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May 16, 2004
Ten showstoppers from State College NIKE Camp
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - As with every NIKE Camp, numerous players stand out to college recruiters and recruiting analysts alike. This weekend's camp at State College, Pa. was no different. Rivals100.com analyst Mike Farrell breaks down 10 of the top players at Penn State.
Running back - LeSean McCoy - A sophomore in the top five at a NIKE Camp? If you haven't heard of McCoy yet, you certainly have now. McCoy, who weighed in at 193 pounds on his 5-foot-10 frame, ran an amazing 4.25-second 40-yard dash and showed his trademark footwork and vision. He also caught the ball very well in passing drills. He's going to be a fun one to watch for the next couple years and has a chance to be the best running back ever at Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg, Pa. - not too shabby at the same program that produced Ricky Watters.
Linebacker - LaMont Robinson - No one's stock is rising as fast as Robinson's, who has been very impressive at the last two combines he's attended. The Salem, N.J. star is one of the most physically gifted linebackers in the country with a rare combination of size, strength, speed and desire. Robinson runs downhill, closes well and has surprising ball skills for a 'backer.
Defensive tackle - Marques Slocum - Slocum could play either way in college, but it's clear he would be dominant in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, perhaps moreso than on the offensive line. He's strong enough to take on a double team and quick enough to shoot the gap. His size intimidates opponents and his speed shocks them.
Running back - Jason Gwaltney - Gwaltney came to the NIKE Camp to prove one thing - his lack of competition on Long Island isn't why he's so productive and that he belongs amongst the nation's best at his position. Gwaltney looked very solid at 234 muscular pounds and showed quick feet and his 4.28-second shuttle showed off his excellent change of direction. He's still a power back who will run over defenders before he outruns them (25 bench reps), but very few players looked better physically and he showed excellent versatility.
Quarterback - Dom Natale - Natale is now a seasoned veteran of the NIKE Camps having attended the Elite 11 Camp in Miami, the rained out camp at College Station and now the State College event. The 6-foot-2, 189-pounder got into his drops smoothly, showed zip on the ball and, most importantly, his usual accuracy. He was the most complete quarterback at the camp and impressed with his poise and composure.
Running back - Mikell Simpson - It's hard to tell who the best running back in Harrisburg, Pa. is -- McCoy or Simpson. Not to be outdone by his young competition, Simpson ran a sub 4.4-second 40-yard dash and showed great balance, good hands and excellent feet during drills. His 6-foot-1 frame and exceptional body lean will make him an excellent short-yardage back in college and he looks strong enough to be a workhorse.
Defensive end - Melvin Alaeze - The big man from Randallstown, Md. not only ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash at 277 pounds, but he also dominated some top competition along the offensive line. Alaeze's speed is too much for most linemen and, for those who can stay with him off the ball, his power is also tough to match. Hungry to prove that he's the best defensive end in the country, Alaeze might have done so with a great performance.
Offensive line - Joe Akers - Akers is the poster-child for the "don't judge a book by its cover" school of football. Not the tallest or most sculpted offensive lineman, Akers was arguably the best. His low center of gravity, quick feet, power and balance make for an impressive package. His one-on-one battle with Alaeze was a thing of beauty.
Defensive tackle - James McGillicuddy - The big man from Massachusetts is a bull when it comes to pass rushing and is hard for any lineman to handle one-on-one. He ran a 5.06-second 40-yard dash at nearly 290 pounds and registered 28 reps in the bench press. McGillicuddy's desire and motor are always on display.
Defensive back - Myron Rolle - Another sophomore makes the top 10 as Rolle was arguably the best defensive back at the camp, even at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds. Rolle is physical, runs well and is long and rangy -- all the things needed to be a standout safety at the next level. The scariest thing is that he has two years to perfect his craft before embarking on his NCAA career.
For expanded coverage of the State College NIKE Training Camp, you should check out StudentSports.com. Access to StudentSports.com requires an additional membership. Coming Soon! The best is getting better. The Rivals.com Recruiting Database will include all authentic data from this summer's NIKE Training Camp schedule.