Jaylon Smith And Top Recruits Impress At Adidas Invitational


Alex Cook of MaizenBrew.com covered the Adidas Invitational for SB Nation Recruiting

Some of the best prospects in the Midwest descended upon the campus of Concordia College in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Adidas Invitational. Several prospects are committed to BCS schools, and many of them are seeing interest from some of the elite programs across the country. These future BCS players lined up and competed well all day, and there were some interesting storylines from the invitational.

Future Wolverines show out a few miles from Michigan's campus

Shane Morris, a blue-chip quarterback from Warren (MI) De La Salle, was Brady Hoke's first commitment of the 2013 Class, and has been instrumental in helping recruit fellow elite prospects to Ann Arbor. Morris and four other Michigan commits -- two from Detroit (MI) Cass Technical, cornerback Jourdan Lewis and offensive lineman David Dawson, as well as Wheaton (IL) offensive lineman Kyle Bosch and Detroit (MI) Crockett tight end Khalid Hill -- were in attendance. Bosch did not participate in drills and Hill tweaked his groin early on and didn't see much action, but Morris, Lewis, and Dawson all had excellent days.

Shane Morris was easily the best quarterback in attendance; he excelled with a variety of throws to backs out of the backfield and to receivers that were facing press coverage. Morris's arm strength was probably his best attribute, although he did very well with short and intermediate routes and rarely missed his target. His footwork was excellent and he always put good spin on the ball -- his biggest issue was probably drops from his receivers who weren't accustomed to his arm strength. He did have a couple of misplaced throws on some long fades, but that's probably just nitpicking, as Morris proved why he's one of the top quarterbacks in the country. Reviews were mixed after Morris's performance at the Elite 11 camp in Dallas, but he was stellar this weekend.

Jourdan Lewis had a very good performance. He was the best cornerback in attendance and shut down almost every receiver he faced in one-on-ones, but he also showed off his versatility and played on the other side of the ball as a receiver for several reps as well. The Cass Tech product played very aggressively and was physical at the corner spot, and showed off his quickness with good breaks and plays on the ball. As a receiver, he was agile coming out of his breaks, showed off his leaping ability and had very good hands. Apparently Michigan's coaches haven't ruled out using Lewis on both sides of the ball in college, but this athleticism and versatility bodes well for his prospects at corner for the Wolverines.

Lewis's high school teammate David Dawson was the best offensive lineman in attendance - he was only beaten in one-on-ones by blue chip, Upland (CA) defensive lineman Joe Mathis and was dominant otherwise. Dawson is already reaching impressive size at 6'5", but he's not carrying much bad weight. He's extremely strong and plays with a mean streak and an impressive competitiveness, although he struggled a bit with Mathis's speed and seems more suited to play guard at the next level. Still, Dawson fared very well and proved why he accumulated so many excellent offers before committing to Michigan. With Morris, Lewis, Dawson, and the rest of 247Sports's number one 2013 recruiting class in the fold, Brady Hoke has to be happy with the success he's had on the recruiting trail.

Jaylon Smith shows why he's one of the nation's best

The biggest star of the camp was unquestionably Jaylon Smith, a five star outside linebacker product out of Fort Wayne (IN) Bishop Luers with a laundry list of impressive offers. Smith is an elite athlete with great size for his position - he's 6'3" and was the biggest linebacker in attendance, but he moves as fast as a defensive back. He wasn't beaten once in the linebacker one-on-ones with the running backs, so he took part in the drills with corners and wide receivers. Even though he's obviously too big to play corner at the next level, Smith was beaten only once or twice and shut down a couple of very good receivers. There really aren't many positions on defense that Smith can't play - he's fast and athletic enough to be a defensive back but he's big and strong enough to be a rush end (although he'd need to bulk up for that). Simply put, Jaylon Smith is a freakish athlete with immense potential, and whoever manages to sign him will be getting a player with NFL talent. He showed up in a Notre Dame hat and the Irish have a very good chance of landing him, although Ohio State and a host of other blue-bloods will be in the mix.

Several defensive linemen impress

There were several linemen that stood out on the defensive side of the ball, many of whom will be high-level prospects. Joe Mathis made it in from California for a visit to Michigan and stayed for another day to compete at the Adidas Invitational. Mathis is a very strong defensive end with surprising agility, and it looks like the Top-100 prospect has plenty of potential to put on more good weight and get even stronger. He struck up a rivalry with David Dawson, and was only beaten once, by Dawson, in one-on-ones (although Dawson beat him twice in a tug-of-war type drill). USC and Michigan are probably Mathis's top two choices, although he's going to make it out to Nebraska and could take a visit to Alabama.

Mathis was the best defensive linemen at the event, but several others played well. Reggie Spearman - a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid out of Chicago (IL) Simeon - was very quick off of the edge and had some good moves as a pass-rusher. Indiana has offered, as have as a few MAC schools

Detroit (MI) Country Day's Poet Thomas was one of the more physically imposing linemen at the event but needs to get in shape and clean up some of his technique. Once he does so, he has a very high ceiling and could contribute at a school like Florida, who has offered. Luke MacLean might have been the fastest and most athletic lineman out there, as he won one-on-ones consistently with his speed. The prospect out of Grand Blanc (MI) holds an offer from Cincinnati. Two other linemen out of Detroit were also impressive: Cass Tech's Kenton Gibbs has offers from a host of MAC schools as well as Indiana and Illinois, and Loyola High School's Malik McDowell is only a sophomore but holds offers from Ohio State and Michigan. Gibbs is a strong and nimble defensive tackle who was nearly unstoppable in one-on-ones and McDowell has a great frame, plays with good pass-rushing moves, and wasn't beaten all day.

Other Notes

  • Notre Dame commit James Onwualu, a wide receiver from St. Paul (MN) Cretin Derham, and Michigan State commit Jon Reschke, a linebacker out of Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice, both performed well. Onwualu was the most physically developed receiver in attendance and bullied smaller corners with his size and strength, and Reschke was able to chase down running backs in one-on-ones with ease in limited action. Both prospects have games that are better suited for pads than they are for a camp environment.
  • The most impressive under-the-radar prospect was definitely Teo Redding - a receiver that goes to Warren (MI) Collegiate. There was plenty of buzz for each of Redding's reps in one-on-ones; he's not extremely tall and he's very wiry, but his leaping ability was unparalleled and he showed of some good hands. Don't be surprised to see some attention start to pick up for Redding, who currently doesn't have any offers, because he stole the show and might have performed the best of any receiver in attendance.
  • Jaylon Smith is obviously the headliner from Bishop Luers in Fort Wayne, but a couple high school teammates of his played well. Tyvell Jemison, Andrew Spencer, and Kendrick Mullen aren't receiving much interest, but the trio played very well. Jemison is probably the best out of the three - he dropped some easy interceptions but was always in great position with his size and quickness.
  • Another high school powerhouse in attendance was Detroit Cass Tech. The Technicians won the Division One state title a year ago behind a strong senior class - Royce Jenkins-Stone and Terry Richardson are headed to Michigan, and Ruben Lile and Laron Taylor will attend Iowa - but there's plenty of talent left. 2013 prospects OL David Dawson, DB Jourdan Lewis, DL Kenton Gibbs, and DB Delano Hill, as well as 2014 prospects LB Will White, LB Gary Hosey, LB Deon Drake, and WR Damon Webb, and even 2015 QB Jay'ru Campbell all performed well at the Adidas Invitational.
  • There were several underclassmen that could develop into BCS-level prospects down the road: 2014 prospects QB Chance Stewart (Sturgis, MI), RB Devine Redding (Mineral Ridge, OH), WR Damon Webb (Detroit, MI Cass Tech), DE Malik McDowell, and RB Lorenzo Collins (Farmington Hills, MI Harrison) were named the best sophomores by camp organizers. 2015 quarterback Jay'ru Campbell led Detroit (MI) Cass Tech to a state title at the highest level of Michigan high school football as a freshman, and showed impressive touch and accuracy on his throws.
  • Berkley Edwards is a speedster out of Chelsea (MI) that performed well and recorded a camp-high, hand-timed 4.41 forty yard dash on grass. Braylon's younger brother doesn't have ideal size, but could do very well in a scatback role at the next level. Minnesota was the first BCS school to offer him a scholarship.

For more on Wolverines football, visit Michigan blog Maize 'n' Brew, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire and SB Nation Detroit.

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