Nate’s Standouts from the PRZ Minnesota Showcase: RB/LB
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ROSEMOUNT– We take a look at the top running backs and linebackers at the Prep Redzone Minnesota Showcase in Rosemount this past Sunday. Running Back Standouts Gus Theisen, RB, Eau Claire Regis (WI) (2022) Twitter: @GusTheisen Gus Theisen caught my eyes…
ROSEMOUNT– We take a look at the top running backs and linebackers at the Prep Redzone Minnesota Showcase in Rosemount this past Sunday.
Running Back Standouts
Gus Theisen, RB, Eau Claire Regis (WI) (2022)
Gus Theisen caught my eyes early in the 40-yard dash, running in the 4.5 range (hand-timed) as I found out Eau Claire Regis has yet another strong option at tailback outside of Zander Rochow, who I got my eyes on at our last showcases.
Theisen is a defined burner at tailback for the Ramblers. He’s a running back you will lose in traffic due to being undersized, but he’ll burst out of there outside with his fast footwork. One thing I love about Theisen’s game is the disguise he puts on when running the football. He does an excellent job with not selling the run, and by the time defenders figure out he has the ball, he’s blown past them already with all that speed. Theisen does a great job getting quality yards after contact, which shows that this young man has some beefy legs that can shed off tackles easily. Theisen is currently getting some light looks at the moment from a few Division I programs.
Brooks Buchanan, RB, Kasson-Mantorville (2022)
Buchanan was another tailback I saw breakout in the 40-yard dash that caught my attention on Sunday in Rosemount. In the later drills, Buchanan showed some active footwork that continued to catch my attention at the Minnesota Showcase.
Buchanan is a bouncy tailback on the outside lanes as he has a strong push in his legs with his 6’1 185-pound body to hit the gas on an outside toss for a significant amount of first downs. Defensively, he shows good closing speed when the ball is coming his way and has a high physicality level when he makes a hit. Buchanan does outstanding work in coverage as he has the backpedal and sound footwork to stick to his man like glue. With that excellent size, I could certainly see him as a DB at the next level. Looking at his college interest, I think Buchanan is slightly under-recruited at the moment as he’s getting good interest at the Divison III and NAIA levels, but I feel his ceiling is higher.
, RB, Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial (2022)
I found myself spending a lot of time at the 40-yard dash station in the second session due to the speed of these running backs, which includesof LCWM. Ludeman showed off a fast 40 time and backed it in the later drills with his great turn in his footwork.
Ludeman is a versatile tailback that has aggressive feet that go to the inside or outside lanes. You can tell via his tape that he gets more gas in his feet when he sees an opening in the defense and uses that big burst to get upfield quickly. Ludeman can also line up in the receiving core and use that active footwork to twitch around defenders and gain extra yards. One development Camden can work on this offseason by using more that sound footwork in the running lanes as you see him depend more on his speed than using his good footwork to juke a defender out of his shoes. Ludeman is also a high academic performer with a 3.9 GPA and won RB of the Year in his district in 2020.
, RB, Lakeville South (2023)
Hansen had the Irish Sports Dome in awe by all the Prep Redzone scouts and college coaches in attendance. Hansen’s aggressive running ability struck the cord in all of the early testing and in 1on1s, where I think he made the biggest splash of the day.
Hansen’s film shows that same aggression I saw on Sunday in Rosemount as he has electric take-off speed that logged nearly 900 yards in the 2020 season as just a sophomore. I like Hansen’s film because although his feet are super strong, he has good balance and doesn’t overstep when he’s running from point A to point B. Hansen starts his rushes inside and then explodes to the outside once he’s shifted his way thru traffic. You can easily tell this kid has a heck of a lot of strength in his lower body, as he sheds off contact like it’s no issue. I project that Hansen will be a Division I prospect when his high school career is all said and done as just another weapon coming out of Lakeville.
Eddie Lopez, RB, Bryon (2022)
Lopez made my notepad for his strong footwork I saw in testing on Sunday afternoon in Rosemount.
Lopez came into camp as an RB prospect but sold his film as more of an LB prospect. Of the running back clips, I did see Lopez has a lot of shift in his 165-pound body and works his tail off to get yards as an inside rusher. He also has the burst to get to the outside. Despite being an undersized linebacker, he gets off blocks really quick and covers the weak for the Bears at a strong level. He also has great vision and can fall off coverage when he sees a need to make a play on the ball. With the plays he makes in coverage, he could be a good safety at the next level, along with having the speed to help a program out in the return game.
Emmanuel Bingham, RB, Madison East (WI) (2023)
Bingham came off in drills as something I have seen before from the Purgolders of Madison East–a shifty, slightly undersized with a big burst he can take off with.
Bingham doesn’t have any game film to scout as Madison schools did not play a spring season like the rest of Dane County but the film I did shows that shift in his feet and his quick burst really well. I think Bingham has a lot of potential to be one of the Big Eight’s best tailbacks in the next two years.
Greg Schafer, RB, Lakeview (2023)
Schafer was another SW Minnesota prospect that I learned about on Sunday. His burst in 1on1 drills was what caught my eye on Sunday afternoon in Rosemount.
Schafer hasn’t put out any recent film, but he showed that he can get separation with his active footwork to evade the outside lanes to get his yards despite his smaller size. He also showed some good awareness on the clip I did find.
Holt Larson, RB, Dawson-Boyd (2023)
Larson showed off his strong burst of speed and a strong twitch in his feet from the glimpses from Sunday at the Irish Sports Dome.
— Nate Wahl (@NWahlScouting) May 2, 2021
, RB, Champlin Park (2022)
Givance was one of my favorite prospects to watch before the Prep Redzone Minnesota Showcase. He logged one of the only 10 foot jumps off the day in the Broad Jumps in the testing period.
Givance shows on tape that he can do a little of everything for the Rebels on both sides of the ball. He has a quick step off the ball and looks like a super comfortable prospect at WR because of his 6’2 210-pound frame. He also has a solid extension to reach for the football with ease. He is a prospect you want blocking for you on offense as he carries a high level of physicality as a blocking back. When he rolls on the defensive side of the ball, he gets off blocks quickly and has a strong giddy-up to get to wherever the football is in the backfield. He already holds three offers to his resume as a current D1/D2 prospect. I’m sure he will gain more eyes on his game at the Division I level in the upcoming summer months and get a significant jump in our PRZ Minnesota Class of 2022 rankings too!
, RB, SMB (2022)
Redd had one of the more significant bursts I saw at our Prep Redzone Minnesota Showcase. I didn’t get Sanjay’s exact numbers yet, but I’m sure they staked up well against his competition at running back from what I saw with my eyes.
When I watch Sanjay’s film, I see a player with excellent jets with a multi-cut ability that can quickly switch directions. The way Redd cuts is also at lightning speed, and he does solid work at shedding off blockers despite not being the biggest tailback in the world. He also shows off good hands, catching the ball out the backfield and lining up as a receiver at times. Sanjay is also known on the track for his quick burst as he is a four-time Junior Olympic All-American in the 100 and 200-meter dashes. Redd would be a perfect fit at the FCS level.
, RB, Spring Lake Park (2022)
The one thing I learned quickly at the Panthers practice last season is this Spring Lake Park program has a herd of athletes, and I saw that very quickly on Sunday when I watcheddo the broad jump in which he was one of the top performers I herd from that testing session.
I really like the shift in Litke’s game on tape. He can do many things inside, outside and even has good touch on the football on trick plays! He also shows off some length when going out wide in the receiving core and has a good stretch to pull in some of the tougher balls. Litke is a strong athlete overall that has the lower body to shed off a few tackles too. A solid all-purpose prospect for the Panthers that will be a next-level player. A heck of a student, too, with a 4.06 GPA.
, LB, Hutchinson (2022)
Elliott came ready to play on Sunday afternoon at Rosemount. He was superfluid with his legs in the testing period like he had been practicing our drills for days!
Elliott has such a quick jump to the ball I may have gotten a little twisted that the play was over already from the first clip of his junior tape! He has excellent closing in speed that speaks highly of his physicality level when tackling the ball carrier. He has a swift shedding ability and can bully off defenders with ease. This kid is so under-recruited right now that it’s not even funny, as, from my eyes, he’s another Division I prospect coming from the Tigers as he already has the ideal size coming in as a freshman linebacker that can still put on more strength.
, LB, DePere (WI) (2022)
Rinard came in with one of the fastest times in the L-drill from Sunday in Rosemount so let’s just say Rinard, although as a Wisconsin prospect, had my attention during 1on1s, and that was another scenario where he balled out!
Rinard is one of the few prospects I have ever seen on film making a tackle while he was on the ground, but when I roll more of his film, I see how outstanding a football IQ this young man has. Rinard is a sideline to sideline outside linebacker that carries great stamina and a big motor. According to one of one my fellow Wisconsin scouts, Rinard had one game where he had 23 tackles in one game this spring, which states that this young man is a ball hawk, to say the least! This kid will be an excellent Division II prospect here soon based on the interest he has been getting currently!
, LB, Apple Valley (2022)
The one word I wrote down about the second Elliott from the linebacker group from Sunday afternoon, Long. Elliott seemed, from my eyes, a top performer in the L drill.
Of all the linebackers on film I have watched tonight, Elliott seems to have the highest traffic areas to shed blocks thru, but he still gets it done to get to the ball carrier in the backfield. With that being said, give this young man a low traffic area to the backfield, and he will make you pay in his physical presence. Elliott’s film is a jack of all trades for the Eagles. he lines at running back, punter, and of course, linebacker. At punter, I’m impressed with his hangtime on his punts for someone as versatile as a prospect as he is. It’s no secret Elliott’s talents at the next level will take him to linebacker, but his good physical hitting ability will also pay him dividends as he has plenty of interest at the next level.
, LB, Sheboygan Lutheran (WI) (2022)
Stephany was a prospect I had just heard the name of before I got to the Minnesota Showcase, but by the end, he was one of the top linebackers of the day featured in our top dog 1on1 drills and turned into a must-watch.
This may sound repetitive, but do not give this young man an inch of space coming thru your line because his burst off the snap will make you pay. He has that strong burst that goes after what he wants (the ball carrier), which is usually what he gets. Stephany has incredible athleticism from what I saw on Sunday. One Division III program has already jumped the gun on Stephany with an offer, but with his ceiling, he’ll have some higher-level options to choose from in the next six months. I see the Division II level doing more chomping at the bit to get this young man on campus this summer.
Patrick Njoya, LB, St. Cloud Apollo (2022)
Njoya came into our Prep Redzone Minnesota Showcase with explosiveness in his game that I just kept watching in 1on1 drills. I’m learning more and more this spring, living 25 minutes from St. Cloud; I need to watch the Eagles more!
Njoya, within seconds of his film starting, shows that same explosiveness I saw on Sunday, not just at linebacker, but as a combo as Njoka also lines up for Apollo at tackle. When I watch Njoya on film in pursuit, I see close in speed I would love to see if I am a college coach at the next level. On a few clips, I watched I thought the play was dead, but this Njoya would come at the ball carrier out of nowhere and just lay some massive wood! This young man is still significantly off the radar, with only a few college coaches following on Twitter and no graphics seen. It’s time to wake up this summer and get to the 320 and give Patrick a look!
, LB, Mankato West (2022)
I have no ties to the Mankato West Scarlets (I swear), but they somehow keep showing up on each of my evaluations, but that’s mainly because they balled out in Rosemount, as you can add linebackerto that list of Scarlets that did. Haley started off by being a standout in the testing period and then showed it again and again in 1on1 drills.
Haley not only balled out on Sunday, but I came away quite impressed with his tape too. One thing you see early from Haley is a leader mentality. In one of his early clips, you see him in a director-type role helping out his teammates and pointing out flaws in the defense, which is what a leader (and two-year team captain) of a defensive unit is supposed to do, kids! Haley has a lot of power in his lower body to turn how he does to adjust on the fly in what direction he is headed. I am a huge fan of Haley’s close in speed as soon as he sees an opening in the backfield. He’s a solid runner stuffer that is also a high academic kid with a 4.14 GPA and a 32 on his ACT.
, LB, Chanhassen (2024)
As one of the younger kids in the group, Macy lit a spark in 1on1s in coverage that just kept drawing my attention. When you look at the size on my roster packet, you just had to be in shock at how well this 6’4 195-pound prospect out of Chanhassen stuck like glue to these receivers not just once but for just about every rep I saw.
When you watch the burst in the first 10 seconds of his film, it’s no surprise he was having the success he was having on Sunday as he gets off the line very quickly when in pursuit of the ball carrier. His long arms are something shorter quarterbacks have to watch out for because they will get knocked down easily with I’m sure he’s at least 6’5+ wingspan (which I’m sure is higher than that). Sam has a good physicality level for just freshmen for the Storm, and I feel has college football a few years up the road based on what I can see out of this 15-year-old. My only two critiques on Sam’s game would be to work on his bend at the waist in his stance when using his vision to chase down ball carriers and to show off his sticking ability in coverage so everyone is aware there’s not only a bull rusher in Chanhassen but also some Elmer’s glue in coverage in his game.