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June 14, 2012
SMSB: Big men on parade
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- Rivals.com's Josh Helmholdt takes a look at the top defensive line and offensive line performers from the two-day Adidas Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy.
1. DE Demetrius Cooper, Chicago Julian The top prospects in the offensive line and defensive line groups were each very strong and very close in terms of performance, but Cooper gets the nod because stayed for the entire duration of the two-day event. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Cooper is explosive off the edge and also showed to be stronger than we first saw from him earlier this spring. He knows how to use his hands and his length to beat away blocks from opposing linemen. He stands at four scholarship offers now, but that list will grown.
2. OL David Dawson, Detroit Cass Tech Dawson only attended the first day of the camp, but was the standout of the offensive line group as he has been at several of the recent camps he has attended in the last few months. Physically, Dawson is starting to develop his upper body, which was an area that was lacking earlier in his career. His strength, as a result, has also improved and he is unbeatable once he locks on to defenders. Dawson always brings a passion to compete and shows good leadership skills as well.
3. OT Dennis Finley, Detroit Cass Tech Finley's star has risen dramatically in the last several months, and this week's performance was capped by offers from Michigan State and Wisconsin on Thursday, both of which had coaches in attendance at SMSB. At 6-foot-7, Finley has always looked to have the potential to grow into a high level Division I offensive tackle, but he is now starting to realize that potential from a physical standpoint and is much thicker and stronger than he was in the past. From there, his footwork and technique cement his status as a high Division I prospect.
4. DE Malik McDowell, Detroit Loyola (2014) We expect McDowell to dominate every camp now -- even though he is only a rising junior -- and he did that again this week, but he continued to surprise by arriving at SMSB noticeably thicker. He said his weight is up to 280 pounds. Most of that is good weight and it is obvious he has spent a lot of time in the weight room. McDowell is starting to get more definition, but at 6-foot-6 and 280 pounds, the questions about whether he will stay at defensive end are growing stronger. We saw him run at defensive tackle for the first time in a camp, and he was pretty impressive in that role as well.
5. OT Logan Tuley-Tillman, Peoria (Ill.) Manuel Tuley-Tillman was coming off a rough outing at last month's Columbus NFTC, but bounced back with a solid performance in Wednesday's session of the Adidas Sound Mind Sound Body Academy. The 6-foot-7 tackle was in noticeably better shape than we saw him just six weeks ago and that came through in his performance. Tuley-Tillman did a good job handling a very capable group of speed rushers and was much lighter on his feet than his last performance. If he stays after it hard in the weight room and offseason conditioning, Tuley-Tillman has the tools to be a big-time left tackle.
6. OL Zachary Murdock, Dublin (Ohio) Coffman We have seen the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Murdock numerous times this offseason, but never have we seen him play at the level he displayed in Wednesday's session of the Adidas Sound Mind Sound Body Academy. That fact was attested to by the three-star linemen picking up his first two offers of the process from coaches at Western Michigan and Akron, who were coaching the event. Strength and agility were the two areas of Murdock's game he looks to have spent the most time working on, and he was dominant in one-on-ones.
7. DE Khairi Bailey, Chicago Julian Opposing quarterbacks are in for a rough night when they face Julian High this coming season. With Demetrius Cooper coming off one edge, and Bailey off the other, Julian has an explosive pair of pass rushers. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Bailey is a little stouter than Cooper and shows the potential to be stout against the run as well, but he can definitely rush the passer and he had his way with most offensive tackles at this week's event. Western Michigan, Western Kentucky, Northern Illinois and Ball State have already extended scholarship offers.
8. DE Cortez Tipton, Hamtramck, Mich. Tipton was one of the real surprises at the Adidas Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy. He came in with zero fanfare and very little college attention, and left with invites to attend several Division I camps. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds Tipton jumps off the field immediately because he has a long, lean and athletic defensive end frame. He showed substance as well, blowing by most offensive tackles at the event and displaying outstanding pass rush skills.