Oregon Nike Camp Review- Camp MVP Goes To...

The talent at this year's Nike Camp in Eugene (Ore.) was much stronger than a year ago with several players showing they deserve to be mentioned among the best in the West region. Woodinville (Wash.) quarterback Matt Tuiasosopo showed he's one of the nation's elite signal callers and for the first time all year, our Camp MVP honors went to an Underclassman.

The talent at this year's Nike Camp in Eugene (Ore.) was much stronger than a year ago with several players showing they deserve to be mentioned among the best in the West region. Woodinville (Wash.) quarterback Matt Tuiasosopo showed he's one of the nation's elite signal callers and for the first time all year, our Camp MVP honors went to an Underclassman.

It wasn't easy picking a Camp MVP, never is, but the one player who shined brightest in both the testing aspect of the camp as well as the position drills was running back Jonathan Stewart. Stewart, a rock solid 5-10, 206 pounds from Lacey (Wash.) Timberline was so impressive, that we would rate him the top running back on the West Coast right now, even though he's just a rising junior.

Stewart was a Student Sports Sophomore All-American this past season so we knew he was a player. He tested very well clocking a 4.57 in the 40, 4.19 in the shuttle and jumped a camp best 37 inches in the vertical. In the position drills he showed a great burst and seems to explode out of his cuts. He runs with great balance, shows good vision and also caught the ball well in the one on one drills, where none of the linebackers could lay a hand on him.

The one player who drew more attention than any other player at the camp was Matt Tuiasosopo and he didn't disappoint. Tui chose not to test, which eliminated him from being considered for Camp MVP honors but he looked great throwing the ball and will likely be our choice as the top quarterback prospect on the West Coast. We had a chance to see Tui throw the ball for four straight days as a ball boy at last year's EA SPORTS Elite quarterback camp. Not only has the signal caller made huge strides throwing the ball, but physically has matured and is beginning to look more like his older brother Marques.

Tui looks like he has grown about a solid two inches and put on at least 15 pounds of muscle. He looks about 6-2, 205 pounds and can make all the throws. He had a very solid camp showing a strong arm, great feet and was spinning it very well all camp long. With Tui at the quarterback position, you're also getting a player who is incredibly tough, physically and mentally, has great leadership skills and is capable of beating you with his arm or his legs.

On the recruiting front, Tui said he's open but likes Washington, UCLA and USC and claims offers from all three along with Nebraska, Washington State and Northwestern.

"I just want to go through the process right now," Tuiasosopo said. "My schedule is so busy with baseball but I would like to spend a day or two at both the UCLA and USC football camps. I don't have a timeline as far as making my decision right now. The way it will happen for me is one day I'll wake up in the morning and just know what I want to do and that's when I'll make my commitment. I would like to take a couple of trips but I don't want to drag out the process too long either."

As for his feelings on Husky head coach Rick Neuheisal being let go and how it will affect his decision.

"It may have an impact," Tui said. "Washington is still a great school though, right now, I just want to wait and see what happens with the coaching situation. It sounds like Keith Gilbertson will get the job and I really don't know him that well. I'm interested to see how things play out there and if he does get the job, will it be just on an intern basis or full time. I know Steve Axman at UCLA really well, he was the OC at Washington when Marques was there and he really liked him a lot. Plus UCLA was my childhood favorite growing up since my dad played there. As for USC, I like Coach Chow and the offense at USC. Plus they're looking very strong right now and also have a good baseball program, which is a huge factor for me.

"I like baseball just as much as football and I'll definitely do both sports in college, that's not even a question. If I got drafted really high and had to make a choice between playing just one sport, I really can't answer that right now. I'll cross that bridge when I get there but I'm not really thinking that far ahead right now."

Another quarterback who looked good was Jacob Bower out of Meridian (Idaho). Bower has a live arm and although he's still raw mechanically, has a very nice upside to him.

"I was nervous at first, we don't have this many athletes in Idaho, not even close," Bower said. "Once I relaxed and just tried to have fun, I feel I did a lot better. I really had a great time and learned a lot from Coach (Bob) Johnson. I know what I need to work on now and I'm excited about the rest of the summer."

Bower has early offers from BYU, Oregon State, Boise State, Utah and Utah State with the Cougars looking very strong right now.

"BYU is my leader, I've liked them for awhile," Bower said. "I'll be camping with them this summer and I know they really want me to commit early. Right now, I think I just want to take a couple of trips first but we'll see what happens. Purdue is another school I like a lot and they're recruiting me hard as well. It's going to be a tough decision."

Bower is LDS and said he definitely plans to take his Mormon mission after high school.

At the receiver position, the top pass catchers of the day were T.R Smith, 5-10.5, 177 pounds from Portland (Ore.) Jefferson and Royce Campbell, 5-9, 170 pounds from Playa Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernard's. Smith is a tremendous athlete who also looked good playing defensive back during the one on ones. He had the days fastest 40 time of 4.49, and has tremendous upside on either side of the ball. Campbell was the most consistent pass catcher of the day showing great hands and has no problems getting open.

The strength of the camp was easily the linemen on both sides of the ball. For the second straight year, we loved Oregon commit David Faaeteete, who looked like the best defensive lineman of the day in our eyes. Faaeteete plays on the edge right now but at 6-1, 275 pounds, he'll make the move to the interior at the college level where he should be a dominant presence for the Ducks.

"I'm trying real hard to recruit my cousin, Sekeli (San Leandro ATH) to come here as well," Faaeteete said. "I talked to him last week and he kept talking up UCLA but I'm going to stay on him. I'm excited to be a Duck, it's where I've wanted to go for awhile so when they offered me, I didn't hesitate to jump on it."

Also making his second straight appearance at the camp was Cole Linehan from Banks (Ore.). Linehan looked great on the defensive side of the ball although we always thought of him more as an offensive lineman. He has great size, is quick off the ball and was dominant in the one on one drills.

On the offensive side of the ball, Vancouver's (Wash.) Columbia River Eddie Vickers really upped his stock.

"I thought he was the best lineman I coached all day on either side of the ball," Nike camp line coach Marty Spaulding said. "He's a big kid who can move and he's tough. I really liked him a lot."

Andy Roof out of Spokane (Wash.) East Valley is another great looking prospect who showed he's one of the best in the region.

"I loved it out here, the competition was great," Roof said. "I learned some new things but the main thing was the competition. It was just fun to compete with some other very good players."

Roof now has offers from all four Northwest schools and said Oregon is his top school.

"I'm going to Oregon's four day camp later in the summer," Roof said. "They have great coaches and a great program and I'm leaning pretty hard there right now."

Other linemen we liked included Joe Bozikovich from Portland (Ore.) Wilson, Lewistown (Idaho) Brent Russum and Nate Johnson from Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes.

The linebacker position was also very solid led by Everett's (Wash.) Mariner Trenton Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo was the top linebacker of the day on every one of the coaches cards and is establishing himself as one of the top ‘backers in the West. He also had a strong showing at the NorCal Nike Camp and will be back next Friday at the Nike Camp in Seattle (Wash.).

A sleeper who opened our eyes was Kyle Gingg from Phoenix Christian (Ariz.). Gingg, 5-10.5, 200 pounds, tested very well finishing in the top five in both the 40-4.51 and the bench-30. He looked very athletic in the ‘backer drills and showed enough speed and athleticism to make the move to safety if colleges feel he's too small to play linebacker at the college level.

Other backers who stood out included Vili Ngata, younger brother of Oregon DL Haloti, out of Salt Lake City (Utah) Highland, Patrick McKillop from Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine, Bryan Baird from Vancouver (Wash.) Columbia River, Justin Durrer from Ripon (Calif.) and Allen Brunner, who had a camp high 47 reps on the bench, out of Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure.

The top defensive back of the day was easily Thomas McKay from Palmdale (Calif.). McKay has the size to play safety in college but looked very good in coverage. He's a well built athlete who can run and is physical. He has good technique and has the loose hips needed to turn and run with receivers.

One player we felt should have been with the defensive backs but chose to play quarterback was Darin Harris from Federal Way (Wash.) Decatur. Harris clocked a 4.56 in the 40 and shows up very well on film. He's athletic and can make plays on either side of the ball.

"I prefer offense and feel I'm best suited to play quarterback in an option style offense in college," Harris said. "Nebraska is showing me a lot of interest right now. I also like Washington who has offered and so has Colorado. I'll play safety if that's where I'm needed but I like having the ball in my hands.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories