Pylon 7v7: Top 10 Defense

Minkah Fitzpatrick

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. -- The Pylon 7v7 rolled into North Jersey and the team was there and has the Top 10 defensive performers from the event.

The Pylon 7v7 hit northern New Jersey and included a lot of talent, ranging from the always enjoyable Virginia Beach-based Thoroughbreds to a trio of teams from Rochester, N.Y.

The two-day event included some top talent from many of the states in the region, but some stood head and shoulders above the rest. In this first of two installments, takes a look at the top defensive performers.

1. John Reid, CB, 5-10, 180, Philadelphia St. Joseph's Prep
The Skinny:
Reid is silky smooth and quick. He stayed on the hip of receivers throughout the event and at times looked like he knew where the receiver was going to break before the break took place. He was effortless in his transition from backpedal into running with the receiver, and he showed very good ball skills. The only question about Reid for most of the event is why quarterbacks looked his way.

2. William Jackson, CB/S, 6-3, 200, Washington (D.C.) St. John's College
The Skinny:
Jackson was physical at the line of scrimmage, knocking receivers off their routes, and he used his length to challenge receivers one-on-one. He demonstrated the ability to elevate over receivers, coming up with an interception and two pass break ups in one game. He can play cornerback, but also has the size to play safety. He was the surprise of the event and should be on the radar of a bunch of schools moving forward because of his natural ability.

3. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, 6-1, 190, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep
The Skinny:
Fitzpatrick made coverage look effortless and easy, which is never a simple proposition at a 7-on-7. He is low in his backpedal and explosive when he drives on the ball. He was able to press receivers and also play 10 yards back, and with equal effectiveness. He was quick getting to balls in front of him, and he ran down the field with receivers as well. He is listed No. 3, but the line between the top three was razor thin.

4. Robbie Robinson, CB, 5-9, 160, Hampton (Va.) Phoebus (2016)
The Skinny:
Robinson posses great speed, which allowed him to turn and run with receivers, and he has a great nose for the ball. Robinson is not only a great athlete, but he plays hard-nosed and physical. He had several pass breaks ups, which showcased is ball-tracking skills. Size is a bit of a concern, but he played big and has quick hands.

5. Levonta Taylor, CB, 5-10, 172, Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes (2016)
The Skinny:
Taylor is smooth and fluid. He drove well on balls in front of him and he was seamless in turning his hips and running. He showed good closing speed and he has the savvy to bait quarterbacks into thinking the receiver was open. He has the ability to cover across the field and deep, and seeing his acceleration and change of direction skills were impressive.

6. Daivon Ellison, CB, 5-9, 170, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep
The Skinny:
Ellison's size will keep many college recruiters from making a move on him, but it didn't stop him from locking down opposing receivers. Ellison is very good with his change of direction, and his ability to stay on a receiver's hip. He attacked the the ball defensively at highest point, was not afraid to be physical with bigger receivers and he played with tremendous confidence.
7. Jahvoni Simmons, MLB, 6-2, 230, Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes
The Skinny:
Simmons is the No. 2 middle linebacker in the 2015 class, and it was easy to see why. He moved well in underneath coverage and was able to cover the tight end down the seam. He showed explosiveness and while he wasn't exactly in shut down corner mode, the ease at which he moved and his size were impressive to see. And it's not as if a ton of balls were being caught against him.

8. Shawn Springs, CB, 5-10, 175, Radnor (Pa.) Archbishop Carroll
The Skinny:
Springs came in as an unknown and although he played only one day, he left with folks knowing about him. Springs was physical at the line of scrimmage and showed quick feet and the ability to turn and run. He was physical down the field and tracked the ball well. He was particularly impressive in press coverage.

9. Jordan Fox, OLB, 6-3, 210, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep
The Skinny:
It's not easy to stand out as a big linebacker at a 7-on-7, but Fox did a good job in coverage and playing in space. He moved well, was explosive and he used his length well. Fox turned out to be one of the nice surprises of the event because of his athleticism and his ability to change direction.

10. Kane Miskel, CB/S, 6-2, 180, Suffolk (Va.) King's Fork
The Skinny:
Miskel's size and length stood out. He projects more as a safety, but he played corner and was physical and did a nice job with change of direction and with his closing speed. He gave the inside route too much, but he did a good job of redirecting receivers with his press coverage and throwing off timing on routes. He also has the swagger needed to be a defensive back.'s Rachel Klein and Sam Hellman contributed Recommended Stories

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