Here's an in-depth look at the prospects who participated in the Nike Camp Sunday, including Rocky Hinds, Terrell Jackson, Michael Bumpus, and others. First, the offense...
The best all-around athlete and college prospect had to be Rocky Hinds, the quarterback from Playa Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernard's. Hinds measured at a little over 6-4, weighed 207, and ran a 4.47 in the 40 before pulling up a little lame and then didn't run his second 40.
In the quarterback drills, he started off pretty slow and mechanically rough. But the coaches at the camp made a few minor adjustments to his motion that got him on track, and then Hinds kept improving throughout the day. His ball got crisper, stronger and more accurate as the day went on.
Probably the second best quarterback performance came from Brian Hildebrand, 6-1, 180, from Corona (Calif.). Hildebrand has a pretty strong arm, though he throws with his shoulder a bit, and had good mobility and foot quickness, while a bit on the smallish side. Oliver Linter, from Beverly Hills, had a good day, also. Linter is probably about 6-0 and a bit stocky, but he had a very good arm.
Rudy Carpenter from Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake had an inconsistent day. In the warm-ups, he looked like he had probably the best mechanics among the quarterbacks, but in the drills didn't look like he was comfortable. In the roll-out drills and another drill where he had to throw the ball pretty strongly down field, it appeared that Carpenter wasn't putting as much on the ball as he could. It went from rep to rep – one rep he'd throw a great ball, and then the next a wobbler. Carpenter measured at 6-2 and weighed 185. He said he'll be eligible officially this week and also said that Michigan had offered him a scholarship recently.
Michael Perri, the 6-4 quarterback from Covina (Calif.) Charter Oak, had good size and moved fairly well, but lacked arm strength and mechanics.
Riverside (Calif.) North's Dion Morton, a good all-around athlete, worked with the quarterbacks, but at 5-9 and 160 pounds he'll almost certainly be considered at another position as a college prospect, and most likely defensive back. He registered one of the top 20-yard shuttle times of the day with a 4.06.
Corona (Calif.) Centennial's Terrell Jackson looked to clearly be the best running back in the camp. He clocked a very good 4.46 in the 40, and held a good 183 pounds on his 5-8 ½ frame. In the drills he looked quick and fast, with a good, forward lean to his running style.
Nigel Ricks, 5-11, 170, Glendale (Ariz.) Cactus, was probably the second-best running back participating. Ricks has a good frame while still a bit thin, but ran a very fast 4.43 in the 40 and made good cuts in the running back drills.
Perhaps a running back to watch is LeAndre Matthews from Bakersfield (Calif.) East Baskersfield, who drew comparisons to UCLA commit Maurice Drew throughout the day. Matthews was 5-7 and weighed 182 pounds, while running a 4.40 40 in the 40. Patrick Gates, from San Diego (Calif.) Marian Catholic, lived up to his billing as one of the best in Southern California. He ran a 4.40, and looked like he could get bigger at 5-8 and 180.
It seemed like there weren't any clear-cut standouts among the fullbacks, though Matt Parent from Santa Fe Springs St. Paul might have a chance, with fairly good quickness to go on his 6-0, 242-pounds frame.
The best junior running back prospect in the camp, and possibly the best junior prospect overall, was Aaron Ware, Matt Ware's little brother. At 5-11 ½ and 175, physically he looks great, while he ran a 4.47 40, jumped 32.4 inches in the vertical and showed great foot quickness in the drills. Another good junior running back was Marlon Lucky, who looked to be about 5-11, from North Hollywood.
Culver City's Michael Bumpus looked to be the best receiver prospect in camp. Bumpus measured at 5-11 and weighed in the 185 range. He ran the tightest routes, had great cuts and probably the best hands and body control of any receiver in camp. He didn't run a 40, due to a sore ankle. An interview with him is coming soon.
A few other wide receivers are definitely worth watching. Riverside (Calif.) North's Damon Morton, Dion's twin, looked good at 5-10 and with good quickness. Kellen Moriarty from Goleta (Calif.) Dos Pueblos put up some of the best combined numbers of the day, running a 4.40 40, tying for first in the shuttle with a 3.87 time and jumping 32.5 inches. Moriarty is 5-10 and 165. Deandre Gassaway, at 6-2 and 190, from San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon, looked to be one of the best all-around athletes in camp, looking long and smooth in the drills, while also jumping 33.2 inches in the vertical. Another bigger, long receiver who looked good was Dean Liang from Bellflower, at about 6-2 and 185. Justin Shaw also looked good physically at 6-1 ½ and 193, while jumping 35 inches in the vertical. Another great athlete was Keenan Jones from Harbor City Narbonne. He measured at 5-11 and 170, while running a 4.06 shuttle and recording a vertical of 33.6 inches.
A junior to watch is Austin Usher from L.A. Jefferson. Still a bit raw, Usher was about 6-3, but had good quickness running his routes. Usher is also a pretty good shooting guard on the basketball court, too.
It might have been the position with the strongest crop of players. There was a definite standout in Zach Miller from Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista, who looked to be about 6-4 and 230 and rocked out. He ran great routes and had soft hands. Student Sports believes he's the best tight end in the west and could be among the few best in the country.
Mike Barr, also from Arizona (Payson High School), could have been the second best tight end prospect. Barr was 6-6 and 225, at least, and looked agile and smooth in the pass-catching drills.
Locally, the best might have been Andrew McIntyre from La Canada St. Francis. At 6-4 and 230 or more, McIntyre had great energy in the drills and ran good routes. A fairly unknown prospect who was a real eye catcher was George Fifita from Birminham. Fifita is a nice physical specimen at a well-built 6-4 and looked very agile in the drills. Jordan Fata from Carson was in the same mold – big at about 6-4 and well-built – and caught some nice passes.
An athlete to watch was Jaison Williams from Culver City, Bumpus' teammate. Williams passes the eyeball test at 6-4 and about 215, and has the frame to fill out well. He struggled a bit catching the ball, but ran a 4.57 40, and would be the type of athlete that could plug in somewhere else if he didn't make it as a tight end or receiver.
The best junior tight end was Michael Shelton from Compton Dominguez. Shelton is a lean 6-4, but is quick and has very good hands. Shelton, you might remember, attended UCLA's four-day camp last year.
There weren't any clear-cut elite prospects, but some pretty solid ones.
Chilo Rachal from Compton Dominguez was definitely among the fest best. Being at least 6-5 and put together pretty well, Rachal had good quickness but looked like he needed to get stronger in the one-on-one drills.
Leo Talavou from Fountain Valley might have been the best in the group. At 6-3 ½ and 318, Talavou held his weight well and moved very well for a kid that size. He showed good aggressiveness and technique in the drills. He also put up an impressive 25 reps on the bench.
A kid who put his name on the map was Josh Smith from Norco. Smith was a mammoth 6-5 and 313 pounds. For a guy his size he had very good feet and looked really impressive in the foot agility drills. He also showed great strength in the drills and on the bench, putting up 30 reps.
Two large OL prospects that have a chance are 6-4 John Ioane from Tustin and 6-5 Dan Rowlands Los Alamitos. Ioane has good size but needs to improve his quickness. Rowlands looked agile but needs to improve his strength. Chris Joseph from Santa Ynez was an unknown that got noticed. At about 6-3, he had a good motor and showed a good knack for interior line. Matt Gray from Esperanza has a smallish frame, but at 6-2 and 280 and putting up 26 reps on the bench, has a chance, with possibly the best techinque of the day.
Probably the best junior was Rodney Picou from Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, who was about 6-3 and 300, and was among the best regardless of class.