Highlights from the Barton Camp

On Sunday, some of the top athletes in the Northwest gathered at Portland Community College for the first Barton Camp of 2014. Helmed by Northwest Elite Index's Taylor Barton and Jordan Johnson, the camp provided expert instruction and a competitive proving ground to determine who was the best of the best.

But, at the end of the day, it was about leaving a little bit better than you did when you walked in.

Here are some standouts from the first camp, which was split into two sessions.

The first session showcased the linemen and the first person to pass the eye test was Tigard sophomore Conner Crist. At 6-foot-4, 285-pounds he has been forecasted as one of the top three tackles in 2016.

Apart from his solid frame, Crist showed good technique and leverage during drills and demonstrated some decent footwork during one-on-one's. It was clearly evident why Crist was 2nd team all-league, and expect him to keep improving during his final two seasons.

Another lineman that separated himself from the pack was Jesuit guard Nick Miller. Miller was 1st team all league last season and stands 6-foot-3, 265-pounds. While Miller didn't display the same power as Christ, he did show his explosiveness and quick feet off the snap during one-on-one's. He had solid hands and used his strong base to keep opponents in front of him. With a little more initial power, Miller can reach another level with the attributes he displayed on Sunday.

Rounding out the linemen was Lakeridge DL Massen Newton. At 6-foot-1, 280-pounds, he started as a sophomore and made all-league. During drills, he demonstrated an explosiveness off the snap that I did not expect to come from him.

He showed quickness in getting around opponents and picked up on instructions from the coaches quickly. During one-on-one's he matched up with Miller and used his strong legs to power through him in an impressive display. He's definitely one to keep an eye out for next season.

The afternoon session saw the skill players come in and show off their skills.

At quarterback, Forest Grove sophomore quarterback Taylor Jensen was one of the top at his position. Jensen is tall and long, which are great attributes for a quarterback at his age. He had a high release point, decent velocity on his throws and was accurate during drills.

During one-on-one's he, like many of the other quarterbacks, struggled to connect his receivers consistently, but part of that was due to great play by the defensive backs. He has the right attributes in place though, and its easy to see how he's one of the top QB's in the state.

West Salem quarterback Cade Smith also looked good, showcasing a quick and tight release. Since he doesn't have the height of players like Jensen or even Kimane Domena, Smith relies on accuracy and good mechanics. He threw bullets on short out routes, but it would've been nice to see him throw a few more deep balls to gauge how strong of an arm he really has.

Domena, a junior from Roosevelt, demonstrated great footwork and athleticism, in addition to very good arm strength. The difficulty for him was trying to control it during one-on-one competition as he routinely overthrew his receivers. If he works on his accuracy, he could become the most dangerous man behind center in the state.

One wide receiver that stood out was Evergreen High School junior Justice Murphy. During drills, he ran superb routes, cut with aggression and has great hands. If the ball was in any sort of catchable range, Murphy was coming down with it.

On short routes, Murphy showed off plenty of quickness, making explosive cuts back up field after a comeback route, something that some of the other athletes had trouble with. In short, look out for him at the next level.

Defensively, Roosevelt junior Billy Nelson was certainly an eye-opener. Nelson's quick feet allowed him to stick with anybody at the camp, and watching him go one-on-one with Murphy during the competition portion of the camp was the highlight of the day.

He was quick to jam up his opponents and prevented them from getting the room needed to complete their routes and haul in the catch during one-on-one's. By the end of the camp, Nelson definitely stood out as one of the top prospects there.

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