NFTC Position Breakdown: Defensive Backs

Just how good was the DB group on Sunday at the Oakland NFTC? Following the event, the Nike Camp DB coaches said it was the best collection of talent they have had at any camp this year.

It was a loaded group of corners and safeties but the MVP went to Corona (Calif.) Centennial corner John Plattenburg, who might have been the best overall player in the camp.

"I think he's a Sunday player," lead DB coach and former safety Michael Fletcher said. "I love his frame, he has been well coached, he's instinctive, technically sound and very physical. He plays with a swagger but not cockiness and will be able to cover a slot or an outside receiver in college."

What made Plattenburg's performance even more impressive is the fact that he has only been playing corner for half the season. He played safety at the start of the season and running back on offense. He has looked very good all spring at corner on the 7 on 7 circuit and he could end up the No. 2 corner in the west by the end of the summer.

As good as Plattenburg was, no one is going to catch Gardena (Calif.) Serra's Adoree Jackson for that No. 1 corner spot in the west. He's one of the most athletically gifted players in the nation this year and showed up in Oakland after participating in four events in track the day before.

Not only did Jackson take part in the position drills but did the testing as well and clocked a 4.48-40 after long jumping a nation leading 25' the day before. Jackson took reps at corner and receiver and wowed the coaches with his explosiveness as well as his ability to take coaching and quickly apply it on the field.

El Cerrito's (Calif.) Adarius Pickett is a physically imposing player with good top end speed. He has a great frame and has the hip quickness to play corner but a few of the coaches feel he could be even better as a ball hawking free safety with his size and toughness. Pickett is a natural leader, was the first guy to jump in front in every drill and has a big upside to him.

Arlington (Texas) Mansfield Timberview's Brandon Simmons was the top safety in the event and like Pickett and Jackson, earned an invite to The Opening following the event. Simmons is smart, savvy and athletic and has very good play making ability. He competed very hard, has great football instincts and was the guy making sure the other DBs were lined up right during the half-skelly portion of the camp.

Right after that top group was Norco (Calif.) corner Kwesi Mashack and Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) corner Artuz Manning.

Mashack has a good frame and is built like a tank. He's very physical and strong, especially in his upper body and is gifted athletically as well. He can run and jump and plays with good technique as well. Mashack is very competitive as well and will battle you all game.

Manning has great feet and hips and blanketed receivers. He has great cover skills, showed explosion breaking on the ball and has a great feel for the game. He has been well coached and plays with a high football IQ and just needs to get stronger and add some weight to round out the rest of his game.

A pair of safeties who impressed were Syracuse's (Utah) Kavika Fonua and Concord (Calif.) De La Salle's Das Tautalatasi. Fonua is a well built 6-0, 200 pounds and has size, strength and is very active. Tautalatasi is a ball hawk with great football instincts. He's very quick and athletic and is always around the football.

A young DB to keep your eye on is Upland (Calif.) sophomore Elijah Jones. Jones has a corner frame but plays some safety as well and really stood out in all the drills. He was able to lock receivers up while play in off-coverage and doesn't need to clutch and grab like so many other players.

Corona (Calif.) Santiago safety Ron Robinson immediately catches your eye with his frame, he looks like a college safety and then when you see him run and close on the ball, you wonder how he's not a double digit offer kid.

Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West corner Andre Chachere has a nice frame, good feet, active hands and a strong football sense about him. It seems all Fresno DBs play with an edge and a natural toughness and that described Chachere on Sunday.

West Covina (Calif.) corner Sidney Jones and Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds safety Lavon Washington are two more players who caught our eye. Jones is a smart cerebral player, has good football sense and ball awareness. Washington is solid in all aspects of the position. He's a tough, physical player and a solid all around athlete as well.

Gardena (Calif.) Serra safety Glen Ihenacho tested off the charts with a 102.15 SPARQ Rating and then looked good roaming the secondary. Ihenacho is a tough, athletic safety with good ball skills and solid football instincts.

National Analyst Brandon Huffman contributed to this report

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for over 15 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for
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