Trojan skills camp

The Trojan coaching staff hosted over 600 players today for their annual skill positions camp on the USC campus. As usual, there was plenty of talent in attendance including a deep group of tight ends who had athletic ability and showed good hands. Click below for a recap:

Quarterback

Mark Sanchez (Mission Viejo) showed the most polish of the throwers today as he has been well schooled in the mechanics of the position. Mark has good size and arm strength and he threw a nice touchdown to Mayfair WR Jamal Hasan during the seven on seven drill at the end of the camp. Arkelon Hall (Edison, Fresno) has a live arm and he showed it off by throwing deep often when given the chance. He was a little erratic at times but you can tell the arm strength is there. Michael Coleman (Arroyo Valley) threw mostly short passes during the 7 on 7 and looked accurate. Michael is a four year starter who just got a quarterback coach three weeks ago and he's excited about the progress he seen in such a short time. Other quarterbacks in attendance included Josh Portis (Taft), Dustin Garneau (San Pedro), Oscar Rashaan (Garey), Chris Turner (Chaminade) and Karsten Sween (Burroughs, Ridgecrest).

Running back

It was not a deep group at running back today. Cortes Rice (Los Alamitos) has a nice frame, he looks physically similar to former teammate Randy Estes, and he got a lot of reps today. Nick Thurston (Skyline) has a powerful upper body and will likely be a fullback at the college level.

Wide receiver

The top two receivers were DeSean Jackson (LB Poly) and Jeremy Childs (Los Alamitos) both of whom are smooth, athletic players. Jackson is the smaller of the two but he runs great routes, knows how to get open and has very good hands. DeSean is also an excellent baseball player and he's got a good burst of speed off the line of scrimmage (ran a 4.35 40 when timed at the end of camp). Childs has a frame and playing style similar to Keary Colbert or Steve Smith. Childs is acrobatic and has been contributing in the high powered Griffin offense since he was a freshman. His Los Al teammate, Orlando Scandrick, began the day with the corners even though he had never played DB before but by the afternoon session he was back among the receivers. Other receivers included Gavin Ketchum (Oak Park), Brandon Smith (West, Bakersfield) and Jesse Canada (Monrovia) as well as a pair of underclassmen in Robert Chandler (La Costa Canyon) and Maxwell Lacy (Bishop Amat).

Tight end

It's not often that we see so many good tight ends at one camp. Edward Dickson (Bellflower) came to the morning session and he's got a tall, lanky basketball frame that will fill out well for the tight end position. Edward was cutting nicely on his breaks and looked to have pretty good hands. Vic So'oto (Carlsbad) also moved well and he had quite a few big gains when catching the football (caught a long TD from Arkelon Hall). Erik Lorig (Peninsula) had the most size of any of the top tight ends there and he's also known as a solid blocker while showing the ability to get upfield as a pass catcher. Charles Brown (Diamond Ranch) is a highly recruited athlete who will likely project as an offensive lineman in college but participated with the tight ends in this camp. Ryan Moya (Oak Ridge) was physical, ran good routes and caught the football (had a TD catch from Portis). Michael Shelton (Dominguez) is known primarily as a defensive end, that's his likely spot in college, but he also plays TE and it's obvious that he brings a lot of athleticism to the position. Antwan Mahaley (Carson) didn't have as much size as others such as Dickson or Shelton but he brought similar athletic ability.

Linebacker

Adrian McCovey (Lakewood) has the kind of physique where you can tell he's going to grow into a big time player. He's pretty quick and showed a good vertical leap to go up and bat a pass away. Prince Hall (Moreno Valley) is also being recruited by the Trojans as a fullback but today he lined up with the linebackers. Prince is a barrel chested guy who is pretty light on his feet and he had an interception during the 7 on 7. Kevin Garrett (Narbonne) showed good instincts to always be around the football. Other notable linebackers in attendance included Reynard Camp (Lincoln, Stockton), a physical guy who can run well, Zach Follett (Clovis), Kevin Linehan (Los Alamitos) and Jacob Vuna (Westchester), a player who bears a physical resemblance to Junior Seau.

Defensive back

One of the players who stood out was Kevin Thomas (Rio Mesa) who has the tall frame that Pete Carroll likes in a corner. Thomas was very impressive in the change of direction drills and he broke quickly when the ball was in the air. Robert Peele (Edison, Fresno) also looked to be a player who will be highly recruited as he was pretty active in drills (had an interception during the 7 on 7). Peele and Thomas had some good coverage battles with Childs and Jackson during the morning session as those players were consistently matching up with each other. Travis Smith (Jefferson) was another solid corner with good cover skills although he will need to add some weight at the next level. Others who looked good were Xavier Gardner (Aliso Niguel), Kevin Ellison (Redondo), Lamont Long (Narbonne), Ferrari Welch (Sweetwater), Caleb Wood (Venice) and Caleb Taylor (Santiago).

Kickers

It was an opportunity to see several of the top kickers from the area including Durrell Chamarro (Chino), Troy Van Blarcom (Orange Lutheran) and Randall Reynoso (St. Paul) among others. The competition today belonged to Van Blarcom who consistently matched Chamarro for hang time on kickoffs yet he also consistently put the ball a little deeper. In the field goal portion, Van Blarcom also seemed to have the edge as the ball comes strong off his foot.

Click here for a recap of the USC lineman camp held on Saturday, April 24th

Tight end group includes Lorig (black socks, black shorts, headband around neck), Michael Shelton (sleeves rolled up, navy blue shorts with white trim), Edward Dickson (directly to left of Shelton), Charles Brown (gray shorts with orange stripe), Vic So'oto (directly to left of Brown)

Rocky Seto coaches Prince Hall in drill


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