We begin to put some of the finishing touches on the e7 Summer camp from Land O’Lakes this past Sunday by discussing some of the guys that could really be productive players at their positions come this fall and beyond. The following is a list of players that (for the most part) have some years left to develop and we feel are in pretty good shape if they can work on a few of these things. Their foundations are solid, now they just have to keep building the walls and support beams (skill sets) for their future.
WR – Jacquez Jones, Clearwater (5-10,153) -2017:
Project: Explosion at the line of scrimmage…
Jones appeared in nine games for the Tornadoes last season and put up some pretty good numbers as a sophomore with over 500 yards of offense, four touchdowns and even 17 tackles on defense. His future home is at the wideout position and his calling card is the ability to be a showstopper in the yards-after-catch department. At 12 yards-per-carry in the running game and 19 yards-per-reception in the passing game as an average every time he touched the ball that show-stopping ability is evident. It’s the explosion at the line of scrimmage we feel could help him not have to work so hard following the catch and could increase his production exponentially. The one thing Jones will want to avoid his running 30 yards just to gain three if he can help it. Those chunk plays are nice, but strange things can also happen when switching the field and trying to take it to the house every time you touch it. Still, big things await this young man as long as he keeps moving in the direction he is doing so at the moment.
OT – Sam Jackson, Lakewood Ranch (6-6,345) -2017:
Project: Footwork…make sure the first step is the right step…
Jackson is impressive in his size even though he’s just a 2017 prospect and on film you can see he’s being asked to do the things that players at his position that want to make it to the next level must master in order to see the field. He shows that he’s not stiff by any means and his technique is definitely serviceable, but Jackson has to work on making sure the first step out of his stance is the correct one which will allow him to use his size and strength much more to his advantage. For now, quicker defenders can maneuver past him if he gets his weight going to one side and cannot recover in time. It may sound like he’s got light years of work ahead, but on the contrary. Repetition and constant speed drills with his feet should help him come along nicely in the future because as you can tell he’s definitely got the frame that coaches will be looking for.
WR – Nata Rodriguez, Zephyrhills Christian Academy (5-7,155) -2016:
Project: Separation…creating space from defenders
When it comes to being an undersized WR, the key will always be to use any leverage you can to win the competitive catch situations. Rodriguez does a pretty good job of getting the ball at the point of attack and will surprise defenders with his strength if they try to jam at the line of scrimmage. Rodriguez won’t always be able to lean on that strength in close quarters as DB’s become bigger and will have to work on getting detached from his man quicker. His reactive athleticism is pretty good which will always count for something, but we feel if the emphasis is on beating the man as quickly as possible instead of inviting the coverage the doors could swing “wide open” for his success.
DL – Jaaron Jackson, Kathleen (6-1,202) -2018:
This young man shows flashes in his technique and his motor already. His willingness to learn and his attitude towards the game in general make him a potential sponge when it comes to putting the knowledge of the position into his head. That’s a frame you can most certainly work with at that age, but if he wants to get on the express train to success then perhaps working on his anticipation at this point might be the quickest to his punch his ticket. The physicality and even some of the advance technique was flashed on Sunday, now it’s time to get the offensive lineman guessing and really starting to sharpen the skill of beating them to the quarterback while saving all that movement and strength to put the signal-caller into the dirt.
LB – Tyler Pollard, Crystal River (5-11,190) -2017:
Project: Pass dropping/coverage…
Pollard shows solid potential at the position and posted some pretty good numbers as a sophomore for the Pirates. He carried the ball 71 times for 439 yards and four touchdowns last season, but racked up almost 100 tackles from his linebacker position. So we know that he can hit and play the position from an old-school standpoint mixing it up and making sure his presence is felt in the run game, but we’d like to see him work on his pass dropping abilities and try to get those interception totals up as well. Adding this dimension to his game would make him a pretty solid prospect in our opinion.