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July 3, 2012
BROOKLYN -- The New Level Athletics 7-on-7 Championship took place in Brooklyn this past weekend with high temperatures cooled by a nice ocean breeze. The Eastern Christian Academy team from Maryland took home the title as expected, but it was a competitive weekend with many top prospects showing out. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell breaks down what we learned from the weekend.
Sills gets it done
It's not always pretty, especially lately with what appear to be a few tweaks to his mechanics, but 2015 quarterback David Sills gets the job done. His arm strength was questioned by those who hadn't seen him before, and the ball did come out funny at times, but his accuracy is still spot on and his reads are usually perfect. And make no mistake about it, Sills can sling the pill, as we've seen in live game action. The ECA strategy in 7-on-7 appears to be to work the middle of the field with short to intermediate passes and let the talented receivers do work after the catch. The USC commit showed excellent patience and never forced anything, one of the big reasons his team won it all.
Bradley is a weapon
One of Sills' top targets was UConn commitment Dhameer Bradley, who is looking like an absolute steal for the Huskies. Bradley not only has great hands, but his quickness when turning the corner is beyond impressive. On one play in particular, he took a swing pass and beat everyone to the corner for a long touchdown, unheard of in touch 7-on-7 play.
Michigan has two good QBs
While all eyes were on Sills because of his commitment status and the fact that he was offered by USC as a 13-year-old, Detroit (Mich.) Country Day 2014 quarterback Tyler Wiegers and South Lyon (Mich.) East 2013 signal-caller Cameron Thomas led their team to the title game with remarkable performances. Wiegers has size, can sling the pill and his accuracy was impressive, especially on Sunday. Thomas, who has committed to Western Michigan, might have had the play of the day as he was the only quarterback to avoid a blitz (don't ask, interesting rules) and complete a pass. He did an amazing pirouette away from the defender, rolled to his right and threw on the run with pinpoint accuracy. It was one of the most athletic plays we saw.
Big names didn't disappoint
While some of the bigger names were no-shows at the event, the ones that did make the trip lived up to the hype. Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside teammates Taquan Mizzell and Quin Blanding were both impressive as expected, while Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor 2014 wide receiver Jamil Kamara also looked very good. As previously mentioned, Sills was solid and Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic wideout William Fuller had an excellent weekend as well. Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes quarterback Corwin Cutler (Virginia commitment) was very good as well, especially on Sunday, and ECA Auburn cornerback commitment Jahmere Irvin-Sills was his usual physical self. Finally, the 2014 trio from Texas of Edward Paris, Brandon Simmons and Tony Brown all had very good moments as well. There were others, including Wilmington (Del.) St. Elizabeth wide receiver Andre Patton and Piscataway, N.J., four-star Nadir Barnwell who had one good day each. The only disappointment was running back David Williams being sidelined very early with an ankle injury.
We heard so many different things regarding the possible package deal of offensive lineman Khaliel Rodgers and defensive lineman Kenny Bigelow, teammates and best friends at ECA. We heard from one source that Rodgers actually has a USC offer and needs to decide whether to jump on it soon, and from another that no matter what Rodgers decides to do, Bigelow is 100-percent solid to USC. We heard from one of their teammates that he thinks Rodgers is headed to Auburn and that Bigelow will follow while another said both with end up at USC. So really what did we learn? Not a heck of a lot, which makes the whole Rodgers-Bigelow intrigue more intriguing. Rodgers was not in attendance and Bigelow said he's headed to USC, end of story.