Nike Camp: The Top RBs, QBs

The running back position was a little light on overall depth, with a huge sleeper winning running back MVP honors, while a local boy took hom the quarterback MVP honors Sunday...


Fresno (Calif.) Hoover running back Andrew Ballin wasn't even invited to the NIKE Camp a few days before the event. The athlete went out and put up a monster 110.97 SPARQ Rating at the NIKE Combine the day before to earn his invite.

Ballin made it count taking home RB MVP honors after a very strong performance. At 5-11, 175 pounds, he showed a nice blend of speed and quickness with surprising power. He had arguably the best burst in the camp, caught the ball very well and even looked good in the pass rush drills.

While Ballin took home MVP honors, the back that just about everyone thought had the best day was Concord's (Calif.) Olito Thompson. Thompson measured in a rock solid 5-11, 210 pounds and showed not only is a load but he's light on his feet and has a much better burst than given credit for.

There is no doubt about his productivity. Thompson rushed for 3,488 yards and 34 touchdowns last season. He's a between the tackle runner who can finish off a play as good as anyone. The only questions people have had about him center around his speed and overall burst. Thompson answered a lot of those on Sunday and can definitely play at the high BCS level.

The top recruit at the position was hands down, Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln's Justin Davis. Davis is one of those backs who does everything well and his film pops off the screen. He's a well built kid at 6-1, 200 pounds and he really stood out in the one on one pass rush drills showing a lot of physicality.

He's a natural runner with excellent instincts. He runs down hill and will be able to be an every down back at the next level.

Although a little undersized, Elk Grove's (Calif.) Robert Frazier had a solid camp showing superior quickness and agility. He impressed in the make-you-miss drills with the linebackers and also showed soft hands catching the ball out of the backfield.

The top underclass back had to be Joe Mixon from Oakley (Calif.) Freedom. Just a sophomore, Mixon already has a college body at a rock solid 6-1, 195 pounds. He was the best back of the day in the pass rush drills and showed plenty of speed and explosiveness for a big back as well. He had a solid season on the field and should combine with elite receiver Darrell Daniels to give Freedom a scary one-two punch next year.

A few other players who looked good included Steven Rogers from Elk Grove (Calif.) Franklin, Kani Benoit out of Phoenix (Ariz.) Thunderbird and Herriman's (Utah) Francis Bernard.


Jared Goff had a very good weekend and should have increased his stock nationally quite a bit. He shows up well on film and looked even better in person. He's very steady and consistent and the game looks like it come easy for him. He never looked rattled in any of the drills and plays with poise and confidence.

Physically, Goff has the frame you're looking for and will have no problem seeing down the field. He moves around pretty well in the pocket, throws a nice tight ball and was very accurate all weekend, especially on the deep balls.

Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline's Max Browne has a lot to live up as the consensus top rated quarterback in the nation. There has been some talk that Browne didn't live up to expectations but he's not the kind of quarterback that is going to wow anyone at a camp setting.

For starters, Browne has a strong arm but isn't going to wow you trying to throw the ball 100 MPH. He's more content to just complete passes and was very consistent all weekend. He's so solid mechanically and if you wanted to nitpick, he can look almost robotic at times with his ball placement and delivery.

Browne also needs to continue to work hard on his body and overall athleticism but his skill set and football IQ are very high. His decision making always seems to be on point and he doesn't get enough credit for his ability to make quick reads and put the ball accurately where it needs to be.

Another player who attended both camps and looked very good was Lincoln (Calif.) Stockton's Zack Greenlee. Greenlee is flying way below the radar but has all the physical tools you're looking for in a college quarterback. He has a nice frame, very live arm, showed good accuracy and throws very well on the run.

A pair of underclassmen really shined including arguably the biggest sleeper of the weekend. Manny Wilkins out of Novato (Calif.) San Marin played football in Texas a year ago and then transferred mid-year and played receiver.

His days at receiver should definitely be over as Wilkins has a chance to be a national recruit at quarterback. He plays with a lot of confidence and swagger and wasn't intimidated going up against any of the rising senior signal callers one bit. He can really spin the football and is a pure thrower all the way.

Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain's Kyle Allen already has a handful of early offers and it was easy to see why. Allen was probably second to only Browne in his pocket awareness and overall mechanics. He throws a very tight ball, takes great drops and showed good athleticism out of the gun. He should be one of the nation's most heavily recruited quarterbacks next fall.

Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita's Johnny Stanton had a strong weekend not only attending both the Elite 11 and NIKE Camp but the NIKE SPARQ Combine on Saturday as well. Stanton finished with the third highest SPARQ Rating in the event at 115.56 after running a 4.79-40, 4.24 shuttle, 34" vertical and a huge 42' throw in the power ball.

Stanton threw the football well all weekend and his intangibles are off the charts. He has an unorthodox release but is still able to put a lot of heat on the ball. If he can tighten that up, which will help his accuracy as well, Stanton has a real chance to play at a high level.

A few other quarterbacks who looked very solid included Cameron Birse out of Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley, Herman Smith from Las Vegas (Nev.) Desert Oasis, and Garrett Anderson from Walnut Creek (Calif.) Berean Christian.

National Recruiting Analyst Brandon Huffman contributed to this report.

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for over 15 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for
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