Second Session Top 10 and a Summer Recap

The questions going into this summer camp weren't about getting commits or handing out offers, but how many of either would happen. Also, people wondered who the next A.J. Wallace would be. You know, that player that until they came here they were relatively unknown and at least in A.J.'s case, he's sitting as one of the most sought after preps across the land. That's the lure of the camps and did this year's sessions pan out? Let's check and see as we wrap up NU's regular summer camps of 2005.

First, you have the big names like Seth Jensen, Jordan McMichael along with noted preps like Kansas running back Jake Sharp, in-state lineman Cole Bunner and Washington lineman Cody Habben.

 

Out of the some 600-plus names that were at Nebraska over the week-long period, this was a smattering of them, but it's amazing what just a couple of big names can do.

 

Remember the effect Reggie Smith had on the camps, just one day in attendance and it was a buzz about the Oklahoma safety until it was a buzz kill when that safety did indeed end up at Oklahoma.

 

People were hoping that history wouldn't repeat itself, though, as this time it was one of Colorado 's best making an appearance, defensive end Seth Jensen coming to show what he can do.

 

He did that, proving himself to be good to the hype, a staunch competitor, who's quickness belied his size, Jensen also possessing a motor reminiscent of some other rush ends in recent NU history.

 

Following his experience he said that Nebraska led, after having been to an Oklahoma camp and with just one more camp at Colorado looming on the horizon.

 

Jordan McMichael, a solid athlete, recruited by Nebraska to play tight end; he showed at times why his hands are more that of a wideout than of a position some thing is little more than a glorified blocker.

 

Adept at running routes, quick off the line, McMichael also showed that he did nothing to sway the positive press he was getting leading up to this Nebraska camp. But, as for McMichael, he's still wide open, so NU fans will have to wait before they can see if Nebraska did enough here to sway him into joining the big red.

 

The big names are something, but it's the other guys; you know, those unsung heroes of the gridiron that for whatever reason went unheralded and basically unknown. For us here at Big Red Report, that one had to be Howells' linebacker Scott Bayer.

 

Here's a kid from an eight-man football team, something that is bound to not get you noticed from here to wherever you want to go. Even Howells' undefeated string over the last five years meant little as they were still an eight man football team.

 

That kind of stereotype didn't stop Bayer from proving to be as athletic as anyone in the first session, as aggressive as anyone in either and definitely one of the now prospering names within the state.

 

You can bet that after this showing, Nebraska will almost certainly ask him to walk-on, but this kid is good enough to get an offer. He may not get one from Nebraska , but if a school turns its head in the right direction, they will notice this kid from a sleepy town in Nebraska .

 

If they do, they'll get a player, but if they don't, Nebraska gets possibly the biggest steal as a walk-on that they have had in quite a few years.

 

One player that probably every Husker fan worth his or her salt wants to walk-on would be the third of his line to do so. Justin Makovicka, possibly following in the footsteps of brothers Joel and Jeff; could be the next great or even greater Makovicka of them all.

 

Bigger than his brothers were at that age, along with faster and just as aggressive; Justin wants to walk on, should be expected to be given that opportunity and before this year is done, a program much maligned for its sudden disdain for the in-state talent now symbolizes how wrong that was. The name Makovicka itself means Nebraska football, so Justin's existence as part of the team will serve to bring smiles to Husker fans for at least a few years down the road.

 

Oh, and the kid is a pretty darn good player as well.

 

That's the other thing, people wondering not just about the big names coming in, but those that become names going out, similar to A.J. Wallace. Scott Bayer did that for himself, but there were a variety of players that might have come in obscure, but will leave with at least a bit of recognition on their side.

 

We recapped some of the more significant names from the first session, so let's look at the second session and there's no better way to summarize who we thought stood out than with our second session Top Ten. It's those; big names or not, that stood tall and got noticed, even if they came in as someone hardly anyone knew at all.


Anthony West - Here is the most reasonable kid from the camp to receive an offer from the Huskers.  Anthony tested out as well as anybody running that blazing 4.37 40 yard dash and proved in drills that it wasn't a fluke.  He dominated seven on seven drills using his speed and hands on offense and ball hawking skills on defense.  By September don't be surprised to see Anthony receive that offer.  The coaches want to see some game film of Anthony, but if it's anything like what he did at camp, they will probably enjoy it.  

Niles Paul - The hands down top prospect in the state of Nebraska for the class of 2007, Paul will have a lot of decisions on his hands very early.  Teams will start coming with offers and Nebraska won't be left behind, expect an offer for Paul this summer or shortly into his junior season.  A cornerback with size 6'1 and speed to boot, Paul showed good hip movement and the ability to change direction quickly in seven on seven.  He finished with a load of interceptions at camp and a lot of praise.

Gabe Carimi - A future offensive tackle, Carimi uses his 6'7 1/2" frame to his advantage.  In offensive lineman drills, Carimi showed he has amazing footwork and solid technique.  Coach Wagner seemed impressed and its reasonable to consider Carimi will receive an offer after a couple game films are sent in.  Whenever you are 260 and run a 4.8, bench 320 and play a position Nebraska is thin at, the coaches will keep in contact with you.  If Wisconsin offers along with Nebraska though, forget about Gabe, he will stay in-state.

Tim House – You know the old saying or how the story goes: "if he was just a few inches taller, he'd be a household name." Well, that applies for House as he has every intangible you need in a solid football player, plus he's got the agility, acceleration and flat out speed to pose a threat one either side of the ball; most likely at running back on offense and safety or cornerback on defense. The problem is that size does indeed matter and in one-on-one match ups, despite his heart, House is at somewhat of a disadvantage.

 

We've seen players like Cory Ross come around, sporting that smallish size, but excelling at what they do. House could do that and the fact that both Arizona and Arizona State have offered, it's a testament to where he's at right now. Again, though, if he was just a few inches taller, he'd have everyone after him, because this kid had a great camp overall.

Terenga Tuinei – Tuinei projects as either a defensive end or tight end, but most of the impressive work he did during this camp was grabbing the ball rather than trying to nail the guy throwing it.

 

Not the greatest quickness off the line, but Tuinei showed good ability to change direction, ran fairly crisp routes and again, his hands were what set him apart. If it was even close, Tuinei almost always came down with it and he even made a few acrobatic catches as well.

 

At over 6 foot, 4 inches tall, weighing around 210 pounds, Tuinei projects as a tight end in the making or as he sees it, a defensive end for the future. The lack of being a real speed threat is going to limit him to some degree, but he's got most of what he needs to be a pretty solid player at the division 1-A level.

Trae Pflueger – Trae doesn't have the ideal size, but he sure has the speed, Pflueger ripping off two 4.4 40s during testing at session number two. For the fastest man competition, Pflueger again dominated, running yet another sub-4.5.

 

During 7 on 7 competition, Trae played quarterback simply out of necessity, because there were just not enough good quarterbacks to go around. And Trae did have some success, but when he was at his best on offense, it was when he had a chance to just tuck the ball and go.

 

Trae is extremely elusive in the open field, has great change of direction and once he's out in the open, there was maybe one player in the entire camp that might have some hope of catching him, but not likely.

 

Once again, size is an issue here as well, but Pflueger's almost 6 foot frame shouldn't keep him from getting a fair amount of recruiting attention. Not by Nebraska, but I like how Pflueger did in this session overall and should depending on the system he goes to, I could easily see him in the slot on offense as a wideout or at the safety position on defense.

 

Trae is a solid athlete, but will need time to develop physically to take the rigors of the next level of the game.

Josh Pryor - Pryor will be one of the top rated players out of the state of New Jersey this upcoming season.  He uses his speed to make up for any mistakes and has that athleticism that compares with Cortney Grixby.  Pryor showed an amazing ability to play bump and run coverage in seven on seven and use his hands to his advantage in coverage.  I really love this kid's ability to get physical with wide receivers and be the aggressor on defense.  I don't think you will see Josh receiver an offer, but he definitely has a chance still.

Leon Hill – When you see someone 247 pounds rip off a 4.58 40, that's probably enough to get them into some kind of post-camp list of stellar achievers. Being fast isn't all this thick linebacker is good at, though.

 

Leon is tough at the point of attack, obviously very strong and able to use his leverage effectively and for someone so thick, he's got fairly decent flexibility in the hips. It's wide open right now as far as the recruiting process goes, so there's plenty of teams that will probably be taking an even harder look at this Florida prep-star, probably including the Huskers.

Nick Magiera - Another kid that will be a star to watch for the class of 2007, Majera plans on tripping back to Nebraska's camp for next season.  Hopefully by then, he is getting a serious look at an offer from Nebraska.  Somewhat of a tweener, Majera can play either outside linebacker or strong safety in college. 

 

The son of a professional powerlifter, Majera showed off the most chiseled body you will ever see for a 16 year old kid.  He can squat 500 lbs 8 times which is more than most lineman can do.  Majera loves Nebraska and if they were to offer, I would be hard-pressed to believe he wouldn't pull the trigger.

Tyler Sullivan – If there was one thing that stood out about the projected outside linebacker or safety, it was his feet. They are quick; in fact real quick, Sullivan working almost flawlessly in the individual foot drills the coaches ran with him and a few of the in-state stars.

 

Combine those feet with a six foot, 180 pound frame, along with 4.5 speed, he's got the potency to play various spots on ‘D'.

 

Sullivan is actually connected to the program, his uncle(mark) having played for the Huskers and some relatives of his living in Superior . What Tyler would love more than anything else right now is to make it back himself and follow his uncle's footsteps with the big red.

 

The problem is money and Sullivan could possibly earn a scholarship, but probably not with NU. If nobody else offers, you can bet that Sullivan will try his hand at walking on with the Huskers, but if there's an offer, he'll snatch that up without question.

 

Sullivan is a solid player, athletic enough to contribute at a lot of positions and he's got the frame to build on. He made a good impact at this camp and chances are, he'll have a few more schools looking at him during the season.

With those sessions in the books, now it's just up to father time to tell us how many (if any) of those that attended came out with offers and ultimately how many of those will be wearing the scarlet and cream.

 

That's what it's all about for the fans, but for the players, even if they didn't get an offer, they got something else pretty valuable in return:

 

They got the experience of being at a camp run by professionals, giving them lessons brought down from the NFL itself. They got a chance to show what they could do against players just as good or even better than themselves. And, they got a lot of publicity if what they did impressed those like us there to see it.

 

You can say what you want for fans as they are simply looking for the next great Husker amidst the obscurity of names, brought together in bunches from small towns around the region, but for the players, it's a win-win situation in the end.

 

That's why the camps are what they are, why they are becoming even more popular and with this new staff, why the emphasis is more on that personal touch with the camps than perhaps ever before.

 

It's part-classroom, part showroom, with the University of Nebraska as the display case and the coaches and what they do symbolizing what's inside.

 

It's just part of the many parts of the future of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

 

So, now it's just another year before we can see some of the gems from around the region show up, show off and see if they have the right stuff to join the big red.

 


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