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July 23, 2008
PAISLEY, Fla. ? In an event that was as loaded as the Football University Top Gun Showcase Camp, it's impossible to single out just 11 players for the Hot 11. That's why analysts Jeremy Crabtree, Barry Every and Jamie Newberg are breaking down the top 11 performers on offense and the top 11 performers on defense. Here are the top 11 on defense, listed in alphabetical order.
Top Gun Showcase Defense Hot 11
Vallejo (Calif.) Bethel
Anderson ran the fastest shuttle time in the camp at 4.09 seconds. Pair that with a 32-inch vertical leap and strong drill work, and he looks as if he could be ready to shake the sleeper tag that has kept him from earning any early offers. He's good enough to play for a lower-level Pac-10 team.
LB Jaydan Bird
Conway Springs (Kan.) High
Bird, an Oklahoma commitment, has the build you want for an inside linebacker. He's put together quite well, but still is lean enough to add more bulk and mass. He's also a great vocal leader, and was doing his best to challenge the other players around him to do better in drills. That type of leadership should make him a perfect fit for OU's defense. His passion for football is what truly sets Bird apart from many other players at his position.
Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely
The honor as the top defensive back in the camp has to go to Carter, a four-star prospect. He was the guy all the coaches talked about here. From reviewing his performance on the field, it's easy to see why. Carter always was around the ball, showed great awareness and was able to break up pass after pass with his long arms. He's also extremely fast and athletic enough to keep up with the quickest receivers.
ATH Patrick Hall
Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Hall was slightly dinged up and missed parts of Sunday and all of Monday's practices. But when he was healthy, he showed why insiders at USC consider him their top commitment so far. He's so silky smooth in coverage situations, and he challenged himself going up against the top receivers on almost every single rep. He made a few key plays in seven-on-seven drills, breaking on balls and breaking them up at the last minute. While we didn't get to see a 100 percent Patrick Hall, it was more than enough to prove he's one of the best players in the nation.
CB Gabe Lynn
Jenks (Okla.) High
In a camp dominated by the play of the offensive players, it's sometimes easy to overlook the steady guys. You know, the guys who always are around the football but don't do anything too flashy after they make the play to stand out? That describes Lynn perfectly. While a lot of the other guys hooted and hollered after making a play, Lynn would go back to the huddle and get ready to do the same thing all over again. He was coachable, showed great technique and broke on the ball really well. He showed that he is definitely one of the best defenders in the nation.
LB Larvez Mars
Apopka (Fla.) High
Mars has some of the quickest feet of anybody in the nation at linebacker. He always had a smile on his face and his lateral movement is superior to most linebackers in the country. There is no doubt he is slightly undersized and may actually be a hybrid safety-linebacker. But "Pooh Bear" has an extremely athletic lower body and room to grow up top.
LB/S Zeke Motta
Vero Beach (Fla.) High
Motta displayed good closing speed in drills with his great lateral movement and excellent ball skills. If he concentrated on playing linebacker in college, he has the frame and tools to be one of the best around. He has good height, muscular calves and is really cut. Somebody was calling him Brian Urlacher at the camp, and it's easy to see the comparison physically.
ATH Byron Moore
Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne
Moore, a USC commitment, came to the camp hoping to prove he is a five-star talent. Regardless of what happens in that department, Moore definitely impressed all weekend. Sunday, Moore made several big plays in seven-on-sevens, including a big interception that would have been an easy return for a touchdown. He did the same thing Monday. It's those ball-hawking skills that will make him an impact player in college.
CB Nigel Rios
Washington (D.C.) Woodson
When Randall Carroll said Rios was the toughest defensive back he went against in the camp, that spoke volumes. Rios is slight in stature and needs to add some strength and body mass. His height is right at that cut-off that college coaches like. His upper and lower bodies are proportionate; he just needs to add about 15 pounds. But with his ball-hawking skills, pure speed and coverage ability, somebody needs to give him a strong look.
Eagle Lake (Fla.) Lake Region
Robinson admitted he didn't have the best outing earlier this summer at the USC Rising Star Camp. Along with being injured, he just couldn't get in the flow. But Saturday and Sunday, he made big play after big play in drills and in one-on-one battles. He was the one guy who consistently was able to hang with both the physical and speedy backs in the camp.
Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer
Perry Williams, the defensive back coach at the camp and a former NFL player, thought Yarrington had the quickest feet in camp. While Yarrington was the smallest defender in the camp, he was physical and not afraid to play bump-and-run against the bigger receivers. If he can add some good mass over the next year, he could be one to keep an eye on, especially if he can be a threat on special teams.