Some of the top high school football talent in Georgia was on display at LakePoint Wednesday as coaches from colleges across the country put them through their paces at the LakePoint Football Showcase.
Class of 2018 top recruit Trevor Lawrence was there. So was Georgia head coach Kirby Smart.
“There was a lot of talent. It was a good crop,” said former Cartersville player and current Jacksonville State assistant T.J. Barden. “They got to perform in front of a lot of good coaches. So that was exciting and it’s exciting that it got to take place in Cartersville, so that was fun.”
The showcase was a satellite camp, a type of event recently legalized by the NCAA in which college coaches can travel and serve as guest coaches at camps, thereby getting around the rules that typically require them to only host camps within 50 miles of their campus.
The opportunity to see most of North Georgia’s best players in one place was too much to resist for several coaching staffs.
Aside from Smart, coaches from Georgia Tech, Colorado State, Iowa and other schools were also in attendance.
“We already have deep connections in this state because of our coach, [former Georgia offensive coordinator] Mike Bobo, so we’re trying to see as many kids as we can,” said Colorado State’s director of player personnel Jeff Martzen. “We recruit nationwide, so it’s just an extra opportunity to evaluate some kids and see what they’ve got going on.”
Martzen praised the level of talent at the camp, which was a common theme among coaches.
“There’s plenty of talent to be found. We’ll get one or two players from a camp like this,” said Georgia Southern’s John Douglas.
Coaches broke the almost 220 players at the camp up into position groups and ran them through position-specific drills. Wide receivers and defensive backs battled on one field, while linemen went at it on another.
“It was smooth ... I thought the kids competed well and got enough reps,” Cartersville head coach Joey King said. “The college coaches seemed to enjoy it, so I’d say the camp as a whole was definitely a success.”
The camp was set up by the coaching staff at Cartersville High School, and local players were very well represented. Cartersville led the way with 19 players at the camp, including 5-star quarterback recruit Lawrence, who said that he was likely to make his college decision within the next month. The top-rated recruit in the class of 2018 will be deciding between Georgia, Florida, Clemson and Tennessee.
The recruiting whirlwind has not interrupted Lawrence’s focus on winning his second straight state championship in the fall.
“It’s not been too bad, you just have to kind of separate [them],” Lawrence said. “When you’re at practice or whatever you forget about recruiting and you gotta be with your team and then weekends and time like that is when to go out and do your visits and get your recruiting stuff done.”
Adairsville had 10 players at the camp, while Cass had eight and Woodland had six.
Cartersville’s Kaleb Chatmon tied for the fastest 40-yard dash recorded at the camp with a 4.51, while Cass’s Lazion West was just behind him at 4.59.
“It’s a learning experience. You can learn a lot,” West said. “[Having college coaches there], it was a lot different. It was hard. They were pushing us to make sure we were perfect. I loved it, though. I really enjoyed it.”
Cartersville’s Sean Holton, Brandon Wade, Xavior Coaxum, Avery Showell and Trey Creamer were selected for “best-on-best” drills at the end of the camp, which involved the coaches selecting five standouts from each position group and having them battle. Those drills ended with Wade putting a savage spin move on an offensive lineman, leading to ooh’s and ahh’s from the gathered crowd.
Just after that, the rain started coming down, but the players and coaches scrambling to their cars didn’t seem to mind.
“I work the recruiting camps at JSU a lot and it was very similar,” said Barden. “It was well put together and it was executed well and it was fun. It is great that a lot of these young men got good exposure.”
Local players at LP Football ShowcaseADAIRSVILLEMaddox Teems Jr., OL Roger Redd Sr., QBColin McNeil Jr., WRJonah Cline Jr., OLJosh Honea Jr., KBryce Burgess Jr., RB/DBDakota Hughes Jr., LBChad Lowery Sr., WR/DBDevon Isaac Sr., DL/LBJeb Simerly Sr., OL
CARTERSVILLEColton Johnson So., DLDarian Poellnitz Jr., DLTrevor Lawrence Jr., QBSean Holton Sr., LBTrevor Lowe Sr., TE/LBBradley Kirk Jr, WR, DBMatthew Surrett Fr., OLJonathan Cruz, Jr., K/PDalen Curtis Sr., OL/DLTee Webb Fr., QBAntoine Jefferson Sr., WRXavior Coaxum Sr., DBJonah Gambill Fr.Trey Creamer Sr., RB/DBCarson Murray Jr., LBAvery Showell Sr., DB/WRBrandon Wade Sr., DLKaleb Chatmon So., WR/DBNyvin Nelson Jr., LB
CASSTripp Breeden Jr., LBSeven Richards Jr., OL/DLEathan Mitchell So., LBMalik Grimes So., WRLaizon West Sr., WRTerry Berdin Jr., RBDerrick Maxwell Sr., RBMacland Shay Jr., DB
WOODLANDKurtis Feanny Jr., DLEricson Mosley So., OLJosiah Mosley So., RBDustin McElwee Sr., OLCarter Crump Sr., OL/DLDylan Forman So., DE/TE
—The Daily Tribune News Sports Editor Jason Greenberg contributed to his report.