Nike Camp: Top DLs, OLs

Here's a more detailed look at the top defensive line and offensive line performers at the Oakland Nike Football Training Camp, in which Sacramento (Calif.) Grant defensive tackle Misi Taifane and Corona (Calif.) Centennial offensive lineman Cameron Hunt earned MVP honors...


After sitting out the SoCal NFTC last month, Corona (Calif.) Centennial offensive lineman Cameron Hunt watched his underclass teammate, Vione Taliamoava, walk away with OL MVP honors.

Six weeks later, it was Hunt who gave the Huskies a clean sweep of the Golden State NFTC's, winning the MVP honors at the Oakland NFTC on Sunday.

The most dominant offensive lineman at the Oakland NFTC, Hunt won every one-on-one to not only win MVP honors but also an invitation to The Opening.

Hunt showed great flexibility and footwork, excellent technique and plenty of nasty, typical of offensive linemen from Centennial, and was the clear MVP.

Right behind Hunt was Villa Park (Calif.) offensive lineman Nick Whitton.  One of our favorite linemen in this class, Whitton has some of the best film of any lineman in the West, but is still waiting for his first offer.  While he's not as tall as most linemen, and we think that's what is keeping him from an offer, he plays with a lot of fire and nastiness.  Whitton said that schools are telling him that center is where he'll end up in college, and he played a lot of center on Sunday in the 1on1s. 

A player that impressed us was Elk Grove (Calif.) Cosumnes Oaks offensive tackle Kyle Saxelid.  Saxelid is 6-7 and about 245 with a wingspan of 80 inches, and of all the linemen there, had probably the most flexibility and the best, most natural bend and more than held his own in the 1on1s.  The one thing he'll certainly need to do is add more weight by the time he gets to college.

The most massive offensive lineman there was Atwater (Calif.) Buhach Colony tackle Aaron Cochran, who stands about 6-6, 350.  Cochran struggled a bit, getting beat a few times by quicker defensive ends.  He could still look to drop some weight and add more muscle.

Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic tackle Gunnar Graham, who has a couple of offers and protects the blindside of four-star quarterback (and QB MVP) Jared Goff, was also solid and pretty consistent throughout the day.

Also having good days were Shasta's Zane Ventimiglia and Chico (Calif.) Pleasant Valley's Carson O'Connell.


With a couple of standouts from Northern California on the defensive line at the Oakland NFTC, it was one of the less-touted guys who ended the day as the DL MVP.

Sacramento (Calif.) Grant defensive tackle Misi Taifane, won the MVP honors after the most consistent day of any defensive linemen there.

Taifane looked good in the drills, plenty athletic, and with a good frame that will support more weight.  He was quick off the line of scrimmage and had a couple of pretty good moves to get past his blocker and also played nice and low with a lot of leverage.

Elijah Qualls, the four-star defensive tackle from Petaluma (Calif.) Casa Grande, earned an invitation to The Opening after a pretty strong day.  He was easily the quickest defensive lineman there, and while he plays a little high, he's still growing into and learning the position.

Pinole Valley (Calif.) defensive lineman Deonte Reynolds also looked good throughout the day, with good size and strength and pretty good athleticism.  In the drills, he showed good agility and footwork and does a good job of playing low.

Salinas (Calif.) Palma defensive end Jack Powers had a pretty good day, and he's got size and length, but needs to fill out more.  He showed a pretty good motor throughout the 1on1s.

A defensive end that showed out pretty good was Galt (Calif.) prospect Joe Vitoria.  He's got an offer from Nevada, and he beat offensive lineman Aaron Cochran on a couple of 1on1s, using his quickness off the ball to fly past Cochran.  He's still pretty slight, and will need to add weight at the next level, but plays nice and low and has very good get-off.

Fremont (Calif.) Kennedy defensive end Takkarist McKinley is a player we've recently heard about, and was easily the most physically impressive looking defensive linemen, but he's got a ways to go to add some more weight to be a hand-on-the-ground end and needs better technique. Right now, he looks more like an outside linebacker.   But in the drills, you could see his athleticism.

One of the underclassmen who impressed us was Tashon Smallwood from Fresno (Calif.) Central. He plays angry and gets good leverage, and was a load for the offensive lineman to block.

Other defensive linemen who stood out were Kennedy Emeside from Oak Hills (Calif), Jonathan Bade from American Canyon (Calif.) and Ryan Steele from Kingsburg (Calif.).

National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins contributed to this report.

Brandon is in his eighth year with and FOXSportsNext, currently as a National Recruiting Analyst and West Regional Manager. Prior to joining the Scout Recruiting Team, he was a team recruiting writer.  He's been covering recruiting for the Scout Network since 2003.
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