UCLA Above & Beyond Recap

A look at the top performers at the "Above & Beyond" Skills Camp at Spaulding Field, where Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde tight end Junior Pomee, Modesto (Calif.) Christian tight end Raymond Nelson and San Diego (Calif.) Rancho Bernardo linebacker Aaron Wallace were the standouts...

UCLA hosted the second of their camps this weekend on Sunday, when they hosted the "Above & Beyond Camp", comprised exclusively of skill position players.

Right off the bat, the immediate standout was easily Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde tight end Junior Pomee. Even though the 6-4, 228-pounder had spent all day on Saturday at a 7on7 tournament at USC, and his legs were tired, he came out and showed why he's one of the premier pass-catching big men in the country.

Pomee couldn't be stopped, physically, by really any of the linebackers, and consistently got open, and because he's got such good hands, caught pretty much everything thrown to him. He's a matchup nightmare for his size, and was constantly receiving praise from the Bruin coaches.

Florida has recently offered Pomee, comparing him to Aaron Hernandez, and he said his top three currently stands as Arizona, Florida and UCLA with no leader.

After Pomee, Modesto (Calif.) Christian tight end Raymond Nelson was probably the best performer. Nelson has offers from numerous Pac-10 schools and is another one of the better tight ends in a very strong class of tight ends in the West.

He's a very good athlete, real fluid and with good strength, and does a good job in his route running and in catching passes. Nelson, who's brother Reeves plays basketball for UCLA, received an offer from the UCLA coaches following the camp.

Staying on the tight ends, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian's Dillon van der Wal was in the same boat as Pomee, coming off a busy weekend of 7on7, but he weathered on and had a very good day.

The receivers had some good performances, with Las Vegas (Nev.) receiver Marquan Major being one of the standouts. Major, who's got a pair of offers despite missing much of his junior year with a broken arm, was one of the most consistent of the receivers, in terms of getting open and catching the ball. The quarterbacks had an o.k. day, so there were some tough passes for the receivers to catch, but Major was one of the top receivers.

Richard Mullaney from Thousand Oaks (Calif.) was another receiver who really performed well, and was probably the best receiver there, performance wise. About 6-3, 190, Mullaney was easily the most precise and crisp route runner and he's tough too. When corners tried to jam him, he'd just chuck them and get open. Of all the receivers there, Mullaney had the softest hands we saw.

Garden Grove (Calif.) Pacifica's Joel Willis, who's getting recruited for both sides of the ball, looked very good in the 1-on-1's and we could see him being a slot receiver or corner in college, and doing both well.

Bothell (Wash.) 2012 receiver Trent Sewell, who has verbal offers from Washington State and UCLA, was one of the more physically impressive receivers there, and he looked good in the drills, but like many of the receivers, with the quarterbacks generally struggling, couldn't get into much of a rhythm.

Some of the other receivers who made waves included Corona (Calif.) Santiago receiver Jemond Hazeley, Jovonte Slater from Vista Murrieta (Calif.), one of the elite sprinters nationally, who started out working with the corners, and plays running back for his high school team, but played receiver on Sunday; Christopher Smith from Las Vegas (Nev.) and K.C. Pearce from Visalia (Calif.) Redwood.

The running backs were good, not great, collectively at the camp.

One of the better performers was Ishmael Adams, the heir to the throne at Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian to Gatorade National Player of the Year, Malcolm Jones. Adams just moved to Southern California from Georgia, and while not very big, has great moves and feet.

Kris Olugbode from San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep is another back who's not the biggest, but he too moves really well, catching the ball well out of the backfield and making people miss. He's shorter and thicker, though, and has a little Maurice Jones-Drew to his game, willing to run a person over rather than around them.

Kingsburg (Calif.) running back/safety Garrett Steele bounced around a bit from running back to the secondary, but spent most of the individual time with the backs, and showed why he's one of the better prospects from Central California.

Other running backs who looked good were Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser's Davonte Manning, Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery's Nolan Plummer, and Shaq Richard from Gardena (Calif.) Serra.

At quarterback, the player we felt had the best arm there was Concord (Calif.) De La Salle 2012 prospect Bart Houston. Houston is built like a linebacker (and was bigger than many of the linebackers there), but has very good feet and can absolutely sling it. He's got a very quick release, excellent mechanics, and can make all of the throws. He is part of a very good contingent of 2012 quarterbacks from the state.

Another quarterback who did well was Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline's Maxx Brown, the new man behind center for the Spartans, taking over for last year's #1 quarterback Jake Heaps. We saw Brown last week at the Skyline 7on7, and he was coming off a championship at UW's 7on7 tourney, but had enough left in the arm on Sunday.

Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola quarterback Jerry Neuheisel was solid all day, particularly in the short and intermediate routes.

We've seen Corona (Calif.) Centennial quarterback Michael Eubank at least a half dozen times this spring, and this was by far, the best we've seen him throw the ball. Eubank has all the physical tools (6-5, 220), but his mechanics need work. Still, you can see he's really worked on his throwing motion and cutting down on the bad mechanics he's shown at times. It's not perfect yet, but his release is much more smooth compared to seeing him in Vegas. Eubank is on the cusp of some offers, and his upside is huge.

Salem (Ore.) West Salem's Brett Smith is another player we've seen numerous times this spring, and he's been steady and solid throughout the camp circuit, and Sunday was no different.

Other quarterbacks who had good days included Trinity-Pawling (N.Y.) Cormac Craigie, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral's Connor Brewer, La Habra (Calif.) Cody Clements, North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake's Max Heltzer, Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair's Evan Hunko and Palo Alto (Calif.) Christoph Bono.

Defensively, the linebackers were led by Aaron Wallace from San Diego (Calif.) Rancho Bernardo. One of the best performers all of the spring we've seen, Wallace had his best day on Sunday, and earned him a UCLA offer to go with Washington and Texas A&M offers. Wallace continues to show his very good agility and athleticism and his ability to cover in the passing game.

If Wallace was 1 then Corey Waller from Long Beach Poly was 1A. Waller generally matched Wallace in his play during the day, and the converted defensive end continues to look better and more comfortable each time we see him.

A linebacker who really impressed us was Rodney Hardrick from Colton (Calif.). Hardrick has great size (about 6-2, 220), and moves extremely well laterally. He could play inside or outside.

Dennis Taylor from Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser, who we liked in Las Vegas at the Badger/New Level 7on7, was very consistent all day.

In the secondary, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly cornerback Kameron Jackson, a commit to Washington, had probably the best day of all the defensive backs. He was tested often and early, and got beat on his first two reps, than dropped a pick, but from that point on, was in lockdown mode, and showed why he's one of the best corners in the West.

Not too far behind him in performance was Deonte Flowers from San Diego (Calif.) Morse, who had two picks in the evening session, making great adjustments to the ball and picking them off in the end zone. He's a good basketball player too, so his athleticism wasn't a surprise.

Clovis (Calif.) East safety Jerry Haymon is a player we've seen quite a bit of and he had a strong day on Sunday, especially in the 7on7. He's got good ball skills and constantly seemed to be around the ball.

Another Central Californian who we liked was Bakersfield (Calif.) safety Mercy Maston. He first caught our eye at the Los Angeles NFTC and was again solid.

Dabness Atkins from Long Beach Poly, may not be the biggest, but he didn't let his size affect him, showing very good cover skills and a willingness to jam bigger receivers at the line. Redlands (Calif.) East Valley's Kris King also was strong all day in coverage.

Several recruits came fresh of 7on7 and didn't work out but observed, including Scout300 cornerback Stefan McClure from Vista (Calif.) and elite 2012 receiver Jordan Payton from Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian, a USC commit.


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