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April 9, 2006

The Miami Heat

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The first NIKE Camp of the Spring started off being about who wasn't there. No Noel Devine, Armando Allen or Deonte Thompson. However, once things got rolling, there was quite a bit of talent on display led by players like Lorenzo Edwards and others. Here are some notes from Coral Gables.

- Let's start with Devine, who was expected to show but didn't. Devine had recently competed at another couple of combines, running a 4.4-second hand-timed 40-yard dash at one, according to his head coach at North Fort Myers, James Iandoli.

Iandoli said Devine was a little "combined out" and thus didn't make the trip.

However, there's a chance he could be at the Gainesville NIKE Camp in May because Devine wants to check out Florida's campus.

So what's the latest when it comes to his recruiting?

This one is a bit of a stunner.

Miami, Devine's childhood favorite and the program considered the clear leader for his services, has not been in touch with Iandoli regarding his star running back. In the meantime, Nebraska, LSU, Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Florida State and a slew of others have been in contact, including calls to Iandoli from Bill Callahan, Urban Meyer and Les Miles.

Things seem wide open with Devine and Miami could easily get into this if they wanted, but right now Nebraska is impressing Devine and getting away from home is something he's considering.

- The most impressive player on the day could have been one who didn't participate at all. Hallandale, Fla. defensive/offensive tackle Kevin Bryant could be the biggest player ever at a NIKE Camp. He looked all of 6-foot-6 and 380+ pounds. Bryant didn't work out at all, but he has plenty of offers including Florida, LSU and he claims a recent offer from Texas.

- Getting to those who did work out, Edwards is an impressive-looking kid. The Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater standout has linebacker size but is also mobile in coverage.

He struggled early in one-on-ones with change of direction, but adjusted well.

He looks like a player who will be better moving forward rather than backwards and will be a good strong safety or outside linebacker for someone.

- The best defensive lineman at the camp was Hollywood (Fla.) Hollywood Hills rush end Jabaal Sheard. Sheard has a great first step, gets linemen off balance with his arms and has an excellent outside-inside move.

A close second was 2008 stud Marcus Forston, who has a killer spin move and is well beyond his years when it comes to pass rushing technique.

Along the offensive line, Emeka Nwankwo from Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna looked very good, using long arms and good technique to keep defenders at bay. Wellington (Fla.) Palm Beach Central lineman Tyler McDermott was physical all day and Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central guard Maurice Bynes has quick feet for a big man. Big Brandon Washington from Miami (Fla.) Edison was also impressive, using an agressive technique in one-on-one drills.

- The wide receivers weren't deep, but a few guys impressed led by Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna stud Kamar Aiken. Aiken, who has boasted a 39-inch vertical, could end up at wide receiver or safety with his speed, size and jumping ability.

Nicknamed "T.O." by the teammates, he showed a bit of Terrell Owens at the camp with his physical play and quickness. Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central wideout Tarus McKinley was also impressive. McKinley may not be the fastest guy in the 40-yard dash, but he runs precise patterns, gets separation and snatches the ball. Justin Bentley from Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely and Jasper Howard from Miami (Fla.)

Edison both showed awesome ball skills and are sleepers to keep an eye on.

Tight end Justin Francis from Miramar, Fla. was also impressive. He's a big tight end who still needs to tone his body, but he shields off defenders well and has good hands.

In coverage, Eain Smith from Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna has great quicks and excellent hips. Miami (Fla.) Archbishop Carroll corner Braden Robinson was also impressive all day.

Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central corner Damien Berry was one of the fastest players on the field.

- Even without Devine and Allen, the running back position was deep and talented.

Antwain Easterling from Miami (Fla.) Northwestern is very quick and solid while Xavier Stinson from Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna is a rock. Easterling is quicker and shiftier, but Stinson is thick and runs low to the ground. Florida and Miami seem to be in a two-team battle for Easterling. Stinson could be a big tailback in some offenses or a fullback in others and boasts offers from schools like Pitt, Iowa and Auburn.

Bo Williams from Oakland Park (Fla.) Northeast is a beast with great size, burst and a little more wiggle than originally expected. Jamar Taylor from Lakeland, Fla. is also a very physically impressive running back.

- It was a very deep group of quarterbacks, but three players proved they could sling it, some with accuracy and some without.

L.D. Crow was the most impressive quarterback when it came to accuracy while Alton Voss showed off a gun. 2008 stud in the making D.C. Jefferson is huge for his age and has a cannon, but needs to learn to put more touch on the ball. He was drilling receivers whether it was a 5-yard slant or a 20-yard post.

- A couple of impressive linebackers round out the highlights of the day. Josh Bynes from Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Boyd Anderson is nasty and has excellent coverage ability. Vincent Williams, a 2008 prospect from Davenport (Fla.) Ridge Community was easily one of the best athletes on hand at the event and will be one to watch next year.

For complete coverage of the Miami NIKE Training Camp, including official testing results, check out StudentSportsFootball.com.


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