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July 23, 2008
Top Gun Showcase: Final Offense Hot 11
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 offense, listed in alphabetical order.
Top Gun Showcase Offense Hot 11
RB Edwin Baker
Oak Park (Mich.) High
He was one of the most complete players in the three-day camp. Baker always was the first to arrive at player meetings and asked coaches several questions, showing he's a real student of the game. He's quick and built like a body-builder with biceps and calves that would make Hulk Hogan envious. He should be a great every-down back for Michigan State.
QB Tajh Boyd
Hampton (Va.) Phoebus
Even though he wasn't there on Monday, Boyd – a West Virginia commitment – did enough to show that he what it takes to be a high-level quarterback. Currently in California competing at the EA Sports Elite 11, Boyd was great in Florida. The always-smiling Boyd just oozes with confidence and charisma. Players rally around him and want to work harder when he's throwing the ball to them. It also doesn't hurt that he's able to put it on the money almost every time.
RB Bryce Brown
Wichita (Kan.) Wichita East
It's hard to use words to describe Brown – who has committed to Miami – when he has been a household name on the recruiting front for more than two years now. A bigger, thicker back, Brown is extremely quick for a 200-pounder. He also has some of the softest hands for a bigger guy and should easily be able to play at 225 pounds and still keep his elusiveness and power combination.
Los Angeles Cathedral
Carroll, who has committed to USC, battled Christine Michael for top-player honors. Carroll easily was the fastest player on the field, but that's nothing new - he's one of the top sprinters in California. But he's not a track guy playing football; he's a football player who loves to blow past defenders with his breakaway speed. He also showed good hands for a speed demon. He also showed off outstanding leaping ability, going up and getting the football like he was a power forward in basketball instead of a 5-11 receiver.
Inglewood (Calif.) High
Evans has the body of a player who's ready for college. Lean, trim and muscular, he had little problem battling corners who attempted to be physical with him. He also has long-enough arms to go up and get the football. While he's not a burner, he's plenty fast enough to get open, and his routes were some of the best in the camp. He probably was the most complete receiver in camp.
ATH Anthony Foster
Tulsa (Okla.) Union
Earning rave reviews from camp coaches, including receivers coach Andre Rison, Foster simply caught everything thrown in his direction. He also had his way with many of the nation's top defensive back prospects with his precision route-running and deceptive speed. He easily was the biggest surprise in the camp.
WR Bryce McNeal
McNeal spent most of the camp on the sideline with a tweaked hamstring, but when he was out there Saturday and Sunday, he showed more than enough to explain why he's ranked among the nation's elite receivers. A tall and athletic prospect, McNeal – a Michigan commitment – had some of the softest hands in the camp. He also ran crisp routes. He was having a heck of a camp before the injury, and Michigan fans should be excited about his progress.
Beaumont (Texas) West Brook
He received the most votes for the most impressive player in the camp. Michael glides effortlessly through bag drills, has great hands in the passing game and has great moves in the open field. Some of the stuff he did in one-on-ones is amazing. See for yourself video. He's also physically ready to play college football now.
Chesapeake (Va.) Western Branch
After struggling at earlier events in the spring and summer, Newsome – another Michigan commitment – brought his "A" game to the camp. He was making the right reads on progressions and nailing open receiver after open receiver. This was the prospect who had college coaches and recruiting fans drooling.
ATH Logan Thomas
Lynchburg (Va.) Brookville
Thomas might not look fast when he's lined up man-to-man against a cornerback, but when he gets going, he can blow past defensive backs with his long strides. He also carries his weight well and still is lean. When he fills out and hits the weight room, he should be able to develop into one of the most athletic tight ends around.
RB Cierre Wood
Santa Clara (Calif.) Oxnard
The nation's top running back prospect did nothing to disappoint in the camp. He fought hard through some nagging minor injuries and showed no signs of weaknesses. The way he explodes when he takes off is a sight to see, and when he gets in a weight program and fills into his great frame, he should be a deadly weapon in Notre Dame's offense.