Nike Camp: Defense

There was a surprising amount of quality linebackers, while the defensive linemen might have stolen the show...

Defensive Line

Mathew Malele was the best defensive lineman and, as stated in the previous story, probably one of the two best prospects overall at the event. He is a wide load, at 6-0 ½ and 305 pounds, and the offensive lineman didn't shut him down once in the drills.

The other elite DLs there were Lawrence Jackson, the defensive end from Inglewood, and probably Junior Lemau'u from Long Beach Poly.

Jackson, who looked to be about 6-4 and 230, showed some of the best rush moves I've seen at a Nike Camp, possessing the speed and technique to get around any blocker. Lemau'u is a man-child, at about 6-4, and 250, with long arms, great strength and quickness. He did 35 reps on the bench, the second-best of the day.

Matt Spanos from Corona looked quite a bit bigger than last summer. I didn't have his measurements, but he looked about 6-4 and 270. He was a smooth, powerful athlete and did well in the drills.

Kevin Brown, from Long Beach Poly, looked very good, at just about 6-1 and 280. He put up 30 reps on the bench. USC commit Fili Moala also looked good physically and at least held his own in the one-on-one drills. Brett Palmer, the ASU commit from Tempe Marcos De Niza also had a good day.

Aaron Whittington from St. Louis Hazelwood East came all the way out here to get noticed, specifically by UCLA. He looked physically more like a safety or a linebacker, measuring at 6-2 ½ and 180, but had some nice quickness. There's a recruiting update on him coming soon.

Sedrick Ellis either didn't attend the camp or we didn't see him.


The linebacking group didn't necessarily have any freakish prospects, but it was a solid group that had some talent.

Drean Rucker, 6-0 ½, 230, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Canyon Springs, was probably the best linebacker prospect at the camp. He was very impressive physically, moved really well, probably fared the best in the drills while running a 4.6. He told me that his favorite is Florida State, while he also likes Oregon, Oklahoma, Oregon State and USC. He said he has offers from Colorado, Oregon State, Arizona and USC. No mention of UCLA.

Brett Martin, Corona (Calif.) Centennial, might have been the second-best linebacker prospect. He looked about 6-1 and 215, and was very quick and instinctual, while putting up a very impressive 32 reps on the bench. Another Martin, Lee Martin, from Ventura St. Bonaventure, also tested very well, running in the 4.5 range.

Michael Okwo, 6-0, 205, looked very good in the foot agility drills, having nice quickness. He was among the top five or so linebackers in attendance.

Phillip Rauscher, Encinitas (Calif.) La Costa Canyon, was impressive. I didn't get his height and weight but he is at least 6-3 and 235, He had good quickness for his size, and could end up as a defensive end.

Jonathan Turner from Corona, was another big, impressive-looking kid, probably 6-3 and 240. He could also end up with his hand down.

Others who impressed were Jon Polk, 6-0, 210, Compton Dominguez, who ran in the 4.6 range; Ralph Pineda, 6-1, 225, Los Angeles Cathedral, ran a decent 40 and a shuttle in the 4.2 range; Juan Silva, 6-1, 230, Covina Charter Oak, looked pretty large and had good quickness; Brian Banks, a well-put-together kid from Long Beach Poly, and Ammon Wolfley, 6-1, 205, Peoria (Ariz.) High, who recorded the second-best vertical, jumping 35 inches.

I didn't get to see Fred McNeill, the linebacker from Los Angeles Loyola. I did see Brandon Powers, a good-looking kid from Los Angeles Franklin. He plays linebacker and receiver and made a mistake by working out with the receivers at the camp.

Defensive Backs:

There was some solid talent at defensive back in the camp. Perhaps the best were Clifton Smith, the 5-10 cornerback from Fresno Edison, and a 5-11 cornerback from Vista, Leon Hall. Both looked exceptional in the one-on-one drills, most of the time shutting down their receivers. Hall has pretty decent size, and a great cover ability. He also ran in the 4.4 range in the 40. Smith is quick and has great instincts and intensity.

Terrell Thomas, 6-0, 176, Rancho Cucamonga, is another who might be listed among the best at the camp. He clocked the third best 40 at 4.35. And if you're talking about dedication, after running his 40, he then scurried off to the Arcadia track meet where he finished third in the 400m. He returned then to the camp, for the one-on-one drills and then was going back to the track meet to run in the 4X400m relay.

Others who made an impression: Marquel Ricks, from San Pedro, had one of the best 40 times, in the 4.4 range, and reportedly looked good in the drills; Kevin Ross, from Playa Del Rey St. Bernard's, and Johnny Walker, Lancaster Antelope Valley, who had good quickness, recording a 4.04 in the shuttle.

Freddie Parrish attended but didn't participate due to an injury.

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