Washington Nike camp - Defensive stars

There was no stopping Gino Cruse Jr on Friday. The 6-3.5, 310-pound defensive lineman from Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista wants people to know that Zach Miller isn't the only star for Desert Vista, and he proved it at the Washington Nike camp. And with guys around like Washington commit Casey Bulyca and Aaron Klovas, arguably the best OL on the west coast, Cruse's performance was even more impressive.

But don't get me wrong - there were some other very good linemen there. Ishmael Easton, a 5-11, 315-pound DT from Shoreline (Wash.) Shorewood, only had one gear - full go. With a steady, ferocious bull rush, Easton literally 'bulled' over his opponents. The same could be said for Dmitry Beauliere, a 6-1, 325-pound DT from Vancouver (Wash.) Mountain View. Antonio Lindsey, a 6-1, 275-pounder from Federal Way, Washington and Aaron Gaines, a 6-2, 290-pound DT from Seattle (Wash.) Garfield, had success going inside and out and have the bodies that bode well either at the D1 or D1-AA level.

Even though Slade Norris worked out with the wide receivers Friday, there's no question he has the body that could grow into a linebacker's frame in a year or two. And another player that just tested but didn't have time to work out was Jayson Bird, a 5-10, 216-pound ILB/RB from Shelley, Idaho. But he definitely passed the look test and had the best vertical jump of the day at 36.7 inches. He has offers from Idaho and Idaho State right now, so remember his name in the years to come.

Of the linebackers that worked out as a group, the player that stood out in my eyes was a Texas player - John Hamilton from Temple. At 6-1 and around 200 pounds, Hamilton showed nice footwork during the SAQ drills and didn't shy away from being aggressive or avoiding contact, even though there were no pads or helmets involved. In short - he showed he's got a 'backer mentality. Another player that exuded those qualities was Seattle (Wash.) John F. Kennedy's Sam Heredia. Sam has a scholarship offer already from Montana, and the 5-11, 202-pounder showed that he's got game. His skills are more suited to playing MIK, but showed enough initial athleticism in pass coverage to be a quality prospect.

Glen Hobbs from Vancouver (Wash.) Mountain View is a 'backer I've known about since last year and he's got a sideline-to-sideline mentality. The 6-0.5, 185-pound Hobbs is an effective player in bunches or in space because of his nose for the ball.

A couple of underclassmen 'backers also deserve mention. Endure Dinish, a 6-1, 210-pound LB from Seattle (Wash.) Garfield is a MIK in the making. He has the size and physicality in spades. Also, Adam Leonard, a 'backer from Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach, showed up late with teammate Sheldon Danzy, but they had a good excuse. They just returned from Oregon's team camp, and they were decked to the nines in green and yellow. Leonard, last year's Metro League Defensive Player of the Year, showed his competitiveness by getting in the one-on-ones cold and showing his stuff. Adam will be one of the top defensive prospects in the northwest next year, without question.

When talking about the secondary, there were a clear half-dozen prospects that stood out, in my opinon. And that group included three Bulldogs. At cornerback, Seattle (Wash.) Garfield's Jeremiah Walters and Anthony 'Chicken' Stewart were right at the top of the list. Walters, at 5-11 and 175 pounds, is considered the better shut-down corner of the two, while the 5-6, 160-pound Stewart, the brother of current Husky hoops star Nate Robinson, is dynamite with feet. Jeremiah is set to go to Notre Dame's football camp shortly, so he's doing his part to get the word out. Stewart reported offers from the University of Washington and Michigan State.

But don't think the local kids are going to get all the press. Fred Hives from Berkeley (Calif.) St. Mary's had an unbelievable camp and was right there when talking about shutting guys down. His athleticism was clearly apparent while watching him during the ladder drills. Tracy Ford, a 5-7, 165-pound DB from Federal Way (Wash.) Decatur had his backpeddal down pat and also has the speed to be a difference-maker on defense. Reggie Jones, from Kent (Wash.) Kent-Meridian, is a bigger version of Ford, running a 4.49 40 and jumping 34.4 inches in the vertical jump at 5-11 and 180 pounds.

At safety, Andre Jimerson, another Garfield Bulldog, was just another in a long line of Seattle-based athletes that showed up ready to spread the word. At 6-2 and 190 pounds, Jimerson showed an ability to play well in space, but his game is getting in someone's kitchen. Look to Garfield's secondary for some real fireworks this fall.

I can't finish this up without giving some props to a DB underclassman, Memphis (Tenn.) Munford ATH Cole Ivie. He wasn't the biggest guy at camp (5-7, 160 pounds), but tested out better than anybody at camp (4.46 40 (best of camp) and a 35.8-inch vertical, the second best mark at camp), and competed hard during the one-on-ones. He's got another year to grow, and could be a play-maker in the slot on offense or on special teams as a lethal return man.


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