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June 8, 2009

New Jersey event will be loaded

The annual Rivals.com Premiere Showcase in New Jersey is set for this Friday, June 12 at Kean University under the lights and, as usual, the event will be loaded with stars. Led by five-star defensive end J.R. Ferguson from Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy, Union, N.J., is the place to be on Friday night.

In conjunction with TEST Sports Clubs in Martinsville, New Jersey, a talented cast of former NFL and college stars will be on-hand to coach each positional period. Former New York Giants Odessa Turner, Scott Bruner and Billy Ard will lend their expertise along with former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Ian Scott and ex-Scarlet Knights Dwayne Beckford and Mike Stevens.

Ferguson, a 6-foot-3, 272-pounder is one of only 14 current five-star prospects in the country and has offers from more than 40 different programs. Obviously, Ferguson doesn't need to attend an event like this with so many offers, but his competitive nature takes over.

"I want to show I'm the best player in the country and an event like this allows me to go against some of the top prospects from around the region," said Ferguson. "You never know who you're going to go against and there are some guys out there who haven't been discovered yet. I feel I can get better against players like that and against players with a lot of offers. But the bottom line is that when there's a chance to compete, I want to be a part of it."

The same can be said for Stamford (Conn.) King & Low Heywood Thomas running back Silas Redd. Redd, a 5-foot-10, 187-pounder is already committed to Penn State and has little reason to attend a camp like the Premiere Showcase. However, his competitive nature takes over when it comes to events like this.

"I can't sit around and miss out on things like this," he said. "Football is year-round for me and I can't wait for the season and the only way to get better at football is to play football. I'm always looking to get better and to get to compete against top competition, I always want to test myself. If you don't want to go to an event like this then you don't want to play college football, that's my feeling."

Redd is ranked as the No. 12 athlete in the country and is a member of the Rivals250. After outstanding performances at the Penn State NIKE Camp and the Rivals.com Five Star Showdown in Connecticut, he is rising on the list of numerous analysts. A strong performance at the Premiere Showcase certainly won't hurt either.

Other big names will also be in attendance. Joining Ferguson along the defensive line, Rivals100 defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd from Philadelphia (Pa.) George Washington will compete. Floyd is another prospect who hasn't backed down from any camp. Ranked as the No. 4 prospect at his position, Floyd has offers from major programs like Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Penn State and others.

"I wasn't able to work out at this event last year (injury) even though I was on hand to watch it," said Floyd. "This is the one event I really wanted to be at this year so I'm excited to compete. Last year there were so many top players there it was hard to sit and watch. I won't be watching this year."

Floyd will be joined by defensive end Dominique Easley from Staten Island (N.Y.) Curtis. The 6-foot-3, 258-pounder is ranked as the No. 12 strongside defensive end in the country and is a member of the Rivals250. He has offers from Penn State, Michigan, Georgia and many others.

Penn State commitment Mike Hull from Canonsburg (Pa.) Canon McMillan, a four-star linebacker, will also compete at the event. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder will be making his first Rivals.com camp appearance this year. The same can be said for four-star wide receiver Shakim Phillips from Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic. Ranked as the No. 5 prospect at his position, the 6-foot-2, 191-pounder is still receiving new offers each week, the latest coming from Tennessee and North Carolina.

Tight end Kevin Haplea from Annandale (N.J.) North Hunterdon Regional has as impressive an offer list as they get. The 6-foot-4, 226-pounder has offers from LSU, Florida State, Miami, Penn State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and many others. He will also be competing at the event.

Other names of note with offers expected at the event include Duke linebacker commitment Aramide Olaniyan from Woodberry Forest (Va.) Woodberry Forest School, Boston College linebacker commitment Kevin Pierre-Louis from Stamford (Conn.) King & Low Heywood Thomas, Paramus (N.J.) Paramus Catholic offensive lineman Dan Foose, Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph's running back Kamal Hogan, Montgomery, N.J. wide receiver J.T. Tartacoff (Rutgers commitment) and Audubon, N.J. quarterback Brandon Hill.

And the class of 2011 will also be very well represented. Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep running back Savon Huggins is considered to be one of the top prospects in the class and he'll be on hand with his teammate, defensive back Sheldon Royster. Both players have verbal offers.

Others from 2011 expected to be on hand include Barnegat, N.J. quarterback Nick SanGiacomo, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic athlete Tanner McEvoy, Neptune, N.J. running back Charles Davis and Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt running backr Jameel Poteat.

Last year four-star prospects such as Deonte Arnett (Maryland), Tavon Austin (West Virginia), Mark Brazinski (Cal), Dominic Clarke (Ohio State), Darrell Givens (Penn State), Travis Hawkins (Maryland), Deon Long (West Virginia), Dillon Quinn (Boston College), Shayne Skov (Stanford), Je'Ron Stokes (Michigan) and Derrick Thomas (Penn State) all competed.

More than 40 prospects with D-IA offers are expected at the event. There are limited slots open at certain positions for qualified prospects. Those interested can e-mail to mike@rivals.com to apply. Rivals.com will have exclusive coverage of the event and the Rivals.com AMP team will also be on hand.


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