Tag:Gridiron Kings 2011
Posted on: July 25, 2011 4:32 pm

Gridiron Kings Top Performers: Defense

ORLANDO -- Some of the nation's top recruits descended upon Disney's Wide World of Sports complex this past weekend for the third annual Gridiron Kings tournament. Here's the best of the best on defense from the final recruiting event of the summer.

Defensive back Ronald Darby (Oxon Hill, Md.), Committed to Notre Dame

It seemed to take Darby a little bit to get warmed up each game but after that he was in shutdown mode. He might have been the fastest player at Gridiron Kings and his closing speed was very, very impressive. He still seems to fit better as a safety that can roam the field and make plays but he still was solid in man coverage closer to the line.

Defensive back Chaz Elder (College Park, Ga.)

The only uncommitted player on this list will be a steal for one program. Elder was part of a talented secondary for the Southeast and he really impressed at how he went after the ball. He moves well and mirrors receivers step-by-step no matter what the route. After watching him, it seems like he'll fit in well as a corner that plays the cover-2 extensively.

Defensive back Devante Harris (Mesquite, Texas), Committed to Oklahoma

Harris blew everybody away on Sunday because he was a ball hawk, grabbing at least four picks and flying around the secondary. He's got decent height but is extremely skinny. At the end of the day though, he was just a playmaker, high-pointing the ball in the air and often outmuscling bigger defenders. He was playing safety for the Southwest due to team needs but he'll likely end up as a nickelback or corner in Norman.

Defensive back Joshua Holsey (Fairburn, Ga.), Committed to Auburn

Holsey was a fighter and did a great job of getting into his man then making a play. He was really good near the goal line and seems like he'll be very good in press coverage. He also impressed when turning and running with receivers, displaying good hips and a very nice feel for where they were heading.

Linebacker Keith Brown (Miami, Fla.), Committed to Miami

Brown really impressed with his skill set at the event and he was extremely good in coverage on Saturday. He took good lines when dropping into coverage and closed quickly on slot receivers and running backs to break up several passes. Brown is a sideline-to-sideline type of backer and did very well in a 7-on-7 setting where the position is hard to get a read on.

Linebacker Kwontie Moore (Norfolk, Va.), Committed to Virginia

If you saw a big guy in a red jersey running the other way, it was probably Moore. He was the rock for the Midwest defense and kept them in games with his timely pass breakups or picks. He came close to being the defensive MVP despite being on a team that only won one game. Moore had an 80-yard pick-six and outran some very fast players and managed to snag an interception on the goal line that helped his team beat the heavily favored Southeast.

Athlete Deontay Greenberry (Fresno, Calif.), Committed to Notre Dame

Greenberry was, quite literally, all over the field during the weekend. He played linebacker, safety and wide receiver and would be on the top performers list at any of the three. He really competes at these events and brings a certain swagger that, and not necessarily a cocky way, says that he's one of the best players on the field. He breaks on the ball well on defense and he could be a really good safety if the Irish choose to move him there.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 11:37 am

Gridiron Kings Top Performers: Offense

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ORLANDO -- Some of the nation's top recruits descended upon Disney's Wide World of Sports complex this past weekend for the third annual Gridiron Kings tournament. Here's the best of the best on offense from the final recruiting event of the summer.

Quarterback Matt Davis (Houston, Texas), Committed to Texas A&M

Davis was easily the best signal-caller at the event and a key to the Southwest's victory in the event. The offensive MVP, he threw well at all three levels but was especially sharp making the right decision on intermediate routes that just killed the defense. He fit balls into some small windows and showed he has great arm strength, the ball really zips out of his hand. Davis tossed some beautiful fade routes, and though he didn't throw a perfect spiral every time, he showed he's a much better passer than people think and not just a dual-threat guy.

Running back Duke Johnson (Miami, Fla.), Committed to Miami

Johnson thrives in 7-on-7 events in the open field, and that was certainly the case at Gridiron Kings. He's got soft hands and has the burst you look for out of a cut. Either out of the slot or coming out of the backfield, he was a mismatch for linebackers who couldn't keep up with his speed or quickness. Johnson danced a little bit with the ball in his hands, but he did do a good job of getting up field.

Running back Trey Williams (Spring, Texas), Committed to Texas A&M

Williams was a huge part of the Southwest's strategy to dink-and-dunk down the field while taking a shot or two downfield. He burst out of the backfield on draws and was someone who left defenders grasping at air after making a cut. One of his teammates shouted Williams stops on a dime, and it's hard to argue. He also has a great set of hands, making a couple of terrific catches along the sideline on corner routes and on fades down the seam.

Wide receiver Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla.)

Every time you looked up it seemed as if Agholor was making his way toward the end zone. He is such an athlete that he might be a better fit at safety, but no matter what position he plays, he'll be a great player for whatever school ends up landing him. He's a burner who can get behind the defense and has the quickness to make things happen when he has a defender in front of him. Overall, just a fluid athlete.

Wide receiver Thomas Johnson (Dallas, Texas), Committed to Texas

Johnson started off slowly, but when Cayleb Jones went down, he took off. He didn't seem to catch the ball using his body much and really snagged the ball out of the air. He made a living attacking safeties in the middle of the field and really used his speed to create separation. He's awfully quick and should be a dynamic threat out of the slot in college.

Tight end Griffin Gilbert (Austin, Texas), Committed to TCU

If there was a player who surprised with a great weekend, the unheralded TCU commit Gilbert was the player. He might have had only one drop the entire time and made some tough, tough catches. He's more of a pass-catching threat, but he has a great frame that can add a few pounds of muscle. He was split out most of the time and really showed off his athleticism. Gilbert won plenty of jump balls and made plenty of tough catches in traffic.

Tight end Sean Price (Citra, Fla.), Committed to USF

Price capped off a great summer with another impressive performance at Gridiron Kings. He's gotten better at route running, but it's still impressive how he just seems to be open, especially near the goal line. With his size and speed, he's a mismatch for all but the elite linebackers.

Posted on: July 24, 2011 10:14 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 10:39 pm

Texas, A&M recruits key to Gridiron Kings title

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ORLANDO -- The Southeast's run of titles at the Champion Gridiron Kings is over as the Southwest team was the only one left standing and took home the championship Sunday afternoon at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex.

The team's run was fueled by players from the state of Texas, mostly commitments from Texas and Texas A&M. While many of them will be bitter rivals in a couple of years, they banded together to put on an impressive show at the final recruiting event of the season.

"Texas football, it's like religion, there's nothing like it," said Aggie commit Matt Davis, the tournament's offensive MVP. "This award is for the offense as a whole. I can't take credit for this at all, those guys they made me look good."

"It was fun repping our region," defensive MVP and Oklahoma-bound cornerback DeVante Harris said. "Everybody knows that Texas has a lot of talent and to come out and prove that we do is great."

"We knew we were going to win," running back Trey Williams said. "We came in here with a winning attitude. When we first met each other, we were talking and I could just tell from then that we were going to work together."

The Southwest team lost MaxPreps' second-ranked receiver and number three overall player Cayleb Jones early on day one after he broke his ring finger on a freak play. In his absence, fellow Texas commit Thomas Johnson more than filled in, catching everything thrown his way and torching opposing defensive backs using his speed.

"I just wanted to win," Thomas said. "We would have done better with him but, as a team, we just had to come together."

When the Aggies and Longhorns weren't scoring touchdowns on the field they were often discussing strategy off it. Sometimes this strategy involved how to get one another to switch their commitment to the rival school.

"It's a little bittersweet because of Thomas and Cayleb. I have a great relationship with them but... they're going to Texas," Davis said. "It hurts that they're going there but whoever is throwing to Thomas and Caleb, they are blessed because those guys make plays. I'm blessed to have Trey and Bralon (Addison) coming (to A&M) because they were making plays all day too."

"We were trying to recruit the Texas guys," Williams added. "They know good and well they want to be an Aggie."

Williams was working on flipping linebacker Tim Cole while Davis was working on a adding even more offensive firepower to the Aggies class of 2012.

"I wish i could get Thomas and Cayleb," Davis said. "I know we don't have too much room in our class but I'd put them in my suitcase if need be."

Not sure if the 6-foot-4 wide receiver would fit, especially when you consider the suitcase has a crystal MVP trophy in it too.

Price wraps up summer same way he started it

The favorite for the event was the Southeast team that had a perfect record until being upset by the 0-3 (at the time) Midwest bunch. Though the team fell short of the title, they had a strong run led by players such as Citra (Fla.) tight end Sean Price.

"It's ok, we can't hold our head down about it," Price said. "You lose. You win. But the great players they overcome it and get better. They take this as motivation and get hungry for the next game. That's how I feel about it."

Price had a huge week at The Opening and often heard his name called followed by the word touchdown. The two events were quite different with the notable exception being that the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder was a huge threat in the passing game.

"(The Opening) was an all-star team and this was more region-by-region," he said. "It was just a great workout and feels good to be out here."

The talented tight end has excelled at 7-on-7 throughout the summer by being a complete mismatch with linebackers. Drops have not been an issue at all and one can see why when he holds up his very large hands. Price has definitely taken advantage of his opportunities to go from relative unknown to one of the top tight ends in the nation.

"It's been amazing and I'm not going to lie, it does feel good," he said. "At the same time, I've got to stay humble because most players lose who they are and think they're this and that. That's when their game begins to fall because they lose their work ethic. I'm not trying to be like that."

The Southeast team had several players who, like Price, are committed to USF. The biggest draw to the school besides football for Price is the Bulls' medical program because he would one day like to be a radiologist. While he has his future plans squared away on the academic side, getting a glimpse at what it will be like to play with his fellow commits was a welcome opportunity at Gridiron Kings.

"It's great to play with some of my future brothers, they're ballers just like I am," Price said. "I'm pretty sure they're going to work just as hard if not harder than I am when we all get to college."


- In the upset of the day, the Midwest beat the heavily favored Southeast team 18-14. 2013 quarterback Shane Morris was much better on Sunday than he was Saturday and he a big reason why the team was in contention. He threw a very nice deep ball and made much better decisions. One of his favorite targets was Southfield (Mich.) tight end Ronald Thompson. The big pass catcher was surpassingly agile despite being one of the biggest players on the field. He's down to Michigan, Syracuse and Maryland and will likely announce his decision shortly. Thompson says 'Cuse coach Tyrone Wheatley is recruiting him the hardest but it's still very close among the three.

"Pretty much the same things stand out. I'm pretty comfortable with all the coaches, they're all honest with me and tell me where I stand," Thompson said. "I want to make a decision before the season but I kind of want to take official visits. I'll get it worked out."

- Virginia commit Kwontie Moore probably could have been named the defensive MVP despite being on the losing end of things on the Midwest team. He helped get the team back in the final game with an interception in the end zone and made the defensive play of the day when he took a pick 80 yards to the house.

- The most low key player who made some huge plays was Southwest tight end Griffin Gilbert. The TCU-bound player had reliable hands and skied up for three or four jump balls and ended up with a catch overtime. He also had a great one-handed catch that resulted in a 40-yard gain along the sidelines.

- It was a bit of a quiet weekend for Cal commit Bryce Treggs. The West quarterback, Mike Baker, didn't really look his way but the deep threat did manage to find the end zone a few times by getting behind the defense using his speed and sharp route running ability.

- The two players who really impressed with their speed and quickness were wide receiver Nelson Agholor and defensive back Ronald Darby. It took awhile for Darby, a Notre Dame commit, to get into a rhythm but he was able to shut receivers down in the second half of games. Agholor probably ended up with more touchdowns then anyone this weekend. Agholor avoided talking recruiting this weekend but the scuttlebutt on him was that it remains between USC and several of the Florida schools.

- After Trey Williams zigged and zagged for a big gain on a running play, including reversing field and leaving a defender grasping at air, cornerback Darion Monroe shouted, "He can stop on a dime! He can stop on a dime!"

Posted on: July 24, 2011 1:23 am
Edited on: July 24, 2011 9:35 am

Gridiron Kings find Southeast on top

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ORLANDO -- Gridiron Kings, the final recruiting event of the summer, kicked off at the Wide World of Sports complex Saturday afternoon near Disney World, featuring some of the top talent in the country.

Divided into four regions, the players from the Southeast continued their impressive dominance of the event, going undefeated in the first two games of pool play in an event the team has won every year since its inception.

"It's been a great experience so far, I'm playing with some of the best talent from the Southeast," Fairburn (Ga.) defensive back Joshua Holsey said. "We're playing against everyone from around the country and that's a great experience. We're having fun and since we're winning, it's really fun."

The Southeast lucked out in its two wins, however. The deciding touchdowns in each game came with less than a minute remaining, but the find-a-way attitude was just part of the spirit the athletes from the South exuded.

"Our offense just brings us back and our defense just tries to do what we can to stop the offense from scoring," Holsey said. "We all pretty much know each other from The Opening. We all have a close bond, either in the locker room or on the field, it's just like playing with each other (for years), we know what each other does and likes. That's the greatest thing."

Though most of the players at Gridiron Kings are already committed to a school, that didn't stop the Auburn-bound Holsey from trying to get a few players to join him on The Plains.

"Yes, I'm trying to get as many recruits to come to Auburn as possible," Holsey says without hesitation. "Me, JaQuay (Williams), we always talk about getting the best guys. We want to go down there and win, we're trying to win the national championship ourselves. We're trying to build a class that can go down there and compete and have fun."

Holsey has been committed to the Tigers since May and points to one thing above others as being the reason he is firmly a part of Auburn's recruiting class.

"Just the coaches," he said. "They're really nice to me. The players, the whole facilities, it just feels like a family and a place where I can spend the next four years there."

Adams close to decision

If there was one team really looking forward to toppling the Southeast, it was the West squad. Westlake Village (Calif.) cornerback Ishmael Adams helped the squad to a 1-1 mark, with the lone loss coming thanks to a pass that was tipped by a defender right into the hands of a Southeast receiver for a score with less than 30 seconds left. Despite the close loss, spirits were high throughout the day for a dangerous squad come the knockout round.

"It's a great time with all the fellas, just hanging out," Adams said. "We're putting in work."

Adams and his West teammates are closer than the other three regional teams in part because they've seen each other early and often this summer.

"Just from camps and doing all these different things, we're very comfortable with each other," he said. "The chemistry is there. We're looking to do well."

Doing well also includes a bit of trash talk between the squads. For the West, according to Adams, that means shouts of "West Side All Day," or "West Side is the Best Side." He is also pretty talkative on the field with his teammates about what to expect from the offenses and didn't mind talking about his recruiting either.

"I'm very close," he said of a decision. "I'm still going to take all my official visits but I'm pretty sure with where I want to go right now. I'm taking my visits to see what the other schools have. I want to make the decision before I go into the season."

Holding offers from most of the Pac-12, Adams has always looked to stay somewhat close to Southern California and has narrowed down his list to include programs with strong ties to the area.

"UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Colorado and Arizona State," he said were his finalists. "UCLA and Cal, they're on me real big, then ASU. I've also always talked to the Oregon coach and he's told me he's not really hard on calling me every day. He just let me know that he wants me at the school and if I want to come, it's my decision."

Adams added that fellow West teammate Bryce Treggs, who committed to Cal two weeks ago, was heavily recruiting him for the Bears.


-- Tampa (Fla.) athlete Nelson Agholor wasn't supposed to be at the event but was a late -- and impact -- substitution for the Southeast squad. He's a fluid athlete who was a favorite target on offense and could really get off the line. He's tremendous at safety, but the way he can influence a game on either side of the ball, it's no wonder schools are just recruiting to get him on campus and then figure out a position later. He said he didn't want to talk recruiting and instead wanted to focus on what happened on the field.

-- SMU commit Robert Lewis and Texas A&M commit Trey Williams were the two most impressive players out of the backfield. Lewis was able to find soft spots in the defense and exploit them at all three levels of the passing game. Williams had two highlight plays when he shaked and baked his way down the field for a big gain and then followed it up with a touchdown on a seam route.

-- Tight end Sean Price continues to impress this summer. The Citra (Fla.) product was once again a matchup issue for linebackers who either couldn't handle his speed or couldn't handle his size. He has a good release off the line, but it can get better, which will only make him more dangerous in the passing game. Price made one of the best catches of the day when he dove for a ball and caught it one-handed for a touchdown.

-- 2013 quarterback Shane Morris had a bit of an up-and-down day. He wasn't as sharp as he normally was in 7-on-7 settings, sometimes lapsing when making an easy throw and turning it into an incompletion. The lefty didn't have the athletes that some of the other quarterbacks did but he still should have performed better.

-- Texas A&M commit Matt Davis was one of four Aggies in Orlando and just flat-out moved the ball downfield for the Southwest team. He doesn't throw the tightest spirals, but he moves the chains and gets the ball to the right receiver.

-- Boise State commit Marcus Rios had a nice day and grabbed a spectacular interception off a deflection versus the Southeast team.

-- It's going to be tough to get past the Southeast team when they have players like defensive backs Chaz Elder and Travis Blanks. The pair hooked up on an interception with Blanks tipping the ball and Elder pulling down the turnover. The pair simply were ball hawks all evening.

-- The top wide receiver in the country, Texas commit Cayleb Jones, went down with a hand injury early in the day. Fellow Longhorn Thomas Johnson made sure he wouldn't be missed with a terrific day. He has great hands, runs good routes and catches everything.

-- The more athlete Ronald Darby plays defensive back, the more he looks like a top-flight safety prospect. The talented athlete has speed and burst almost unmatched and does a really good job of focusing on his man and reading what he does.

-- It was a very good day for Scottsdale (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal. There's still debate as to whether he's best suited for offense or defense and he played both equally well on Saturday. He's still a bit stiff in his hips when he turns and runs at corner but he nevertheless was an impact player on both sides of the ball and made several plays in the secondary.

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