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April 20, 2012
Rivals/VTO Sports camps spark attention
Sophomore quarterback Will Grier of Davidson Day (N.C.) was flying way under the radar when he arrived at the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 camp on April 1 in Charlotte.
Then his made his presence known.
The 6-foot-3, 171-pound Grier, who had thrown for more than 3,700 yards in 12 games last year, established himself as one of the top skill position players on hand.
Following the event, Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell wrote: "Grier is a young quarterback who needs to add a lot of strength and size to his frame, but he was very consistent with his accuracy in both intermediate and long passes, and his release is compact and quick. He is solid in his drops, sets himself well before throwing and his mechanics are advanced for a young quarterback. His ability to drop the ball into tight spots was most impressive and despite his thin frame he has good arm strength."
For Grier, good news arrived a little more than a week later when offer No. 1 came from East Carolina.
"I think colleges [heard] that I can play and that I separated myself from the other QBs there," Grier said of the camp. "It was definitely a positive."
Grier was not the only prospect to earn his first offer shortly after competing in a Rivals.com/VTO camp. Two that come to mind are outside linebacker Kight Dallas of Lithonia (Ga.) Arabia Mountain and sophomore receiver Braxton Berrios of Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road.
Dallas was offered by South Carolina following the Georgia camp, and shortly thereafter he committed to the Gamecocks. Not long after Berrios caught everything in sight in Charlotte, North Carolina pulled the trigger.
This weekend, the eighth Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 camp of the season takes place in Piscataway, N.J. After that, only two events remain - April 29 in Winter Garden, Fla., and May 6 in Geismar, La.
Thus far, the camps have included top-end talent, emerging underclassmen and breakthrough sleepers. The campers, who are coached at the events by former NFL players such as Mo Collins (Oakland Raiders) and Myron Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals), haven't disappointed.
In Alabama, Rivals100 performers Dee Liner, an Auburn defensive end commit, and Alabama tight end commit O.J. Howard were terrific. Ditto for four-star running backs Jordan Wilkins and Mark Dodson Jr..
In Virginia, where more than 50 prospects on hand had Division I offers, cornerback Kendall Fuller lived up to his five-star billing. Meanwhile, sophomore defensive end Da'Shawn Hand put on a clinic and showed why he just might be the nation's top player in his class.
In Ohio, the nation's No. 7 player - cornerback Cameron Burrows, who has pledged to Ohio State - was among those on hand, and Notre Dame quarterback commit Malik Zaire dazzled with his dual-threat abilities.
"It was fun," Dodson said of the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 experience. "It was a great learning experience. And it was great just to get my feet wet and get prepared for the spring."
Liner, now one of the nation's most well-known recruits, burst onto the scene at the 2011 Rivals.com/VTO Sports camp in Alabama. For the notoriety that came with his dominant performance as a sophomore, he is forever grateful.
"If it wasn't for them putting me on the map last year, I wouldn't have all the offers I have now," Liner said.
There are still openings for the upcoming Florida and Louisiana events, but the deadlines for each are fast approaching. Those interested in competing in Florida should contact Chris Nee at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Louisiana, contact Brian Perroni at email@example.com.
CB, Cameron Burrows: five-star prospect
CB, Kendall Fuller: five-star prospect
RB, Derrick Green: Rivals100
TE, O.J. Howard: Rivals100, Alabama commit
LB, Peter Kalambayi: Rivals100
DE, Carl Lawson: Rivals100, Auburn commit
DE, Dee Liner: Rivals100, Auburn commit
RB, Taquan Mizzell: Rivals100
RB, Mark Dodson Jr.: Rivals250
WR, Uriah LeMay: Rivals250
ATH, Michael Parker: Rivals250
CB, Jalen Ramsey: Rivals250
OT, Na'Ty Rodgers: Rivals250
DE, Wyatt Teller: Rivals250
RB, Jordan Wilkins: Rivals250
QB, Malik Zaire: Rivals250, Notre Dame commit
WR, Carlos Burse: 4-star prospect
OT, Shamire DeVine: 4-star prospect
OT, Jeremi Hall: four-star prospect
OLB, Yannick Ngakoue: four-star prospect
DE, Chikwe Obasih: four-star prospect
DB, Quin Blanding: 2014 standout
DT, Andrew Brown: 2014 standout, Rivals Five-Star Challenge invitee
OT, Orlando Brown: 2014 standout
ATH, Kevin Crosby: 2014 standout, Rivals Five-Star Challenge invitee
DE, Da'Shawn Hand: 2014 standout, Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge invitee
WR, Demarre Kitt: 2014 Georgia commit, Rivals five-star Challenge invitee
ATH: Johnathan Lloyd: 2014 standout
DB, D'Andre Payne, 2014 standout
ATH, Bo Scarbrough: 2014 standout, Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge invitee
OL, Donell Stanley: 2014 standout, Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge invitee
DB, Jalen Tabor: 2014 standout, Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge invitee
RB, Stanley Williams: 2014 Georgia commit