It's been a long but enjoyable season on the football spring/summer camp circuit, which, as fall practice rolls around, has come to an end with the calendar flipping over to August. Thousands of high school players from across the country took part in various events, jockeying for consideration in the top 100 and a second look at their film. Here are the players who caught my eye on offense this year.
The No. 2 quarterback in the country did nothing to change the opinion of him after a strong body of work over the past couple of months. He really didn't come out until later in the year but showed he has the tools to be the next in a long line of successful signal-callers at USC. There were some throws that got away from him but on the whole he was impressive. His athleticism is underrated and for a guy that sits back in the shotgun during his entire season, he has above average footwork. Browne has the most over the top release we've seen in some time and at 6-foot-5, it's pretty clear he won't have any balls batted down on him at any level. His arm strength isn't the strongest in the country but he can certainly make all of the throws and knows exactly where to put them. There's little doubt that he threw the deep ball the best this summer as well.
There was perhaps no busier recruit on the circuit than Morris, who showed up at seemingly every stop. He was at a Nike Camp, the Elite 11, Adidas Invitational, The Opening... you want a quarterback to want to compete and that's certainly what the five-star did heading into his senior year. He bulked up from his junior year and improved his arm strength noticeably, making him able to really drive that tough out route throw. He still tends to sail his deep ball but has improved his accuracy on the important throw. There are times when it seems like he loses focus out of bordem and just goes through the motions, but then he'll follow it up with a beautiful spiral. He can spin it, moves well outside the pocket and has all the attributes Michigan fans are glad they're getting on their side.
Others considered: Asiantii Woulard, Christian Hackenberg, Davis Webb, Kevin Olsen, David Sills.
With so many 7-on-7 events, the smaller, quicker backs have a decided advantage but Kamara was too electric every time he stepped on the field to not put him on the list. He was MVP at the loaded Atlanta Nike Camp and flashed soft hands at The Opening and Gridiron Kings. There are few players who can change direction like Kamara can, who simply turns on a dime. He's a guy that doesn't dance around though, he knows that getting closer to the end zone is the goal. You can always find the talented back with a smile on his face and nobody had a bad word to say about him. He won't be a 25 carry guy in college but getting him 20 touches on passes, rushes and returns would give any team a boost.
Mizzell is like lightning in a bottle, he can make four guys miss while moving in just a square yard of space. He runs good routes and is deadly running the arrow route against linebackers for nice gains. On top of being one of the quickest players in the class, he's also one of the fastest and a threat to torch even corners on a wheel route. He was a notable dump-down option for a lot of quarterbacks but even so had some impressive big gains.
Also considered: Ryan Green, Greg Bryant and Altee Tenpenny among others.
A top notch receiver, Treadwell exploded during the month of July especially. He was a star at The Opening and caught eight-plus balls just about every game during Gridiron Kings, getting behind some top 100-level defenders every time. What's impressive about him was the fact that he could fill just about every role. Need Treadwell to go deep? He can do it. Need a possession receiver? You've got one too. He's sure-handed and a savvy route runner that should be primed for a big senior year.
Steven Mitchell, committed to USC
If Treadwell was the star of the second half of the circuit, Mitchell was the man during the first part. He left an impression at the New Level 7-on-7 in Las Vegas by catching everything thrown his way and that start was continued in camp after camp. Against some top notch defensive backs at the LA Nike Camp, he continued to snag passes like a five-star and was named MVP of the wideout group. He's got soft hands and great body control when making some aerobatic catches throughout the year.
Also considered: Alvin Bailey and Tony Stevens among others.
Dominant is a good way of describing the physically-impressive Howard, who was a player that had everybody from quarterbacks to defensive backs raving about him. A mismatch for linebackers because of his speed and a tough cover for defensive backs because of his size, he more than lived up to his lofty ranking after several years lacking a star player at the tight end position. He shined during The Opening and Gridiron Kings and even when he was having a quiet game, he'd explode for a catch that caused your jaw to drop.
Also considered: Travis Johnson and Josh McNeil.
It's hard to translate just how good of a summer Denson had this year. He had the best performance anybody has had on the offensive line at the Orlando Nike Camp, turning into a stonewall and not letting anybody by. Against even better competition at The Opening, he did just as well and was named MVP of the position group. Denson has a great punch and does a good job of staying upright and balanced to handle a variety of moves the defensive tackles throw at him. He's got good size and should be good going downhill as a run blocker at the next level.
Elmer is an impressive looking prospect and showed off great feet at The Opening. He's a smart player and had great anticipation against some of the moves defensive ends tried on him. He keeps upright and doesn't overextend, making him a tough guy to line up against.
If you took one look at Kirkland, it's hard to figure out how he made it on this list. He needs to reshape and turn some fat into muscle but there's no question the underlying frame and agility is there to be a good offensive lineman in college. He's strong and has long arms to help out when guys get into and when they try and go around him. He was good at several camps and at The Opening against some top guys and with a little polishing could be very good.
Also considered: Brandon Kublanow and Cameron Hunt among others.