As I clear out the notebook from this past weekend's IMG Madden 7-on-7 nationals and prepare for The Opening this weekend, there are a few observations I wanted to share.
-- It was clear from the beginning that Team Tampa was the best group at IMG. They were the most organized and prepared thanks to weekly workouts since February. Even if the team wasn't well equipped with talent (which it was) it would have been tough to overcome the chemistry and team bond they have developed during the past five months.
-- It's hard to get an idea of how good five-star prospect Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton) is until you really see him up close. He was challenged often and only beaten once, on a post pattern by ESPN 150 wide receiver Jordan Cunningham (Davie, Fla./University), who was representing South Florida Express Elite. Cunningham, always the competitor, said he was open most of the time he went up against Hargreaves but that was a bit of a mirage as Hargreaves was trying to bait South Florida Express quarterback Troy Cook (Miami/Southridge) into a mistake.
-- Beyond Hargreaves it was hard to overlook the performance from linebacker Jaylon Smith (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers), who seemed to single-handedly keep his AWP Sports squad alive at times. The Notre Dame commit received a ton of respect from the prospects who weren't familiar with him before the event started.
-- Class of 2014 prospect Devin Voorhies (Woodville, Miss./Wilkinson County) looks like one of the top players out of the Southeast going into next year. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior played wide receiver and looked very smooth at times. Voorhies plays quarterback for Wilkinson County so he hasn't had the opportunity to learn all the little nuances to play receiver. However, if this past weekend was any indication, the adjustment won't take him very long.
-- This is the fourth time I've watched Rashard Robinson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Ely) this year and each time he gets better. Watching him at the FSU camp and again at IMG, the feeling is that he's just starting to realize what he has to offer on the field and his confidence is growing.
-- It's easy to get lost under the radar while playing in a secondary that features 2013 Under Armour All-Americans Hargreaves and Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) but three-star defensive back Shaquill Griffin (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood) showed a lot of smarts and ball skills. He and his twin brother Shaquem are great athletes and very competitive.