Big men on display at UA camp

There were a ton of linemen at the Mike Stoops' Big Man Challenge. There are a lot of 7-on-7 passing leagues in town, in fact another was going on at CDO, but chances for big men to strut their stuff are all too absent. Luckily, Stoops had this challenge because some of the best campers of the day were big men.

The crop of offensive linemen was impressive. There were some legit D-I prospects, some impressive young guys and a few lesser players who are still pretty good players and may compete somewhere on the next level. There were not as many big time defensive linemen, but there were a few standouts.

Salpointe's line is massive. While many schools were lucky to field a pair of players over 6-0, 250, the Lancers must have had at least five. They won the tug-of-war competition (but got a great fight from Tucson High) and placed five players on the all-star team.

The biggest name for the Lancers was Ian Brinker. The 6-6, 280 pounder was solid. He was one of the strongest linemen at the camp, but his footwork is a little off. One great thing about him is he really seemed coachable. He seemed to really take to Wildcat line coach Eric Wolford's instruction.

He is still trying to get his name out on the recruiting trail. He has an offer from Colorado State, while Stanford, UCLA and Arizona lead for his services.

Two younger players from Salpointe really turned some heads at the camp. Defensive end Andrew Berryhill is hitting the summer camp circuit for the first time. The junior-to-be was good enough to play varsity as a sophomore, but has not gone through summer workouts before. He's got great size and strength and has some quicks. He could be a big time recruit by this time next year.

The biggest splash was made by sophomore-to-be Christopher O'Dowell. O'Dowell is already a big kid, around 6-4, 270 by my guess, and has some skills. He isn't as strong as the older players, but he looks like he can be a special, special player.

The best lineman at the camp was Ironwood Ridge's Daniel Borg. Borg has excellent size and is very mobile. He needs to add more strength but has all the tools. He was the most polished player in the camp, and I didn't see him lose a line battle all day. The Cats really like Borg, but Stanford and Nebraska may be a big obstacle to overcome.

Ryan Tonemacher does not have the size of Borg and Brinker, but he has great strength and technique. He's will have to be an interior lineman at the next level but he was pretty dominant at the camp. He likes the two in-state schools but is hearing from most Pac-10 schools.

His teammate Chris Hegge was a solid performer. He was an all-star selection as a defensive lineman and looks to be a D-I prospect. He's got decent size, but needs more strength before he becomes a more high-profile recruit.

Sahuarita's Chris Garrison has great size, but is probably not athletic enough to be a big time recruit. He was a much better performer on the defensive side of the ball, but gave it a great effort on the offensive line.

Another interesting camper was Spring, TX lineman Joey Palmer. Palmer is the younger brother of incoming freshman linebacker Ronnie Palmer and was in town with his brother as he gets ready to start summer school. Palmer, a junior-to-be, decided to attend the camp since he was in town and had a good time. Palmer is a big kid, much bigger than his brother, but he will need to get stronger and quicker if he hopes to follow his brother to a D-I school. He does have some talent and could be a good player in two years.

Borg, Brinker, Tonemacher and O'Dowell were joined by Salpointe's John Romero in winning offensive line all-star honors. Garrison, Berryhill and Hegge were defensive all-stars along with Gary Lewis (Salpointe), P.J. Verdugo (Hamilton) and Zach Peterson. Another Hamilton player named Liberty was also named to the defensive all-star team but I was unable to hear his first name.

Photos by Carl F. Shifflette III


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