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September 8, 2008

From the Road: On the offensive

MORE: From the Road: Prospect evaluations from Week One

Rivals.com recruiting analysts were out again this past weekend, taking in games or scrimmages involving some of the nation's top prospects.

First up, here are some rundowns on the top Class of 2009 offensive prospects they saw in person, listed alphabetically.

WR NEAL BARLOW (6-7/190), Pulaski (Ark.) Academy
COMMITTED TO: Kansas (considered a soft commitment)
PERFORMANCE: Caught two touchdown passes in 46-29 loss to West Helena (Ark.) Central.
STRENGTHS: At 6 feet 7, the obvious strength for Barlow is his size. He is a major matchup problem for defenders, particularly in the red zone. He runs good routes, has good hands and is fast enough.
WEAKNESSES: Barlow did see one ball go through his hands, resulting in an interception. He's not going to get a lot of separation against quicker defenders, but with his size, he doesn't need a whole lot. – BARTON SIMMONS
OT DAVID BARRENT (6-8/290), West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley
»EVERY'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK
COMMITTED TO: Michigan State
PERFORMANCE: Played every snap on offense in 22-0 win over West Des Moines (Iowa) Dowling Catholic.
STRENGTHS: Has long arms, which he uses to excel in pass protection. He also has a frame that easily can hold 320 pounds, and he runs on the balls of his feet.
WEAKNESSES: Needs to increase his flexibility, which should help his lateral movement. Also must work on getting a lower pad level, which would help him at the point of attack while run blocking. – BARRY EVERY
WR KEENAN DAVIS (6-3/200), Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Washington
COMMITTED TO: Iowa
PERFORMANCE: Had five catches for 41 yards and one TD in a 27-23 loss to Iowa City (Iowa) High.
STRENGTHS: Has excellent height, deceptive speed and catches most everything away from his body and at its highest point. He also appears to have superior lower-body structure.
WEAKNESSES: Needs to stay with his blocks longer on running plays, and continue to add some upper-body size and strength. – B.E.
OT KENNETH HALL (6-6/340), Plainfield (N.J.) High
CONSIDERING: Connecticut, Duke, Iowa, Syracuse
PERFORMANCE: Hall played left tackle in Plainfield's 35-0 loss to Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep in a scrimmage.
STRENGTHS: Hall's size is the first thing that hits you; he's one of the biggest players in the country. And while he could certainly shed about 25 pounds, he's not poorly conditioned and has good feet for such a mammoth lineman. In the run and pass game, he's simply hard to get around.
WEAKNESSES: Hall's lack of mobility likely is keeping the offers down. He a right tackle or guard at the next level because he's just not quick enough or mobile enough in space to protect a quarterback's blind side. – MIKE FARRELL
ATH DEONDRA JOHNSON (5-9/165), West Helena (Ark.) Central
CONSIDERING: Has some small-school offers but is waiting for more interest to build
PERFORMANCE: Led his team to a victory over Pulaski (Ark.) Academy as quarterback.
STRENGTHS: Great feet and quickness. He plays quarterback in high school but projects as a defensive back on the next level. More quick than fast, but clearly has great athleticism and is dangerous with the ball in his hands.
WEAKNESSES: His height hurts him. Plus, Johnson will not be a quarterback on the next level, so there is a level of uncertainty as to how his play will translate at another position. – B.S.
TB NYSHIER OLIVER (5-10/170), Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep
»FARRELL'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CONSIDERING: Notre Dame, Boston College, Tennessee, Rutgers, Wake Forest
PERFORMANCE: Oliver rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in a 35-0 shutout of Plainfield (N.J.) High in a scrimmage.
STRENGTHS: Oliver has excellent burst and is a patient runner. He has good vision and isn't afraid to run inside. He is deceptively strong and can gain extra yardage after first contact. He flashed his speed to the outside on his touchdown run. He also played defense and was solid in coverage and is a physical tackler.
WEAKNESSES: Oliver doesn't have great size and likely can't handle 20-plus carries in college, which is why some schools are looking at him as a slot receiver and others want him as a cornerback. He doesn't catch the ball too often in the St. Peter's offense, so his hands could be a question mark. – M.F.
G KHALIL WILKES (6-3/285), Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep
CONSIDERING: Stanford, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Pitt and others
PERFORMANCE: Wilkes played right guard and led a strong rushing attack for St. Peter's Prep in a 35-0 win over Plainfield (N.J.) High in a scrimmage.
STRENGTHS: Wilkes is mobile and has excellent technique. He gets to the second level well, can hit moving targets and has good feet in pass protection.
WEAKNESSES: Wilkes is not a huge lineman and needs to work on his upper- and lower-body strength. He is effective in the running game because of his technique, not his strength. Wilkes also needs to re-shape his body a bit and needs to add more muscle mass. – M.F.
RB TURELL WILLIAMS (6-2/215), West Helena (Ark.) Central
COMMITTED TO: Arkansas
PERFORMANCE: Rushed for a touchdown in Central's big win over 5A power Pulaski (Ark.) Academy.
STRENGTHS: Well-built and strong. Williams can get you the short yardage. He also showed soft hands on a couple of occasions. He has the feet and size to be productive on the next level.
WEAKNESSES: Williams doesn't have tremendous burst. In and out of his cuts, he is not all that explosive. – B.S.

UP NEXT: Class of 2009 defensive prospects and underclassmen from the weekend.



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