Notebook: South Showcase Combine

John Knight

The South Showcase Combine tour hit Thomasville High School this past weekend with several prospects adding their name to the recruiting radar during spring evaluations. FOXSports/Scout.com takes a look at the storylines from the weekend.

MVP

John Knight, is an athlete from Thomasville, Ala., who head coach Jack Hankins talked highly of prior to the event. "He is the best football player on our team."

Knight plays on both sides of the ball for the defending Class 4A State Champions lining up at running back and outside linebacker. He measured 6-0, 185-pounds and clocked an impressive 4.46 40-yard dash. He worked out at running back during the individual and one-on-one drills. He displayed a great burst coming out of the backfield and excellent hands when catching the ball. He was unstoppable in one-on-ones and created great separation. Knight can play on either side of the ball on the next level, and may get looks at defensive back this spring.

Top Prospect

Players at the South Showcase combine were in awe of the size and athleticism of Dadeville tight end Darrion Hutcherson. The Auburn commitment is a physically imposing prospect at 6-foot-7, 245-pounds. He has freakish athleticism for his size. Hutcherson has been labeled as an athlete, but he is a tight end all the way.

Hutcherson will cause a lot of match-up problems in the future as an offensive weapon and a huge target for quarterbacks. He has great hands and runs good routes. He will continue to develop and fill out during the next year. He worked in a few plays at defensive end, but the SEC commitment was not as successful as he was on offense.

Best in 2013

Rod Crayton, from Dadeville, Ala., has a chance to rank as the top prospect in the state in 2013, and one of the best defensive linemen in the Southeast. Crayton did not test at the South Showcase Combine, but dominated in the one-on-ones. He won every battle (more than 10) except one. He is physical and powerful. He is 6-foot-1, 290-pounds with incredible strength and quickness. He is explosive coming off the ball and does a great job with the use of his hands.

Small School Star Excels

Taylor Driggers, a defensive end from Brantley, Ala., was outstanding during the one-on-one drills. He was too quick for the offensive linemen and had good explosion coming off the ball. He had a chip on his shoulder coming from a small school.

Driggers should attract a lot of interest and will enter his junior season this fall. He doesn't have the size yet, but he does resemble another former small school standout in Auburn defensive end Craig Sanders who was a star at Ariton High School. Driggers is definitely a name to remember.

Here's Some Beef

We have seen players with multiple SEC offers who may not have been among the top two players this past weekend. Luke Lawrence, offensive guard from Tuscaloosa-Hillcrest, Ala., and Nick Johnson, offensive guard from Dadeville, Ala., were simply dominant. Lawrence was the only lineman who was able to stand up Rod Crayton in one-on-ones.

Lawrence has great footwork. He continued to move his feet and did a great job moving with the quicker defensive linemen. Johnson has an offer from Jacksonville State, but he is a BCS-caliber player. The only player who gave him trouble was his teammate, Rod Crayton. Johnson was outstanding throughout the event. He is a smart player and has great technique. He will play on the inside on the next level(6-foot-2, 260). Johnson still has room to grow and develop, but probably the state's best sleeper prospect.

Look to the South

Greene County High School in Eutaw, Ala., isn't a regular stop for college coaches. However, a prospect who they need to see is defensive lineman Damien Gaines. The 6-foot-4, 317-pound lineman can afford to lose a few pounds, but this player has the tools to become a BCS-level player.

Gaines worked on both sides of the ball, but was best working as a defensive lineman. He is a football player with a very high ceiling. He had a great showing at the camp and won most of his one-on-one battles when he was on the defensive line. He has good quickness and speed coming off the ball. He depends heavily on his size and speed.

Wide Receivers

A couple of wide receivers had standout performances and provided tough assignments for the defensive backs. Nyck Young, from Homewood, Ala., uses his hands to catch the ball and does a great job creating separation from defenders. Jourdan McGowan, from Enterprise, Ala., also grabbed our attention. He gave a solid effort on the field diving for ball, and fighting through pain after cutting up his shoulder on the grass. He ran crisp routes and caught everything thrown his way. Another receiver who had a good performance was Mason Silavent, from Slocomb, Ala.

Ready for More

Willie Curry, running back from Enterprise, Ala., collected his first offer last week from Air Force. Curry is a small, powerful package at 5-foot-8, 188-pounds. He is a physical running back who loves contact. He didn't get to showcase his ability running between the tackles in Thomasville, but he did show off his hands and ability to catch the ball running out of the backfield. Curry is also hearing from several schools across the country. He should garner more scholarship offers as spring evaluations continue and at summer camps.

Award Winners

Overall MVP: John Knight, Running Back (Thomasville)
Offensive Skills MVP: Nyck Young, Wide Receiver (Homewood)
Offensive Line MVP: Luke Lawrence, Offensive Guard (Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa)
Defensive Line MVP: Rod Crayton, Defensive Tackle (Dadeville)
Defensive Skills MVP: Kyle Poellnitz, Outside Linebacker (Jackson)

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Email abone@scout.com for South Showcase registration in Tennessee later this month.

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