NoCal NIKE camp - Defense

With so many players at Saturday's NoCal NIKE camp at Stanford University, you would think that some players just might get lost in the shuffle. That's not the case with the defensive players, as it's their sole job to disrupt and make some noise. There were plenty of defensive linemen and defensive backs that did just that.

Long Beach Poly's Kevin Brown headlined a talented pool of DL recruits, and if Carson's Mathew Malele had made it up to Palo Alto that group could have had the potential of being a truly outstanding group. As it was, it was merely rock solid, with loads of depth but no real standouts ala Malele.

Brown's teammates, Junior Lemau'u and Josh Tauanu'u once again excelled at the one-on-ones, just like they did at the USC NIKE camp. Lemau'u just blew by opposing blockers with relative ease. Other defensive ends that stood out included Granite Bay, California's Ben Klamm, Prior Lake (Minn.) St. Thomas Academy DE Christopher Moore, Berkeley (Calif.) St. Mary's DE Nick Osborn, Vallejo (Calif.) Hogan DE Marcus Moore and Oakland (Calif.) Skyline DE William Snead. Snead and the two Moores looked like defensive ends that could also do very well as REB's in Tim Hundley's 3-4 scheme.

The interior was just as stocked with talent. Along with Tauanu'u, Oxnard, California's Steven Jackson looked to be the second coming of another Oxnard native, current Husky DT Jerome Stevens. At 6-3 and around 280 pounds, Jackson played with a low center of gravity and great hands for a big man. He also showed a ton of desire and a thirst for learning.

De La Salle's Erik Sandie has grown up a lot since his NIKE camp performance, physically and mentally. His work against Long Beach Poly's Charles Owens in the one-on-ones was an epic battle of two strong-willed and strong-armed athletes. Sandie isn't the tallest defensive player in town, but he's one of the most productive and he comes from an incredible program.

Much like Jake Kuresa did last year, Provo (Utah) Timpview DL Brian Soi made the long haul to California to get his name out, and he did that in a big way. At 6-4 and 295 pounds, Soi put together a 4.3 shuttle time, a time almost unheard of when it comes to defensive tackles. The only other lineman I can think in recent memory that has been that fast was De La Salle's Derek Landri, and Landri is a stud in every sense of the term. Soi is a very nice-looking prospect and is high on the Dawgs. There will be an interview up with Brian in a couple of days.

One other defensive lineman that has to be mentioned in the same category as Taunau'u, Jackson, Sandie and Soi is Vallejo, California's Aaron Boggs, who held his own against the top OL during the one-on-ones.

As to the next line of defense, the linebackers had some marquee names among them, names that did nothing to diminish from their stature as top recruits. Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West LB Chris Purtz was arguably the top linebacker in attendance, but Long Beach Poly's Brian Banks and Mark Washington might have something to say about that. Those two pass the 'look test' in a big way.

Two other 'backers that had solid workouts were Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne LB Marc Hull and Benecia, California's Grant Izokovich. Hull is an undersized LB in the mold of a Tyler Krambrink, and he runs exceptionally well. Izokovich is built more in the typical mold of an interior linebacker and exudes physicality and toughness. He'll be a player to watch this fall.

A linebacker to watch on the horizon is Long Beach Poly's Marlin Simmons, younger brother of former WSU LB Melvin Simmons and former USC signee Marvin. Marlin is an undersized sophomore right now, but if the genes are working correctly expect Marlin to be another top LB like his brothers. It seems to run in the family.

There is one word to describe the top group of defensive backs that showed up at Stanford Saturday - versatility. Most of the top DB's had the requisite size to give safety a shot. Once again, a Jackrabbit jumped to the front of the pack to impress college coaches and show that he is indeed the real deal. Freddie Parrish ran a very solid 4.5 40 and and even more solid 4.0 shuttle. Parrish was sick and didn't participate at USC, so he was bound and determined to show that the hype surrounding him was legit, and it was.

Parrish's teammate, transfer Lorenzo Bursey, showed that he'll fit right in at LBP. He's not as physically imposing as Parrish, but Bursey exudes confidence and is an incredibly quick player. Expect him to also get his share of carries as a running back for the Jackrabbits.

Fresno (Calif.) Edison has a trio of phenomenal DB talent in Lorenzo Sims, Clifton Smith and Roc Green. Their embarrassment of riches in the secondary will no doubt cause opposing offensive coordinators headaches. Other defensive backs that stood out were the Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds DB duo of Genado Vital (younger brother of SJSU DB I'Lario) and Darnell Henderson (younger brother of Colorado DB Tyrone), and Oakland (Calif.) Castlemont DB Marshon Tatmon.

Two defensive backs showed up late and walked up to participate and put their names on the recruiting radar as a result. Stockton (Calif.) DB Louis Rankin and San Francisco (Calif.) DB Dominic Mullens both showed outstanding instincts playing the ball during the one-on-one drills, giving the opposing receivers all they could handle. Remember those two names as the fall approaches. Also, even though Spanaway (Wash.) Bethel ATH David Lewis worked out with the wide receivers, also look for him to be an even bigger threat on the defensive side of the ball for the Braves.

And last but not least, there are the youngsters, the 2004 secondary recruits to keep your eye on. De La Salle's Willie Glasper and Oakland (Calif.) Oakland Tech DB Virdell Larkins III are the two that immediately stood out. Larkins especially, as he displayed incredible footwork during the SAQ drills and went after every snap with fierce determination.

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