June 27, 2008

A talented field at Darlington

A lot of talent showed up at Darlington on Friday for their fifth annual 7-on-7 tournament. It is a chance for coaches to work on executing offenses and defenses, it helps the players to bond with one another, and it is a chance for the athletes to showcase their talent. 16 schools showed up and a number of talented prospects were on hand.

GALLERY: Darlington 7-on-7 Tournament

A strong rain hit Rome (GA) Thursday night, so the fields were a little damp, but that did not slow down the play on Friday. The players hit the fields running and the stars stood out from the get go.

Top Offensive Prospects

Starting with the offense, four quarterbacks showed they could do something on the next level. Three are in the class of 2009, but the best of the bunch may have been the underclassman.

Nash Nance continued to stay hot in front of the camera. He again showed nice touch, great accuracy, good footwork, and his leadership really stood out. His size (6-foot-3, 190-pounds) is great, but he offers a lot more than that. In the last two weeks, recruiting has really heated up. He camped at Georgia and Florida, but he has others calling daily trying to get him on their campus within the next month.

The trio of rising seniors were Colton Chapple (GAC), Zach Fairchild (Ringgold), and Brandon Haywood (Rockmart). All three bring something different to the table.

Chapple looked excellent throwing on the run and his arm strength was impressive all day. He may have been the biggest surprise of the day. Fairchild is a pure drop back passer. He has a nice arm, but the most impressive thing about him was his decision making. Haywood is an athlete that can make plays. He will likely be a safety on the next level, but should put up good numbers at quarterback in 2008.

Other prospects that stood out on offense were Shane Mularkey and Julian Horton out of GAC, Jonathan Krause out of South Gwinnett, and Kenneth Baldridge from Martin Luther King. Others made plays throughout the tournament, but those consistently showed why they are or will be prospect.

Mularkey is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound athlete that will likely play linebacker on the next level, but he had a great day at tight end at Darlington. He has soft hands, he moves well, and he can catch the ball in traffic.

Horton is name already on the radar for a lot of top colleges and he showed why. He is a very strong receiver that can also play corner. He got great separation all day, he made plays on dig routes, he could get vertical, and he was always wanting the ball.

Krause may have been the most fluid receiver at this event. He is a 5-foot-11, 160-pound wiry wideout that knows how to play receiver. The 2010 playmaker is extremely quick, he runs good routes, and he is does a great job of catching the ball with his hands.

Baldridge turns a lot of heads as when he steps onto the football field. He is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound ripped tight end in the class of 2010. He showed very good hands, he makes himself a big target, and he did a good job running past the linebackers.

Top Defensive Prospects

The most talented schools in this tournament from top to bottom when talking prospects were Greater Atlanta Christian and Martin Luther King. Both of those schools had talent on both sides of the ball and they are well represented on defense like they were offense.

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