Stars emerge from Oregon Nike camp

You couldn't have asked for a nicer day Saturday for the annual Oregon Nike camp, held at the University of Oregon in Eugene. With roughly 200 participants from as far as Saint Louis, Missouri in attendance, the numbers allowed for a lot of reps and some serious competition during the camp-ending one-on-ones.

We were all anticipating seeing sophomore phenom Jonathan Stewart from Lacey (Wash.) Timberline, and Stewart did not disappoint. At almost 210 pounds, Jonathan ran a 4.59 40 (only a tenth slower than the camp's top time) while slipping, and jumped 37 inches. Even though he still has two years to play in high school, Stewart was the most polished running back in camp. He really likes the Ducks early on, but admitted his favorite school is Miami. Will Stewart change coasts when he makes his college choice? Only time will tell.

(PHOTO RIGHT)Jonathan Stewart sets in a three-point stance during a drill for running backs at the Oregon Nike Camp held at the University of Oregon on June 14, 2003, in Eugene, Or. (Photo by Steve Summers, eDuck Sports)

Other running backs that stood out Saturday included David Shields from Wildwood (Missouri) Lafayette, Ryan Hastie from Salinas (Calif.) Palma, Jordyn Jackson from Vancouver (Wash.) Columbia River, Tyler Mattair from Kennewick (Wash.) Southridge, Utrillo 'Dale' Morris from Eugene (Ore.) Marist and Devon Sturdivant from Boise (Idaho) Timberline.

As far as scholarship offers, no one had a bigger and more distinguished list than Woodinville, Washington QB Matt Tuiasosopo. The 6-2, 200-pound Tuiasosopo, younger brother of current Oakland Raider Marques and current Washington Husky Zach, did not test Saturday. That was the only thing that kept him out of the running for camp MVP honors. Washington, Washington State, USC, UCLA, Northwestern and Nebraska have already offered Matt scholarships, and it was easy to see why. He had the best arm of all the quarterbacks, and has a real fire in his belly. He was always competiting and had a great attitude the whole day. QB coach Bob Johnson worked really hard with Tuiasosopo to refine his technique.

Johnson's going to have a hard time leaving Matt out of the Elite 11 camp, and after his performance Saturday it's safe to say that Tuiasosopo's the best QB in the Northwest and is arguably the best signal-caller on the West Coast. We were hoping that Matt was going to go up against Erik Ainge and Gary Rogers, but that competition never materialized.

That doesn't mean there weren't any other worthy QB's. In fact, just the opposite. Jacob Bower from Meridian, Idaho, showed just why he's got some solid D1 offers under his belt. BYU, Utah, Boise State, Oregon State, Utah State and Idaho have put Jacob on their lists, with the Cougars, Beavers and Purdue Boilermakers on his early wish list. Bower is LDS, so expect BYU to be tough to beat.

Medford (Ore.) QB Beau Hovland also had a solid day throwing the ball, exhibiting a nice blend of touch and fire when the situation called for it. The Portland State Vikings have already offered Hovland a ride, and he also has a trip offer from Michigan State.

It was a fantastic day for the linemen in Eugene. Led by Nike line coach Marty Spaulding, the quality and quantity of big uglies was perfect, allowing for a one-on-one session at the end that rivalled the best I've seen. The OL was led by Spokane (Wash.) East Valley's Andy Roof, Lewiston, Idaho's Brent Russum, Vancouver (Wash.) Columbia River's Eddie Vickers and Shelton, Washington's Tyler Schlauderaff.

Roof was the fiery leader for the offensive linemen, even taking the lead at the end for the final competitive snaps. He had a nice little rivalry going with Oregon verbal commit David Faaeteete and Bank, Oregon DL Cole Linehan. The 300-pound Roof handled Faaeteete with ease his first time around, but got schooled by quick DE the next two times they tussled. Linehan had his way with Andy on the very last one-on-one, which got Roof's juices really going. It's clear he hates to lose, and with offers now from Washington, Washington State and Oregon, Andy will have an opportunity to stay in the region if he wants to.

(PHOTO LEFT) David Faaeteete (left) and Andy Roof enjoyed a good day during the Oregon Nike Camp held at the Autzen Stadium complex on Saturday, June 14, 2003, in Eugene, Or. (Photo by Steve Summers, eDuck Sports)

In my opinion, Russum has the best footwork of any lineman at the camp. He's only in the 250 to 260-pound range, but he had no problems matching up with everybody he went up against and wasn't afraid to get in and really mix it up. Mike Riley and Oregon State offered him Friday, so word is getting out about Russum.

Word around camp was that the coaches teaching the linemen really loved Eddie Vickers. Eddie is a load at around 300 pounds and can move extremely well for a guy his size. He never missed an opportunity to get after it in the one-on-ones and more than held his own. Schlauderaff was a guy you couldn't miss. He reminded me of Washington signee Erik Berglund and current UCLA Bruin Ed Blanton. He had to be 6-7 at least and was not soft at all. He showed nice agility and solid footwork. Tyler is a player that certainly made a name for himself in Eugene and he should be getting a lot more exposure as a result.

On the other side, there was a reason the OL was fired up. The DL was giving them all they could handle. As stated earlier, Faaeteete and Linehan led the charge. Portland (Ore.) Wilson DL Joe Bozikovich showed why he's already deserving of offers from Oregon State and Portland State by battling tooth and nail on every one-on-one matchup. Joe is equally adept on ripping around end or driving his man straight back.

A defensive end that just gave the offense fits was Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes' Nate Johnson. Nate is a very skilled player and can kill you as a TE or DE. He worked out with the defense today and showed a lot of quickness on his first two steps. His future position will depend on if he keeps growing. Oakmont, California's Drew Lubinsky is an end more in the Will Conwell - Walt Winter mold, a tall, rangy athlete that beat you around the end. His attitude and willingness to be taught shined through Saturday. Puyallup, Washington's Isaiah Barsh deserves some mention as well. He worked with the ends, but most likely will be a linebacker in college. There's no question he's a baller and showed it.

There were some very good linebackers on display, headed up by two from Washington State. Everett (Wash.) Mariner's Trenton Tuiasosopo and Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep's Patrick McKillop were the ones that stood out Sunday, but in different ways. Trenton is much more of a WIL-type linebacker, one that can move in and out and has the range and speed to be able to cover sideline to sideline. McKillop is more of the proverbial 'immovable object' in the middle, a classic MIK in the mold of a Peter Sirmon or Dave Hoffman. He showed great instincts and technique when working closer to the line of scrimmage. The pass coverage drills really helped him work on a part of his game he needs to improve on to be the total package at LB. Mike Riley and Oregon State already like what they see in McKillop and have offered him a scholarship, while the Washington Huskies are trying hard to keep Tuiasosopo close to home.

But those two weren't the only linebackers that had good days. Bryan Baird from Vancouver (Wash.) Columbia River, Erik Swikard from Santee (Calif.) West Hills (also has a reported offer from Colorado State) , Johnie Kirton from Mill Creek (Wash.) Jackson, Jake Paulson from Lake Oswego (Ore.) Lakeridge, Eddie Stamm from Winters, California, Allen Brunner from Ventura (Calif.) Saint Bonaventure, Brian Jimenez from Medford (Ore.) North Medford, and Jake Staser from Anchorage (Alaska) Service. This is the second camp Brunner has led the camp in repetitions of 185 pounds on the bench. At the USC camp, the 5-11, 210-pound Brunner put up 43 reps and Saturday he bettered that mark by 4.

Jimenez, a teammate of Faaeteete and QB Beau Hovland, reportedly has a scholarship offer from the University of Oregon, but his coaches couldn't confirm that. He's a rangy athlete in the mold of another in-state product, Dayton's Dante Rosario, but smaller.

The only group with number issues were the defensive backs, but you could hardly blame them. There were a few DB's like Columbia River's Baird, Portland (Ore.) Jefferson's T.R. Smith and Spokane (Wash.) Lewis and Clark ATH Carl Shaw that could have played DB but went a different route.

(PHOTO RIGHT) Jefferson (Portland, Or) running back T.R. Smith finishes the day at the Oregon Nike Camp in Eugene, Or on June 14, 2003. (Photo by Steve Summers, eDuck Sports)

No one single player helped his recruiting stock more Saturday than Smith, a multi-purpose player that played QB for Jefferson last season. He ran the fastest time of the camp - 4.49, and displayed incredible footwork and athleticism. Watch for Smith's name this fall.

Other receivers that distinguished themselves at camp include Ryan Bagley from Great Falls (Mont.) CM Russell, Todd Olson from Lake Oswego (Ore.) Lakeridge and Nick Varner from Fairbanks (Alaska) Lathrop Carl Shaw was a player we expected to see catching balls, but the 6-3, 195-pound Shaw decided to throw them instead. He's not sure if he'll be throwing the ball or catching it this fall, but one thing is for certain - he'll be making plays. Shaw is getting serious looks from the Cougars and Huskies.

And perhaps the best DB prospect of all - Federal Way (Wash.) Decatur's Darin Harris, was also playing QB. He'll do so for the Gators this fall, and feels he's got an excellent opportunity to be a difference-maker in a run-oriented offense. He's visiting Nebraska very soon, so he may just find the solution he's looking for if the Cornhuskers offer him a scholarship. Washington and Colorado have already done so, so you know he's a player.

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