The first drill performed was the gauntlet, and it was performed in two stages. It's the same drill that receivers are tested in for the NFL combine, but with a twist. The participants had to catch, tuck the ball, and then drop it before the next catch. Coach Collie had five quarterbacks spread out down a line throwing footballs. One of the quarterbacks was Cottonwood High School's Cooper Bateman, who committed to Alabama.
The receivers were tested on how many of the five passes they could catch. Each ball caught was worth five points, with players able to earn as many as 25 points. For the second run the players had to repeat the feat while staying on a straight line, worth an additional five points and bringing the possible total up to 30.
Routes against air
The second event tested camp performers in four basic routes, with the participants being judged and then instructed on how to better run the routes. The first was a curl route. A performer could receive 25 points from four judges for a total of 100 points on this route alone if performed to perfection.
The second route the campers were tested in was a comeback route, after which a total of 50 points could be received by two judges.
The third route in this testing stage was a post-corner route, with the receivers able to receive a total of 50 points by two judges.
The fourth and final route was the speed out route, judged by two for a total of 50 points.
For the next event, three jugs machines were set up at various distances. The first was manned by future BYU receiver Dylan Collie. Facing straight on, the receivers had to catch three footballs launched at a high speed from about 15 yards away. Each ball caught was worth five points.
The second station involved the camp participants turning sideways as tennis balls were shot out towards them from about 10 yards away. Five tennis balls were shot out at a high rate and each one caught was worth five points.
The third station was the most difficult and the most intense. From about five yards out, the camp participants faced a jugs machine as three footballs were slung towards them at a high rate of speed. This tested not only the rapid hand-eye coordination of the participants, but also their courage and mettle. Each ball caught was worth 10 points.
After evaluating the approximately 30 camp participants, here is a short list of the top performers and how well they did.
Alta High School tight end Harrison Handley showed a very good blend of agility to go along with his 6-foot-5-inch frame. He was aggressive in the gauntlet drill, attacking every ball thrown regardless of where it was placed. He showed good hand-eye coordination and dropped few balls during the event despite the excessive wind. During velocity drills, Handley caught three, two and two passes at the three different stations, respectively.
"I had a lot of fun out here and it was good to compete and see all the top receiver talent in the state," said Handley. "I think we all learned a lot out here and learned some of the basic techniques out here like how to pump your arms when coming out of your breaks, how to tuck the ball when catching and getting up field quickly. It was a good time. I think the things we learned will help us with ball security and hand-eye coordination."
Pleasant Grove High School quarterback/receiver Skyler Munson was another that stood out in terms of athleticism, body control and hand-eye coordination. The 6-foot, 170-pound Munson was quick down the line and dropped few balls regardless of where they were placed. He has quick feet, loose hips and very good dexterity. Munson caught three, three and two passes during the three stages of the velocity testing.
"My overall experience was really good," Munson said. "I was excited to come here and meet a lot of the kids around the state and compete with them. I learned some good things about my get-offs and my stances. I learned something that I had never heard of before and that is if a corner comes on an inside press, you are supposed to switch your feet, if your coach allows it at your high school. That was an approach I had never heard of before and it helped a lot. I was really impressed and learned a lot out here."
Bingham High School receiver Kalan Cantwell is the younger brother of former Bingham quarterback Stefan Cantwell. At 6 feet 2 inches, and about 195 pounds, Cantwell showed decent speed down the line and good hands. He was aggressive in the drills and has a solid core for good body control. Cantwell caught three, two and two passes during the three stages of velocity testing.
"One of the things mainly they noticed when I was doing the comeback routes was I had a little jump in my stop," Cantwell said. "I learned that I needed to break down my feet when I come back to the ball so I don't give the DBs time to recover. Also, when I catch the ball I have a tendency to widen my streak upfield. I was told not to do that because it allows DBs to get the angle on me as I head upfield."
Bingham High School receiver Hayden Weichers had a solid run during the gauntlet drill. He has very good speed and the athleticism to match, which allowed him to adjust well to inaccurate balls. Weichers showed good hands throughout the entire event and was one of the top performers overall during the velocity drills, dropping just two tennis balls at the second station.
"What really helped me was they kind of broke things down for me because I kept coming in really high with my catches and not tucking the ball in," Weichers said. "They also helped me with stemming my routes and where to place yourself in the routes."
Timpanogos High School wide receiver, running back and cornerback Dyson Rivers also turned in a good performance during each of the events. At 6 feet and about 175 pounds, Rivers showed decent speed and body control in the gauntlet event while showing good hand-eye coordination in the velocity drill.
Out of Cottonwood High Schoool, soon-to-be-junior wide receiver Tejon Reeves was another that did well during the gauntlet. He dropped few balls while adjusting his body to make multiple catches while running down the line. Reeves faulted a bit during the velocity testing stage, dropping his overall point total. However, the 6-foot, 170-pound sophomore has a lot of potential to work with, and football fans in Utah should hear more about him in coming years.
RT25 Top 10 Utah Region
The top 10 performers of the inaugural RT25 Utah Region were:
Skyler Munson (Pleasant Grove): 245 points
Dyson Rivers (Timpanogos): 235 points
Hayden Weichers (Bingham): 230 points
Harrison Handley (Alta): 225 points
Jaxson Beck (Timpanogos): 215 points
Kalan Cantwell (Bingham): 210 points
Marcus Kemp (Layton): 205 points
Sawyer Mullin: 200 points
Tristan Taei (West Jordan): 195 points
Camp Judges and Instructors
In addition to Scott Collie and his son Dylan, former BYU receiver Reno Mahe and current Cougar receiver Cody Hoffman also helped with the camp. All were involved in furthering the development of those in participation and running the various camp drills.
Putting their skills to the test
After the camp performers were finished being tested, both Dylan Collie and Cody Hoffman stepped up to the plate to face the rugged velocity drill. Dylan went first, and his only drop occurred during the first stage of the drill.
"Yeah, doing the jugs and these types of routes are something I've been doing since I was seven or eight years old," he said. "Knowing what to do and going through it is something I've been doing for a long time. Seeing my dad do what he taught me and my brothers over the past 16 years, to taking it to a broader perspective with this camp, is really fun to watch. These things are part of my daily work, and so passing along a lot of these things to others, and not just keeping it within the bloodlines, is really exciting."
"It was crazy to see the work ethic he has and how he was able to do things effortless," said Handley about Dylan. "You can totally see how he goes out there like he does it every day. It was awesome to see."
Following Dylan, Hoffman stepped up and only dropped two balls during the second stage.
"It was great seeing Cody Hoffman out there doing it," said Pleasant Grove receiver Skyler Munson. "He is such an athlete and is fluid with his hand-eye coordination. It was fun to watch him get out there and take on the challenge."