Posted: 12:41 p.m. Saturday, July 27, 2013
By Luke Zimmermann
Roughly a year ago today, one of the most talked about players by fans (as well as some recruiting analysts) was Raleigh, North Carolina wide receiver Braxton Berrios. The diminutive Berrios (who checks in at just 5-8, 170 pounds) was one of the real head turners at Nike's The Opening 2013, earlier this month in Beaverton, Oregon, but checks in at just a 3-star on the 247Composite rankings, largely on account of scouts' fixation with his size.
But Berrios passed the eye test long ago, leaving many Ohio State fans wanting the sequel to last year's standout FNL performance so that the speedy, sure handed potential Z-receiver in OSU's spread offense could get the offer both he and Buckeye fans have so desperately pined for.
On Friday evening, Berrios delivered. After making the nearly 500 mile drive from the Carolinas to Central Ohio, the wide receiver would go on to be one of the standout performers during Friday evening's festivities. Afterwards, Berrios admitted that a private chat with Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer had proven particularly fruitful:
Just got offered by The Ohio State University from Urban Meyer!! Blessed to have this opportunity in front of me #Buckeyes— Braxton Berrios (@HNYNUT_BERRIOS) July 27, 2013
Spread teams covet a receiver who can consistently get open on option routes, like Wes Welker did for Tom Brady. Berrios fits the bill. He's tiny, but he uses that to his advantage. His ability to quickly change direction is way too much for even the best coverage linebackers to handle. Almost all of his major offers come from spread teams.
Berrios has excellent quickness, but not great speed. His catch radius is small, and he's not winning many physical battles for the ball. Still, he has a place in a spread offense, and could be an asset in moving the chains. He does do a good job of catching balls thrown to him.
Berrios can also contribute in the return game, especially on punts.
Does this impact the recruitment of 4-star ATH (and probable wide receiver) Curtis Samuel? Not so much. Samuel, who was also in attendance taking in the sights though not working out, is as close to a must take on the Buckeyes' current recruiting board as you can get. It's not inconceivable OSU would take both, though the math gets tight if you factor in Sparta, NJ ATH Noah Brown (who's also trended towards the Buckeyes of late).
Another huge standout during Friday's showcase was 4-star '14 CB Damon Webb. The thing about Webb is that given his current commitment to the Buckeyes (and consensus Top 50 ranking nationally), there was literally nothing to gain for the Michigan product by working out. Instead, Webb, who's wired like few else in the 2014 class, went about showing what he was made of, drawing rave reviews in the process:
This man @DameWebb out here locking dudes up! — Jamarco Jones (@jjones_73) July 27, 2013
Damon Webb is putting on a show at FNL. Gotta give props when it's due!!!— Coach Terel Patrick (@tpzy) July 27, 2013
Repeat, I love Damon Webb. Tremendous football player!— YouthSportsSanDiego (@yssd) July 27, 2013
The arguable play of the night went down when Webb was called out by '15 ATH/WR Eric Glover-Williams (an early projected Ohio State probable) and then proceeded to make this freakish one handed, eyes closed catch.
Webb would ultimately get the better of EGW overall in their series of matchups, though. Should the stars align, this could prove to become a great matchup to watch in future OSU practices for years to come.
"After watching Damon Webb a couple times, I'm not sure if there is a better cornerback in the 2014 class," our Adam Waters said. "I know Peppers' evaluations have him slotted better, but Webb is just a monster. Those battles last night with him and Eric Glover-Williams were really nice."
Waters also caught up with Webb after the event to get his thoughts on his Friday Nights Lights experience:
"This is one of the best camps I've ever been to. Having a chance to get coached by Coach Coombs, playing in the Horseshoe, and seeing the fans just made me even more humble."
If you want to check out some highlights (including plenty of individual one-on-ones) from Friday Night Lights, check out this highlight tape below: