Monday, 13 July 2020 11:10

Lampley attends ESPN 300 Elite Underclassmen Camp, attracts eyes of D-I programs

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Rising junior nose tackle JD Lampely participated in the ESPN 300 Elite Underclassmen Camp in Georgia late last month. Rising junior nose tackle JD Lampely participated in the ESPN 300 Elite Underclassmen Camp in Georgia late last month. Contributed photo.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — A big part of the college football recruiting process is to impress and raise the eyebrows of collegiate coaches across the country.

Rising junior defensive lineman JD Lampley, who had a breakout season last fall for the Richmond Senior High School Raiders, is doing just that. 

Whether it’s squatting 510 pounds in his home gym during the coronavirus dead period, or being a member of the Raider Leader Council, he’s starting to attract the attention of several major Division-I programs.

His work as the Raiders’ nose tackle during his sophomore campaign, as well as his continued eye-popping workout videos on Twitter, helped earn him an invitation to the ESPN 300 Elite Underclassmen Future 50 Camp at Mount Pisgah Christian School in Johns Creek, Ga., on June 27.

The camp was done in conjunction with 3Step Sports, a premiere sports instruction and training program, which is also associated with the Under Armour All-America Camp Series.

“I got a Twitter message from Demetric Warren on June 7 telling me I was invited to the camp,” Lampley, a 6-3, 286-pound lineman, said of one of the camp organizers. “Because of the virus we weren’t able to do any one-on-one drills, but everything else was pretty much the same.

“I liked being able to go out there and do something football related,” he added. “It was good to be back on the field and competing against other players. I learned a lot at the camp, but I was pleased to see I’ve gotten bigger, faster and stronger.

Working out shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the other top underclassmen at his position from across the country, Lampley noted he proved to himself that he “can compete with other high-caliber players and D-I prospects.”

The one-day camp saw Lampley register his official height and weight, along with a wingspan of 78.5 inches. 

Competing against approximately 75 other defensive linemen, Lampley participated in the 40-yard dash (5.04 seconds), the pro agility drill (4.91 seconds), the vertical jump (25.5 inches) and the broad jump (98 inches).

Other areas of focus for the nose tackle included position-specific drills that worked on his hand-eye coordination, explosiveness off the line, speed, agility and pursuit maneuvers and working with his hands to get around would-be offensive linemen.

“It was really a cool feeling to be invited to such an elite camp,” Lampley said. “It shows that I’m dedicated to getting better at my position and that college coaches and these types of camps are seeing my progression.”

When asked what he enjoyed most about his day working out in the Georgia heat, Lampley said he was pleased that his 40-yard dash time had gotten quicker and that he was satisfied with his performance in the other timed drills.

“One of the highlights was when I did my vertical jump. When I hit the bar, I got a big reaction from some of the instructors for how high up I’d gotten,” he smiled.

During his sophomore season with the Raiders, Lampley played in 12 of Richmond’s 14 games, including several starts on the line. Over that span, his first season at the varsity level, Lampley collected 25 total tackles (11 solo and 14 assists), while also recording two tackles for loss. 

At the line, he also tipped two passes, one each against Pinecrest and Seventy-First high schools.

Using his power and speed, Lampley recorded one quarterback sack and hurried opposing signal callers eight times, which was third best on the team. His best game statistically came against rival Scotland High School, when he recorded six total tackles in a 48-13 blowout to help Richmond secure its second-straight Sandhills Athletic Conference title.

In the 4AA state playoffs, Lampley added five tackles and one TFL against Hough High School in the second round, followed by three tackles in a come-from-behind thriller against Myers Park High School in the next round. He hurried Myers Park’s Drake Maye, a UNC commit, three times, which was a season-high for Lampley.

Now a common theme amongst high school athletics this summer, the uncertainty of whether or not football will be played this fall still lingers. Despite not being able to workout and practice with his teammates, Lampley still rolls out to his own gym at 8:30 a.m. every day.

One of his goals, he said, was to work hard enough to break Richmond’s all-time records in the squat and power clean. He rattled off the current records and their holders — squat: James Gandy, 640 pounds; and power clean: Tyrone Crowder, 420 pounds — proving his desire to be one of the strongest players on the field.

Why? Because he knows college programs are still waiting and watching to see what he and other players are doing to stay sharp and get better.

“Working out regularly is crucial and has been very important to me during this dead period,” Lampley said. “I’m working harder than ever so when we can finally get back together as a team, I won’t be behind.

“I want to stay ready so I can help my teammates chase a state championship.”

The down time has seen Lampley start to gain Twitter followers from major programs up and down the east coast, among them college coaches and recruiters. To date, he’s received interest from Kentucky, South Carolina and Wake Forest.

Other programs whose coaches have hit his “follow” button are Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina State and Penn State. Humbled by the interest, Lampley hopes to keep adding more names and schools to his list of potential landing spots.

“It’s an exciting feeling knowing that these schools are looking at me,” Lampley said. “Playing college football has always been a dream of mine and now programs are starting to take notice, which is a reflection of my hard work and dedication.”

Part of his success, he shared, was being a member of a successful Raider program the last two years. Being a Raider, he said, has helped because when the team is successful, everyone gets more exposure from all levels of college ball.

Lampley also tipped his helmet to his defensive line coach Milton Swinnie, a former two-time state champion linebacker at Richmond during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

“Not only is he a great defensive lineman coach, but he’s also one of my strength coaches,” Lampey said. “Coach Swinnie has helped me improve a lot with my technique, my explosiveness out of the stance, staying low with my hips and getting my hands to be quicker and more effective off the line.”

Last modified on Monday, 13 July 2020 11:25

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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