NU Summer Camps - Session 2 - A RECAP

As the second session wrapped up, the theme of this one is consistent as to the updates you have seen on this second round of Summer camps at Nebraska. Size does matter and when it came to that, a few certainly stood out. Of course, there's another saying as well - "it's how you use it" that applied also. Big was in, but there were some players that were decidedly not big that make sizeable impressions as well. Check out this recap of Session number two.

I have to be honest in that I just didn't know that much about Overton's, Orion Matthies. I knew he was big, I knew he was supposed to be very good, but I also knew that he came from a town that is small to say the least. That's not to say that individuals couldn't be good in small towns, but based on the average competition,

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If Orion Matthies' stock wasn't
high going into this camp, it should
be now. The Overton standout
proved that not only could he
dominate lesser competition but
hang with some of the perceived
best as Matthies went toe-to-toe
with Daniel Borg, giving as good as
he got.

I wondered just how good was good.

Turns out, it was damn good.

Out of all the campers there for the second session, Orion Matthies put a stamp down as the most impressive, including the late-arriving, Daniel Borg. Even against the highly touted Arizona lineman, Matthies not only held his own, but at times gave better than he got.

Solid feet, decent overall size, but his hands are probably what surprised me the most. Matthies is more of a technician than he is a sheer brute lineman and that makes his up-side that much more significant. Borg was able to push Matthies physically off the line, but Matthies was also able to maneuver Borg around in many instances.

What amazes most though is that this is a lineman with no offers taking on a lineman with offers in the double-digits and he more than held his own.

Matthies is my camp MVP and if he doesn't get an offer from Nebraska, I'll be more than stunned.

Speaking of Daniel Borg, Borg looked physically like you would expect. Big, hulking and formidable simply as

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Daniel Borg's brief appearance at
NU's camp showed a lot of why he
is as coveted as he is, but probably
not as much as some would have
thought. Borg is an oustanding
lineman that could easily play his
first year, but when comparing
Matthies' overall ability and potential
to that of Borg's, the differences
aren't as significant as you might
think.

a muscular force inside. I wasn't all that impressed though with his overall technique. I thought Borg did what you would expect for a lineman as touted as he is, but against a possibly vastly underrated Matthies, Borg didn't dominate as you would expect and at times, got a little better than he gave.

Don't get me wrong, Borg is still a solid prospect and his chances to play early are better than that of Matthies who probably has some weight yet to put on. With that being said though, I thought Borg wasn't quite equal to the hype that had surrounded him. But as usual, he's got a year yet to play.

Jared Elliot was another surprise, probably because I had never heard of him before. A gargantuan lineman standing 6'6" and weighing just over 300 lbs., Elliot was physically very imposing. His feet were what caught my attention though as he has remarkably good feet and his hands weren't bad at all. The problem with Elliot as he continued to show, his speed coming off the snap wasn't real fast. His 5.8/40 was an illustration not of his speed, but his start as it was a dreadful one. There just isn't a lot of quickness of the line with Elliot and though I found that to be the only real downside to him, it's a pretty big downside for any lineman. Elliot is solid up and down, but that lack of real quickness off the ball will hurt him for certain.

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During an individual drill, Zach
Potter takes instruction from Bill
Callahan. Potter's reluctance to
play the offensive line position (I
believe) had an effect on his overall
performance at these drills. At TE
though, I think Potter proves that
he's more than physically capable
for the position.

Zach Potter is a young man that is being looked at by many to play the line position The problem is, that's not what he wants to play. The lanky but large tight end has good hands and feet and yes, he's a definite candidate for the trenches, but his mind is pointed towards catching the ball rather than blocking for others with it.

During his individual drills, Potter didn't seem overly physical when it came to testing with the linemen. Some might say that's him not liking contact, but I'll take a different mind-set to that in that this is a position the young man doesn't want to play, so why would he want to show that he's good at it? True, it's not a safe psychology, because even the most used tight ends in terms of the passing game have to block. Potter looked too good at the pass-receiving aspect to be shied away from based on this alone and I think that if he gets to a system where they actually want him as a tight end and that's it, you'll see a markedly more physical prospect.

David Harvey of McDonough high school in Maryland is another that is a TE, but could be looked as a lineman. He's tall (around 6'5") and has the frame to hold a considerably larger amount of weight than he's currently carrying (255 lbs.) and he's got pretty decent hands and feet. Balance needs some work, but as a TE, Harvey isn't an upper-tier prospect, but he could feasibly develop into a nice line prospect. He'll be a Senior, so that's not a lot of time to work into that different of a role, but Harvey just

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TE, David Harvey of McDonough
high school in Maryland could have
much more success on the O-line.
His speed just didn't pan out this
time around as being quite the
standard for his position, especially
considering his size. Harvey could
make a potentially good lineman
though, provided he can add the
weight without losing too much
speed.

doesn't have the speed for most schools at the TE position.

While Harvey probably isn't on anyone's immediate radar, his teammate is someone that will most certainly be. A.J. Wallace, a standout athlete has the combinations of speed, agility, explosiveness and potential size to make your mouth water. I say potential in that Wallace isn't even a Junior yet and he's already close to the size of the first-session star, Reggie Smith. Wallace is not as polished as Smith nor is he quite as explosive in his cuts, but Wallace shows all of the potential of being able to get there.

 

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A.J. Wallace is a junior to watch
but a true one in that he'll just be
a Junior next year for McDonough
high school. Wallace has it all and
with another two years to play, he
might very well be "big-time" for
the 2006 class.

Wallace is a kid that can play either way. While he shows a certain tenacity for the ball at Wide Receiver, he's equally ferocious at DB. Probably needs a little more time at the position to get real comfortable in one-on-one coverage, but again, Wallace has every tool he needs to be a heck of a player on either side. As a Junior, I see Wallace's name starting to rise the charts and he'll definitely be one to watch over the next two years.

Back to the big boys for a second, look out for Junior-to-be, D.J. Jones of Omaha Central. He's big, not exactly svelte, but D.J. Jones' almost 300 lbs. didn't slow him down enough to keep him out of the "fastest man" competition at the end of this session. I like his feet and of course, the sheer brute potential he has, but for either side of the ball. I could easily see Jones as a staunch DT in the right scheme. This one is definitely on the radar as one of the better in-state prospects for 2006.

Not to be outdone, there's one for 2007 already in the crosshairs of a few schools in the region. Cody Cooke, an offensive lineman out of Enid, Oklahoma is 6'4" and 275 lbs., all at an age that wouldn't legally allow him to drive. He's raw as you would expect, but going to camps this early and with attention from the likes of Nebraska, Colorado State, Wyoming, Colorado and Washington State, you can't help but watch him develop over the next three years.

Taking a brief spin over to wide receiver, there were a few prospects who's footwork, speed and ability to catch anything in sight made them kids you just loved to watch. The problem is, not one of them was over 5'11". Of those, two really stood out.

Bradley Wells, a senior-to-be from Hammond, Louisiana was a dynamite playmaker after the catch. He was good at getting to the ball and pulling it in, but the real good stuff was after he had caught it. This young man has remarkably quick feet, is very shifty thanks to his lower center of gravity (He's 5'9") and Wells as a solid burst. Bradley also had the kind of speed it took to create separation and it was enough to win him "fastest man" in the featherweight division.

The other was perhaps the all-around best wideout of the group, Sidney Brisbane. Brisbane doesn't quite

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Hey may have been small, but
WR, Sidney Brisbane proved that
size means little when it comes
to knowing how to get to the ball.
If there was a ball even remotely
close to him, he pulled it in. If not
for his size, Brisbane would be a
serious prospect for this year.

have the moves of Wells, but throw the ball anywhere even remotely in his area and he's going to come down with it. Accelerating to the ball, leaping over defenders to get to the ball, Brisbane's nose for the catch was uncanny. Again though, he's a little on the small side, ranging in around 5'10" and weighing in at around 170 lbs. That hasn't stopped him from receiving interest from the likes of Nebraska, Missouri and Southern Illinois.

There has been some talk about Millard North's, Jake Behrens who's potential is certainly on the rise. Behrens, already stout as heck at 220 lbs. on a 6'0" frame, Jake still has the frame to hold more. The big question about Behrens (at least for me) was his hands, a curiosity he answered emphatically in individual punt return drills. Out of 20+, he didn't drop one and showed good explosiveness off the start. On top of that, in 7 on 7 competition, playing the linebacker position, Jake snagged two interceptions in the first game.

Jake has an offer from Colorado already, but it's unclear if Nebraska will follow suit. With his hands and speed, Behrens has a great up-side, even at a height that might not be considered ideal for the position. Can he catch and turn up-field like a halfback? That might be the determining factor in whether or not Jake does get an offer from NU. And perhaps, we'll have to wait until almost mid-season before we can find that out.

Another that played linebacker, but was a true linebacker was Darren Thompson of San Diego, California. The Mission Bay high school standout has an enviable physique. And, even being hampered by what he stated was a strained ligament in his ankle, Thompson still reeled off a 4.6/40 in his testing during the first day of camp.

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Darren Thompson could be one of
those diamonds in the rough. He's
certainly got the physical tools to
play the LB position. Does he have
the instincts? If he proves that he
is a certifiable "ballhawk" his Sr.
year, expect the attention for him
to increase dramatically.

Thompson also showed decent explosiveness to the ball, but if there's one downside, it's not his speed to the ball, but his reaction to it. While I thought Darren reacted "ok" to plays, it didn't appear that he was sensing where the play was going with all that much consistency. I know that's a rather dubious criticism and his 110 tackles from last year would bear out that he's certainly a "ballhawk" type, but with some of the better linebackers you see, invariably what makes them appear so fast to the ball is that they have a nose for where it's going. I think physically, Darren has the tools and with a year to play yet, he could show everyone even more of the combination of his mental play as well.

One last linebacker that showed great promise was Kyle Siskowic of Clairemont High in San Diego, California. The 6'1" 220 lbs. LB showed good speed (4.76), but what I liked was his pursuit to the ball. While Thompson didn't seem to have that sense of the play, Kyle most certainly did and he qualifies as a definite "ballhawk".

His stats as a Junior bear that out, Siskowic tallying 4 forced fumbles (all recovered by him) and 124 tackles which included 3 sacks. Kyle stated that he has been receiving consistent interest from the likes of USC,

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Kyle Siskowic of San Diego could
end up being one of the better
draws from this session at NU.
He's already got the stats to prove
he knows how to get to the ball,
but he showed that physically, he's
not real far off as well. A solid year
in his last season of prep-ball will
take a kid that's hearing from a lot
of big names to a kid that's actually
getting the offers.

UCLA, Arizona State and of course, Nebraska. As to which team he likes the best, Kyle said "At this point, I am just looking around, but Nebraska is a great place. They have everything here and they are even putting in more, so you know it's a place with a big future."

As the camp wound down, they finished with their "fastest man" competition and this version wasn't nearly as fast as the first edition was during the 1st camp session at NU. The fastest overall time was posted by running back, Jake Sharp and Sharp could be another to watch. Sharp is just going to be a Junior next year for Salina Central in Kansas and is already coming off a 1,300+ yard season where he produced at tailback, wide receiver and on returns, totaling 22 touchdowns on the year.

Sharp's 4.5/40 in the competition was more impressive due to the fact that everyone was running into a stiff wind. That wasn't the equal of his 4.4 ran during testing, but that was indoors. Sharp also had a 4.31 shuttle along with a very nice 32 ½" vert. Sharp is another that is on the smallish side, probably in the neighborhood of 5'10", but this young man is built to the hilt and shows much promise for the future.

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Just a Jr. this up-coming season,
Jake Sharp has already proven to
be a statistic-producing machine.
22 total touchdowns, almost 1,000
yards rushing, over 200 yards
receiving and over 200 yards in
returns, this Kansas star is a prep
that many in the region will have
their eyes on for the next 2 years.

Other winners in the 40-yard dash were Justin Wiesar of Papillion-La Vista, running a 4.8 in the middleweight division - Kyle Siskowic in the heavyweight division and Brian Hall from Paducah, Kentucky who won in the super heavyweight division, running a 5.2. Hall is a middle linebacker for Paducah Tilgham that weighs in at just over 260 lbs. Plus, he's just going to be a Junior this year.

So, that wraps up Session 2 and it was probably a decent session overall for Nebraska in regards to seeing what was out there. A few names that came out of this as players to watch for the future were LB, Darren Thompson, Athlete, A.J. Wallace, LB, Kyle Siscowic, Lineman, D.J. Jones, RB, Jake Sharp, FB, Jake Behrens and of course, Lineman, Orion Matthies. Matthies is my session MVP for sure as for a young man that doesn't have any offers currently, I thought he was easily the one most deserving.

The final regular session of camps starts tomorrow and will continue to the 20th, followed by the "Elite QB camp" which is to be held on the 21st and go thru to the 23rd. Husker commit, Harrison Beck is expected to be at that camp and we'll see who else shows up. But, that's it for this session and a good session it was. No offers that we know of came out of it as of yet as with the first session. But, maybe the third one is the charm.

Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or 402-730-5619


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