July 15, 2017 10:37:53 PM
It's all about showing out when you want to attract attention.
Logan Canerdy, Jeremy Tate, and Eli Acker have learned that in what has turned out to be a busy summer for the three local prep football standouts.
While Acker, a rising sophomore at Heritage Academy, has a few more years to make impressions on college coaches, Tate and Canerdy are using the last "offseason" as high school student-athletes to get noticed by as many college football coaches as possible.
The latest step came Wednesday, when all three as well as Starkville High School standout Starkville High junior defensive end Jalil Clemons attended The Southern Elite Top 150, an earned invitation combine at Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale. The event was sponsored by 247 Sports, an independent digital sports media company that covers college and professional sports.
Canerdy, Tate, and Acker were named to the First Team 2017 Southern Elite Combine Team. Tate was named the Top College Prospect for the Class of 2018, while Canerdy was named top lineman at the camp. Acker was named Top College Prospect for the Class of 2020.
"When I got up there (in one-on-one drills), that was my moment to shine for this camp and I had to go out and show what I could do," said Canerdy, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound rising senior at Caledonia High.
The Southern Elite Camp was the sixth one Canerdy has attended this summer. He said he also has went to camps at Northeast Mississippi Community College, East Central C.C., Mississippi College (which included coaches from Louisiana-Lafayette and Central Arkansas), Ole Miss, Memphis, and Arkansas. He said he will attend a camp at Mississippi State next week. All of the work is focused on landing Canerdy the best possible college scholarship offer. Canerdy said he currently has three junior college scholarship offers and an offer from Central Arkansas.
According to David Johnson of Rebels 247, a website that follows Ole Miss recruiting and news, Canerdy came in as a "relative unknown and took the camp by surprise." Johnson said Canerdy "performed at the level of a D1 interior lineman."
That's good news for Canerdy, who will be counted on to be a leader this season for a young Caledonia High team that suffered significant graduation losses and has a new coach (Ricky Kendrick). Canerdy said he is up for the challenge, as he has been for the push this summer to raise his profile.
"I am trying to be the best I can be and see where it goes from there," Canerdy said. "I want to bring back what I learned from the camps this summer to our other four starting linemen and to coach so he can teach what he knows, and I will help out a little. Whatever we can do to be successful. It is just about working hard and being successful."
The 2017 season will be Canerdy's third on the Caledonia High varsity squad. He has played left and right guard, center, and right tackle. He said he expects to play left guard and defensive end this season.
Acker, a 6-5, 240-pound tight end, also has been busy. He has attended football camps at Ole Miss, Auburn, and a Football University camp in Louisiana. This weekend, Acker is attending camps at Ole Miss and Memphis.
Like Canerdy, Acker said he is "trying to get his name out there" so he can improve his chances of receiving a scholarship offer to play football in college.
"I am going to show up and show out until I get my name out there," Acker said. "You have to give it everything you have got."
Acker said he has worked hard in the offseason to improve his skills as a route runner. He said he has practiced with classmate Carter Putt, who he said is in contention to be the starting quarterback for Heritage Academy this season. Acker said he expects to play some defensive end this season, too, but he said he considers himself more of a tight end.
"I wasn't really surprised (by the all-combine team award), but I was surprised by the top prospect of 2020," said Acker, who also plays basketball at Heritage Academy. "I have always battled it out with Shea Patterson's brother (Nick, who attends St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis)."
Johnson also said Acker "went through the camp with flying colors as a tight end." Rebels 24/7 said Acker is "big and athletic and can catch the football." Johnson also feels Acker could move to the offensive line, where he could become a top prospect as a tackle.
Tate, a 6-4, 210-pounder from New Hope High, has attended camps at Memphis and Ole Miss. He said he will go to a camp at Alabama next weekend. Primarily a wide receiver, Tate attracted the attention of Johnson, who said Tate "dominated during the 7-on-7 portion of the camp." He said Tate's "height, vertical ability, and speed made him difficult to cover. We think he's very underrated."
Tate, who has given a verbal commitment to play football at Memphis, has attended camps at Alabama and at MSU since he was in the ninth grade. He said he has been a little busier this offseason because he wants to do everything he can to increase his chances of landing a college offer. Until it is official, Tate said he will stay busy to realize his goal.
"I want to get extra reps and work on my technique and all of the things I have been doing," Tate said. "I am working on making my routes more efficient and getting off the line of scrimmage.
"I was real blessed and proud to get invited to The Southern Elite Top 150."
Johnson said Clemons, a 6-3, 240-pounder, is a "FBS prospect" who "showed explosiveness and tenacity with a little bit of a nasty streak. Johnson said LSU and Mississippi State already are showing serious interest.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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