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April 21, 2004
Don't call them sleepers after Virginia NIKE Camp
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - As with any major camp, the usual suspects do well or not so well and are scrutinized quite closely. And, as is also the case with any major event, a few names emerge that are a surprise to many observers. Here are 10 names that can consider the Charlottesville NIKE Camp their coming out party.
Wide receiver Stephen Smalls - Smalls, Jordan Steffy's (Maryland signee) main target last season, bench pressed little, ran only one 40-yard dash before pulling up lame and didn't get to participate in many of the drills. So how did he impress? How about a 46-inch vertical jump? That's right, that's not a misprint. Smalls jumped 46 inches at one point before officially settling on 42.8 inches. This kid showed amazing hops and offers will come soon enough.
Defensive back Jordan Hemby -Not many had heard about Hemby heading into this camp, but his name will be making the rounds soon enough. Hemby was very impressive in one-on-one drills, giving Derrick Williams the best battle of the day. Hemby has excellent coverage skills and good instincts.
Defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson - A bit overshadowed by teammates Pat Slebonick and Antonio North, Thompson is coming into his own very quickly. He has great size, good athletic ability and adequate quickness to play defensive tackle in college. He was also technically sound.
Defensive back Derek Bailey - Bailey might have gotten over his head when calling out Williams for a one-on-one battle (he got toasted and had to grab Williams' jersey), but he played very physical and looks like a solid bump-and-run cornerback at the next level. Very strong for his size, Bailey also has good hops and recovers well.
Defensive end Andrew Lewis - Like his teammate Bailey, Lewis came into the NIKE Camp with more questions about his game than answers. However, now everyone sees why Syracuse offered Lewis so early. He had the best pass rushing moves of anyone at the event and was technically very sound. He's also just starting to grow into a defensive lineman.
Wide receiver Tommie Lawrence - His quarterback, Greg Boone, might have had more press coming into the NIKE Camp, but Lawrence was arguably more impressive. He has good size, runs precise routes and showed excellent hands.
Wide receiver Tarvis Scott - Scott is hard to miss at 6-foot-5 and some questioned whether he'd be a tight end or wide out in college. No need for that question anymore - he could play either. Scott is an excellent athlete with good hands and is physically dominating with his height advantage over cornerbacks.
Quarterback Bobby Rome - Most of the high profile quarterbacks struggled on the day, which opened up room for Rome to shine. He looked very solid and consistent throughout the day and didn't try to do too much, something that often hinders performance in quarterbacks at combines. Rome raised his stock.
Defensive tackle Alan-Michael Cash - Cash is the smaller of the two defensive tackles from Richmond (Va.) Varina, but he showed he's the better one. With superb quickness, explosive leg drive and surprising agility, the big man had a very solid camp and held his own against some top competition in the one-on-ones.
Defensive back Darrieus Ramsey - Although he can play running back as well, Ramsey worked out with the defensive backs. He didn't blow anyone away with his 40-yard dash time or vertical, but he showed sticky coverage ability and good ball skills. He changed direction as well as anyone in the drills.