We are halfway through the Rivals Camp Series with stops in Los Angeles, Miami, Charlotte and New Orleans in the books. Here is the All-RCS team at the midway point of the camp schedule.
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QUARTERBACK: Nico Iamaleava
The Long Beach (Calif.) Poly five-star quarterback and Tennessee commit messed up the date for the Rivals Camp in Los Angeles, so he showed up rushed, but it did not affect his performance at all. Iamaleava showed off his skills – like he has at every event – as he has great size and a phenomenal arm.
He had excellent accuracy that day and a charisma that receivers love as well. The five-star is smooth, capable and not only wants to perform at the highest level but also have fun doing it. Everything looks so natural in his game.
RUNNING BACK: Roderick Robinson, Daylan Smothers
Arguably the best running back in the series so far has been Smothers in Charlotte. He dominated one-on-ones and has the pass-catching skills of some of the nation’s top receivers. Nicknamed “Hollywood,” Smothers said when the lights come on he shines the most, and he was not only dominant in the one-on-one session but also in blocking linebackers to show off his physical ability.
Robinson is a bigger back at 6-foot-1 and 229 pounds, but the San Diego Lincoln standout showed off quickness to the edge and in the passing game during the Los Angeles camp. His bread and butter will be pounding the ball between the tackles, but at the Rivals Camp he showed his game has more versatility.
WIDE RECEIVER: Zachariah Branch, Deandre Moore
Branch is so dynamic and elusive throughout his routes and then with the ball in his hands that it’s almost unfair to ask one cornerback on an island to stay with him during one-on-one routes. The USC commit is too shifty and fast to be contained and he’s also stronger than one would expect, so corners cannot be physical with him at the line.
After watching more tape from the Los Angeles stop it was clear that Moore had a phenomenal day and deserves kudos. Back healthy after dealing with nagging injuries through his junior season, Moore is highly competitive, has an extra burst when needed and then catches everything thrown his way. USC, Louisville and others have interested him the most.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Jamall Franklin, Kam Pringle, Payton Kirkland, Eugene Brooks, Wilkin Formby
The biggest surprise of the offensive line group was Franklin, who weighed in at 379 pounds but moved so well, dominated one-on-ones and used his size, athleticism and physical nature to turn in an outstanding performance. Texas Tech is the only Power Five school to offer Franklin so far, and that’s incredible because he’s a really talented football player.
Pringle looked a year older and more physically mature at the Charlotte stop after last seeing him in the summer, and he had a great day as well. Kirkland was tops in Miami. Brooks is also huge, but he moved so well during one-on-ones that he was the best lineman in Los Angeles. Formby continues to be a standout left tackle who is so big and strong that the entire SEC, among other programs, are now pursuing him.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Jahkeem Stewart, Jamaal Jarrett, Xzavier McLeod, Dylan Stephenson
It’s hard to believe but the best overall defensive linemen at the early Rivals camps could have been Stewart, who has not even started high school yet. He is big, strong, technically sound and he was unstoppable in New Orleans. But it would be a close race, because Jarrett has developed so much over the last year and he’s just a powerful force up the middle.
Same goes for McLeod, who was a little more athletic but a little less powerful than Jarrett at the Charlotte event. Stephenson was the top defensive lineman in Miami, and he has nice length.
LINEBACKER: Ben Cutter, Gerral Blue Jr., Jordan Lockhart
Linebacker is a difficult position to evaluate on the camp circuit because a lot of physicality is taken away without pads on and we’re asking them to turn and run a lot, instead of coming down and playing near the line of scrimmage. It’s just the nature of the offseason for linebackers.
But Cutter impressed in Charlotte, Blue was the best in Miami and Lockhart looked good in Los Angeles. They played in space, they were tough against running backs in blocking drills and they generally stood out at those events.
DEFENSIVE BACK: Wardell Mack, Antonio Cotman Jr., Brayshon Williams, Fred Gaskin
There have been a bunch of standout defensive backs in the first four stops of the Rivals camps, but these four stood out most. Mack had a couple of interceptions during the New Orleans camp and has a great build. Cotman was excellent in Charlotte using his length and speed to his advantage.
Then, in Miami, Williams and Gaskin earned recognition. Gaskin was especially explosive, physical and timed the ball well – and only made the camp because his flight to a 7on7 tournament was canceled. Williams has learned from some talented players at Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson and is next at the school as a defensive back playmaker who reads plays very well.