BUFORD, Ga. — Don’t tell. Show.
That’s a basic reporting concept that carries over into distributing information along any medium. That’s why DawgNation culled together video from the final group of offensive line vs. defensive line clashes from Nike’s “The Opening” regional camp on Sunday for your viewing pleasure.
This was go get your popcorn stuff.
Who was in the pressure cooker? Let’s call the roll:
- 20018 South Gwinnett DT Robert Cooper
- 2017 Brunswick OT D’Antne Demery (major SEC target)
- 2017 Newberry (Fla) DL Cory Durden (FSU commit)
- 2017 Central Gwinnett OT Tony Gray (major SEC target)
- 2017 North Gwinnett DE Drew Jordan (major ACC target)
- 2017 Cedar Grove OG Netori Johnson (major SEC target)
- 2017 Mary Persons DE Malik Herring (major SEC target)
- 2017 Newberry (Fla.) DL Ja’len Parker (FSU commit)
- 2017 James Clemens (Ala.) DL LaBryan Ray (major SEC target and named the camp’s Top DL)
- 2018 Pace Academy OG Jamaree Salyer (major SEC target and named the camp’s Top OL)
- 2017 Cedar Grove OG Justin Shaffer (UGA commit)
- 2017 Pace Academy OT Andrew Thomas (major SEC target)
- 2017 Laney DT Tyrone Truesdell (major SEC target)
- 2019 Oxford (Ala.) OL Clay Webb (Already a Mississippi State offer)
You can see for yourself just how much better Demery has gotten. Or how Ray was the most impressive-looking defensive lineman in the camp in both the eyeball and the performance tests. Shaffer more than held his own and Thomas turned in a gritty performance before leaving with a shoulder injury. He even won one of his reps basically with one arm on Sunday afternoon.
Yet who was the man despite all of that? DawgNation’s vote goes to Salyer. Pace Academy coach (and former NFL vet) Chris Slade thinks the young man has Sunday potential written all over him. There’s no question about that.
The video interview above churns through the “Final 5” battles between the camp’s top performers. Each position — except left guard — went three rounds. That covers the “show” part.
But we also offer up a little show and tell by pulling aside 2016 Under Armour All-American E.J. Price to break down what he thought of Sunday’s trench battles. Price, who signed with Southern Cal as the nation’s No. 8 tackle, broke down the competition afterward.
The future Trojan named Demery as the top performer at his spot.
“His punch is nasty,” Price said. “He’s nasty and he’s got good footwork. His footwork is great, but his punch off the line is impressive. His punch just stood guys up and made them stand up real stiff.”
The four-star senior tackle named Pace Academy’s Salyer as his top overall offensive lineman at the camp.
“I like his punch and his footwork,” he said. “When they did the final five he had a couple rounds where I felt he could have done a lot better but he still did well then. But from the beginning, he was one of the most consistent guys I saw all day with his punch, his technique and his great footwork. He really had it all. For overall, he was excellent.”
His biggest surprise was Oxford (Ala.) lineman Clay Webb. Webb is a tackle, but he made the final group because he also worked at center.
“He was very consistent as well,” Price said. “Especially to be a freshman. He doesn’t have that punch that other guys have, but he held his ground. He’s better than any other freshman around. If he doesn’t make ‘The Opening’ next year he is definitely going to go as a junior. I can’t imagine a freshman center mixing it up with these older guys and doing any better than he did.”
Price named a major UGA target as one of his top defensive linemen.
“Malik Herring really was one of the most impresive guys here,” he said. “He has it all. He has the bull rush and he has the spin move. He can hit you with the swim move. He can do whatever. I was definitely impressed by him, his moves and intensity and just his overall real good technique. Drew Jordan also impressed me a lot from North Gwinnett. He’s strong, but he is fast as well. He can really beat you to the outside but also get you with his great inside move. He can cause a tackle to over set because they are so paranoid about them beating them to the outside and then he will rip back inside and mess you up.”
He was also impressed by James Clemens (Ala.) defensive lineman LaBryan Ray.
“I didn’t see all of his reps,” Price said. “I only missed a couple but the reps I did see he really dominated his opponent. He hit a couple of guys with a bull rush. I don’t know if that is allowed in these camps, but it is definitely allowed in the games.”
North Gwinnett’s Drew Jordan was his overall lineman MVP of the camp. Price feels the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder is vastly underrated. Jordan’s offer list includes Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.
“He was the most consistent lineman out here today,” Price said. “Jamaree has a lot of power but has a few things to still work on as a sophomore. But I feel like Drew has a complete game. He was very consistent and I don’t think I ever saw him lose a rep.”
Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and 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.