Nike Camp Hits Happy Valley

Yesterday, the good guys at Student Sports brought the Nike Clinic to the practice fields at Penn State. Who stood out as the top prospects at the camp?

An estimated group of over 230 athletes performed at Nike this year. As is always the case, these athletes were weighed and measured, performed the 185lb. bench, 40 yard dash, pro agility test, vertical jump, and various positional drills.

From top to bottom, this may have been the best group of athletes we have had at Penn State Nike. There were several high-end quarterbacks, linemen, wide receivers and defensive backs in attendance as well as a couple of blue chip linebackers.

This Nike event saw two of the nations most highly sought after quarterbacks duel it out on the practice field behind the Lasch Building. Penn Hills (Pittsburgh, PA) QB Anthony Morelli and Wilson HS (Reading, PA) QB Chad Henne both participated in the QB skills portion of this event.

Although I did not receive confirmation of this from Bob Johnson prior to leaving Nike, I'm virtually certain that both Morelli and Henne will be invited to the Elite 11 QB camp this summer based on their performances at Nike.

Most gave today's performance edge to Anthony Morelli, but both QB's looked outstanding this afternoon while making a wide variety of throws.

Some of the other good looking QB's in the "A Group" at today's event were Conestoga Valley (Lancaster Cty., PA) QB Jordan Steffey, LaSalle HS (Providence, RI) QB Liam Coen, Salesianum HS (Wilmington, DE) QB Gene Delledonne (10th grade), Haverford School (Haverford, PA) QB Brian Savage, State College HS QB Kevin Suhey, and Wayne Hills HS (Wayne, NJ) QB Nick Worzel.

After Henne and Morelli, the consensus opinion among those that I spoke with was that the next two top QB's were Jordan Steffey and Brian Savage.

Some of the top linemen in attendance were recent Penn State commits Greg Harrison of Shenandoah Valley HS and Wyatt Bowman or Cumberland Valley HS, Kyle Mitchum of Erie McDowell HS, Travis Decker or Parkland HS in Orefield, PA, Alex Fletcher or St. Anthony's HS in Melville, NY, 10th grader Justin Schifano of Webster HS in Webster NY, Nick Smith of Canton (OH) Glen Oak HS, Nhemie Theodore of Essex Catholic in East Orange, NJ., 10th grader Morgan Thomas of Parkland HS in Orefield, PA., Jeremy Zuttah of Stevens HS in Edison, NJ, and Gerald Cadogan or Portsmouth, Ohio.

Steve Curry, myself, and a few friends watched Kyle Mitchum's highlight tape the evening before Nike and it's very easy to see why he is one of the most highly sought after lineman east of the Mississippi this year. He is extremely quick off the ball and keeps his pad level low through his blocks.

Alex Fletcher is from the same high school as current Penn State player Chris Auletta and current recruit Matt Hahn. He put up a very good number of bench press reps at 30 and looked outstanding in the drills.

One of the hot rumors going around was whether or not Nhemie Theodore of Essex Catholic had a Penn State offer. I never got that fully cleared up to my satisfaction, but will report that the rumor mill was in full swing. Theodore is a big DT prospect with massive shoulders.

Justin Schifano of Webster, NY created a buzz when he ran a 5.1 forty and 302lbs. after having put up 30 bench press reps. Keep in mind that this is a 10th grader.

The cream off the crop at running back had to be Andrew Johnson of North Hills HS, Jamal Robinson of Glenville HS (Cleveland, OH), and Kaysonne Anderson of Manasquan HS (Manasquan, NJ).

Andrew Johnson ran a 4.22 forty, which tied the all time low record at Nike.

The top linebackers at Nike were James Bryant of Reading HS (Reading, PA) and Scott McKillop of Kiski HS (Vandergrift, PA). Bryant stood out as one of the most physically impressive kids among all participants at Nike this year.

The group that had the biggest number of high-end kids was the WR/DB group. I counted more than a dozen major D1 prospects in this group today.

The top kid in attendance was Ted Ginn, Jr. of Cleveland Glenville. Ginn arrived at Penn State after having spent all day Saturday running at The Penn Relays in Philadelphia where he helped his Glenville HS 4x400 relay team place fourth in the Championship of America Race.

Ginn arrived at Nike amid much fanfare. He's one of the most highly sought after cornerback recruits in the country and The Sporting News decided to do a photo shoot of Ginn Jr., Henne, and Morelli before the Nike Clinic. Those three will appear on the cover of their national recruiting issue this year.

Ginn Jr.'s fanfare was with merit. Ted reeled off a speedy 4.31 forty, 4 flat pro agility drill, and was the class of the cornerbacks group with regards to technique and footwork. It's very easy to see why this kid is so hotly recruited.

Some of the other top corners in attendance were Brandon Underwood of Hamilton, OH, Leo Ferrine of Essex Catholic in New Jersey, Kevin Akins of North Penn HS in Lansdale, PA, Richard Gaskins of Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt, MD, Chazz Lynn of Wayne Hills, NJ, and Willie Harriott of Hamden, CT.

Leo Ferrine has put up some very fast 200-meter times in New Jersey and despite having a slightly tweaked hamstring popped off a 35-inch vertical jump. Penn State might have the inside track with Ferrine. He is Coach Norwood's nephew.

Some of the top safeties there were Mike Bland of Long Branch, NJ, Devon Lyons of Woodland Hills HS, Nate Waldron of Rochester HS in Rochester, PA, and Spencer Ridenhour of White Plains, NY. Of these safeties, Spencer Ridenhour really stood out. Ridenhour has a Penn State offer already and has the looks of an NFL player right now. He's a very athletic 6'2" 215lbs. I like to refer to kids like Ridenhour as being "stacked and packed".

The top receivers in attendance were Brandon Barrett of Martinsburg, WV, JJ Beedle of Keyport, NJ, 10th grader Justin King of Gateway HS in Monroeville, PA, Chinedu Nwagwu of West Potomac HS in Alexandria, VA, Miles Williams of Austintown Fitch HS in Youngstown, OH, and 10th grader Derrick Williams of Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt, MD.

All of the receivers I have listed here looked very good and every one of them should wind up playing D1 football somewhere. Brandon Barrett already has a Penn State offer, and he looked very good in the drills.

The two 10th graders were absolutely fabulous. Derrick Williams and Justin King both ran 4.29 forty times and King allegedly ran a 3.70 shuttle time. Williams was tremendous in the drills catching almost everything "hands only." He's got a great build on him and looks very strong.

If Justin King's shuttle number is true it might be the fastest in Nike history. Both of these 10th graders have camped at Penn State before, but King may know Penn State as well as anyone at Nike this year as he is former Penn State WR and current Gateway HS head coach Terry Smith's stepson.

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