Nike Camp: Defense

It was a case of some players living up their hype, like Rodney Van, Thomas Herring and Jed Collins, and other, fairly unknown prospects making names for themselves with standout performances Sunday...



The defensive line group had some of the biggest standouts at the camp, probably because many of the prospects who participated as defensive linemen might not end up there on the next level.


One of the top three or four prospects at the camp overall was Thomas Herring, 6-5, 290, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fremont.  Herring is put together like a truck, but is unique because of his combination of size, strength and real quickness. He's a basketball player, and has very quick feet. He might be better suited as an offensive tackle, but he can basically play wherever he wants.


Hacienda Heights (Calif.) Los Altos' Brigham Harwell might have been the best pure pass rusher at the camp.  He's very explosive and agile. His biggest rap might be his size – at 6-0 ½ and around 240, he might be a bit small for defensive end, but probably makes up for it with his ability.


Norris Malele from Carson (Calif.) High looked great at 6-4 and 290, with a body that still looks pretty lean.  He moves really well and had good burst off the ball.  He very well could also end up an offensive lineman.


Another who might end up as an OL who worked out with the DL in the camp was Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei's Brandon Nicolas. One of the most impressive physically at the camp. Nicolas was almost unstoppable in the one-on-one drills.  At 6-5 and about 260, he looks like the prototypical offensive tackle.


Others who stood out on the defensive line were Cameron Filkins, 6-5, 290, Los Alamitos (Calif.) High, who opened some eyes with his size and agility;  Lawrence Miles, coming in at about 6-3 and 270 from La Quinta (Calif.) had a good body and moved well.  Perhaps one of the most impressive bodies of the day went to Alan King from North Hills (Calif.) Monroe.  At about 6-4 and 240 King had some guns on him.




There was the guy who basically lived up to his hype, and then there were a few others who really made names for themselves.


Living up to the hype was Jed Collins, who looked about 6-1 and 240-ish, from Mission Viejo (Calif.) High.  Collins ran well and had pretty good flexibility, and showed some very good aggressiveness.


Andrew Schantz of Canyon Country (Calif.) High, at about 6-1 and 210, put himself on the map, looking rocked out and running a 4.52 40.  He displayed that speed and quickness in the linebacker drills.  Ryan Phipps from Corona (Calif.) Centennial, at b5-11 ½ and 200 was another stat king, clocking a 4.5 flat 40 and a 4.0 flat 20-yard shuttle, which got him among the best 40s and shuttles of the day.  The linebacker coaches loved his quickness and motor.  Marlin Simmons from Long Beach Poly had a good showing, running well in the 40 ( I believe it was in the high 4.5s) while measuring at 5-11 !/2 and 195. 


Allen Brunner from St. Bonaventure (Calif.) Ventura needs a mention here. Brunner worked out with the defensive ends even though, at 5-10 and 212 he physically is more suited on the next level for linebacker or even a safety position. Brunner, though, posted the top bench mark of the day, putting up an astounding 43 reps on the bench. 




Probably the #1 defensive back at the camp and among the best five or so overall prospects was Rodney Van from Long Beach Poly. Looking all of 6-1, Van looked like a basketball guard on the one-on-one drills, with incredibly quick feet and explosive speed. He shut down the receivers in coverage. 


The twins, Bryan and Jeremy Payton from Covina (Calif.) South Hills, were among the best defensive back prospects. Both at about 6-1 and 180, they clocked good quickness in the 20-yard shuttles, with Jeremy posting a 4.09, among the best of the day, but they both scratched their 40 times. In the one-on-one drills, they looked solid and aggressive, but possibly a little stiff and maybe best suited as safeties.


Damon Morton, the 5-10 athlete from Riverside (Calif.) North, was among the best DBs in the position drills, and registered a very quick 4.08 in the 40.  Chris Camacho, 5-8, 160, Riverside (Calif.) Ramona, also had a big day in the drills.  Marty Tadman, an athlete from Mission Viejo (Calif.) who looked about 5-11 and 180ish, had some dominating moments in the one-on-one drills,  while running a 4.56 40 and a 4.11 shuttle.  Josh Pinkard, 6-0, 185, Oxnard (Calif.) Hueneme, ran a 4.49 40 while jumping 35.1 in the vertical.  One sleeper to watch is Bryan Barmer, 5-11, 155, La Mesa (Calif.) Helix, who one scout had told me previous to the camp that he could be someone to keep an eye on. He posted the best shuttle time of the day, 3.87, and jumped 32.8.  5-10, 185-pound Thomas McKay, a prospect from Palmdale (Calif.) High, had one of the best performances in the defensive back drills.

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