TRENTON, N.J.- Talent from the state of Virginia, particularly the Tidewater area (a.k.a. Hampton Roads, a.k.a. the 757) was dominant at the National Underclassmen Five Star Showcase on Sunday at the Robbinsville Field House.
247Sports All-American safety Quin Blanding was one of the top overall prospects at the NUC Five Star Showcase on Sunday in Trenton, N.J.
Of the top 10 prospects at the event, six of the top 10 were from Virginia, including the top five. Four of those top five hailed from the Tidewater. What perhaps was even more intriguing is that the top two overall prospects at the event were from the Class of 2014, which has the chance to be one of the best (on paper) in Virginia history.
1. Andrew Brown, DE, Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River (Class of 2014)
Brown measured in at 6-foot-3, 285 pounds and looked the part of an elite athlete for his size during agility and position drills. He’s explosive and quick with his hands. During the one-on-ones, Brown was dominant. He rarely lost a rep, particularly in the early going, using a variety of moves to avoid being blocked. What stands out when you see Brown in person is the level of tenacity he approaches each rep with. A lot of times, guys have all the size and athletic gifts, but don’t have that different level of motivation that they can get to. Even though this was without pads, you can see it in Brown. The 247Sports All-American has the makings of a special, special prospect. It was no surprise that Brown was named the Defensive Line Most Valuable Player by the NUC coaches. Georgia Tech was Brown’s most recent unofficial visit and he remains impressed with the Yellow Jackets. Virginia Tech and Virginia are schools he is familiar with as well.
2. Quin Blanding, S, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside (Class of 2014)
Speaking of special prospects, Blanding is all that and more. He measured in at 6-foot-2, 192 pounds and looks like he could reach 6-3 before all is said and done. Blanding told us prior to the drills that he has been working on his footwork and change-of-direction. That was evident as he moved around like a prospect that could play cornerback at his size. Rarely did a receiver get open against him and the few times one got past him, he showed excellent recovery ability and a couple of times ended up breaking up the pass regardless. You combine this with what you see from the 247Sports All-American on film, and he’s potentially special, just like Brown. Blanding has seven offers, including Virginia and Virginia Tech. Most feel that the Cavaliers have the edge here early on. The NUC coaches named him the Defensive Back MVP for the event.
3. Taquan Mizzell, RB, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside
The NUC coaches named Mizzell, who goes by the nickname “Smoke”, the Overall MVP for the event and rightfully so- he dominated. Mizzell, the best 2013 prospect there, measured in at 5-foot-10, 181 pounds and during position drills, displayed outstanding footwork and quickness. When the one-on-ones took place, he could not be covered, due in large part to his ability to run routes (advanced for a running back) and breakaway speed. Mizzell is a four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 19 running back prospect according to 247Sports. On the recruiting front, he likes Virginia, but plans to take trips to several other programs prior to making a decision.
4. Holland Fisher, S/LB, Midlothian (Va.) Manchester
Fisher, the nation’s No. 9 outside linebacker prospect according to 247Sports, worked out at safety, the position he will get a shot at playing at Virginia Tech, where he committed on Feb. 18. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder matched up well athletically with some of the receivers he covered in one-on-one drills and is advanced enough physically to make an early impact in Blacksburg. We feel he’s simply going to outgrow safety if he gets a look there, but his upside is excellent at linebacker.
5. Corwin Cutler, QB, Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes
Cutler measured in at 6-foot-2.5, 185 pounds and impressed with his arm strength and quick release in passing drills. The three-star rated prospect according to 247Sports still is polishing his game, but it’s clear when you watch him on film and in this setting that the tools are there. Several programs are showing strong interest, including Virginia Tech and Virginia, and his first scholarship offer could be right around the corner. The NUC coaches named him the Leadership MVP of the event.
6. Jordan Page, OL, Pennington (N.J.) The Pennington School
Page has been one of the most intriguing offensive linemen in the state of New Jersey thus far this cycle, which is a good one for offensive linemen in the Garden State. The 6-foot-5, 285-pounder has not played a great deal of high school football, but had impressive film his junior year and backed that up in person on Sunday. He has an excellent frame for an offensive lineman, wide base and long arms, and has good body quickness. He was the only offensive lineman at the event that could get the best of Brown at times. On the recruiting front, Temple has offered, but others are showing increased attention.
7. Caleb Henderson, QB, Lake Braddock (Va.) (Class of 2014)
Virginia, Virginia Tech and Maryland all have offered Henderson, who measured in at 6-foot-2.5, 215 pounds and had several moments of brilliance in the one-on-one drills and the position drills. Henderson, who threw 31 touchdown passes his sophomore year at West Potomac (Va.) High, was named the Quarterback MVP by the NUC coaching staff and rightfully so given his strong arm, good size and desire to compete and lead. North Carolina, Clemson and a host of other programs have been showing interest (he plans to go to the Tar Heels’ spring game). It’s too early for a leader, but the Cavaliers have made an early good impression.
8. Buddy Brown, LB, Williamstown (N.J.)
Brown, a four-star prospect according to 247Sports, worked out at linebacker and did well in coverage for the most part. He keeps getting bigger nearly every time we see him and continues to show up at event after event and compete. While we certainly don’t hold it against prospects with long offer lists that don’t show up to events, we respect a kid like Brown, who really seems to be coming to these events to learn and improve athletically.
9. Jacob Simons, QB, Barrington (R.I.)
Simons, who has a confirmed 4.54-second 40-yard dash and excellent film, showed us he could throw the ball well in this setting during one-on-one and position work. The three-star prospect is a true sleeper who should start picking up multiple offers if he’s as impressive at summer college camps as he was on Sunday. Boston College and other programs have been showing some interest.
10. Kyle Queiro, WR/S, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic
Queiro projects best as a safety in college, but worked out receiver and showed us enough athletically, combined with his film and offer list, to enter the 247Sports rankings with an overall grade of 86, which is a mid three-star prospect. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder is a quick-twitch player that can move his feet and has excellent size. A host of programs, including Boston College, N.C. State, Cincinnati, Colorado, Northwestern and Rutgers have offered.
Here are the other MVP awards given out by the NUC coaches at the event.
Underclasman MVP: Robbie Walker
Running back MVP: Dontea Ayres, Salisbury (Md.) Wicomico
Wide Receiver MVP: James Harrell, Pomfret (Md.) McDonough
Offensive Line MVP: Darrion Locke, Potomac (Md.) Winston Churchill
Tight end MVP: Chris Burton, Danville (Va.) George Washington
Co-Linebacker MVPS: Nick Newman, Haymarket (Va.) Battlefield and Akil Shepard, Iona Prep (N.Y.)