The third hot spot for 7-on-7 summer football across the state took place on Saturday at Central Gwinnett. UGA hosted its own Mark Richt 7-on-7 tournaments on Thursday and Friday. Central Gwinnett’s team camp didn’t match that level of talent on display, but it was still a good crop of players nonetheless. It was a hot day that didn’t let up. Westlake met North Gwinnett in the finals late Saturday afternoon.
TOP PLAYERS ON HAND AT SATURDAY’S 7-on-7 TEAM CAMP AT CENTRAL GWINNETT
1. 2016 WR Josh Imatorbhebhe, North Gwinnett: North Gwinnett was also competing in Athens on Friday. Imatorbhebhe fared very well under the watchful eye of the UGA coaching staff, but he wasn’t as his best for long on Saturday. He put his share of touchdowns on the board early before a slight ankle sprain made him one of the most athletic spectators in attendance.
The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder is rated by 247sports as a four-star prospect and the No. 34 receiver in the nation for 2016. Imatorbhebhe committed to Southern Cal on May 18 and he told the AJC on Saturday he was still “100 percent committed” to that program.
2. 2016 DB Monquavion Brinson, Mays: Brinson also performed well at the UGA camp in Athens and carried that good work over to Lawrenceville on Saturday. He’s a big Georgia target that might have an offer by “Dawg Night” if he doesn’t already have one. He’s close to getting an offer from UGA and it couldn’t be fully verified over the weekend if he did indeed receive one from defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on Friday in Athens.
247sports rates him as a three-star recruit and the No.57 cornerback prospect in the nation for 2016. His best offer to this point is from Kentucky. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder was very good on Saturday for a Mays defense that was short-handed and inconsistent at times. He’s physical with good hips and can go get the ball. He looked very fluid shadowing receivers on Saturday.
3. 2017 DE/LB Jaden Hunter, Westlake: The 6-foot-3, 212-pounder is a big-time Alabama target. The feeling is mutual as he told the AJC that the Crimson Tide had separated from the pack of a long list of suitors for his services in college. 247sports reported he almost committed to Alabama earlier this month.
Hunter’s best skills are as a pass rusher, but he looked like an athlete in the 7-on-7 format on Saturday. Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Nebraska and Tennessee have all also reportedly offered scholarships.
His length and athleticism was evident in space on Saturday and he moved even better than his reported 4.6 time in the 40-yard dash. Especially for a hybrid defensive end-linebacker who can squat 425 pounds in the weight room. 247sports rates him as a four-start recruit and the No. 10 OLB in the nation for the Class of 2017.
4. 2018 DE/LB Justin Mascoll, South Gwinnett: Mascoll was another prized pupil from the UGA camp earlier in the week. He got special attention from the UGA coaches and he’s a candidate to be the top player in the state for the Class of 2018. The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder hustles despite all those laurels.
A thorough film review of his 7-on-7 work and his freshman season would find very few loafs. Its almost easier to list the big-time programs in the Southeast that haven’t already offered the rising sophomore at this point. Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami (Fla.) and South Carolina have all reportedly already dangled scholarship offers.
5. 2016 ATH Ronnie Blackmon, Westlake: Pick an adjective: Busy Dynamic. Electric. Tired.
Each of those would have applied to Blackmon on Saturday. He was stretching the field vertically on offense and closing down on receivers at cornerback. His number was called often on shallow routes and he made a few dynamic moves in space. The 5-foot-10, 174-pounder has close to 25 college offers. Colorado, Iowa and West Virginia are the biggest programs that have targeted him so far.
6. 2017 WR Jacoby Burrell, Norcross: This guy is on the list for his situation as much as skill and the plays he made on Saturday. Burrell was thrust into a bigger role after expected 2015 season standout Jared Simpkins went down with what seemed like a very serious knee injury at the UGA camp in Athens on Thursday.
Burrell looked up to the part on Saturday. The 5–foot-9, 180-pound receiver has a reported 4.5 time in the 40-yard dash and showed that type of speed at Central Gwinnett.
7. 2017 WR K.J. Hancock, North Gwinnett: Hancock built upon the solid performances he turned in at UGA earlier in the week with another good day. His name was mentioned as one of the top players at the event by four other coaches at the event.
Bob Sphire’s team will be young this fall, but the tandem of Imatorbhebhe and Hancock will make sure the throw game moves the chains. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is rated as a two-star prospect by 247sports, but he surely played better than that at two 7-on-7 camps on back-to-back days. His best offer to this point is Miami (OH) but look for that list to grow over the summer.
8. 2018 RB Christian Malloy, South Gwinnett: The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Malloy will just be a sophomore this fall. That didn’t stop him from being named Gwinnett County Player of the Year several times last season. He did nothing on Saturday to suggest that the trend will not continue in 2016 and 2017.
He’s got the type of breakaway speed that eliminates pursuit angles.
9. 2017 OLB Tyler Taylor, Lanier: Lanier had a pair of quality linebackers from the Class of 2017 to get a good look at on Saturday. Taylor looked like the better of the two in coverage and that makes sense as he lined up on the outside. He’s almost 6-foot-3 in height and weighs right around 220 pounds already. He aims to be an engineer one day and he’s been targeted by Georgia Tech and Wake Forest to this point.
10. 2016 MLB Robert Snyder, Collins Hill: Middle linebackers rarely get much love in 7-on-7s because the format basically takes away everything they are good at and hands every advantage to the shifty guys on offense. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Snyder held up well throughout the day and gave a good showing.
His best college options right now are Iowa, N.C. State and Virginia. He’s a smart football player and that’s also why he’s gotten significant recruiting attention from the Ivy Leagues, too.
ALSO WORTHY OF A MENTION: 2017 DB/RB Brashaun Askew, Dunwoody; 2016 ATH Ashton Barnes, Lanier; 2019 WR Jordan Battles, Dunwoody; 2019 MLB Kameron Brown, Lanier; 2016 CB/WR Ronnie Blackmon; 2016 DB Jarrett Cole, Norcross; 2017 QB Drew Dinsmore, Collins Hill; 2016 WR Jamauri Elliot, Mays; 2017 WR Josh Horn, North Gwinnett; 2017 WR Dez Howard, Collins Hill; 2017 FS Ferlando Jordan, Mays; 2017 MLB Juwuan Jones, Lanier; 2017 QB Baron Radcliff, Norcross; 2017 WR Corey Reed, Mays; 2017 LB Malik Robinson, South Gwinnett; 2017 ATH Elijah Shaw, South Gwinnett; 2017 CB A.J. Terrell, Westlake.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.