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March 22, 2014
Rivals Camp Series Orlando - Five things we learned
Byron Cowart is a beast
Seffner Armwood DE Byron Cowart dominated from the moment he arrived at Oviedo High School. Cowart - in business-like fashion - dominated from the left and right defensive end. He was - to put it bluntly - unstoppable.
His physical speed and strength were impressive. There was no one - and we mean no one - that was able to consistently stay with him either on the inside move or the outside move. In fact, the Rivals five-star started coaching the other defensive linemen - including fellow five-star CeCe Jefferson as to his technique.
His speed is perhaps the biggest factor - as his first step is one that will make him very difficult to block against any high school tackle.
Cowart has the tools to go to M&T Field in Baltimore and participate in the Rivals Five Star Challenge and dominate.
Derwin James is everything we thought he was
The Florida State commit made an impact on both sides of the ball - as a true "Athlete". He was a lock-down defensive back on one side and showed his talents as a running back and wide receiver. Finding a way to use this weapon is something Haines City will focus on this season.
He was very explosive off the ball. He out-ran everyone at the wide receiver position - often being wide open because no defensive back could stay with him. As a DB - he was completely dominant and physical.
James won MVP honors and deservedly so.
Deon Cain is special as a wide receiver
Cain, a Rivals four-star ATH from Tampa Bay Tech, participated as a wide receiver by his choice - and we think he made the right choice.
He looked very good in all of his drills and ran very clean routes. He made very physical catches and out-jumped defensive backs.
He looked very comfortable and very natural at wide receiver - a position he is very likely to play on the next level.
There are a lot of good offensive linemen in 2016 class
It's not a sexy position, but without an offensive line, nothing happens on the football field.
The guys up front often need more time to develop good footwork and sinking their hips - but the future big eaters impressed us.
RayRay McCloud III at slot is a mis-match
McCloud, another 'Athlete' according to Rivals.com. At the slot position, he's flat-out explosive.
Putting McCloud, who is quick and fast and has very soft hands - in the slot - makes him a mismatch for outside linebackers. Because he's in the slot, it poses a problem for defenses to put your best defensive back on him.
McCloud has progressed tremendously from last year where he was a raw talent. The fact that he's coming off an injury says a lot. We did not see one time where he didn't beat his man in 1-on-1's.
There is DeAndre - and then everyone else
Until proven otherwise, De'Andre Johnson a Rivals four-star QB from Jacksonville First Coast is the best in the state.
Who is number two is up for debate.
Point in case, Johnson and Tampa Jesuit quarterback Trent Wessel came in to the Camp Series on very different paths. Johnson - a Florida State commit - showed why he is considered one of the best in the country.
Wessel, who is flying under the radar, showed us that he can make a lot of the same throws and has the potential to be a FBS QB.
Johnson is clearly ahead of the curve - and has had three years as a starter to develop. The race for the number-two quarterback in the state is wide-open.
Flying off the handle
It is often amazing at how many athletes come to combines or camps out of shape or not ready. This hurts you both physically and in evaluations.
If you commit to an event - take the time to begin training for the event and get yourself into shape. You often only get one chance to impress analysts in person. Take the time to hone your skills and come ready to compete.