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June 18, 2012

NUC East Sunday: Top defensive performers

MORE: NUC top offensive players

SMYRNA, Del. -- The National Underclassmen East Ultimate 100 took place this past weekend at Smyrna High School in Delaware. On Sunday, it was the rising seniors' turn, with many players looking to make a name for themselves and earn offers. Led by Owings (Md.) Northern cornerback DeMarco Rojas, here's a look at the top defensive performers.

1. CB DeMarco Rojas, 6-1/170, Owings (Md.) Northern: Rojas was the best defensive back on the field and his dominance was easy to see, locking down just about every receiver he faced in 1-on-1s. His fluid hips, great reaction time, leaping ability and speed when changing direction made it extremely difficult for quarterbacks to complete a pass against him. Being a tall cornerback makes it easier for him to cover a larger area and should make him more attractive on the recruiting front.

2. DE Malik Jones, 6-5/231, Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar: Jones has all the tools to be a Division I defensive lineman. He showed good speed, hand movement and a variety of moves to beat the offensive lineman. Jones has the frame to add weight at the next level and should focus on getting a quicker first step and staying low coming off the line.

3. DT Jonathan Quigley, 6-3/305, Burtonsville (Md.) Paint Branch: Quigley is a big defensive tackle with a strong base and good overall strength. He could fire off the ball faster, but once he got going, none of the offensive linemen could stop him. Quigley had a strong rip move but needs to develop more violent hand movement to be able to shed blockers better. With improvement in a few areas, Quigley could certainly become a collegiate defensive tackle.

4. LB Richie Staton, 5-10/195, Hampton (Va.) Kecoughtan: Staton, though he walks with a bit of a limp and may be on the small side for a linebacker, was one of the fastest and most physical players at the camp. He is a little raw in his footwork and technique but really stood out in 1-on-1s and 7-on-7 play because he was able to turn and run with many of the faster running backs and wide receivers he was up against. Staton used his deceptive strength to get a good jam and knock the offensive player off their route. Staton should focus on his footwork and bulking up during the rest of the offseason to become a scholarship athlete.

5. DE DeVontae Chatman, 6-3/230, Milford (Va.) Caroline: Chatman's size and strength helped him dominate many of the offensive linemen. He was pretty quick off the line, but if his first push was stopped, he seemed to struggle on his second effort. Chatman should try to develop more active hands to shed the blocker and get to the passer. Chatman has the talent and if he develops certain areas of his game we could see him at the division one level.

6. DB Asunji Maddox, 5-11/180, Goldsboro (N.C.): At safety, Maddox showed good footwork, fluid hips and he attacked the ball pretty well. He has good overall speed and explosiveness, but should improve his field awareness. Maddox was also pretty physical and made his presence known in the defensive backfield. If Maddox puts all of his tools together, he could have a solid career at the next level.

7. CB Derick Sims, 6-0/180, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony: Sims has good height for a cornerback and looked very good in his backpedal, had smooth hips and broke on the ball with great explosiveness. He has pretty good overall speed and changes direction well. Many times during 1-on-1s and 7-on-7s, Sims was in the hip pocket of his receiver and was able to break up the pass or come up with an interception.

8. LB Joe Barrett, 6-1/225, Malvern (Pa.) Malvern Prep: Barrett was one of the more impressive looking linebackers but he had to leave before the 1-on-1s and 7-on-7s, otherwise he might have been ranked higher. During position drills he showed excellent footwork and technique in bag drills, though it would've been good to see him work in coverage against a talented group of offensive skill players.

9. DB Terence Hall, 6-1/201, Worchester (Mass.) Doherty Memorial: Hall is a big defensive back who is probably best suited as a safety. He has decent speed and his technique, footwork and leaping ability looked very good in position drills. But he was limited because of a hamstring injury he sustained during the camp. Though he did not take many reps during 1-on-1s and 7-on-7s, Hall has the potential to be a solid collegiate prospect.



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