We’ll be providing updates all week from the 2011 Junior Bowl, which features 90 of the top college football prospects that are high school juniors from across the state of Georgia. Friday’s game will be played at 7 p.m. at Grady High School and televised on ESPN3.com
Every year at the Junior Bowl, there are unknown players who “come out of nowhere” to register on the recruiting radar after outstanding performances in practice against blue-chip prospects who already boast early scholarship offers.
Last year, it was Raphael Kirby who was “discovered” at the Junior Bowl. Kirby didn’t have any scholarship offers at the time but turned heads with his stellar play at linebacker. Word quickly spread about Kirby, the Stephenson High School standout who later committed to Miami out of his eventual 38 scholarship offers.
A leading candidate for this year’s biggest discovery is Milton High School’s Carl Lawson, who dominated Tuesday’s practices at defensive end. He has no early offers, and was not an automatic selection for the game but won over RisingSeniors.com co-founder Joe Burns when he attended a Milton game this past season. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder proved worthy of the selection during Tuesday’s practices.
We’d have to name Lawson the overall MVP from Tuesday’s sessions. “He had a great day; he’s explosive and has great hands – he showed everything in his arsenal that he needed to show,” said Rusty Mansell, National Recruiting Analyst for 247Sports. “I think he can play defensive end in a 4-3 defense. He’s strong and he’s got every move … I’ve heard a lot of people talk about him. After seeing him today, I think he’s going to be getting some offers soon.”
We broke down Tuesday’s practice of the East squad:
East Defensive, MVP – Carl Lawson, DE, Milton High School
East Defense, Biggest surprise – Nigel Bowden, the 6-foot-2, 226-pound linebacker from Central Macon. “It was amazing how fast he runs at 225 pounds,” Mansell said. “He covered the field from sideline-to-sideline with a lot of speed. That’s what you want out of a linebacker. He plays with good instincts.” Bowden, who has a 4.0 GPA, has an early offer from Vanderbilt.
East Offense, MVP — Alvin Kamara, RB, Norcross High School: “He can fly. He’s so fast, and can catch the ball. He’s fluid, and everything looks easy to him. He’s got the tools you want to see at running back.” The 5-foot-9, 165-pounder has an early offer from Syracuse.
East Offense, Biggest surprise – JP Vonashek, the 6-6, 265-pounder who recently transferred from Glynn Academy to Camden County. He has no early offers. “I didn’t really know much about him but he’s definitely a high-level D1 prospect,” Mansell said. “He’s tall with a great frame. He has a great punch when he’s blocking and moves well with his feet. He can pass block, run block, and has a great knee bend for being that tall.”
To read Mansell’s scouting report, please go here
For rosters for both teams, go here
Check back on Wednesday for a report on the West.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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