Stanford Nike: Festival of the Wideouts

Yours truly was on hand with GBW's West Coast Correspondent Don Hoekwater for the monstrosity called the Stanford Nike Camp, with 650+ kids in attendance (over double the other Nikes so far)! It was nonetheless "The Festival of the Wideouts," with the best trio of WR's we've seen yet in a Nike Camp. And at least two of the three are top U-M recruits!

The camp in general was not at the level (in my opinion) of the Texas A&M Camp last week, or even the PSU Camp the week before. It was more on the level of the U-M Nike. Nevertheless the college coaches were out en-mass to enjoy the afternoon of California sunshine. Michigan was there -- and for U-M it was worthwhile, as you'll see shortly. Also there: USC Head Coach Carrol and staff, Head Coach Dorrell from UCLA, Colorado Head Coach Gary Barnett and staff attended their 2nd Nike in a row, plus there were assistants from Michigan State, Arizona, Utah, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Washington, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Cal, Stanford, Notre Dame, Tennessee and many more ... mainly crowded around the wide receivers and defensive backs.

So, let's get right to the highlights.

Don's and my MVP of the camp is wide receiver Cameron Colvin of Concord, Calif., De La Salle (alma mater of Matt Gutierrez). Colvin was, in my opinion, the best WR I've seen at the four Nike Camps I've been to so far. Measuring at 6-1, 191 lbs. (if I recall correctly on height and weight), he ran a blistering 4.31 in the 40, then followed it up by impressing the crush of college assistants in the culminating event of all Nike Camps, the QB/WR/DB drills. In this drill he was the real deal and the whole package: speed, strength, moves, hands, and super-smoothness. He was the one receiver that no DB had a chance with -- he always ended up wide open, making what in a real game would be touchdown catch after touchdown catch. I thought at times that I was watching a little-shorter David Terrell out there today.

Don and I talked to Cameron several times during the day. Don had visited with him at his school earlier in the spring so he knew Don pretty well, and Colvin seemed almost relieved to escape the crush of assistants constantly watching him to come over and have a word with us now and then. Before the camp started he said to us, "Coach English (U-M assistant who recruits the West Coast) was at our school just yesterday. I didn't get an offer yet ... Michigan is definitely in my top one or top two."

The second best receiver today, in our opinion. was Lavelle Hawkins from Stockton, Calif. Edison (the school of last year's U-M RB recruit Lynell Hamilton). Looking no more than 15 years old (ala Tedd Ginn), he nonetheless was the only receiver who 'batted 100%" in the QB/WR/DB drills, catching every single pass thrown to him. He measured 5-11, 165 lbs., and ran a 4.41 in the 40 (he ran no shuttle and did no vertical jump). In the QB/WR/DB drills he was almost as smooth and nearly as fast as Colvin. Earlier in the day he told us, "Coach English was at my school this week. But it's kind've early for a top five. I have offers from Cal and San Diego State (where Hamilton went) so far." Walking out with us after the camp, he was a little bewildered that the media attention was mainly going to some of the other, 'more famous' players. But after his performance in the QB/WR/DB drills, more fame, and more offers, will likely be forthcoming for Lavelle.

The third top receiver in attendance: U-M's own commitment, Morgan Trent. Morgan looked 6-0 and 180 lbs., and he ran an excellent 4.41 in the 40. In the QB/WR/DB drills he showed great speed, but he was 'pressing' a bit early on and had a couple early drops. Nevertheles, his speed was impressive. It was humorous to me that, somewhat like Hawkins, he was pretty much avoided by the press in attendance, in his case because as a Midwest guy he was pretty much an unknown out here on the Left Coast.

We'll mention one more top player in this article -- the guy who may be named as the top performer overall: defensive back Randy Estes from Los Alimitos, Calif. (in the LA area). He told me (again, if I recall correctly) that he did not run a 40 or shuttle, but he did perform a 35-inch vertical jump. The safety prospect told us, "Coach English was in my school this week, and I got a Michigan offer. I can't say I have a top five yet. I have to think about it." [Note: 'word' has been that USC has the inside track.] The coaches in attendance certainly knew about him -- there were crowds of coaches around him (as well as Colvin). And his performance in the QB/WR/DB drills showed what the attention was all about. Although of average height and weight for a safety (he looked maybe 6-1, and about 190 lbs. to me) he simply manhandled the receivers he went up against with strength, speed and quickness.

Don will have many pictures of the camp for your enjoyment in the next couple days.

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