Los Angeles NFTC Preview: Defense

The 2015 NIKE Camp tour kicks off this Sunday at Redondo Union (Calif.) in what should be a loaded field. Here's our look at the top defensive players expected to be in attendance...

Defensive Line

Two of the nation's top defensive ends headline a strong group of lineman. Gardena (Calif.) Serra's Rasheem Green had his coming out party at the SoCal NIKE Camp last April where he threw the power ball almost 40' and jumped 32" in the vertical.

All that on a solid 6-5, 270 pound frame that has since added another 10 pounds. Green is still raw as a player and learning technique but he does have a motor, plays with toughness and is capable of dominating a game. In a few years, he could be down right scary.

Keisean Lucier-South is another 5-star prospect who we first saw at the NIKE Camp last spring. He's the quickest and most athletic pass rusher in the region. He's a long, lean athlete with great closing speed and he can really fly off the ball. He's athletic enough to play in space and some schools like him as an OLB in a 3-4 scheme. He'll need to add some weight to play DE full time but has plenty of time to do so.

Scout.com's No. 4 and 5 defensive ends will also be working out as well. Long Beach Poly's (Calif.) Joseph Wicker and Chino Hills' (Calif.) Trent Goens are high motor players who know how get after the quarterback.

Wicker has a big frame and it wouldn't be a shock if he eventually grows in to a defensive tackle down the line. Goens is a fast rising prospect who has put on 20 pounds of muscle since last spring and plays like his hair is on fire.

Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton's Caleb Peart is one of several talented players from the Grand Canyon State making the road trip down for the camp. Peart has a linebacker frame but plays rush end and can definitely get after the quarterback.

Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita end Rick Wade is a sleeper we're excited to see. He was a 1st team all-Trinity League selection last year, arguably the top league in the state and has a very intriguing skill set on a 6-6, 230 pound frame.

Three of the region's top five defensive tackles will be attendance headlined by Fresno (Calif.) Clovis North's Jacob Daniel. At 6-4, 300 pounds, Daniel is a massive nose guard prospect who can take on a double team and still get a strong push in the middle.

Mountain View (Calif.) St. Francis tackle Thomas Toki is one of the quickest interior lineman in the region. He's a bit undersized but makes up for it with a great first step, violent hands and a strong upper body to disengage from an opposing lineman.

Encino (Calif.) Crespi tackle Vaimoe Sekona is a talented two-way lineman who excels as an offensive guard and defensive tackle. He has a great frame, is very physical and has a motor to match.


Gardena (Calif.) Serra's John Houston was a surprise selection for LB MVP runner up last year before many even knew who he was. This year, it will be a surprise if he doesn't win the MVP and get an invite to The Opening as he's a tremendous talent.

Houston has great range for a big linebacker and covers very well. He can play in space and is a natural pass rusher as well. He's a three down linebacker who also plays with toughness, works hard off the field and is a natural leader.

Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian's Kyahva Tezino is a linebacker/safety hybrid and has tremendous athleticism. He has a safety frame but can hit like a linebacker and is very active. He's one of those guys that's always around the football and will likely be the best cover ‘backer in this group.

Etiwanda's (Calif.) Khaylan Thomas is one of those players that jumps off the screen when you watch his film. He does everything well; he's very physical and blows up opposing blockers and ball carriers. He's athletic and strong in pass coverage and is very good blitzing off the edge as well.

Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei's Ben Humphreys is a great all around talent who can also play some receiver. He always plays hard, has a nose for the football and is a high level athlete as well.

Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood's T.J. Fehoko is one of the region's top inside ‘backers. He could end up as a defensive lineman down the road depending on how much bigger he gets but he can definitely bring the wood and is a fiery competitor.

A couple of players beginning to make a lot of noise out West are Gardena (Calif.0 Serra's Corey Adolphus and Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral's Malik Lawal. Adolphus has been compared to USC signee Olajuwon Tucker by some of his coaches.

That's a huge statement seeing what Tucker did on the field last season so expect Adolphus to get a lot of looks on Sunday. Lawal is also very intriguing with a nice skill set on a very athletic frame. He can run like a safety, played a lot of defensive end last season and will be one of the best athletes in this camp.

Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial's Dedrick Young is one of the region's top two-way players and could play outside ‘backer or running back in college. It looks like he'll line up with the ‘backers on Sunday and he should have a big camp.

An underclassman we're excited to see is Lokeni Toailoa out of Rialto (Calif.) Carter. Even though Toailoa is more of a pads guy since hitting is his forte, it will be good to see how he moves and plays in space and gauge his overall athleticism.

Defensive Backs

One of the strongest position groups out West is the defensive backs so it's not surprising that the secondary will be loaded on Sunday. Long Beach Poly's (Calif.) Iman Marshall is the current No. 1 prospect in the region and a top 10 player nationally as well.

He's a lockdown cover corner with a safety frame and is one of the most physical corners to come out of the state in years. He has improved his athleticism steadily over the last couple of years and no one plays with more competitiveness than Marshall.

Gardena (Calif.) Serra two-way standout Stanley Norman will likely take reps at corner and receiver. ‘Scrappy' lives up to his nickname and plays with tremendous toughness and swagger. He's very fluid in his movement with good quickness and top end speed. He doesn't have great size but plays as big as anyone.

Speaking of playing big, San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills' Dechaun Holiday is all of 6-2 and has a chance to be a big time corner at the next level. He moves very well for a big DB and has excellent ball skills. He has a narrow, long frame and if he can continue to improve his short area quickness, he'll be a heck of a corner, otherwise, he'll be a very good cover safety and should be an impact player no matter where he ends up in the secondary.

One corner no one is going to want to go up against is Anaheim (Calif.) Servite's Maurice Davison. Pound for pound, Davison might be the toughest corner on the field with explosive leaping ability. Like Norman, he's not the tallest DB around, but he's physical and a great athlete.

It's tough to call a player with an Oregon offer a sleeper, but Corona (Calif.) Centennial's Jihree Stewart has been flying a bit below the radar the past few months. That's starting to change as more schools are seeing his film. He plays with that trademark toughness all Husky players have and is strong against the run and pass.

A few other corners expected to shine include Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany teammates Colin Samuel and Dominic Davis, Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral's Darrien Molton and Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman's Nicco Fertitta. Fertitta could actually swing between corner and safety and has the ability to play either spot in college.

At safety, look for San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine athlete Frank Buncom to put on a show. Buncom has the versatility to play just about anywhere in the secondary. He has very good size, moves with ease and plays with an edge.

Another safety who plays with plenty of nastiness is Upland's (Calif.) Kameron Powell. Powell is built more like a corner but he'll hit you and has solid cover skills as well.

At 6-3, Chino Hills (Calif.) Ayala's Malik Psalms plays corner and if he can show the necessary quickness and athleticism, he could be something very special. He may eventually grow in to a safety but he'll be very interesting to watch on Sunday.

A couple of underclassmen to keep an eye on are Etitwanda's (Calif.) Treyjohn Butler, Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian's Marcus Cosby, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco's D.J. Morgan and La Canada (Calif.) St. Francis' Avery Williams.

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for almost 20 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for Scout.com/FOXSportsNext.
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