PIKE ROAD, Ala. -- Nearly 200 prospects native to the state of Alabama, from the high school classes of 2022 all the way down to 2025, traveled to Pike Road High School to compete in the DexPreps Elite Camp series Sunday.
SI All-American was on hand for the event, where several prospects and stories demanded attention.
Class of 2022
RB/Slot Jalyn Daniels, Tallassee
Tallassee had several spectators on hand Sunday as if they knew something the rest of us did not. It turns out they did, in running back/slot receiver Jalyn Daniels, who would steal the show among skill prospects working out. The rising-senior is a running back on Friday nights, but with great speed (more on that later), route-running ability and ball skills, he worked out at wide receiver and made a strong impression. The subtle quickness and competitiveness Daniels displayed, along with strong hands and a tangible motor (he wanted more reps after the camp's conclusion), made the most memorable impression of the afternoon.
Daniels was also the fastest man at the event, both via hand-timed 40-yard dashes, as well as in the heads up race against the rest of the best testers on hand. The on-site staff times Daniels in the 4.4-second range on each of his runs, just part of the reason many in the Yellowhammer State expect this offer list to grow relatively quickly once paired with a 1,168-yard, 17-tochdown rushing output in just eight games last fall. Not long after the camp broke, Alabama State joined UT-Chattanooga on the Daniels offer list. He will camp at nearby Auburn, among others, this summer.
OL Anez Cooper, Pleasant Grove
The biggest head-turner at the event was Anez Cooper, the towering trenchman from Pleasant Grove. As seen in the above video, there wasn't a defensive lineman who could make inside moves against the Power 5 prospect, whose game matched the immense measurables at 6'6", 352 pounds. A future guard, he admits he's working on trimming a frame ahead of college ball. Cooper, equipped with a barrel chest, strong punch, grit and better feet than one expected, is eyeing trips to South Carolina and Georgia Tech this summer.
WR Sidney Franklin, Carver-Montgomery
There were droves of skill position prospects at the event, but Sidney Franklin was hard to miss. Whether it be for his route-running or a backwards Carver-Montgomery cap, the wiry slot type dazzled against defenders at the line of scrimmage and used sharp cuts to create more separation at the top of the route. Franklin, who has yet to gain recruiting traction, showed strong hands and a competitive nature to cap his many winning reps.
QB Malek Lowe, Jackson-Olin
Impressive as soon as he hit the field, with a strong arm and ideal frame in the 6'3", 200-pound range, Malek Lowe was a prospect we were excited to see spin it in person. He didn't disappoint, growing into his body with the ability to throw to all three levels now at his disposal. There is a chance, with a big 2021 season, Lowe could become a steal in what is a loaded quarterback class within state lines.
OL Malachi Carney, Pleasant Grove
On-site, one wouldn't realize 2020 was Malachi Carney's first year playing football. He's well put-together at 6'4", 280 pounds, plays with aggression and moves his feet well in pass protection. He is patient in his approach, but wants to finish opponents in the dirt given the chance. Carney profiles as an inside-out line prospect without many bad habits and plus athleticism, the type of swing prospects every offensive line coach likes to have at their disposal. South Alabama has established contact, but Carney remains offerless at this time.
OL Raykwon Goldthwaite, Jackson-Olin
The tallest prospect in attendance, by a clear margin, was Raykwon Goldthwaite. Another newer to the prep game, there is tangible buzz surrounding the longterm possibilities with the 6'7", 290-pounder. Goldthwaite was some 50 pounds lighter just over one year ago, so to say he's still settling into the frame with towering height and a gaudy wingspan is an understatement. Marshall has offered to date.
DL Ja'Vontae Cooper, Lanett
If there was an intensity and/or effort award for Sunday, our pick would have perhaps easily been Ja'Vontae Cooper. He is built like an old-school Mike linebacker moreso than interior defensive lineman, but it's 2021, where 6', 240 pounds is a lot for interior blockers to deal with. When it is paired with snap quickness, an elite motor and pound-for-pound strength, it results in few wanting to line up in front of the Lanett standout. Cooper is the type of lead-by-example prospect who not only makes your team better on the field, but especially off of it.
Class of 2023
LB Eric Muse, Jackson-Olin
Another Mustang on the list, Eric Muse may be the most intriguing relative to his position. He's a see-ball, get-ball roving linebacker who thrives on contact despite a 6', 195-pound build. But watching him move, after rock solid testing numbers and a 40-yard dash in the 4.7-second range, the possibilities of moving him inside and out of the box seem like his collegiate destiny. Muse is raw in coverage, but still found ways to make plays on the football against running backs Sunday. Oregon, Tennessee and Arizona State are on the offer list for the rising-junior and yes, Muse told us he likes the Ducks' uniforms.
DB Joshua Maye, Carver-Montgomery
For every "measurable" prospect, with the inevitable focus on numbers over the overall game, there is the Joshua Maye prospect to counter. He's 5'10" and about 185 pounds, without elite length or track speed, but there may not have been a better technician at any position Sunday. Working at cornerback, he was efficient and disciplined in his backpedal as well as with leverage. Maye doesn't panic when the football is in the air and he is physical at the catch point with some short-area explosiveness. Daniels was the talk of the camp but it was Maye who won each of their head-to-head reps. In between serving up incompletions, as we didn't see him give up a single pass, the rising-junior was coaching up his fellow DBs on everything from alignment to route indicators based on alignment and the stem of the route.
DL Walter Goggins, Deshler
Cooper and Maye were the only undefeated prospects we counted in one-on-ones, but Goggins was right there. He was about 6-1 on the afternoon, falling only to the much larger Cooper on their 'best on best' rep to close out the trench competition portion of the event. Goggins made quick work of just about every other prospect he faced, with a snap swim move, classic push-pull, effective club and great lateral ability to counter when blockers expected power from his 6'3", 260-pound build. The motor was there as was the confidence one would expect from a pass-rushing interior defender.
OL Avery Ferris, Auburn
A true interior protector, we expected rock solid work from the Class 7A standout and it showed up in drills and during competition alike. Working most comfortably from a two-point stance, Avery Ferris' strong footwork allowed him to remain in front of a variety of pass rushers with relative ease. Few had as much success working multiple positions like he did, flashing strong posture in the process. Ferris' best rep was a display of his redirection ability, bouncing back from a slight over-set in time to work the defender down the line and off course. There is initial FBS interest out to the 6'3", 270-pounder.
Class of 2024
QB Eric Handley, Fairfield
Already in the 6'2", 190-pound range, it's safe to say Eric Handley is a passer to keep an eye on for the next three years. The son of Fairfield head coach Keon Handley, there is an expected maturity to the young QB that he meets in person. But the physical gifts, including a smooth stroke (relative, improved from the fall) and enough juice to hit a vertical outside the opposite-field numbers, rounds out the profile of an FBS talent. In 2020, Handley got his varsity football feet wet with multiple promising starts.
Class of 2025
RB Anthony Kingston-Rogers, High School TBD
Many in Montgomery wouldn't mind adding the well-built freshman-to-be to its 2021 roster. Rumors aside, it didn't take long to see why there was talk from adults and youth alike before Kingston-Rogers went through testing. A 40 in the 4.5-second range and a short shuttle sub 4.3 seconds translates on tape and did so at the event, as few looked quicker than the middle school prospect. Kingston-Rogers isn't just a space talent with elite quickness, he runs with power and can hold his own in the passing game early on.
Top 5 By Position
All names via on-site staff (in no order)
Quarterback - Brandon Byrd, Eric Handley, Caleb McCreary, Monte Stallworth, Dave Young
Running Back - Kyron Burroughs, Jalyn Daniels, Markell Jordan, Matt Likely, Anthony Kingston-Rogers
Wide Receiver - Keri Bester, Brayden Coleman, Cameron Harris, Sidney Franklin, CJ Munford
Offensive Line - Malachi Carney, Anez Cooper, Logan Dillard, Avery Ferris, Beau Sellers
Defensive Line- Jon Allen, Malik Blocton, Ja'Vonte Cooper, Walter Goggins, Nikolas Barnes
Linebacker - Eric Muse, Wayne Davis, Alanteo Cheeks, DM Henderson, Kevin Staffney II
Defensive Back - Mac McClinton, Kyan Maloy, Joshua May, Cam Wormley, Kaedyn Marchbanks
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