Going into the last day of this last session of Summer camps at the University of Nebraska, players have separated themselves somewhat and I've decided to put a few of them into some nifty little categories as to whether I think they have great and immediate potential or could use a little polishing over time. From preeminent to projects with a little "tweener" thrown in, let's run some of the best from this camp down.
Robert Rands - A brilliant playmaker, Rands has the physical ability to make you miss or run right by you if you are not careful. He's shifty, has great feet, great balance and is explosive off the line. His testing times of a 4.48/40, 4.08 pro-agility run and 37 inch vertical made him easily one of the measurable monsters during this session.
There's one problem....he's 5'8". Yes, I know you have heard of many players that were of similar size that contributed and even starred for major Division 1-A teams. Did all of them start out as scholarship athletes? Hard to say, but while Rands is indeed a potential playmaking machine, his size will hinder his recruiting some. He's not a project by any means, because you can't coach size. That's a battle that Rands will unfortunately lose. He'll be recruited, of that there is no doubt. We'll see how far that recruiting goes, but I doubt that he gets an offer from NU.
Travis Thomas - A stout DT out of Bellevue West, Thomas stands 6'3 ½" and weighs in around 280 lbs. That makes his 5.19/40 very good, but considering the fact that Thomas isn't in nearly as good of shape as he could be, that 5.19 is extremely good. Thomas could have an extremely bright future if he loses the "bad" weight and supplements that with the "good". This camp is just a taste of what Thomas could do, but I think it's not even close to what he could be if he truly dedicates himself.
Paul Backowski - A TE/DE out of Foley, Minnesota, the 6'7" 239 lbs. prospect finds himself in an interesting dilemma. His 4.86/40 doesn't automatically make you think TE nor would it lend itself to the defensive end position. On the other hand, 239 isn't nearly adequate for the offensive line.
He's being recruited as a tackle almost exclusively though, but one has to wonder just how long can it take a young man to put at least 40 lbs. on a frame this large and how will that effect his speed. I say 40, but even with that much more weight, Paul would still be a tackle prospect that stands 6'7" and is still over 20 lbs. shy of 300. Backowski is going to have to put on a ton of weight even if you low-ball the estimate, so it's really hard to gauge just how he'll do if that time comes.
Backowski already does have an offer from Wyoming and is being recruited by most of the Big Ten, so there seems to be faith that it can be done and in a short enough time for Backowski to be a solid contributor.
Rated as one of TheInsiders' top 100 of the Midwest, Derrick Law's presence was that of probably the best running back prospect at this particular session of the Nebraska Summer camps. A nice size back at 6'0" and around 205 lbs., Law sports decent speed, testing at 4.6/40.
In the variety of drills, Derrick also showed he had pretty good hips in being able to run, cut, turn back for the ball, catch it and turn back up-field. It seemed to be a fairly smooth transition for the Newton, Iowa prospect. Another facet of his game that seemed good was his hands, showing good technique in catching the ball with his hands and bringing it into his body.
With the current stable of backs that NU has, it's not to say that Nebraska isn't going to take another one, but my early assumption would be that if they do, it's going to either be one of their top five prospects at the position or not at all. Derrick should be a solid back for someone, but I'm not sure that he'll get an offer from NU, not because he isn't good, but possibly because Nebraska's sights are set extremely high right now at that position.
If you want to talk measurables, you need look no further than Jordan Schultenover of Hopkins, Minnesota. He stands over 6'2", runs just over a 4.4/40 and vertical jumps almost 37 inches. With the combination of that vertical with that 40-time, you are thinking quick, explosive and fast.
This is one of those situations where depending on what position he plays, that determines how those impressive numbers translate. I saw Jordan compete in 7 on 7s at three different positions: CB, Safety and WR.
At Cornerback, Jordan liked to hug tight on the line and used his hands a lot to keep his guy in front of him. When he had to turn though, his body seemed a little rigid in being able to make that transition. Schultenover is a lanky young man, but didn't seem overly flexible at times.
At Wide Reciever, Jordan seemed a little more in his element. I was surprised however that his explosiveness wasn't as much as you might think considering his impressive 40 and vert. Either he wasn't trying to get off the line quickly or just wasn't into the game, Jordan just didn't get off that line as you might assume. His change of direction was also indicative of hips I just didn't think were real flexible.
At Safety, this is where Jordan had the most problems, both in reading the play and pursuing to the ball. The one thing though that stood out was not how he started, but how he finished. I noticed a real reluctance at getting into the moment and making plays. I don't know whether this is an aversion to contact or what, but he simply didn't finish well at all.
Athletically, you can't argue what Schultenover brings to the table. He's quick at the 40 and can jump to the clouds, but what worries me the most here is it's translation to the football field. If there is a project in this, it's figuring out which position suits him best and at first glance, I'd say wide receiver. I don't think he has the hips to play defense, but his athleticism on offense should be an obvious weapon.
Noah Dombrovski - Here's one young man that I really liked. Great hands, good feet, good hips for the tight end position, I thought Noah did an excellent job in both games and individual workouts as a Tight End. Noah's 6'4" frame and 206 lbs. makes you think wide receiver, but his 4.79/40 pushes him more to tight end.
That's not a downgrade at all though as Noah is solid at this position and was easily the best tight end prospect of the camp. His weight may seem to be a project, but I think Dombrovski upside makes him a solid player for the future.
Ramon Humber - A MLB out of Champlin Park, Minnesota, Humber stands 5'11" and weighs 205 lbs. To most thinking Division 1-A, that's got Safety written all over it. Point of fact, Humber is being recruited as that and at outside linebacker as well.
As a running back, Humber put up 876 rushing yards and scored 13 touchdowns and on defense, tallied 87 tackles while grabbing one interception. During testing at NU, Humber ran a nice 4.59 in the 40, a 4.53 in the pro-agility and jumped 27 inches. That makes Humber a solid athlete, but for the upper-tier division 1-A prospects, is he a safety or outside linebacker?
I think that Humber clearly projects as a safety and possibly a darn good one. Honestly, the only thing that puts Humber in this category vs. the preeminent is that I wasn't overly convinced on his flexibility in the secondary. It's not a major issue with Humber, but depending on the coverage schemes, that could dictate how he does.
Trevor Peterson - This Kearney Bearcat is a bear indeed, standing just over 6 foot, but weighing in at almost 235 lbs. His forty-time is good at 4.67, but his 33 inch vertical really makes you take another look. Yeah, he's explosive. And, in a game it actually shows, Peterson able to get off the line with very good quickness.
This miniature Hulk also said that he benches 370, squats over 500 and hang cleans 385.
I know, I know. Fullback, fullback and fullback. That's where I would project him and from what he said, that's the position he is being looked at, especially by Nebraska. In 7 on 7 competition, you aren't going to see just how he can block, but you can see a little of how he can move. It's really not all that bad for someone of his build. While he's built to the hilt, he has fairly good flexibility in his hips and shows a decent change of direction.
I'm not harping on that, because players with his size are just not traditionally super flexible. Plus, I think Trevor still has an upside to his physical development and that is a really scary thought.
Donald Brown - Here's another that broke off some impressive testing results during this camp. A 4.40/40, a blistering 4.03 pro-agility run and a 32 ½" vertical. Brown's size is also pretty darn good, standing at around 5'11" and weighing in at apprx. 195 lbs. Yeah, the kid is stacked and can move.
Add to that, he can move side-to-side, changes direction well, seems to have pretty good hips and only needs refinement in his technique in coverage, but if technique is his only issue, that's not an issue at all.
Brown's impressive. The New Jersey star should have a bright senior year and this is one that I have no doubt will see the radar of many, many teams. Now, will Nebraska offer? NU has some offers already out there to some pretty impressive safety prospects, so it's touch and go. But, Nebraska could see this as a way to get on the doorstep of a young man rather than following others' leads. We'll definitely see where this one goes.
Other names that you might want to keep in mind are WR, Anthony Ritton(Auburn), WR, Ricky Massa (Lincoln High), WR and Wise Cilumba (Fossil Ridge - Fort Worth, TX).
If I had to give out my own personal MVP of this camp thus far, I'm torn between Donald Brown and Noah Dombrovski. I think both bring great potential to any team, but for the more immediate impact guy, I have to go with Brown. He's one kid that I think once he learns the position could hit the field fast and furious.
Tomorrow is the last day of the last session of the regular Summer camps for Nebraska. That includes the championship game of 7 on 7 competition, plus the competition to see just who is the "fastest man" in camp.
After that, Nebraska concludes the Summer camps with their very first quarterback camp, somewhere between 30 and 50 QBs expected, including Nebraska commit, Harrison Beck.