Best of the Midwest Recap

Drake Jackson

The Best of the Midwest once again lived up to its name as there were many prospects who showed up in Indianapolis with offers and many others who showed they are worthy of them.

The wintery weather did not stop many of the Midwest top prospects from coming to Indianapolis for this years best of the Midwest combine.

One of the headliners was Madison Southern (Ky.) running back Damien Harris, a four-star junior who will challenge to be the top running back in the country on Scout. We all know Harris is fast and he proved that again by clocking in the 4.3s in his 40 yard dash. But he also showed grit, toughness and great technique when it came to the pass blocking drills. He took on some of the camp's most physical linebackers and won his reps. We also had a chance to see him catch the ball a little bit, something we had already known he could do from past events. He has shown time and time again that he is a complete all around back and did nothing to diminish his standing as our top prospect in the Midwest.

Challenging him in those pass rush drills was Dublin Scioto (Ohio) junior linebacker Nick Conner. Having seen him before on film, we wondered how he would do in a combine setting, but he showed he could run, change directions and excel in coverage. He has the frame and the build of a big-time prospect and it was easy to see why he has BCS offers, but we think he is definitely not done yet.

Another Ohio linebacker who had a good day was London Cloud. A very hard hitter on film, he was another who we weren't sure about in the combine setting as far as the format showcasing his strengths. But he did well in the pass rush drills, competed hard in coverage and put up some good times in the testing.

Like cloud, Glenville's Justice Hart is not a tall or lengthy linebacker. But he is compact and strong and competes hard in every drill. He and Conner would end up sharing co-MVP honors. Quentin Moon from Pike, who has a couple offers, is another linebacker who had good moments during the camp. Jango Glackin of Lebanon (Ohio) is a sophomore who ran really well and is one to watch for the future.

At quarterback, Decatur (Ind.) Central's Tommy Stevens is a kid who shows great athleticism on film, but we had not had a chance to watch him throw in person yet. Stevens had a good day throwing the football. He threw it well in drills and then dropped a beauty of a deep ball in during one on ones. With some schools considering him as an athlete, we wanted to see how he threw the ball and he did well with that today coming away with MVP honors. He still has to polish his mechanics and he has a lot of room on his frame to add weight and strength, but he's a kid who fits the mold of the new-age mobile quarterbacks schools like to see.

Right there with him were some younger prospects. Sophomore Clay Bolin followed in the footsteps of his older brother by having a good showing at this event. He spins the ball well, has some good zip on his passes and was accurate. He is 6-foot-1 right now and we will see how he grows over the next two years, but he has the look of a kid who will be highly recruited. Brownsburg (Ind.) freshman Hunter Johnson is a nice sized kid for how young he is and can put some velocity on his passes. He also did well throwing it on the move and is a kid to watch for the future. Wyandotte Roosevelt's Donovan Stewart had a nice day throwing to some of the receivers he is familiar with on his high school team. He is another kid to track as the spring and summer months approach. Charlotte (NC) Christian's Austin Kendall is another to watch for. He throws it well for a younger kid.

At wide receiver, class of 2016 prospect again had a nice showing at an off-season event. He is long, smooth, and catches the ball very effortlessly. He made a couple of tough grabs in traffic using his long arms to go up high. He just needs to keep filling out and continue to get faster but could be a future big-time prospect.

Cincinnati Moeller's Chase Pankey is a good athlete and a sure-handed receiver who we think will add more offers over the next few months. Hamilton Heights (Ind.) junior Grant Weatherford has had a nice couple of days and has put himself further on the radar. He is a good athlete with good strength and runs nice routes. He also catches the football very well and did that again today including one where he had a defender draped on his back.

Detroit Cass Tech's Demetric Vance is a good sized kid and had a nice showing, including one beautiful route where he left the defender standing still. He is another 2016 prospect to look for. We also like Indianapolis Pike's Rashad Medaris.

Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.) junior Kyle Schrank was the tight end MVP. He could be an H-back in college. He runs well and catches the football consistently. He also could project at outside linebacker at the next level but is certainly a kid colleges will be paying attention to.

On the offensive line, sophomore Drake Jackson, for the second year in a row, had an outstanding showing. He is a technician with a good base, good strength and technique and although he was playing center for the first time, did not lose any reps in one on ones. That was good for him as his college position is likely to be at center. Already the recipient of a Kentucky offer, we could see a lot more coming his way over the next two years.

Brownsburg (Ind.) senior Evan Mallory has great size and did well in the one on ones. He has big hands and a big frame, and is a naturally strong kid. When he was locking onto would-be pass rushers, it was tough for them to have much success. His future may be more inside, but he had success at right tackle today and that could be a spot some schools look at him for as well. Decatur Central's Trent Maynard is only a sophomore but already has an offer from Cincinnati. He has great size and although he was not able to get in a ton of reps in one on ones, looked good when we were able to see him take those. Ohio product Rob Dowdy looked much improved from when we saw him last summer. He's changed his body and had a good run during one on ones.

Lexington (Ky.) Catholic's Woodford Lankford is a freshman to look out for.

Some of the best competition for those offensive lineman came from Gahanna (Ohio) Lincoln's sophomore Jonathon Cooper. A long, well-built pass rush or who is starting to make more and more noise. DaVon Hamilton from Pickerington Central has a great first step and is explosive, but has very little experience playing on that side of the ball so he needs to keep working, but he has the tools to be a very intriguing prospect for schools over the next few months. Southport's Dondaycee Millbrook is a nice sized prospect with a motor. He plays hard and with intensity and actually looks to us like he could put on the weight necessary to move inside at the next level. He just has to keep working on his technique.

In the secondary, Nordonia's Denzel Ward ran a blazing 40 time and was offered by Cincinnati. He is not real tall (5'10) but has long arms and good athleticism and is a great all-around football player. The defensive backs MVP was Dior Johnson of Southfield, a very impressive looking prospect on the hoof who is very physical and shows good ability to make plays on the football.

Farmington (Mich.) sophomore Jakkar Jackson had a good day in drills and in the rep we saw of his in one on ones.

At running back, three sophomores to watch are Brownsburg (Ind.) product Toks Akinribade, Parma (Ohio) Holy Name's Shakif Seymour and South Lake (Mich.) standout Martell Pettaway. All three have good size and did well in pass blocking as well as drills.

Oak Park (Mich.) junior John Kelly, who has several offers, showed good explosion and route running ability.

For the second straight day, Canadian import Jonathan Sutherland was very impressive. We were very surprised to learn he is only a class of 2017 prospect. He has a chance to be a major national recruit.

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