Day 3 @ BYU Summer Camp: Standouts stand out

The highly-hyped high school hopefuls mixed and matched with unknown prospects and the superior talent further separated and distinguished themselves today in one-on-one drills.

Justin Soi continued to impress among the tight end participants. The 6' 4" Timpview High prospect and others were put through their paces -- by former BYU player and current Timpanogos High (Utah) assistant coach Kalepi Ofahengaue -- against mock linebackers.

"Gotta represent and step it up," said Soi.

Using his 4.2 shuttle speed recorded during the recent NIKE Camp in Palo Alto, California, Soi utilized his quickness, hand technique and footwork to set up pass catching opportunities. Trevor Barney, a 6' 2" prospect from Orem High School, also looked good.

B.J. McKenzie, on the other hand, was switched between two defensive positions and showed why he won the Best Linebacker Award at both the USC and Utah camps last year. Not only does he possess a well-defined physique, but also demonstrated the skills and technical abilities to play both safety and linebacker. In one instance, he made an excellent read and batted the ball from the outstretched hands of another camp standout Joseph Sawyer, a 6' 3" receiver from Ogden, Utah.

McKenzie's comment after the drills were simple and succinct: "Gotta get that scholarship."

Running back standout Alex Alvis from Houston, Texas, also had a good showing on the day. This junior-to-be has very good speed and showed his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield during scrimmages. Alvis also showed his breakaway speed running deep routes.

Alvis, a 5' 10" 180-pounder who drove with his family from Texas, also caught the attention of fellow campers.

"He's fast. He's got some good wheels on him and runs fast even on this stuff (turf)," said future Timpview running back and camp participant Harvey Unga.

Defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi instructed his eager hopefuls on techniques against the camp's offensive line prospects.

The drill was to get past the offensive linemen and touch or hit a large blue bag standing in as an immobile quarterback. Heralded Pennsylvania prospect Nate Hartung, a 6' 3", 390-pound junior-to-be, lined up often against Kaufusi's blue-bag chargers.

Camp sources said 16-year-old Hartung bench pressed 400 pounds and weighed in at 390 pounds, adding he also pushed BYU's dreaded weight sled to the top -- a feat many current Cougars cannot do.

Brad Fowler, a high school coach from Farmington, New Mexico, noted: "I watched that Hartung kid push that sled to the top. My understanding is that not to many people do that, but I watched Manaia Brown do it eight times. Very impressive."

Overcoming a slow start, Hartung stepped it up a notch and performed well against the smaller-but-speedier defensive linemen.

Another interested spectator today was Kevin Curtis, head coach at Utah's Timpanogos High School, who said he was "bringing my boys" to the BYU camp Saturday.

Coach Curtis hopes to showcase his star players Isley Filiaga, Thor Pili and quarterback Paul Kruger in upcoming one-on-one drills.

Of his player trio, coach Curtis said "we should be pretty good this year.

"I think Thor Pili could be one of the best and most dominant players around. He's such a great athlete. ASU has offered him and I think Oregon. BYU has already offered him as well.

"Isley is simply powerful. We will use him somewhere in the middle on offense as well. He was the MVP at the NIKE Camp for D-linemen."

"Paul Kruger is a really good quarterback. Oregon State has offered him and I think Miami or Florida will probably take a look at him. He's a lot better than most people know."

ESPN prep editor Tom Lemming identified Kruger as the best quarterback prospect in Utah and said Pili had All-American potential.

Pili's father said today "most of the PAC-10 teams are looking at him or have offered. He is listed as a pre-season All-American in three magazine publications."

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