BYU Nike Camp Brings Out the Best

BYU's indoor practice facility was home Wednesday for about 400 football prospects in an invitation-only Nike Camp. An impressive group of athletes were able to hone their skills and receive additional training by Nike Camp officials, who tested the athletes on their SPARQ ratings, one-on-one abilities and agility drills.

A storm of Division I hopefuls stormed BYU's practice field and indoor practice facility with a buzz of activity on Wednesday. The athletes were representing the states of California, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Washington, just to name a few.

The Nike Camp started inside the indoor practice facility with athletes divided up into various groups as camp officials put the prospects through agility drills. The athletes were then divided up according to position and ran through various drills accordingly.

The second period of the camp saw some athletes moving outside while others stayed indoors. The linebackers, offensive and defensive linemen, cornerbacks and running backs moved outside to BYU's practice field. Meanwhile, the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends stayed inside as the wind began to pick up in Provo.

Defensive Line

Among the defensive linemen, one prospect that stood out – and it wasn't because of his 6-foot-5-inch, 210-pound frame – was Timpview High School defensive end Corbin Kaufusi. Kaufusi is the son of BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi and will be a junior this year, and he showed very well in the agility drills.

Another that was among the camp's top performers was Bingham High School defensive end Baker Pritchard. Pritchard showed well in both the agility aspect of the camp and in the one-on-one drills. Pritchard dominated as a defensive end, and those that he faced never stopped him. While playing the role of an offensive lineman, Pritchard again held his own with active hands and nimble feet. Again, no defensive end was able to get by him. Pritchard has already committed to play football at BYU, and his performance on Wednesday showed why BYU offered him.

Representing the state of Washington was defensive lineman Taniela Tupou. Tupou dominated in both the one-on-one and agility drills. At about 270 pounds, Tupou was both powerful and agile for his size and showed good leadership in supporting the efforts of the other campers. Tupou, who had been offered by BYU and Washington State, has committed to the University of Washington.

Joining Tupou from the state of Washington is Jarrett Finau, who is related to Tupou and lives just down the street from the future Husky. Finau performed well in both the agility and one-on-one drills. Finau is being recruited by Arizona, Washington State, Utah, Hawaii and BYU.

Linebackers

The linebacker group was one of the more impressive groups in attendance.

Passing the eye test was Karl Nickelson from the state of Texas. Nickelson was built like a tank and, despite having legs like tree trunks, was very agile and light on his feet. Nickelson is being recruited by North Carolina, Arkansas and LSU, among others.

Another linebacker that performed well is Jeff Lark from Oklahoma. Lark showed well in the agility, one-on-one and coverage drills.

An up-and-coming linebacker that Total Blue Sports will definitely keep an eye on is Trajen Pili, who is the cousin of BYU fullback Jo Jo Pili (now preparing to serve a mission). Trajen is only a sophomore from Las Vegas and already had good size for his age. He also has good feet and moved well for his young age, leading to him being recognized as one of the top camp performers.

From Cottonwood High School in Murray, Utah was Anthony Lewis. Lewis was one of the top camp performers in the agility and one-on-one drills. Lewis is being looked at by Washington State, Wyoming and Utah State. It is reported that he is looking to go out of state.

The one linebacker that took top honors and stood out among the best of the best in the linebacker group was Adam Pulsipher from Temecula Valley High School in California. Pulsipher, who is the younger brother of BYU walk-on quarterback Andrew Pulsipher, got stronger and stronger as the day wore on. He dominated in the one-on-one drills and, as a Mike linebacker, was all over the field in the passing drills. Out of a strong linebacker group, Pulsipher was named the camp's linebacker MVP.

Cornerbacks

Showing well in the one-on-one drills pitting cornerbacks against ball-carriers was Isaac Jones from Arizona. Jones, a 5-foot-9-inch, 180-pound athlete, was quick and illusive.

Two local Utah kids that performed well were Jonathan Joseph and Maurice Mapps. Both come in at about 5 feet 10 inches and 170 pounds and performed well in coverage drills.

From Rancho Cucamonga, California, Nuuvali Faapito was one of the top camp performers among the cornerbacks. At about 5 feet 10 inches and 180 pounds, Faapito made his case out on the field as to why he was one of the top performers. He was tough in the one-on-one drills, and even came away bloodied afterwards with bandages covering his face and nose.

Wide Receives

There were two local Utah wide receivers that showed why the Beehive State has some national talent that not many have heard about.

First was Zach Van Leeuwen of Timpview High School, who is the younger brother of Utah State wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen. Zach stood out in passing and seven-on-seven drills. Coming in at about 6 feet 1 inch and 180 pounds, he showed good hands, elusiveness and an ability to pick holes within the secondary. He is being recruited by BYU and Utah State, among others, and should know after the camp about where he stands in terms of a scholarship offer from the Cougars.

The top wide receiver in the camp in terms of SPARQ rating and overall performance was 6-foot-7-inch, 224-pound BYU commit Colby Jorgensen. Jorgensen absolutely owned the camp in all aspects. His SPARQ performance now has him as the fourth best in the country to date. He was awarded the BYU Nike Camp wide receiver MVP and the camp's SPARQ top performer award.

Running Backs

The state of Utah was also represented by the camp's running backs. Timpview High School running back Bryson McKenzie stood out during the one-on-one performances.

Offensive Lineman

Among the top offensive lineman performers was Ryker Mathews. Coming in at 6 feet 6 inches and 270 pounds, Mathews dominated in every category the camp had to offer. He was clearly the best offensive lineman in attendance.

BYU Nike Camp MVPs

RB Bryson McKenzie - Timpview High School, UT
WR Colby Jorgensen - Timpview High School, UT
LB Adam Pulsipher - Temecula Valley High School, CA
DB Sateki Finau - Rancho Cucumonga High School, CA
OT Ryker Mathews - American Fork High School, UT
DT Daniela Tupou - Archbishop Murphy HS, WA


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