Northwest NIKE camp report - defense

While offensive skill players always seem to grab the lion's share of the spotlight, the defensive prospects at last Saturday's Northwest NIKE camp in Eugene proved to be the equal of their offensive counterparts. There were a few truly outstanding performances, some by players already established and some by players looking to make their mark.

Justin Boyland came all the way from from Bastrop, Texas to compete as a defensive end and Boyland looked the part of a prime-time D1 prospect. He was incredibly quick around the end during the one-on-ones and made a couple of the offensive linemen he went up against look foolish.

Chad Sutter from Lacey (Wash.) River Ridge was arguably the top defensive tackle in attendance Saturday, and you won't find a more fierce competitor than Sutter. The final one-on-one pitted Sutter against Nicolas Silva and it turned out to be the best matchup of the day. Sutter pushed Silva back towards the quarterback but then Silva was able to regain his leverage and force Chad off his feet, where he then did the smart thing and laid on Sutter to avoid any further push-back.

Sutter was so fired up that he took exception to Silva's 'pancake' and the two nearly came to blows when Chad was able to get to his feet. The NIKE coaches took notice of Sutter's will, remarking later that they felt he was one of the most tenacious linemen of any of the camps they had been to all year.

Other DE's and DT's of note who had solid workouts includes Richy Mulcahy from Mill Creek (Wash.) Jackson, Elliott Sims from Seattle (Wash.) Chief Sealth, Jon Conlin from Vancouver (BC) Vancouver College Prep, Kyle Kania from Pasco, Washington, Travis Townsend from Scappoose, Oregon and Phillip Williams from San Diego, California.

The linebackers were the showcase group of the defense Saturday. Tahj Bomar from Kent (Wash.) Kent and Adam Hunter from Fife, Washington headlined this impressive gathering of LB's. Bomar tested extremely well and even though he had some initial issues with the bags he picked up his game and finished very strong during the one-on-ones. There's no question he's the top linebacker in the northwest right now.

Hunter is a player I've always liked and he certainly looks the part of a bruising head-hunter roaming the middle. Physically, he immediately passes the look test, and unlike Bomar appeared very familiar with the bag drills used to work on dexterity and footwork. While Tahj gutted these drills out with a strong ethic and hard work, Adam seemed to breeze through the SAQ workout. He has a fluid style and doesn't look to get ahead of himself.

Both Bomar and Hunter come from the greater-Seattle area and are getting big-time looks by the Washington Huskies. Tahj already has an offer and Hunter may receive one down the road, and UW is most definitely the team to beat for both.

Nick Fuhr from Anchorage (AK) Service was a player that caught our attention right from the get-go. Nick, like Adam, is a player that is well put together, and he looked like a natural WILL. Todd Basler from Elma, Washington, Ted Edwards from Kelso, Washington and Andy Sund from Port Orchard (Wash.) South Kitsap were the other top linebackers on the day.

When looking at secondary players, there were quite a few that stood out from the rest, but no more so than Jordan Senn from Beaverton, Oregon. Jordan was top-5 in both the 40 and the shuttle out of over 300 participants Saturday and showed true grit and desire taking on receivers. Jordan is free safety material and should go high Division-1. The school with the inside track appears to be Oregon at this time and Senn is theirs to lose.

No player traveled farther to participate than Matt Culver from Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou. Culver is another safety prospect and is a legitimate 6-2. He doesn't have blazing straightaway speed but tracks the football with quickness and is always in position to make the play. He has the ability to beat a player to a spot on the field, taking great angles and using his smarts to get the job done.

DeMarcus White from Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic and James Day from Vancouver (Wash.) Mountain View were the two other safety prospects right behind Senn and Culver.

Cody Ellis from Puyallup, Washington and Epaphroditus 'Pappy' Gordon from Vancouver (Wash.) Hudson's Bay earned top DB honors at camp for their tenacious play during one-on-ones and they way they tested. Ellis blazed through the 40 in a camp-best 4.34, beating the next-best player by a tenth of a second. At 6-0 and 160-pounds, Ellis had just finished out his track season, and it showed in the way he moved. He has incredible quicks and can make up for any mistake made with some serious closing speed.

Gordon ran a solid 4.2 shuttle and jumped 31 inches in the vertical leap, but it was in the one-on-ones where he shined. His work at Air Attack has been paying off as it seemed he was right in the pocket of the receiver on every pass attempt. He weighed in at 163 pounds, so the 5-11 Gordon definitely needs to put on some heft to get the attention of college scouts this fall.

The other two DB's that caught my eye on Saturday were Portland (Ore.) Jefferson's Brandon McCray and Vancouver (BC) Vancouver College's Konrad Wasiela.

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