Nike Camp Report: Part 1

FightOnState.com gives the lowdown on what went down at the camp at Penn State Saturday. Cory James unearths a sleeper QB prospect and talks about line play, but not before making fun of another FOS staffer.

The Nike Camp at Penn State Saturday featured one of the better turnouts of pure talent at the event in the last few years. Competition was at a very high level at almost every position.

As if to add to the excitement, I also had the pleasure of seeing FightOnState.com's Mark Brennan tossed out of the event. OK, he wasn't really tossed. But he was hassled.

The organizers of the camp apparently weren't allowing known representatives of Scout.com to take photos or video. So when a … ahem … “rival” publisher spotted Brennan with a still camera and digital camcorder, he was quickly descended upon by white-polo wearing staffers and asked to remove his gear from the premises.

On his way out the door, Brennan was overheard saying, “I've been thrown out of classier joints than this.” I made up that last part. He actually departed without incident, leaving me to record the day's events for posterity (and FOS).

With so much going on, and Brennan out on his ear, I decided to compile several reports about the camp. The first one tackles quarterbacks and linemen.

QUARTERBACKS

Most of my time was spent around the wide receivers, defensive backs and quarterbacks, basically because the access was easiest where they were working out.

The quarterbacks had a few good guys out there who I could see. Rutgers commit Tom Savage looked good throwing the ball. He had a real strong arm and is a big kid. He seemed to have all the throws, but looked a little slow in the feet, especially compared to a few of the other guys in attendance.

West Virginia commit Tajh Boyd performed really well. He is a big kid, has a pretty good arm and was definitely the most athletic of the quarterbacks on hand. West Virginia seems to fit him perfectly and from speaking with his parents and his pending enrollment at WVU in January, I would say he is a firm commitment.

New Jersey quarterback Brent Caprio looked athletic and he worked really hard throughout the day. His throws typically were on target and seemed to have the right touch, but he struggled to throw a spiral. It may have been due to the wet grass or the ball being a bit slick, but most of the other quarterbacks didn't have a lot of problems. It makes me wonder if his hands might be a bit small for a quarterback, but that is just a guess.

Finally, a sleeper emerged from the Nike Camp this year in Myles Gibbon of Vanier College (which is north of Montreal). Gibbon was there with a few of his coaches and it was kind of a last-minute thing. The Vanier coaching staff didn't know what to do to get Gibbon recognized by some colleges, so they had planned on sending his tape out after his senior season to see what happened.

Luckily, they were advised to check out the PSU Nike Camp as Gibbon was a fan of the Nittany Lions. The Vanier coaching staff was on hand to pass out some DVDs of a highlight reel that they put together for him. I saw it as kind of a good story so I looked forward to watching the film.

Then I saw the kid play. Gibbon is about 6-3 and has an absolute rocket for an arm. He is very athletic and his throws were pretty accurate all day. He reminded me a lot of a taller Tate Forcier.

Then I got home and checked out the DVD. Vanier plays 12-on-12 football, so it is a very different game, but Gibbon looked very good again. He could throw in the pocket, he could roll out and throw with great accuracy and he could improvise very well.

On film, he reminded me a lot of Dennis Dixon. He threw some sidearm when pressure came at an awkward angle, for example. The only thing I can say about him is that he knows how to play the position.

How will that translate when he has more guys rushing at him and fewer receivers to choose from? Who knows. Either way, Gibbon looks like someone Penn State may want to consider in a year where it needs two quarterbacks.

Finally, Kevin Newsome did not attend as was expected. At least I did not see him throughout the day.

LINE PLAY

Last year, the offensive lineman on hand at this camp left a lot to be desired. This year, there were a few more bright spots to talk about.

Michigan commit William Campbell was a man amongst boys, pushing around every single offensive lineman he faced, including Mark Brazinksi, who proved to be one of the best linemen on hand.

Campbell commented after the event that while he is committed to Michigan, he is still considering other schools such as LSU and Miami. Other than Campbell, no defensive lineman consistently won his one-on-ones.

New York offensive lineman Tom Lindley was very impressive throughout the one-on-ones. In one case, the defensive lineman got under Lindley's shirt and even took Lindley's arm out of his sleeve, but could not get by to the quarterback. Lindley projects to be a guard at the college level and he seems to have great feet, great hands and some really good strength.

It was hard to see most of the one-on-ones this year because the players ended up forming a circle around "the pit," blocking the view a bit. I was really hoping to see Campbell take on Lindley, but I had to keep roaming around.


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