Core 6 Showcase Recap

Juwan Wesley

This year's Core 6 Showcase featured many players with scholarship offers already, but a few guys without them served notice to colleges that they are worthy of offer consideration as well. Here is a look at how the event went.

Award Winners (Chosen by Coaches and Media)

OVERALL MVP
Plainfield South (Ill.) linebacker Clifton Garrett came away with the big award. Known as a physical, hard hitting player, combine settings take him out of his element, but he was great on Monday. He moved well in drills, showed good footwork and coordination. Then he did very well in 1-1s and coverage drills, showing a lot of improvement in that area from last year's event. He has quite a few major offers and he backed those up.

OFFENSIVE MVP
Gary (Ind.) West Side's Jon Vea' Johnson did not come in as a guy many would have pegged as an MVP candidate, but after shaking defensive backs all day with quick feet and showing natural ability to pluck the ball out of the air, he was awarded a competitve offensive MVP trophy. He currently doesn't have any offers, but after seeing him in action and on film, he definitely looks like a guy who will add them. He has the skills and tools to play in the slot and outside.

DEFENSIVE MVP
Newly transferred Nile Sykes (Lombard Montini, Ill.) did a little of everything. He will be playing more linebacker than defensive end this year, so he worked out there at times, doing well in the bag drills and the blitz pickup drill. He also found his way over to the offensive linemen, where he won both of his one-on-one reps. He's an explosive kid who is learning to stand up, cover and play in spave, and that should bode very well for his future.

LINEMAN MVP

Mishawaka Marian (Ind.) junior Kirk Barron won nearly all of his 1-1 reps and looked great in drills. He can play center or guard, and showed the ability to do both. He even stepped over on defense and performed there. He's a high motor, high intensity guy with good technique and effort and he showed great feet as well.

FASTEST MAN - Skill Positions
Harvey Thornton (Ill.) wide receiver Jauan Wesley won the fastest man, but that was just a small part of what made him one of the top candidates for overall MVP as well. He's a quick kid who changes directions well and used that to create separation and win a majority of his 1-1 battles. He, like Johnson, is somewhere between a slot receiver and an outside guy. His quickness and ability to get open along with his straight line speed make him tough to contend with. Illinois offered already, but it would seem to be a safe bet that they won't be the only ones as he had a great day.

FASTEST MAN - Linemen
Chris Slayton, a junior from Crete-Monee (Ill.) is a 6'5, 230-lb kid who outran the other linemen to take the title. He has the frame and the straight line speed to be a potential BCS prospect. He is hearing from a handful of schools right now, but should increase that number as we move along. His physical gifts should catch the eye of coaches.

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS


Gary West Side (Ind.) wide receiver Lonnie Johnson was another candidate for MVP and got several votes for that. He's a 6'3 kid with great athleticism. He was able to go up, use his size and make some tough grabs in traffic. He's still adding polish to his game, but all of the raw tools are there. He currently has a couple scholarship offers.

A few receivers who did not have offers stepped up to the plate. Evergreen Park's Jacquet McLendon is a thicker kid who catches the ball well. With his size, he may get some looks as an H-Back or a Northwestern style super-back. The same goes for Joliet Catholic's Jordan Jones, who, at 6'3, 190-lbs, ran routes well and made a number of tough grabs. He's a sure handed kid with NFL bloodlines and looked the part of a D1 guy today. Flynn Nagel from Chicago Marist is a quick footed slot type with sure hands. He was one of the top sophomores at the event. Simmie Cobbs is a nice athlete with length who caught the ball very consistently. Denzel Tollliver has a nice frame. He's a high school receiver being looked at as a tight end by some schools.

I really liked what I saw from Naperville Central quarterback Jake Kolbe. He spun the ball well and threw a very accurate, crisp ball, particularly on his out routes. When he needed to, he showed he had the touch as well, dropping in a couple of nice deep balls. All in all, he had a very good day. A couple of other quarterbacks did some nice things as well. Normal Community's Josh Kirshenbaum and Glenbard North's Brett Gasiorowski are two sophomores to watch. Sean McGuire came in from Wisconsin and had a nice day. Quintez Jones from West Aurora is a kid to watch. He's huge at 6'4, 220-lbs and has a strong arm. He may project to other positions as well. Jowahn Brown is a long, athletic prospect who may also receive some looks at other positions.

In the secondary, Lombard Montini's Derrick Curry had a nice day, grabbing a couple of interceptions in 1-1s. Harvey Thornton's Tifonte Hunt is physical and not afraid to get up on the line and press receivers. Danville's Trent Sherfield is a nice athlete who did a good job in coverage, and Aaron Garland from Fenwick is a 2015 prospect who had a nice day. Oak Park River Forest's Jamal Baggett broke up a couple passes and was physical in 1-1s.

At linebacker, Tori Millender came in with an offer from Purdue already. He's a thick kid who looked the part today. Vontae Diggs from Downer's Grove North is a long, athletic end-linebacker hybrid. He's all upside. He has a lot of tools and natural gifts. Fort Atkinson (Wisc.) junior James Natchigal did not waste his trip down from the Badger State. He was one of the faster linebackers and performed well in coverage. Plainfield South's Mason Matesevic gets overshadowed by Garrett at times, but he is a good athlete. He needs to add some weight, but he moves well. Fenwick's Robert Spillane, a two-way guy in high school performed well at linebacker. Bryce Holm from Oswego is another guy who has played some offense and other positions, and his athleticism was on display working at linebacker. Lake Zurich's Colton Moskal is another speedy linebacker who covered well in drills.

On the offensive line, two inside guys did well. Kirk Barron from Indiana and Brian Allen from Hinsdale Central took turns at guard and center, and between the two of them, were very rarely beaten. Barron impressed and surprised us with how he moved in some of the drills and the ladders. He gives full effort all the time, and his technique and tenacity were on display in 1-1s. Allen is another with great technique and good strength. A wrestler, he does a good job of establishing a base and plays with good leverage. He also bends well. Joliet Catholic's J.B. Butler has the look of a Division-1 guard, but also took some turns at center and did well.

Chase Gianacakos had a nice run in 1-1s. He has a big tackle body and won a majority of reps, something we saw him do down in San Antonio at the Army Combine. Lincolnshire Stevenson's Zach Novoselsky has a good frame and is light on his feet. Nazareth Academy's Jack Shutack is a young guy with a nice frame, and Crete-Monee's Josh McCaskell also had a very nice day. He's an inside guy who also played some defense.

On the defensive line, a couple of sleepers had nice days. Arthur Williams, a 2015 kid from Chicago Kenwood showed good quickness off the ball and some pass rush ability. Willie Clay from Chicago Hubbard is undersized at 6'1, 250-lbs, but plays hard and had success in 1-1s.

At running back, two of the top performers were Tinley Park Andrew's Jarvion Franklin, a big, physical back, and James Butler, a smaller guy with good feet and burst.

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