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April 17, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia marked the ninth stop of the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour. Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman takes a look back at the five things he learned on Saturday.
It would be difficult for anyone to find a better collection of defensive linemen at any camp across the country. The group included five-stars Da'Shawn Hand, Andrew Brown and Kentavious Street. Four-stars Jalyn Holmes, Derrick Nnadi and Ricky Walker also participated, as well as players such as Deonte Holden, Jeremiah Clarke, Jemal Averette and DeAnthony Muse.
The list of talented players extends to the underclass defensive linemen as well. Adam McLean, Darvin Taylor, Tim Settle and Camaron Spence were better than many of the more experienced defensive linemen.
When competing with other players in a group as stacked as this one, even the smallest error could make a player tumble down the top performers list. Nnadi may not have been the favorite to take home defensive line MVP, but he turned in the most consistently dominant performance.
Easily the biggest surprise of the day was Walter Brantley, an offensive lineman from Hampton (Va.) Phoebus. Playing guard, Brantley was able to handle some of the better defensive linemen in a very deep group. Brantley ranked eighth on the camp's top offensive performers list and was the second best offensive lineman of the day.
The 6-foot-3, 320-pound Brantley has caught the eye of multiple schools but he admitted that he has to get his grades in order. Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Marshall, Delaware and others have shown some type of interest but he knows that he has some things to work out before he gets that first offer.
Surprising O-line play
When looking over the roster, the consensus was the defensive line would dominate the offensive linemen. Four-stars Damian Prince, Steven Moss and Brock Ruble performed well, as expected, but Brantley was not the only offensive lineman to surprise the analysts. Alec Eberle, Patrick Allen, Quarvez Boulware, Matthew Burrell and Terrance Davis were all more effective than anyone thought they could be against this group of defensive linemen.
Eberle is the only 2014 prospect from the group above and his effort was slightly more notable than the others because he was the most effective blocker Da'Shawn Hand faced all day. Even Hand was surprised the two of them split their reps.
Believe the hype
If there was any doubt before the camp about the quality of the underclassmen that would be there, there sure isn't now. There were six young guns who made overall top performers in McLean, Taylor, Ricky DeBerry, Boulware, Allen and Keon Paye.
Other underclassmen who showed considerable talent were Nick Johns, Settle, Trevion Armstrong, Lorenzo Harrison, Davis, Garrett Taylor, Brandon Polk, Anthony McFarland, Kareem Gibson, Burrell and Keandre Jones. Needless to say, the future looks bright for the future of mid-Atlantic football.
One of the players with question marks next to his name is Rivals250 athlete Demetrius Johnson. People do not know much about him because he missed six games last season due to a severe ankle injury. He only has four offers right now because most schools have not seen enough of him.
Hawaii, Maryland, N.C. State and Old Dominion should be happy they were among the first to offer Johnson, because if he plays during the season like he did at the camp in Richmond the offers will come in bunches. He was the third overall top offensive performer at the camp and it was for good reason. He caught almost every ball thrown at him, ran good routes and had surprising speed and quickness for a receiver his size. There was also a noticeable toughness about him and it looks like he would be very difficult to bring down when wearing pads.
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