Friday showdown will showcase receivers

Timber Creek senior Adonis Jennings has 41 receptions for 706 yards and seven TDs.
Timber Creek senior Adonis Jennings has 41 receptions for 706 yards and seven TDs. (CURT HUDSON / For The Inquirer)
Posted: October 26, 2013

Irvin Charles ran a drag route across the middle, caught a short pass, stiff-armed a defender, and raced 70 yards down the right sideline.

"Who is that?" a Camden assistant coach wondered aloud during the early-September scrimmage at Paul VI.

Charles might have been a bit of an unknown in South Jersey football circles at the beginning of this season. But the 6-foot-4, 205-pound junior at Paul VI has rapidly become one of the area's top wide receivers and most sought-after college recruits.

The same goes for Timber Creek's Cameron Chambers. The 6-3, 195-pound sophomore spent his freshman year at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, so he was new to the South Jersey scholastic scene at the start of the Chargers' season.

Charles, Chambers, and Timber Creek senior Adonis Jennings, a 6-3, 190-pound Rutgers recruit, will take the field Friday night when the third-ranked Chargers meet the 15th-ranked Eagles in a West Jersey Football League Constitution Division game.

The 7 p.m. game on Paul VI's artificial turf will go a long way toward deciding the division title. It also will have major postseason tournament and top-25 ranking implications for both teams.

But this game might be most noteworthy because it will underline in bold marker a trend in the sport: the emergence of tall, physical wide receivers.

"It's time to see what all the hype is about," Charles said of the battle inside the battle featuring three of South Jersey's most highly recruited football players.

Paul VI coach John Doherty said Charles "showed flashes" last season but took huge steps in his development during spring and summer workouts, both with the team in seven-on-seven settings and in private sessions with Eagles senior quarterback Alec Vignola.

"I worked on everything," said Charles, a Winslow resident. "I caught hundreds of balls."

Charles has flourished in the no-huddle spread offense run by Paul VI assistant coach Russ Horton, the former Moorestown head coach. Charles has 21 catches for 422 yards and seven touchdowns.

Chambers has seven touchdown catches, as well. So does Jennings.

Chambers has 29 catches for 602 yards and Jennings has 41 receptions for 706 yards as quarterback Dan Williams' favorite receivers in Timber Creek's own no-huddle, spread attack.

Tall, physical and fast, the three athletes already resemble the big-time college receivers they are likely to become in the next few years.

"All three are big-time, and they have the offers to go with it," Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson said.

Jennings committed to Rutgers after considering offers from more than 20 colleges, including Arizona, Illinois, and Clemson.

Charles has offers from Rutgers, Boston College, Pitt, and Mississippi, among other programs. He visited Penn State on the weekend of Oct. 12 and watched the Nittany Lions' four-overtime victory over Michigan.

Chambers has offers from Rutgers, Purdue, Pitt, and Wisconsin, among other programs. He also has been invited to the U.S. Army All-American combine in San Antonio in early January.

"We're going to see who can have the bigger impact," Charles said of Friday's game. "It's going to be put to the test."

Tall Order

Rangy wide receivers are all the rage in South Jersey football. Here are some of the top ones.

Timber Creek senior Adonis Jennings. Jennings is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound athlete who has committed to Rutgers after considering offers from more than 20 colleges.

Hammonton senior Alex Padovani. He is a 6-2, 195-pound all-purpose player who has committed to Villanova.

St. Augustine senior Austin Francisco. Francisco is a 6-3, 180-pound late bloomer who is climbing up recruiting lists, according to coach Mark Reardon.

Eastern senior Keshawn Segers. The 6-2, 180-pound athlete leads South Jersey in receiving yards with 709.

Paul VI junior Irvin Charles. A 6-4, 205-pounder, he has offers from Rutgers, Mississippi, Rutgers, and Boston College, among other programs.

Glassboro junior Juwan Johnson. He is a 6-4, 195-pound track star who has offers from Penn State, Rutgers, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina, among others.

Timber Creek sophomore Cameron Chambers. An emerging star at 6-3 and 195 pounds, Chambers already has offers from Wisconsin, Pitt, and Purdue, among others.

Camden sophomore Brad Hawkins. He is a 6-2, 180-pound basketball standout who is generating recruiting interest in football.

- Phil Anastasia


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