Washington Nike camp goes National

For at least one day, the Huskies' golf course wasn't the only thing considered 'Washington National'. On Friday, student-athletes from all over the country congregated under breaking skies at the Dempsey indoor facility at the University of Washington for the last Nike camp of the season. This camp put the finishing touches on an 11-city tour for the folks at Nike and Student Sports.

There was no question who the Nike camp MVP was, but no one knew about him when he walked in the building. Gino Cruse Jr, a 6-3.5, 310-pound lineman from Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista, came to Seattle to participate at the Rick Neuheisel football camp and decided to come a day early to get the word out.

It worked.

Gino was by far the most talented defensive lineman at camp, with a plethora of moves to go with his solid testing numbers. He ran a 5.1 40, 4.83 shuttle and repped 185 pounds 22 times. And he showed his athleticism by jumping back and forth between offense and defense during the one-on-ones.

Matt Tuiasosopo was not able to attend his hometown Nike camp and Gary Rogers was en route to a passing league at Washington State, so the overall talent level at quarterback took a pretty big hit. Greg and Taylor Barton took over for Bob Johnson this week, and it really felt like an Air Attack alumni meeting. Nearly all the top QB's were the same players that use the Barton's Air Attack camp.

James Wright from Spanaway (Wash.) Bethel was in attendance and he's bound and determined to pick up the slack left by the departure of Johnny DuRocher to the University of Oregon. James has a big arm and nice mobility for a big guy (6-5, 205) and he has improved tremendously since we saw him during last summer's Air Attack camps.

Kyle Carson from Longview (Wash.) Castle Rock was another one of the bigger names from the state to participate, and he also displayed a cannon for an arm. When he overthrows his ball has a tendency to float, but when he spins it the way he's capable of, it's reminiscent of Brock Huard. He's also got the size (6-5, 215) that D1 coaches drool over.

Montana just offered Alex Smart from Snoqualmie (Wash.) Mount Si, and for good reason. Alex has great athleticism for his size (6-3, 205), jumping 35.4 inches in the vertical. Mark Gray isn't the biggest guy in the world (5-9, 175), but no one was more accurate with their throws. Kyle Moore (6-2.5, 176) from Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic and Sam Moultrie (6-0, 193) from Portland (Ore.) Grant are two signal-callers from the Rose City to keep an eye on.

A couple of local players jumped out at running back, starting with Seattle (Wash.) John F. Kennedy's Zach Cooper. At 5-7 and 171 pounds, Cooper reports offers from Washington, Oregon and UCLA, among others, and had a nice day working out with the RB's. He's got really nice quicks and can cut on a dime.

Going from the diminutive Cooper, there may not be a bigger RB seen this year at the Nike camps than Mill Creek (Wash.) Johnie Kirton. Johnie, at 6-2 and 253 pounds, definitely stood out. He ran a very respectable 4.8 40, 4.4 shuttle and jumped 25 inches in the vertical. In our opinion, he's physically reminiscent of a player like Jerome Stevens, an oversized linebacker that grows into a position on the defensive line. With his athleticism, he could really wreak havoc on the DL.

Rabun Fox came all the way up from Houma, Louisiana and was by far the best true fullback prospect. The 5-11, 235-pound Fox, from Vanderbilt Catholic High School, is a tough-nosed runner who has the right mentality for the position.

The offensive linemen had arguably the best competition, as both Casey Bulyca from Woodinville, Washington and Aaron Klovas from Spanaway (Wash.) Bethel came to compete, as well as Jabari Watkins from Kent (Wash.) Kentridge.

Klovas wasn't able to make it until midway through the position drills, but immediately put his stamp on the camp during the one-on-ones. There's no question Aaron is the top lineman in the state and one of the top-three on the west coast, in my opinion. He has the perfect blend of size, technique and nasty and was never beat, which is even more remarkable considering he basically came off the street and jumped right into things.

Bulyca is very much like Klovas in size and stature (6-5.5, 290), and is a ferocious competitor, easily the most aggressive lineman at camp. What sets them apart is that Bulyca's is sometimes a little too enthusiastic. As he gets older and is able to control is enormous reserve of energy and emotion, he'll be unstoppable.

Jabari Watkins, at 6-4 and 300 pounds, is another very sound technician and athletic as all get-out. He could use some of Bulyca's enthusiasm to put him over the top in terms of being a truly dominant lineman. When he engages a player, it's usually lights out.

While the three Washington OL were the cream of the crop, there was an intriguing prospect that literally travelled across the country to test his mettle at the Rick Neuheisel football camp. Andrew Anderson, a 6-3, 255-pound lineman from Boca Raton (Florida) Pope John Paul II, and also a cousin of former Husky placekicker John Anderson, worked out with the offensive lineman and had great feet all day in the SAQ and position drills. While he may be just a tad undersized to be a dominant offensive lineman, he moved so well during the camp that he could very easily switch sides and put the OL on their heels as a swift DE.

For the receivers and tight ends, Slade Norris, Marquis McFarland and Aaron Dickson were the tops for the smaller guys, while Jared Hamilton, Jarvis Hardin and Brandon Vonnahme were the best of the best at the tight end position. Norris, from Vancouver, Washington, actually crosses into Oregon every day, as he attends Jesuit HS in Portland. At 6-2.5 and 209 pounds, he was one of the bigger WR's to be working out, and to us he scream out 'Pac-10 linebacker'. He ran a 4.53 40, just .07 slower than the fastest time all day, and jumped 33.6 inches in the vertical.

McFarland came all the way from Hattiesburg, Mississippi to attend. The Seattle camp was the first one he could make now that school is out for the summer, and he showed why he's got scholarship offers already from Mississippi State and Rice.

Dickson, from Portland (Ore.) Grant, wrote down on his card that he has scholarship offers from Washington and Oregon State, so we were interested in seeing the 6-1, 193-pounder's game. Dickson has a lot of game. His footwork was very solid when watching him in the ladder drills, and he showed very nice hands. Aaron runs the ball for Grant and plays some defense, so he's very much an athlete who could contribute at a number of positions.

Also, we can't forget one of the local boys, Sam Togar from Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes, Reggie Williams' alma mater. Sam is one of those receivers that will burn you more with his quicks than straight-ahead speed. More than once he had DB's grasping for the air with precise route-running. Togar, at 5-9 and 165 pounds, is a player that has the versatility to play both ways and will be a player to watch for Coach Dave Miller and the Lancers.

Jared Hamilton, from Highland (Utah) Lone Peak, was a player that initially stood out during the ladder drills, showing precise footwork. At 6-4 and over 230 pounds, Hamilton is another player that could play either on offense (TE) or defense (DE). He has the game to have success either way.

Kent (Wash.) Kentwood's Hardin, at 6-1 and 235 pounds, is built more like an inside linebacker, but is really a playmaker. His hands are fantastic and he's a flat-out hustler. He goes 100 percent every play. Vonnahme, from Carroll, Iowa, was a huge target at 6-5 and around 220 pounds.

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