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April 20, 2012
ESS: Top story lines of Florida event
The Elite Scouting Services Elite Combine will be held on Saturday at Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland, Fla. Approximately 200 high school prospects are expected to make their way to Central Florida to show their stuff and compete against their peers.
Here are five story lines we will be watching as some of the Sunshine State's best compete on Saturday.
Lake Gibson will provide a fair share of its own talent at the event. The 2013 class is led by three-star wide receiver Eric Carter on the offensive side of the ball and three-star defensive tackle Kennard Swanson on the defensive side of the ball. Swanson claims seven offers, including schools such as USC and West Virginia, at this stage of the process while Carter holds a half-dozen offers with more to come in the spring. Talented sophomores such as quarterback Trey Congdon and safety Kendall Gant will also be worth keeping an eye on from Lake Gibson.
Top player expected
Among the Rivals100 talent expected to participate in Saturday's camp is Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips four-star safety Marcell Harris. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety is extremely competitive in the camp setting and Saturday should be no different. Harris is built like a linebacker but shows himself to be reliable down the field in coverage. That ability has led to offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Southern Cal, Texas and others.
Strength up front
The top group at the event will likely be along the defensive line. In addition to Lake Gibson's Swanson, other talented defensive linemen registered for the event include Rivals100 defensive end Jordan Sherit from Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough, as well as under-the-radar defensive tackles such as Bobby Leath of Lake Wales (Fla.) and Devyn Salmon of Plant City (Fla.). Another possibility among the defensive line group is Lakeland (Fla.) defensive end/outside linebacker Jalen Stevenson. One of the offensive linemen who will try to combat the big men on the defensive side of the ball is Mulberry (Fla.) three-star offensive guard Kyle Jones.
In addition to being a showcase for rising seniors, the event will also provide an opportunity for underclassmen to display their ability. Some of the rising juniors to keep an eye on are Congdon and Gant from Lake Gibson, as well as Bartow (Fla.) defensive tackle Romante Bell, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Gibbs athlete Maurice Hall, and Tampa Jesuit linebacker Vincent Jackson. A pair of rising sophomores to keep an eye on is the Lakeland (Fla.) Lakeland Christian duo of quarterback Christian Alexander and running back T.J. Simmons.
Sleepers could emerge
As is always the case with camps in the spring, it won't be shocking if a Division I prospect or two emerges during the event. The camp is being held in a major corridor that connects the talent hotbeds of Tampa and Orlando in Central Florida. Every year colleges dip into schools such as Fort Meade, Haines City, Davenport Ridge, and other schools off the beaten path to pull Division I talent. It will be interesting to see what lesser known prospects make a mark on Saturday.