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April 6, 2012

Best of Rivals/VTO Sports North Carolina

MORE RIVALS/VTO SPORTS: Full coverage

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - More than 150 athletes from North Carolina and the surrounding states competed Sunday in the Rivals.com/VTO Sports Elite 100 at Mallard Creek High School. To wrap up several days of coverage, here is the "best of" list from Rivals.com analyst Keith Niebuhr:

Fastest player

Gary Gore, RB, Mount Holly (N.C.) East Gaston
A player with no offers at this point, Gore scorched the rest of an impressive field in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.43 seconds. The next best time of 4.47 seconds was registered by running back Devonte Moore of Lexington (N.C.) North Davidson.

Strongest player

Michael Senn, OL, Orchard Park (N.Y.)
Senn is a promising offensive guard with a stout frame and physical nature. He's also incredibly strong. This was evident in one-on-ones, and also in testing. On the bench, Senn lifted 185 pounds a ridiculous 44 times. Nobody else even came close to matching him.

Most versatile running back

John Brown, RB, Durham (N.C.) Jordan
Quite frankly, running back wasn't the strongest position at the camp, but Brown was solid and we'll give him the nod here. Although he didn't run the 40, he showed good speed later in positional drills and one-on-ones. He's also strong and very athletic, has excellent one-cut ability and caught the ball cleanly throughout the event.

Most impressive linebacker

Peter Kalambayi, LB, Matthews (N.C.) Butler
Kalambayi is still a little bit raw, but he's a top-100 national recruit for a reason. Simply put, he's an exceptional athlete with terrific range. He's fast, he's strong, he's athletic and he's fluid. Although he would like to be a pass rusher in college, Kalambayi did well in coverage Sunday, when he showed the ability to stick with running backs and tight ends all afternoon in one-on-ones.

Best hands

Braxton Berrios, WR, Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road, 2014
Berrios didn't drop a thing Sunday. And he made every type of catch. If the ball was thrown to him on a shorter route, he looked it in and secured it with ease. On longer routes, he pursued the ball and made one sensational grab after the other. Berrios' ball skills are up there with the best in his class. Uriah LeMay of Matthews (N.C.) Butler was a close second.

Best feet

Bryon Fields, CB, Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day
This is someone whose brain and feet were in perfect sync all afternoon. Fields wasn't well known when the day began but left the event having arguably been the best cornerback on hand. And a lot of his success had to do with his terrific footwork. Matched up against the best receivers on hand several times, he blanketed those players throughout one-on-ones.

Best arm

Will Grier, QB, Davidson (N.C.) Davidson Day, 2014
Grier is a talented young quarterback who did many things well Sunday. He possesses a quick, compact release and that allows him to consistently spin the ball well. His arm strength is above average, and he can make just about every throw well. Grier knows when to drill it in there, and when to give it a little touch. He was especially impressive with his accuracy on deeper, downfield passes.

Best WR/DB matchup

Desmond Lawrence, S, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian Day vs. the Field
Lawrence continually squared off against the best receivers and just about each time produced an exciting battle. More than once, he was so physical at the line of scrimmage his man never even got into his route. That strong, aggressive nature made him quite entertaining to watch.

Most physical offensive lineman

Tevin Lawshe, OL, Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek, Michael Senn, OL, Orchard Park (N.Y.) and Mike Sutton, OL, Cary (N.C.) Panther Creek
All three are strong, physical, hard-working players who had their moments against an outstanding group of defensive linemen. Senn and Sutton are maulers with solid bases. Lawshe's physicality is derived both from natural strength and sound technique.

Most complete defensive lineman

Tyquan Lewis, DE, Tarboro, N.C.
The 6-3, 223-pound Lewis had an outstanding day, which wasn't the least bit surprising. He's really an outstanding prospect at end and seems to have an extremely high ceiling. He's quick off the snap. He's explosive. He redirects in a flash. He uses his arms well. And he possesses some outstanding spin moves. Lewis was a lot for opposing offensive linemen to handle, to say the least. Not far behind was end Lewis Neal of Wilson (N.C.) Hunt.

Best OL/DL matchup

Michael Senn, OL, Orchard Park (N.Y.) vs. Tyquan Lewis, DE, Tarboro, N.C.
This was strength versus quickness and the latter had the most success. Although Senn is a very good player who is incredibly strong, he had difficulty (as did everyone else) with Lewis' quickness off the ball. On one rep, Lewis started outside, quickly redirected and was off to the target before Senn had properly reacted. On another, Lewis went outside and used his left arm to keep Senn off his body.

Best play

Braxton Berrios, WR, Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road, 2014
Quite honestly, several from Berrios could have topped the list. For us, the one that stood out was the reception he made on a hitch-and-go route down the left sideline. While the ball was in the air, a catch didn't seem likely. But after spotting it, Berrios rapidly accelerated then made a diving grab. He was remarkably focused and poised on the play.

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MORE: NC Rivals/VTO Elite 100's top skilled positions

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