LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It's been a busy summer filled with ups and downs for Kingsland (Ga.) quarterback Brice Ramsey but he will wind up calling himself a champion as the summer winds down after leading the Southeast team to a decisive 47-19 victory in the football camp season's final event, Gridiron Kings.
"This tournament went really well," Ramsey said. "I've just progressed from The Opening to the Elite 11 and now to Gridiron Kings. I felt really comfortable out here in the 7-on-7 atmosphere. Having a lot of playmakers around me and a defense, it just worked out really well."
The Georgia commit looked shaky on the first day of the two day event at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex just outside of Orlando but bounced back with a strong showing on Sunday that led to him being named offensive MVP. Ramsey will start football practice this week and put on the pads Wednesday, a notable change from what he's been doing the past few months not because of the pads but because of Camden County's wing-T offense that doesn't feature his arm as much as others. That's fine for the soft-spoken field general however as he was able to sling the ball around in his final 7-on-7 of the year to targets like Alabama-bound tight end O.J. Howard, Norcross (Ga.) running back Alvin Kamara, Florida State pledge Tony Stevens and Seffner (Fla.) wide receiver Alvin Bailey.
The Southeast team cruised to an easy win in the title game and a perfect record at the event mostly because of their offense however. Defensive MVP and Tampa. (Fla.) cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was the star of the show after picking off six passes during the tournament (five in three games) and forming a bit of a no-fly zone for quarterback's passes with fellow defensive back Leon McQuay III.
"It's a great honor, I just wanted to come out here and have fun and play with some of my teammates," Hargreaves said. "I'm not out here to win any awards but I'm honored that they think I was the MVP.
"My coach put me in great position. He told me where the ball was going to go and I listened to him. I just happened to be there and made a play."
Like Ramsey, Hargreaves has had a busy summer filled with camps and combines and, after injuring his ankle at The Opening, Gridiron Kings marked the most elite offensive skill players he faced all year long and it was quite clear that he lived up to his billing as the top cornerback in the country for 2013.
"I actually stayed healthy for this one, that was a first," he said with a slight smile. "I'm excited. I didn't hurt my ankle again so I'm doing alright."
It was a busy week for Hargreaves, starting with him making his commitment to Florida on Thursday. On top of all that, his best friend and Tampa (Fla.) defensive end Jordan Sherit also committed to the Gators following a trip for the program's Friday Night Lights camp. The five-star corner wasn't sporting a ton of orange and blue gear but enjoyed playing with future teammate and Daytona Beach (Fla.) linebacker Quinton Powell on the Southeast squad.
Hargreaves might head back to Gainesville this week with a fellow commitment or two but for right now, he represents a big piece of the class and somebody that many are calling a program-changer both locally and nationally for Florida.
"I think Florida is recruiting a different type of kid this year," he said. "You don't have to be the best guy in the nation but you have to be a great person. You've got to be able to play ball but you've got to be a good person too."
Given his prowess at Gridiron Kings and the rave reviews from fellow players, it's clear that Hargreaves is both.
TREADWELL TAKES OFF
The Midwest made it to the championship game in the sweltering Florida heat and humidity for the second straight year behind Warren (Mich.) quarterback Shane Morris and the biggest reason why was his connection with Crete (Ill.) wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. The pair connected so often even the P.A. announcer was reaching the point where he just had to say "those two" once they hooked up for a big gain.
Although the team didn't take home the trophy at the end of the day, Morris may have won something down the road by developing a little chemistry with one of his top recruiting targets.
"It's a great relationship," Treadwell said of the connection the two have. "This is the first time we've gotten to play together the whole summer. It's a great time out here and we're doing well. He's calm. He doesn't panic when he throws a pick. He's calm, cool, collected. And he has a great spiral on the ball."
The first commit for Michigan's class of 2013, Morris is trying to lure Treadwell up to Ann Arbor to pull the trigger on a commitment and help close out the Wolverines class before the season. Michigan State, Illinois, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State round out the 6-foot-3, 195-pound receiver's top five but he's been rumored to join 'Team 134,' as the Michigan commits call themselves, for quite a while after taking seven unofficial visits.
"Shane said, 'There's two slots left' to me on the bus," Treadwell said. "I have a real nice relationship with Shane, and most of the guys that committed early [to Michigan]. … They're just laid back. They don't try to pressure me into a decision."
A deep threat as well as a reliable go-to target on short and intermediate routes, it's easy to see why coaches and recruits want Treadwell on board. After a great performance at The Opening and plenty of rumors that he would commit while in Oregon, the Illinois native appears to be holding off until he can officially visit most or all of the schools at the top of his list.
"I haven't decided when I'll make my decision," he said. "I'll probably just have it randomly -- when I'm ready and comfortable. I really want to see those schools over again before I make a decision. I've been to Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State. I want to get to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State."
Florida is another school that has crept into the mix for Treadwell and he talked glowingly about taking a possible visit at some point in the near future, possibly this upcoming weekend.
"I'm dying to get up there with Vernon (Hargreaves) and Tre (Bell)," Treadwell said. "The coaches are wanting to get me up there, so they can offer me a scholarship and I can see everything."
Based on his performance at Gridiron Kings, they probably don't need to see much.
FULLER COMMITS TO VIRGINIA TECH
It was always pretty much a two-horse race for the commitment from Olney (Md.) cornerback Kendall Fuller. On the one hand there was Clemson, who had made a hard push to land the talented Lady of Good Counsel product and badly wanted him to be a part of the program's continued rise in the Southeast. On the other hand, Virginia Tech was the school close to home that sent one of his brothers, Vincent, to the NFL and had two others, senior Corey and junior Kyle, still on the roster.
At the end of the day he came to the conclusion that although his recruitment had to result in a decision, it was actually a very easy one once he relied on what his gut was telling him.
“As I was driving home from the visit to Clemson, I started thinking about where I was going to develop most as a player,” Fuller said. “I just got that feeling that I knew I wanted to go to Virginia Tech. Their defense is so complex that you never know what they are going to be doing. Coach (Bud) Foster and Coach (Torrian) Gray are amazing coaches. They have a track record of great defensive backs that Coach Gray has produced. Just sitting in the room watching film and seeing some of the different techniques, I just felt that the only way I could fail was if I did not work hard.”
Ranked No. 42 overall in the MaxPreps top 100, Fuller took unofficial visits to both schools following an MVP performance at The Opening at the beginning of the month. He turned in another good performance at Gridiron Kings, where he gave his verbal pledge on national television after giving both programs their due for recruiting him.
“People thought I was playing, but I loved Clemson,” he said. “It was a very hard decision. Distance was not a factor, even though my mother did not want me to go too far from home. When we were on our way back from Clemson, she already thought I was going there because it was the first time any of her children talked about any other school. She thought I was sold on Clemson and was going there.
“When I told my mom Thursday I was going to Virginia Tech, she just jumped up and was happy. My brothers did not say anything, really, about coming to Virginia Tech. We were in a group and I told them I was committing at Gridiron Kings. I told them Clemson to play around with them, and my oldest brother just wanted to know the reasons why. Then I told them I was kidding and I was going to Virginia Tech, and they were all pretty excited.”
The country's third-best corner is commitment No. 15 for the Hokies and a big one in terms of keeping talented players from nearby in the fold and not wind up at a conference rival. The selling points the coaches stressed during their pitch to Fuller were about how they develop players and doing more with guys that went overlooked in high school than anybody else.
“Virginia Tech is never going to have a class that blows you away, but they definitely produce good players,” Fuller said.
Wearing both a hat and shirt with the Virginia Tech logo on it following his day at Gridiron Kings, the slick corner with an interception of Southeast quarterback Brice Ramsey on day one was still letting the commitment sink in for a bit. Although he knew for a few days that Blacksburg was the place for him, he's still undecided about taking official visits during the year.
“I do not know if I will be taking official visits because I have not talked to the Virginia Tech coaches,” he said. “They have to respect me but I also have to respect them. It is a relief to have the recruiting process pretty much over, and all I have to worry about is my senior season."
- Virginia Beach (Va.) running back Taquan Mizzell was, as expected, one of the top players at the event and made a few elite players look off balance while trying to tag out the jitterbug. He's had a great month of 7-on-7 and risen above his own stellar play. He said he would commit on August 21 and named a top three of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina but it would be shocking if he doesn't pull the trigger for the Cavilers.
- Orlando (Fla.) safety Marcell Harris was supposed to cut his list down to five on Sunday but held off. At this point, it is still looking like a Florida/Florida State/Texas battle. He battled injuries all tournament long and sat out several games.
- Plano (Texas) linebacker Mike Mitchell also delayed his announcement, which was supposed to be a commitment. He said he would take additional visits before committing down the road.
- Ramsey had a bounce back day at the quarterback spot for the Southeast squad and was much more accurate Sunday than he was Saturday. As luck would have it, the future Bulldog was tutored by offensive coordinator D.J. Shockley, a former Georgia quarterback, a week after spending time with current starter Aaron Murray.