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May 3, 2004

Breaking down the Baton Rouge NIKE Camp

BATON ROUGE, La. - The NIKE Training Camp Sunday in Baton Rogue didn't have the same amount of numbers as other stops so far this year. But there was no shortage of talent.

A few players, like Ryan Perrilloux, were already household names with college coaches, but others like Matt Slocum and Scott Eller proved that they also have what it takes to be high-level prospects.

With a great group of defensive linemen in attendance, including Rivals100 member Al Jones of New Orleans St. Augustine, Eller of Collierville, Tenn., dominated the offensive line group.

Jones was the only defensive lineman to give Eller fits in one-on-one drills, but Eller was remarkable in agility drills and working out with the position coaches. The coaches kept trying to find people who Eller couldn't block, and Jones was the only one that he seemed challenged by.

Slocum of West Monroe, La., hasn't been talked about much by many recruiters in the Bayou State, but that will change after Sunday's performance at LSU.

Slocum tested off the charts at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds and clocked in with a 4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash. He apparently still has a lot of room to grow, because his brother is 6-foot-10 and played basketball at Texas A&M.

It will be difficult to keep Slocum out of the Louisiana top 10 after his performance on Sunday. And knowing West Monroe's proud tradition of sending players to the next level, he'll have plenty of scholarship offers to pick from.

Yet, Slocum and Eller were just two of the solid players that were on hand. Here's a more complete look at each of the positions in this Rivals100.com breakdown of the Baton Rouge NIKE Camp.

Quarterbacks
This was the Ryan Perriloux show. With former five-star quarterback JaMarcus Russell on hand to assist with camp instruction, Perriloux put on a show that would have made any quarterback jealous.

Perrilloux, who measured in at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds but did not run in the 40-yard dash, was the attention-grabbing quarterback that Rivals100 has yet to see at other NIKE Camp stops so far this year.

There wasn't a pass that he couldn't complete.

He displayed incredible arm strength, along with the uncanny ability to put touch on the ball and get it in the right spots. Combined with athletic receivers, Perrilloux torched the defensive backs at the camps with throw after throw. He was especially deadly on the out routes and on the stop and go passes deep into the end zone.

But Perrilloux wasn't the only quarterback that had the tools to be special.

If Perrilloux was the top quarterback in the camp, Lafayette (La.) St. Thomas Moore's John Hundley would be right up there in the same neighborhood as him. Not many people have been talking about Hundley, but he threw a great pass, was always accurate and his arm strength was one of the better of the camp.

NIKE Camp quarterback coach Bob Johnson said several times that he was having a hard time picking between Perrilloux and Hundley for the top honors of the camp, so definitely Hundley opened up quite a few eyes on Sunday.

Saint Amant, La., quarterback Brian Babin was also extremely solid and threw a very catchable ball. He did have the extra ability to put some zip on the ball when he had to, which might be attributed to having a strong arm from baseball. There is some speculation that Babin could be drafted in baseball and college football might not be his ultimate destination.

Tony Hobson of Jackson (Miss.) Jim Hill and Kris Thigpen of Taylorsville, Miss., were the Magnolia State's best offerings at quarterback in the camp and both impressed in their own way. Thigpen is a big athletic kid that has a strong arm that will need to be harnessed in college. Hobson has an amazing frame, but is still long and lean and will need to fill out. Both have very good chances to be successful college quarterbacks.

Running backs
This wasn't one of the stronger positions at the camp, but a few players did standout above the others.

Glen Coffee and Darrell Charles of Houston Westfield were the stars of the running back class.

Coffee definitely looked the part of a high-level blue-chip recruit with his amazing frame, great footwork and soft hands out of the backfield.

Charles, who only rushed for 129 yards on 29 attempts as a junior because he played behind Iowa State bound Webster Patrick, was the talk of all of the running back coaches. He tore up the camp and watch out for his stock to skyrocket after an amazing performance at Baton Rouge.

Wide receivers/tight ends
Coming into the NIKE Camp, there was rampant speculation that Mobile (Ala.) Davidson tight end Gabriel McKenzie was the top player in Alabama, and he didn't do anything at all to alter that train of thought on Sunday.

McKenzie measured in at 6-3, 218 pounds, but clocked a somewhat average time of 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Yet, that time doesn't do him justice. McKenzie was ripped like nobody else, had a long and lean frame and was incredible throughout the footwork drills and in the pass-catching situations.

There were few linebackers that could hang with him, and he looked honestly like a player that should contend for Rivals100 recognition when the first set of national player rankings are released in June.

And you can not totally remove the sleeper tag from Mamou, La., receiver LaTerryal Savoy. Despite only having one offer from Michigan, Savoy looked like he was the class of the receiver group. He tested well, coming in at 6-2, 185 pounds and had a 4.6 40. He still might end up being a safety in college, but he has all of the physical tools, great change of direction, solid hands and explosive play-making ability.

Pritchard (Ala.) Blount star receiver Aubrey Bell had a lot of question marks surrounding him heading into the camp, but after measuring in at 6-2 and 203 pounds and running a 4.5 in the 40, he solidified his case for one of the better players in Alabama. He ran solid routes and made some nice catches. His size and build alone will probably end up allowing him to become one of the state's better recruits.

Receiver Luke Aubrey of Lafayette (La.) Teurlings Catholic had a successful day and showed that he too has what it takes to play on the next level. Aubrey measured in at 6-3 and ran a 4.7 second time, which is average, but he did display very good body control, solid route running and the ability to use his height to go up and get the ball over smaller defenders.

Another receiver that impressed was Lamarcus Russell of Winona, Miss. Russell measured in at 6-2, 176 and ran a 4.7. He was fluid with his routes and made some good catches in one-on-one drills.

Offensive linemen
Along with Eller, several other linemen showed they have what it takes to be special prospects. One of those was Calvin Wilson of Hattiesburg, Miss.

Wilson was simply massive - easily measuring in at more than 6-5 and 300-plus pounds - but he showed remarkably light feet for a big guy. He was aggressive in drills and was able to be coached easily. If he can maybe add a little more muscle mass and a little less weight in college, he could be a sight to see.

Other lineman that impressed were Bradley Guillory of Lafayette (La.) Carencro, who measured in at 6-3, Craig Jenkins of Pearl, Miss.

Defensive linemen
Along with Slocum and Jones, a few other defensive linemen showed they have what it takes. Baton Rouge (La.) Parkview Baptist defensive tackle Lyle Hitt was especially solid. Granted he's not the tallest defensive tackle in the land, Hitt makes up for it with an amazing first step off the ball, great technique and the ability to use his lower-body strength to get past blockers.

Hitt, who has already committed to LSU, might not be a guy that racks up 10 or so sacks a season in the SEC, but he'll be the type of run stuffer that's needed to win ball games.

Mobile (Ala.) Williamson standout outside linebacker Antonio Coleman impressed on and off the field. Coleman is built like he's ready to play right away in college and during drills he was one of the more impressive defenders. He worked out with the defensive linemen and could project at either outside backer or weakside defensive end.

New Orleans Abramson defensive end Alonzo Horton measured in at 6-2 and 209 pounds - about two inches shorter than he earlier reported - yet it didn't matter. He more than passed the eyeball test and was very aggressive in one-on-ones and in drills. He's a keeper. Hattiesburg, Miss., defensive end Charles Burns also looked physically put together extremely well.

Linebackers
With several linebackers playing at the defensive end position, there were several true linebackers that stood out. Despite listing himself at 6-2, New Orleans Landry standout Robert Russell measured in at 5-10 and 211 pounds. Yet, he did look impressive with his lateral movement and in his 40-yard dash with a time of 4.65 seconds.

Vicksburg (Miss.) Warren Central linebacker Jesse Pedyfoot also impressed with a long lean frame but he still came in at 6-3 and 223 pounds. He doesn't have the best foot speed with a 4.8 time in the 40 but he still showed great change of direction in drills. Outside linebacker Nick Harris of Alexandria, La., weighed in at 208 pounds and was one of the most put together players at the camp.

New Orleans St. Augustine star Patrick Trahan, who is 6-2 and 205 pounds, is a huge safety that will bulk up and play linebacker in college. He ran a 4.54 in the 40, 4.21 in the shuttle and jumped 36 inches. To go along with his playing ability, he's going to be a player to keep your eye on this recruiting season.

Defensive backs
Rivals100 is now a big fan of Jennings, La., safety Gary Riggs. The 6-foot-3, 184-pound safety didn't exaggerate when he said he was one of the better defensive backs in the Bayou State. With his well-built frame, great ability to close on the ball and just his overall impressive look, Riggs is going to be a recruit that can play for almost anybody in the SEC.

Tyson Andrus of Lafayette (La.) Northside plays on both sides of the ball in high school, but worked out with the corners on Sunday and was sparkling with his coverage ability. He had some really long arms that allowed him to use them for leverage in man-to-man coverage.

For expanded coverage of the Baton Rouge NIKE Training Camp, you should check out StudentSports.com. Access to StudentSports.com requires an additional membership. Coming Soon! The best is getting better. The Rivals.com Recruiting Database will include all authentic data from this summer's NIKE Training Camp schedule.


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