Oakland Nike Camp: Top LBs, WRs

The top linebacker performers at the Oakland Nike Football Training Camp were led by Tulare (Calif.) Mission Oaks's Kevin Palma, while the wide receiver position was dominated by a strong group of underclassmen...

LINEBACKERS

Tulare (Calif.) Mission Oak linebacker Kevin Palma was the runaway winner of the LB MVP honors at the Oakland NFTC.

And had there been an overall camp MVP, Palma would have probably ran away with that too.

After narrowly missing the LB MVP award at the SoCal NFTC, Palma kicked it into overdrive for the Oakland NFTC, and from beginning to end, was not only the best linebacker there, but may have been the best player there, period.

Whether it was blowing by running backs in the pass rushing drills (not unlike what he did at Cerritos last month), breaking up passes in the skelly or his quick pursuit to the ball-carrier in pursuit drills, Palma was stellar in every facet. 

While he's only got three offers for now, Palma won't be in single digits for long- he's one of the best linebackers we've seen this entire spring, and we think he's definitely a double-digit offer guy. In fact, he just picked up an offer from UCLA this week.

Concord (Calif.) De La Salle had the best linebacker corps in the West last year, if not the country, and even with Michael Barton graduating, the Spartans should be in good hands, so it's no surprise that their three returning linebackers all had good days across the board.

Michael Hutchings is the most touted and the most heavily recruited of the bunch but D.J. Moffitt, who only has one offer, had the best day on Sunday.  He's a good athlete, with a lot of room to add weight and he could even play safety in college.  The coaches raved about his aggressiveness.

Hutchings was solid throughout and took a bunch of reps.  Justin Davis did get the best of him in a LB/RB pass-rushing drill, but it was pretty entertaining to watch the two five-stars go at it.

Victor Egu, the third Spartan linebacker is really well put together, and could play any of the linebacker spots, with some schools liking him in the middle and some on the outside.

One of the fastest rising backers in the West this spring has been Grass Valley (Calif.) Nevada Union's Tanner Vallejo was solid all day and has good size and looks like a pure middle linebacker.  He's approaching double-digit offers.

Like Palma, a player who's performed well every time we've seen him this spring is Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton linebacker Uaea Masina.  The three-star has offers from Colorado and Utah, but we think as more teams see him playing linebacker this fall (most of his film is at running back), his offer sheet will increase.

Santa Rosa (Calif.) Cardinal Newman's Phillip Wright drew high marks from the linebacker coaches, largely because of his motor and effort all day.  The coaches noted his speed and agility.  Granite Bay (Calif.) linebacker Beau Hershberger is another one who drew praise from the coaches because of his aggressiveness and motor.

Other linebackers who did well were Concord (Calif.) backer Uaisele Manoa, Shingle Springs (Calif.) Ponderosa's Jeff Camilli and Tamalpais (Calif.) backer Jon Finkelstein.


WIDE RECEIVERS

San Diego (Calif.) Horizon Christian receiver Darren Carrington had a great showing at the recent Passing Down 7 on 7 tournament and looked even better in Oakland. He has good size at 6-2, 185 pounds, runs great routes and has very good hands.

He's not a burner but runs well enough and has no problems separating from a defensive back. He's explosive in and out of his breaks and shows great body control in jump ball situations. Carrington walked away with WR MVP honors and should definitely be considered among the top handful of receivers in the entire west region.

Right behind Carrington was Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro freshman receiver Christian Kirk. Kirk might have been the most explosive receiver in the camp and was getting deep against even the best corners in the camp. He caught the ball very well and it's not too early to see that Kirk should blossom in to one of the region's top prospects by the time he's a senior.

Fresno (Calif.) Central's Michiah Quick is one of the state's top sophomores and already receiving national offers. He lived up to the hype and has a huge upside. He has a nice frame, has good speed and might have had the best hands in the camp. You don't even hear a sound when Quick catches the rock and he already looks like one of the most refined and polished pass catchers in the region.

DaMari Scott out of Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral had a nice camp and is definitely among the most under-recruited players in the region. He's a physical player with a strong frame. He runs very well and although he surprisingly dropped a few balls, Scott has strong hands and is a powerful athlete.

Jalen Walker from Sacramento (Calif.) Christian Brothers was one of the surprises of the camp and looks like a legitimate FBS prospect. Walker made several acrobatic catches showing strong hands and body control. He can get in and out of his breaks very well and has a nice burst to him.

Yet another underclassmen who looked good was Newhall (Calif.) Hart freshman Trent Irwin. Irwin has lit up the spring 7 on 7 circuit and it's crazy how polished he is at such a young stage. Irwin knows how to set up a cornerback and is one of the smoothest route runners you'll see. He catches everything and if he continues to develop, by the time he's a senior, he could be a special talent.

The top tight end was clearly Modesto (Calif.) Central Catholic's John Mundt. Mundt is a big athlete who can run and jump. He has huge hands and caught everything thrown in his direction. He's a physical player who plays on both sides of the ball but projects best at tight end and looked very good on Sunday.

A few other receivers who had their moments included Layton's (Utah) Marcus Kemp and American Canyon's (Calif.) Chris Seisay and Modesto Catholic (Calif.) tight end John Fenton. Fenton didn't even play football last year but is focusing on it now and has a very nice upside to him.


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