a prospect who will be making the longest trip of the weekend, Tere Calloway of Seattle (Wash.) Seattle Prep. Calloway currently holds upwards of 15 offers.
The underclassmen at the defensive back position may actually have a chance to rule the weekend, because aside from the Texas trio, a number of other prospects are already destined for big things. Quin Blanding of Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside and Jalen Tabor of Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy both proved they belong with the upperclassmen after their performances at last weekend's Rivals Challenge. Other underclass defensive backs to watch for are D'Andre Payne, Vashon Tucker and 2015 prospect John Reid.
The linebacker position may not be as deep as some of the others, but the talent is still impressive. Local product Ebenezer Ogundeko of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Thomas Jefferson will try to prove that he can compete against top level talent from across the country, while Darian Claiborne of Port Allen, La. will be an important part of the very impressive team from Louisiana. Also standing out at linebacker are Buddy Brown, Matt Galambos and Brandon Garner.
Finally, as is often the case, a few players will play out of position. This will certainly be the case with super rising juniors Da'Shawn Hand and Andrew Brown. Both defensive ends may find some time at either linebacker or even wide receiver. Kenny Bigelow has some experience at tight end at previous 7-on-7 events and will likely do some more of the same, while Khaliel Rodgers is playing center for his team. A few other position changes have Myles Nash and Nadir Barnwell possibly playing wide receiver while Isaiah Johnson will see time at tight end.