CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: Locals Stand Out
BERKELEY -- This weekend's California football non-contact camp is, in effect, a dress rehearsal for next weekend's full-contact event, which will feature over 500 participants and several major Bears targets stopping by both to participate and to watch the proceedings.
There were, however, several standouts at the camp, starting with versatile athlete Roland Ocansey, who took home MVP honors at the Arizona State camp earlier this month.
Early in the day, Ocansey worked with linebackers coach Garret Chachere, and didn't show the kind of lateral quickness one would hope for an outside linebacker prospect, but once he flipped to the other side of the ball at tight end, he showed that he was a good vertical athlete, with plus leaping, solid route-running and good hands, hauling in two physical touchdown passes in traffic during seven-on-seven. He's not a jitterbugging, shifty athlete, but he certainly has the ability to turn his hips and run with opposing receivers, and is a conscientious route-runner. He's certainly a prospect to keep an eye on, as defensive coordinator Art Kaufman did early in the day, working with Ocansey one-on-one.
Ocansey one of three players to get some one-on-one attention from the Cal coaching staff throughout the day.
Also seeing some face time with the staff was 2016 linebacker prospect Camilo Eifler out of Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd. If there's an offer to come out of this camp, it's hard not to think it won't go to him.
Eifler impressed the coaching staff in every phase of camp, from position work, to one-on-one work with the coaches to seven-on-seven. Eifler turned in one of the best SPARQ scores at last month's NFTC event in Hayward, Calif., and he showed the same kind of ball-hawking ability that he showed then, on Witter Field on Friday.
While on offense, Eifler showed an ability to get open quickly, and clear out the middle of defenders, allowing his teammates to break free. He showed good first-step quickness and is a plus runner. On defense, he didn't make many big plays, but broke well on the ball on a near-interception and showed an advanced ability to re-route receivers and force the ball to the opposite side of the field.
Eifler fits the same profile as 2016 four-star Shurod Thompson did a year ago, in the sense that this camp may wind up being one of the first steps in his ascent up the rankings. He's he's already checked in at our No. 282 player overall in the class of 2016, and it's difficult to think he won't climb higher, particularly with his nimble feet, loose hips and tremendous explosion.
There are already some connections between Eifler and the Bears, beyond former teammate Hardy Nickerson, Jr., and his head coach father, Hardy, Sr., as Eifler's mother is an environmental science professor at Cal, and his father works in the architectural library on campus.
The third player seeing a lot of attention from the Cal coaching staff was Pleasanton (Calif.) Amador Valley linebacker Harrison Mayo. The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder played both inside receiver/tight end and linebacker, shuttling between the outside and the MIKE, which he played to great effect on the goal line late in seven-on-seven work.
Mayo is a well-built, strong defender who holds the point of attack well, but his foot speed is a step slow. It will likely take a strong senior season for some schools – including Cal – to move on him, but he's got the potential to be a fullback/linebacker type at the next level.
Another player who drew late attention from the staff was wide receiver River Kealoha out of Concord (Calif.) Mount Diablo. Coaches at Witter made sure to summon Rob Likens up from the Memorial Stadium seven-on-seven fields to watch Kealoha, who hauled in two big touchdown catches and certainly looked the part of a Division I wide receiver, at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. Likens had bumped into Kealoha earlier in the spring while on the recruiting trail, but had not seen him until Friday.
-- 2017 Arizona State linebacker commit Loren Mondy out of Dallas (Tex.) Bishop Dunne and his mother came to visit Cal on Friday morning, though he did not stay around to work out at camp.
-- The offensive line MVP of the Oregon NFTC, Alex Neale, out of Bellevue (Wash.) Eastside Catholic, will work out for the Bears on Sunday, hoping to get an offer from Zach Yenser.
-- 2015 tackle Quinn Oseland spent Thursday afternoon and Friday morning on campus with Yenser. Accompanying his Springfield (Ill.) Sacred Heart Griffin quarterback Gabe Green, who worked out for Tony Franklin as part of the camp.
-- Yenser only had about four offensive linemen on the first day of the non-contact camp, but did get to host San Diego (Calif.) Oceanside guard Cedric Duren, who was in town to visit his grandfather, earlier in the day. Duren will also attend the Bears' satellite camp down in Fullerton, Calif., on June 29.but his docket will get much fuller as the weekend goes on. Besides Neale, recent offeree Jack Dreyer out of San Mateo (Calif.) Serra will swing by on Saturday for a visit, while 2016 San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra offensive tackle Luke Wattenberg -- who recently scored a Cal offer -- will come to camp to work out with his potential future position coach.
-- Over the next week, Yenser will also have a fairly busy schedule, with Nick Capella, Johnny Capra and Cody Creason all visiting. Next Tuesday, Sage Hardin out of Atlanta (Ga.) Marist will visit, and next Wednesday, 2015 center Ryan Gibson out of Mississippi will pay his second visit to Berkeley.
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