Stars Shine at Stanford Nike Camp

Some of the best talent in the country was on display in Palo Alto on Saturday at the NIKE Football Training Camp produced by Student Sports and held on Stanford's campus, including two elite national quarterbacks...

The NIKE Football Training Camp produced by Student Sports and held in Palo Alto (Calif.) saw over 300 athletes and 100 college coaches in attendance. The quarterback position was loaded and a big reason why many of the colleges made the camp a priority. As expected, no one disappointed.

The top signal caller of the day and maybe the top overall prospect at the camp was Thousand Oaks (Calif.) strong armed lefty Ben Olson. Olson, 6-4.5, 205 pounds, has all the tools to play at the next level including a cannon for arm, great accuracy and excellent athleticism.

Olson ran a 4.65 in the 40, 4.14 in the shuttle and jumped a very impressive 35 inches in the vertical. In the passing drills, he clearly had the strongest arm of the day and actually hit several of the wide outs in the face when he rifled the ball through their hands. After completing 11 NIKE camps thus far, Olson might be the most talented quarterback we've seen this year.

Although Olson says he's open and wants to take his time with recruiting, BYU is always the first school out of his mouth when listing favorites. When you have a kid who is Mormon and grew up watching the Cougars, it's always tough to beat them out but UCLA, Stanford, Oklahoma, Florida and Florida State are others Olson mentions who will pull out all the stops.

Not too far behind Olson was Trent Edwards, 6-3, 185 pounds from Los Gatos (Calif.). Edwards has a very live arm and was the most accurate quarterback of the day which wasn't surprising. After all, Edwards did set a state record for accuracy last season by completing 78% of his passes.

Edwards is as mechanically sound as you can be at the position. He has a quick drop, great release and throws the ball on time. In fact, as good as Olson was, you could make an argument that Edwards was equally as impressive and should definitely be mentioned among the nation's top five signal callers. The Los Gatos star also showed well in the testing where he ran a 4.87 in the 40, 4.18 in the shuttle, jumped 30 inches in the vertical and did 19 reps on the bench.

With a 3.9 GPA and being from Northern California, Edwards has been linked to Stanford quite a bit but this is far from a done deal according to Edwards.

"I'm more open now than ever before," Edwards said. "I really like a lot of schools including UCLA, USC, Cal, Stanford, Oklahoma, LSU and Florida. I don't myself committing until December or January."

Drew Olson, 6-2, 182 pounds from Piedmont (Calif.) just finished up his baseball season last Thursday so he was able to make it out to the camp and show off his skills. Olson looked better and better as the day progressed despite not being able to focus as much on football as the other quarterbacks.

Olson wasn't able to throw the same consistent spiral that he showed on tape but again, that can be attributed to not being in football shape right now. He has great leadership skills and is the type of player teammates will rally around.

"I thought I did pretty well," Olson said. "I've thrown better but it was just great to come out and see how I compared with the other quarterbacks I've been hearing so much about."

On the recruiting scene, Olson has offers from UCLA, Washington, Cal and LSU just offered late last week. The signal caller said he wants to take trips but might commit if he feels ready. UCLA is usually listed as his leader and with his father being a graduate, the Bruins could be tough to beat.

No one opened up more eyes than Muir's (Calif.) Ryan O'Hara. At 6-6, 183 pounds, O'Hara showed a lot of skills and easily would have been the top signal caller at the NIKE camp in San Diego. He throws a nice, tight ball with a lot of velocity and can also throw with some tough.

Athletically, O'Hara is also a gifted basketball player and his 4.69 in the 40 and 3.90 in the shuttle attest to his excellent all around ability.

"I really wanted to come to this camp to compete with the other top quarterbacks," O'Hara said. "I could have gone to the camp in San Diego but I knew the best quarterbacks would be here so I wanted to see where I stood. I think I did well, all you can do is do your best so I was real happy with my performance."

O'Hara recently transferred from Monrovia to Muir and that immediately makes the Mustangs one of the top teams in their division. O'Hara brings a lot to the table with his size, arm and feet and all he needs to do is quicken his release a bit and he'll be off the charts good.

Other quarterbacks who impressed included Jordan Palmer from Mission Viejo (Calif.), Colt Brennan out of Mater Dei (Calif.), Chris Saras from Del Oro (Calif.), Tommy Barrington from Ukiah (Calif.) and Travis Dugger from Sandia (N.M.).

Although he couldn't throw, it was still great to see De La Salle (Calif.) quarterback Matt Gutierrez show up. Matt has been cleared to throw and has been doing some light work the past week. He's expected to be able to go all out by the end of the month.

Gutierrez, 6-4, 206 pounds still tested and looked solid running a 4.82 in the 40, 4.10 in the shuttle and jumping 33 inches in the vertical.

Bakersfield's (Calif.) Blake Mackey stole the show among the wide receivers. At 6-3, 183 pounds, Mackey clocked a 4.38 in the 40 which was the best time of the day. He also had a 4.32 time in the shuttle and jumped almost 38 inches in the vertical. In the wide receiver drills, Mackey's speed was intimidating to a lot of the defensive backs as no one tried to press him in coverage. He also showed nice hands and made some tough catches.

Just a week ago, Mackey led Bakersfield to the Central Section track championship as he finished 1st in the 400m with a 47.94 time, 2nd in the 200m with a 21.84 time and anchored the winning 4X100 and 4X400 meter relay teams.

"Things have been going pretty good for me recently," Mackey said. "I'm hearing from a lot of schools right now but I like USC, Arizona State, Washington, Cal and Colorado a lot. Cal, Colorado, Arizona State and San Diego State have all offered scholarships."

Daniel Coats, 6-2.5, 212 pounds from Northridge (Utah.) has great hands and looked very smooth in the drills. He's not a blazer as he clocked back to back 4.73s in the 40, but he does play a lot faster than his 40 time would indicate. He knows how to get open and with his size and strength, Coats is a very tough match-up for anyone trying to check him.

Coats told us his dream school is Florida State, but he has yet to hear from them. He also likes Michigan, Ohio State, North Carolina State and USC.

Dave Anderson, 5-11, 187 pounds from Thousand Oaks (Calif.) had a huge junior season where he caught 83 balls but still surprised some with just how much speed he had. Anderson ran a 4.45 in the 40, 4.17 in the shuttle, jumped 33 inches in the vertical and did 16 reps on the bench. Anderson has excellent hands and runs solid routes. The only question mark was how fast he was. After his performance over the weekend, Anderson should see his stock rise significantly.

Xzavier Jackson, 6-3, 220 pounds from Will C Wood (Calif.) had a very nice in the passing drills and with his size and quickness, we could easily see Jackson play a number of positions in college. He has very good hands and battles hard for every ball. He clocked a 4.71 in the 40, 4.31 in the shuttle, jumped 28 inches in the vertical and did 14 reps on the bench.

Another wide out we liked was David Gray from McClymonds (Calif.). At 6-2.5, 210 pounds, Gray is physically tough to match up with. He's also gifted athletically as evidenced by his 4.44 time in the shuttle and 35 inch vertical leap. Gray catches everything thrown at him, runs pretty solid routes for a big man and could move t otight end or even H-Back in college to take advantage of his size and ability.

The top tight end of the day was easily Chris Barrett, 6-4.5, 225 pounds from Tustin (Calif.). Although just a sophomore, Barrett already looks like a college player. He clocked a 4.60 in the 40, 4.47 in the shuttle, jumped 32 inches in the vertical and did 14 reps on the bench. Barrett also got raves for his pass catching and overall athleticism. Look for the Tustin standout to be one of the state's top recruits a year from now.

Curtis Brown, 6-0, 187 pounds from Paraclete (Calif.) led a solid group of running backs. Brown has great balance and vision as well as quick feet. He runs with a lot of power and has a nice forward lean in his running style. At this time, Brown said his top schools were UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, Washington and Washington State.

They don't come any quicker than MuAmmar Ali. The Will C. Wood (Calif.) standout is getting looks at running back as well as cornerback. He clocked a 4.49 in the 40, 4.04 in the shuttle, jumped 37 inches in the vertical and did 17 reps on the bench. He has greet feet and showed a nice burst and shiftiness in the running back drills. Ali said his top schools were Cal, San Diego State, Arizona State, Arizona and Oregon.

Another two way standout was Tustin's (Calif.) Ricky Miller. Miller worked out with the running backs but is also getting a lot of looks at linebacker. He has excellent size at 6-2.5, 225 pounds and was rated in the top three by all of the running back coaches. He clocked a 4.65 in the 40, jumped 28 inches in the vertical and did 17 reps on the bench. As good as he looked with the running backs, we still feel Miller will end up at linebacker and have a great career at the position.

B.J Mitchell, 5-7.5, 191 pounds from Del Oro (Calif.) is a powerfully built running back with the moves and quickness to do some serious damage next season. Mitchell jumped 33 inches in the vertical and did 17 reps on the bench as well. He has the ability to cut and slash but the strength to run over a defender as well.

After watching Kenny James, 5-10, 199 pounds from Dos Palos (Calif.), it's easy to see why he scored 54 touchdowns last season. James is incredibly powerful and runs as hard as any back you'll see. He doesn't have blazing speed, but put in the field and he'll rarely get caught from behind. James clocked a 4.67 in the 40, 4.42 in the shuttle, jumped 32 inches in the vertical and did 17 reps on the bench.

"I like a lot of schools but USC is the one I'm waiting on," James said. "I have an offer from Washington State and I also like Washington, Georgia Tech, UCLA and Nebraska. If SC offered, there's a good chance I would commit on the spot."

Glen Ohaeri, 5-8.5, 190 pounds from Aquinas (Calif.) has seen his stock skyrocket in the last month. Scholarships have rolled in from Cal, UNLV, Boston College, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Boston College. Stanford has said they will offer as soon as he clears admissions.

Ohaeri has a similar running style to Timmy Sonuyi from Esperanza a year ago but is a little faster. He clocked a 4.59 in the 40, 3.89 in the shuttle, jumped 37 inches in the vertical and did 23 reps on the bench. He does a great job of making people miss and can cut and slash as good as any back in the state not named Lorenzo Booker.

With Both Fred Matua and Derek Landri working out with the defensive linemen, the honor for the top offensive lineman was up for grabs. Sleeper prospect Albert Toeaina, 6-5, 325 pounds from Pittsburg (Calif.) had a great day and opened up a lot of eyes among the many college coaches wantching.

Toeaina ran a solid 5.22 in the 40 and did 30 reps on the bench showing a nice combination of size and strength. He easily handled everyone he went up against in the one on one drills and is one of the most fluid pass blockers we've seen at any camp.

Speaking of Matua and Landri, both showed why many consider them two of the state's top 10 overall prospects. Matua, 6-2, 277 pounds from Banning (Calif.) has now established himself as the top defensive tackle in the state overtaking Manual Wright of Long Beach Poly after his dominating performance. No one has a motor like Matua and no one brings together a combination of size, quickness, strength and a mean streak quite like him either.

The Banning star was talking smack all day long at the opposing offensive linemen and then backed it up in the one on one drills destroying every player he went up against. Matua did 34 reps on the bench and ran a 4.50 in the shuttle but it was his performance in the drills and the way he gets after it that had every college coach drooling. Matua also boasts a 3.9 GPA and is even getting looks from the Ivy League.

"Right now I like UCLA and USC locally and if I leave the area, I'm looking at Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Florida and Michigan as my top schools," Matua said. "I definitely want to take all of my trips though and I have no plans to commit early. I guess you could say I', leaning towards staying local because I want my family to be able to watch me play but that will be the deciding factor in my decision, I'm just going to play it all out and see what happens."

Landri, 6-3, 288 pounds from De La Salle (Calif.) tested even better than Matua running a 4.89 in the 40, 4.19 in the shuttle, jumped 29 inches in the vertical and did 29 reps on the bench. The Spartan All-American is the ultimate technician. he's not going to wow you by just throwing players all over the place, but what he'll do is make every play run towards him, spilt double teams with ease, get a great push up the field even when he's double teamed and basically dominate the line playing on both sides of the ball.

Landri has been the Spartans top linemen since he was a sophomore and said he has no preference between playing offensive or defensive line.

"I just want to play as soon as possible," Landri said. "I like both just as much, so wherever the team feels I can help out the most is where I want to play."

Landri has offers from schools all over the country including USC, Cal, Washington State, Oregon, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Miami, Arizona State and Clemson. USC, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Cal and Michigan are on his short list at this time.

Another impressive linemen was Jake Kuresa, 6-3.5, 314 pounds from Mountain Crest (Utah.). Kuresa ran a 5.09 in the 40, 4.41 in the shuttle, jumped 26 inches in the vertical and did 34 reps on the bench. He has great feet and quickness and actually played fullback for his team a year ago. Along with Haloti Ngata who we saw at the NIKE camp in Texas, Utah can boast having two of the top five defensive tackles on the entire West Coast.

"I like USC a lot right now, that's my top school," Kuresa said. "I also like Washington, BYU, Georgia Tech, Michigan and Penn State but I want to take my trips before committing anywhere."

Yet another impressive defensive linemen was Daniel Zynn, 6-3, 270 pounds from South Pasadena (Calif.). Zynn was very impressive in the one on one drills blowing past his man every time. He has a nice first step and is very quick off the ball. He also has great strength as evidenced by his 31 reps on the bench.

"I was just trying to work on learning some new moves today and then applying them in the drills,"Zynn said. "I knew I could use my strength to overpower people but I wanted to try some other things and see how it worked out."

Zynn currently list Washington, USC, Wisconsin, Texas A&M and Oregon State as his leaders.

Thomas Patton, 6-3, 244 pounds from Oakland Tech (Calif.) was yet another player who shined in the drills. Patton has a great motor and the frame to play inside or outside in college. He has superior quickness and very good pass rushing technique.

Also impressing was Kyle Goodman, 6-1, 213 pounds from Buchanan (Calif.). Goodman has size, speed and strength and really upped his stock with his performance. The linebacker ran a 4.74 in the 40, 4.07 in the shuttle, jumped 31 inches in the vertical and did 23 reps on the bench. Even more impressive is Goodman's 4.06 GPA.

"I had a lot of fun and feel I did well today," Goodman said. "It was great working out in front of all these college coaches and I really learned a lot."

Goodman said he favors Stanford over UCLA, Cal and Fresno State.

Another linebacker to watch is Scott Garrison, 5-11, 209 pounds from San Luis Obispo (Calif.). Although Garrison didn't run as well as he hoped he would (4.65 in the 40) he still impressed the linebacker coaches with his overall quickness and ability to get to the ball carrier. Garrison has quick feet, sound football instincts and brings a lot of power to the table when he delivers a blow. The linebacker clocked a 4.34 in the shuttle, jumped 29 inches in the vertical and did 22 reps on the bench.

"My top schools are USC, UCLA, Arizona State, Washington and Notre Dame," Garrison said. "I'm hearing from all of them and they have all come by the school as well. No one has offered yet but hopefully someone will soon."

While the camp did not feature a nationally-established defensive back prospect, several players stepped forward and established themselves as solid Division-I prospects with excellent performances. Leading the secondary stars were two of the best players in the East Bay; McClymonds' I'Lario Vital and San Leandro's Jerrod Page.

Vital, who totaled 96 tackles and five interceptions last year in addition to starting at quarterback, is a physical presence in the defensive backfield at 5-11, 192 pounds. Vital bench pressed 21 reps in addition to clocking a 4.66 in the 40 and jumping 35.3 inches in the vertical.

Page was one of the main reasons San Leandro rolled all the way to the NCS Final a year ago. At 6-foot, 185 pounds, Page possesses 4.50 speed and a 35.5 inch vertical jump. The cornerback was an All-State Underclass selection and has already qualified with a score of 1000 on the SAT and a 3.0 GPA.

Also impressing were a pair of Oak Grove (San Jose) players - 5-9, 184 pound Gerald Green and 6-0, 177 pound Eric Frampton. Green has speed to burn (4.48 in the 40, 4.02 shuttle) and can use his strength (17 reps) to bottle up receivers at the line of scrimmage. Frampton was very impressive in drills, exhibiting excellent footwork and instincts. The coaches raved about his combination of size and speed (4.59 in the 40).

Perhaps the top cornerback in the drills was Fresno-Edison sophomore Clifton Smith. An unknown entering the camp, Smith competed with and even outshone the older players in the eyes of the coaches. The 5-8, 163 Smith has excellent feet (4.17 shuttle) and should blossom into one of the state's best over the next two seasons.

Representing Southern California was Parris Moore of Fountain Valley, traveled north to Palo Alto and put on quite a show, running a 4.46 in the 40 and bench pressing 17 reps. The 5-11, 167 pound Moore plays in one of the state's toughest leagues and is a battle-tested performer.

One more cornerback to watch from the camp will be Vanden's (Calif.) Marquise Cole. Still a bit undersized right now at 5-f9, 157 pounds, Cole has the speed and quickness (4.47 in the 40, 4.17 shuttle) to stay with the fastest wide outs. With a little more time in the weight room and technique work, Cole could emerge as one of the state's top corner prospects this year.

Lastly, we had to finish up with a player everyone came away talking about. You won't see very many high school football players more put together than Clovis West's (Calif.) Brandon Hancock. At the Nike camp in Palo Alto last year, Hancock had everyone in attendance doing double takes at how rocked out he was. On Saturday Hancock returned in even better shape and put together one of the best, if not the best, testing performances in Nike Camp history.

At a rock solid 6-1, 242 pounds, Hancock ran a 4.49 in the 40, a 4.37 in the shuttle, jumped 39 inches in the vertical and bench pressed 43 reps of 185 pounds - the highest total at any of the Nike camps so far this year. While his physical abilities are beyond question, it still remains to be seen which position Hancock will play at the college level.

That question may have been answered Saturday when Hancock told Student Sports that he will take snaps this fall at fullback as well as middle linebacker, where he played as a junior. He has also lined up at defensive end during his high school career, but Hancock believes his future is at fullback, where he can use both his speed and power to attack the defense.

An excellent student who carries a 4.0 GPA and has scored an 1170 on the SAT, Hancock currently favors Stanford over other schools like Michigan, Notre Dame, Washington and USC.

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