Since the Nike Camp in April was invitation only, Nike decided to conduct another combine in L.A. for more prospects, and some pretty big names decided to participate anyway.
Nike conducted the combine different, dropping the instructional periods and just focusing on the testing and one-on-one drills. It also gave out trophies to the fastest man, strongest man and best vertical jump, etc., which is a departure from the Nike camp, and good fun.
Far and away the standout of the day was elite prospect Terrail Lambert, 6-0, 180, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure. Lambert won the fastest man competition and did it in style. In the initial testing he ran a 4.21. In the final heats for the fastest man honor, he won with a 4.35. Lambert also looked very good in the defensive back drills, able to use his speed and agility to close on receivers in a flash.
There were a few quarterbacks that deserved some attention.
Brian Hildebrand, 6-2, 180, Corona (Calif.) High, was probably the best prospect. He's a legit 6-2, but a bit slender in build. He's a good athlete, with good mechanics and a strong, accurate arm. The word is that UCLA is his favorite at this point.
A complete sleeper is Chad Prest, 6-4, 200, Palm Desert (Calif.) High. Prest is a big kid, and a bit awkward at times. But he has decent athleticism and quickness. While his arm motion needs some refinement, he had a very strong arm, and threw some of the most accurate passes of the day. He's now working with quarterback guru Steve Clarkson and apparently he's shown light years of improvement in just a couple of weeks. Last year at Palm Desert they ran the option so Prest didn't play, amazingly enough, and isn't getting recruited at this time. But with his passing ability and size you can expect him to probably have a big junior year and his recruting situation will change. He went to USC's one day camp and could possibly come to UCLA's four-day camp. He's run a 4.7 40, which isn't bad for someone his size, and a 4.35 shuttle.
Ashley Palmer, 6-2, 190, Lynwood (Calif.) High, is an athlete to watch. He has a nice, sculpted body, and along with Hildebrand and Prest, was one of the best passers of the day. He's a bit stiff in his delivery, but has good quickness and feet. His technique was pretty polished and he threw a very strong, catchable ball. He then lined up with the wide receivers on a lark and juked his defender and caught a ball with his hands extended. Again, a nice athlete to watch.
Beau Davis, 6-3, 175, Venice (Calif.) High. Davis isn't probably at UCLA's level, but he was among the best QBs on the day. He's very skinny, and has a narrow frame that you would worry couldn't put on more bulk. His delivery is a little hitched, but his throws were very strong and placed well.
Josh Portis, 6-3, 175, SO, Redondo Beach (Calif.) Redondo. Portis might not be a quarterback, but he's an athlete that will undoubtedly get some recruiting looks next year. He jumped an astounding 41.7 inches in the vertical and won the vertical trophy, and also took home the honor of achieving the best vertical in the history of the Nike camps or combine.
The best offensive lineman was Chilo Rachal, 6-5, 300, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez. Having seen him on tape where he looked a bit top heavy, Rachal looked better in person this time, having a better, lower center of gravity.
Dan Rowlands, 6-5, 285, Los Alamitos (Calif.) High, also had a good showing. He has good size, and moves well. In the one-on-one he showed some raw ability, and possibly needs to develop a mean streak, but he has potential.
Standouts at wide receiver were Nathan Kimbrough, 6-1, 170, Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) Santa Fe, who looked long and pretty polished, and Keenan Jones, 5-11, 180, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne, who looked very quick and skilled in catching the ball. Jordan Fata, 6-3, 220, Carson (Calif.) High, also looked good as a tight end prospect.
Austin Usher, 6-3, 180, SO, Los Angeles (Calif.) Jefferson was probably the best underclassmen at wide receiver, who also ran in the 4.5 range in the 40. He's also a very good shooting guard in basketball.