Stanford NFTC Recap: Defense takes a look at the top performers on defense at the Stanford Nike Football Training Camp...

Despite flashes of rain and hail, numerous prospects from the West, and beyond, took part in the Stanford Nike Football Training Camp. was on hand to breakdown the top prospects at each position.


Laveen (Ariz.) Fairfax defensive lineman Dwight Melvin

With Atwater (Calif.) Buhach Colony's Aziz Shittu unable to attend, the position became focused on which other lineman would emerge. 

And it was a sleeper who broke from the pack in the form of Laveen (Ariz.) Fairfax's Dwight Melvin.  The OL's were talented, but the one defensive lineman they could not stop was Melvin.  He fires off the ball, has great quickness and technique and was impossible to block. He didn't lose a one-on-one the entire day and was the easy pick for DL MVP.  He got the best of Jeremiah Poutasi a couple of times.

Fresno (Calif.) Clovis East's Sam Awrabi is getting a lot of attention as a hybrid DE/LB and he worked with the defensive linemen at Stanford.  He was good in the one-on-one's but in the drills and positional workouts, he looked very good, showing good quickness and athleticism.

Patterson (Calif.) defensive tackle Pito Vatuvei was a load for the interior lineman to deal with and his stock is rising, evident on Sunday.

South San Francisco (Calif.) Pika Levi, Gardena (Calif.) Serra's Kache Palacio and Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln's Charles Howard also had good days.

A couple of 2013 prospects impressed in Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial's Jaylen Ruiz and Elk Grove (Calif.) Cosumnes Oaks' Sam Smith.


Norco (Calif.) linebacker Scott Starr

The linebacker corps was pretty stout and it was a sleeper type who won the MVP award in Portland (Calif.) Grant's Daniel Halverson.  We saw Halverson at the U.S. Army Combine and he was excellent there and he continues to blossom and had a great day in the positional drills and the one-on-one's.  Halverson moves well laterally and in space and has good, active hands.

Norco (Calif.) linebacker Scott Starr continues to look good in pass coverage and moving laterally and he's even bigger than when we saw him play in the fall.  Starr looks like he could play any of the linebacker spot and was the most physically impressive linebacker there.

San Jose (Calif.) Leland's Christopher Santini is listed as a safety, with numerous schools offering him as such, but some schools like him as a linebacker, and so Santini played there on Sunday and he looked plenty comfortable.  He was probably the most athletic linebacker of the group and he's also extremely physical.  On one rep in the four-on-four's, he chucked a much bigger and stronger tight end at the line of scrimmage and ended his involvement in the drill.

Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey linebacker Jeremiah Allison continues to make the transition from defensive end, which he plays for the Dons, to linebacker, which he'll play in college. 

Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West's Josh Lang, Clovis (Calif.) Buchanan's Chris Fowler and Camas (Wash.) Union's Brandon Heim also performed well at linebacker.

The top underclassmen was Concord (Calif.) De La Salle's Michael Hutchings, who was California's State Sophomore of the Year, but was making his first foray into the camp setting.  Still just a sophomore, Hutchings looked as good as his older counterparts and showed why he's one of the premier prospects in the 2013 class.


The secondary was easily the most crowded and talented positional group at the camp.

It featured two Scout Top 50 prospects, the region's best safety, Shaquille Thompson from Sacramento (Calif.) Grant and the region's best cornerback, Tee Shepard from Fresno (Calif.) Central.  And neither disappointed.  Thompson was the most impressive specimen there and looks every bit the five-star prospect that he is.  He even played some receiver on the day and the running back for Grant showed he's just as talented on offense, twice blowing by the secondary.

Shepard was doing his first extensive camp work of the spring, with a shoulder injury sidelining him for much of it.  But he too showed the talent that has him rated #2 nationally at corner. Shepard is a big corner, and he looks like he could grow into a safety at the next level.  He's got smooth backpedal and quick hips to complement the size.

The DB MVP was Fontana (Calif.) Summit's Donte Deayon, who's great week got greater with the MVP award.  Deayon got his first offer earlier in the week, from Boise State, and with the pressure of that first offer gone, Deayon went out and locked up the receivers.

Elk Grove (Calif.) Cosumnes Oaks cornerback Marcus Rios

Elk Grove (Calif.) Cosumnes Oaks' Marcus Rios is the top cornerback prospect in Northern California and the Boise State commit showed why he's one of the premier players at his position in the region.  Rios is tall and fast, and while he's still on the skinny side (weighing in at 165), he plays much bigger, and did a good job jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage.

Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista's Dalis Bruce has had a great spring, and while he was the best receiver at the Elite 11 on Friday, he switched over to corner and did very well at the position on Sunday.

Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola's Chaz Anderson, San Jose (Calif.) Oak Grove's Cleveland Wallace, Palmdale (Calif.) Houston Haynes and Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove's Desmond Lewis also had strong showings as did Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman's Marc Philippi.

The top 2013 prospect on hand was Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial's Johnny Johnson, who continued his stellar spring with a very spirited and convincing performance.'s Brandon Hufman, Mario Gomez and Kevin Carden contributed to this report

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