- Dec 7, 2020
Colin Hurley the 13 year old phenom did make it to the Final 7 of top QB of the camp as well!As one of the best camps on the circuit in terms of elite talent, the Rivals Miami Camp has been bringing together the best of the best in South Florida to compete on the gridiron for years now.
And the 2021 version of the camp did not disappoint: over 200 of the area’s best prospects again came out to show their stuff versus the cream of the crop this past Sunday and earn an all-expense paid invite out to Atlanta to compete in the Rivals 5-Star Challenge over the summer.
With the 2021 class wrapped up and in the books, of course the focus of the camp was the rising seniors of 2022, but others in the 2023 class made a name for themselves as well.
Keep in mind, there is always a lot going on at once, so it is impossible to see everybody compete at all times. But for my money, here are my top performers from the 2021 Rivals Miami Camp with additional notes coming out of the event.
Class of 2022
RB Jaziun Patterson, Deerfield Beach, FL (Deerfield Beach)
Patterson was all over the field making plays, as both DB’s and linebackers had trouble sticking with him in 1-on-1’s. Patterson has deceptive speed: He’s not a 0-60 speedster with elite burst, as Patterson is more of a built-up acceleration guy in that it takes him longer to get to his top-end gear, but the end result was the still the same on Sunday. He pulled away from defenders when it seemed they had him covered initially, while also demonstrating strong pass catching instincts; on one impressive rep which was a deep ball into the corner of the endzone, Patterson was able to out-position his opponent and high point the ball to secure the TD.
WR Jalen Rogers, Miami, FL (Miami Northwestern)
Rogers won every rep I saw him take, and the amount of separation he was getting on some reps was jaw-dropping. He got behind the defense the most out of any receiver on the day, his burst is just on another level than everyone else on the field, and the explosion he showed coming out of his breaks was plain fun to watch. He also showed the ability to make ankle-breaking cuts on a dime with extreme suddenness and then quickly accelerate towards open grass, plus demonstrated great concentration and body control to make a diving catch in the back of the endzone on one rep. Like most high school prospects ticketed for the slot, he will need to put on more size to hold up at the next level, but the talent is there to mold a dynamic weapon in the right offense.
OT Julian Armella, Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas)
Earlier in the offseason, Armella was simply good at Under Armour Miami while showing off a slimmed down frame that sometimes left him vulnerable to power rushers. While the DL group wasn’t quite as accomplished at Rivals Miami this weekend, Armella did demonstrate he was much more comfortable in adjusting to his new body, fine-tuning his technique to keep his balance more often and avoid the over-extension problems that have gotten him into trouble in the past. The end result again showed just how high Armella’s ceiling can be when he is firing on all cylinders, as speed rushers had a difficult time getting around him with his quick feet and length, while he stymied power rushers with great initial punch, body positioning, and leverage. His ability to finish reps was still on display as well, as he buried a few opponents into the dirt.
DE Mario Eugenio, Clearwater, FL (Gaither)
Eugenio continued his strong offseason on Sunday, winning as many reps as anybody in part by utilizing a fierce outside-inside move to set up offensive linemen to the outside before bursting past them on the inside. His quick first step was devastating at times and allowed him to get by some opponents before they could even really get out of their stance. While he is a little on the shorter side, the pure production Eugenio is bringing to the table right now cannot be denied.
LB Terrell Foster, Bradenton, FL (IMG Academy)
Foster was one of the more intriguing prospects at the event as someone who hasn’t gotten much attention from colleges to this point, but that could soon be changing. Foster smothered pretty much every RB he went up against in coverage and demonstrated safety-like ball skills, showing great body positioning and awareness when the ball was in the air. He pairs very good speed with natural strength that allows him to reroute receivers and give them fits in coverage.
LB Travious Lathan, Miami, FL (Gulliver Prep)
While Foster came away with LB MVP honors, I thought Lathan had a case for the award as well. He imposed his will on his opponents, using his sheer physicality and great length to shut down most everything that came his way. My only critique is that sometimes he can be too aggressive, which led to some obvious pass interference/holding penalties that probably kept him from winning LB MVP. For the most part, though, he allowed almost no room for any of his opponents to work, and even when he did, he showed the quickness to close gaps immediately and bat away passes.
Class of 2023
WR Brandon Inniss, Fort Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage)
Inniss continued his brilliance on the camp circuit this offseason and was dominant again on Sunday, winning WR MVP at the event. He toyed with most everyone he went up against, using quick bursts of agility to create massive separation in seemingly tight windows, while also setting up DB’s with his route running ability. Inniss still finds new ways to impress as well; on one tightly contested rep, it looked like he might get beat after a great initial jam by the DB that seemed to take Inniss out of his rhythm momentarily. Instead, he quickly recovered, was able to create the tiniest window of separation on a crossing route, and made the catch falling down with the DB draped all over him and fighting him for possession to the ground. The kid is just special.
OT Monroe Freeling, Mount Pleasant, SC (Oceanside Collegiate Academy)
Freeling had the most impressive frame of any lineman at the event, so it was surprising to learn he was an underclassman. He carries almost no bad weight on his legit 6’6” 270-pound frame and looks more like a jumbo tight end out there (think Michael McLaughlin), which allows him the foot speed to get out of his stance quickly and cut off rushers trying to beat him to the edge. While he still needs to add more size and improve on some of the fundamentals at the position (hand placement, leverage) to better handle power rushers, Freeling is no doubt an exciting OL prospect with all the tools to become an elite tackle.
OG TJ Shanahan, Orlando, FL (Timber Creek)
The only disappointing aspect about Shanahan was his frame; he was shorter than expected after being listed as a 6’5” 300-pound tackle when UM offered him last year. He is closer to 6’3” (same height as Eugenio when standing next to him) and has a stockier build with some bad weight. So while he is more of a guard prospect at the next level in my mind, he still had an incredibly impressive day even while mostly playing on the edge. He plays with the nastiness and aggression that you just can’t coach and love to see from OL prospects, mixing it up with D-Linemen after plays and talking trash most of the day. He is very much an “attacking” OL prospect in that he fires off the ball with great power, and he is very active with his hands in looking to pummel his opponent into submission instead of simply trying to battle to a stalemate.
DE Rueben Bain, Miami, FL (Miami Central)
Watching Bain on Sunday gave me flashbacks to watching Elijah Roberts at this same event two years back, as the two share similar builds and the ability to make plays both inside and outside, although Bain is slightly quicker at this same stage. Despite many pegging him for an eventual move to defensive tackle, Bain shows enough speed to stick on the edge at end, brandishing the quick feet and change of direction needed to knife around opponents. He’s very active in using his hands to create openings, as his rip and swim move is very polished, and he also looked extremely strong in his bull-rush.
CB Makari Vickers, Tallahassee, FL (John Paul Catholic II)
Purely from a size-speed perspective, there might not have been a more impressive prospect than Vickers in attendance at the event. From his backpedal to his hip flip to his straight-line speed, Vickers has very little wasted motion and possesses the type of smooth athleticism that makes plays of high difficulty appear effortless. He showed he’s not just a physical marvel, though, as he translated his traits into many pass breakups on his way to DB MVP honors. With Vickers’ speed and length, receivers simply struggled to separate from him most of the day. Vickers also used the opportunity while in South Florida to show himself around UM's campus.
S Kylin Jackson, Jackson, LA (Zachary)
What really stands out about Jackson is his size for a DB, as he is well-built and a legit 6’1”-6”2 prospect that moves very fluidly with it. He had an overall strong day and matched up well with all the top receivers. I liked how well he was able to turn his head and locate the ball in the air without sacrificing his body positioning to go make a play, and he was aggressive in fighting back through receivers to knock away passes.
**Now with a few offseason events under my belt, my initial impressions on the 2022 and 2023 classes remain largely intact in that 2023 appears to be the deeper and higher potential class. While there’s no doubt that 2022 has some talented players, the overall deficiencies at the offensive skill positions and at DB sour the mood when evaluating the class as a whole. There just seems to be many more prospects in 2023 that possess the rare and exciting physical traits conducive to elite play at the next level.
**After talking with a few spectators that were there on Saturday for the combine portion of the event, it was clear 2024 Stranahan (FL) RB Tovani Mizell was the story of the day. Measuring in at 6’0” 191 pounds, Mizell drew rave reviews from onlookers after clocking a 4.3 40-yard dash at the event, a 4.2 short shuttle, and posting a 35.50 inch vertical. Miami is already in touch with Mizell.
**Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs helped out at the event as an assistant coach.
**St. Thomas (FL) OL Julian Armella maintains his top 7 of LSU, Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Florida State, and Clemson, along with the local Miami Hurricanes. Armella has set his first official visit of the process, which will be to LSU on June 5th, and he confirmed that he does not currently plan to take an official to Miami due to the proximity of the campus to his home. Armella sees the UM program as having made strides under HC Manny Diaz and says that he is feeling a strong connection with OL coach Garin Justice thus far. Armella says he plans to continue the recruiting process into the winter and commit somewhere at the end of his senior season on ESPN or at an All-Star event. He announced his transfer back to St. Thomas from Columbus for his senior season shortly after the event.
**Stranahan (FL) LB Omar Graham maintains his top 7 of Miami, FSU, Oregon, Michigan, Penn State, Auburn, and UCF. He mentioned his dad’s favorite school is the Hurricanes and that he will visit UM on June 1st unofficially when the dead period opens up, and then follow that up with an official on June 4th weekend. FSU (June 11th), Penn State (June 18th), Auburn (June 25th), and Michigan (unknown) round out his updated official visit schedule. Graham is looking to have a decision in place by late June or early July ahead of his senior season.