COS Skills Camp Recap

For the second year in row, College of the Sequoias coaches Tony Perry and Curtis Allen hosted a skills camp at the Mineral King Bowl in Visalia. Many of Central California's top young prospects competed in Saturday's camp…

Tony Perry sent 19 players to D1 schools while the defensive back coach at Fresno (Calif.) Edison. Last season, his first at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, seven of his defensive backs signed with four-year colleges, including four with FBS schools. He is widely respected by D1 college coaches as one of the top defensive back gurus in the nation.

Many of Perry's former players were on hand Saturday to witness their former position coach do what he does best – coach DBs.

From Ricky Manning to Robert Golden, Perry's "boys" were out in full force on Saturday afternoon at the COS Skills Camp.

Ricky Manning helped coach the DBs at
Saturday's COS Skills Camp.
Photo by Scott Edwards
Manning, coming off a season-ending ankle injury with the St. Louis Rams last season, helped coach the young talented defensive backs with Perry. Golden (Arizona), Johnny Sears (Michigan/Eastern Michigan), Bernard Hicks (Cal), Courtney Viney (UCLA), and Romeo Horn (San Diego State) were on hand to watch. And they had the opportunity to witness two of the top young defensive backs in the state.

Washington (Calif.) Union cornerback Tee Shepard continues to impress this summer. The 6-foot, 170-pound rising sophomore is a big, physical corner with improving speed. He ran a 4.71 forty at the Sports San Francisco Combine last month, but he improved that running a 4.53 on Saturday in Visalia.

But when it comes to being physical, there is no one more physical than 2011 Clovis (Calif.) East safety prospect Jerry Haymon. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete plays both sides of the ball doubling as East's quarterback. Haymon, nicknamed "Bear", plays like one on the line. He loves to jam his man at the line and drive him to the ground. Manning had to step in to get Haymon to stop jamming and start covering, which he does well too.

Sacramento (Calif.) Grant cornerback Vante Johnson has quietly emerged as a quality corner prospect in the 2010 class. Perry called Johnson the most consistent cover corner he coached this summer at camps, which included Saturday's COS Skills Camp, last week's Passing Down, and's San Francisco combine.

Two underrated defensive backs in the 2010 class also turned heads on Saturday. Fresno (Calif.) Hoover cornerback Jerrell Davidson passes the eyeball test at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds. He was arguably the most impressive player with his ball skills. Visalia (Calif.) Redwood corner/safety Joseph Marquez is not the biggest player but is extremely quick, and he was always in position to make a play.

On the offensive side of the ball, Redwood had two receivers who blazed by the competition in drills and 1-on-1's. Rising junior K.C. Pearce was a COS Camp standout last year, but he is bigger, stronger, and faster this year. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound wideout ran a 4.44 forty on Saturday. He has good hands and great leaping ability. The only thing keeping him from becoming an elite receiver in the 2011 class is his route running.

Fellow Ranger receiver Idarre Coles may be the sleeper in the 2010 class. The 5-foot-11, 155-pounder ran a 4.41 forty, the fastest time of the camp. Despite playing receiver on Saturday and starting at free safety last year for Redwood, his future could be at corner.

Tulare (Calif.) Union wide receiver Marquess Wilson was the most decorated prospect to compete on Saturday. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound standout hold five offers from Arizona State, Fresno State, Nevada, UNLV, and Washington State. Wilson is very smooth and fluid. He is almost impossible to cover 1-on-1. If there is one thing he must improve on, it is his tendency to give up on his routes.

The most remarkable player at the camp just may be Fresno (Calif.) Central receiver Dyante Mackey. He is originally from South Los Angeles living in the foster system in one of the city's toughest neighborhoods. But he removed himself from that element by driving to the Central Valley. He got into the foster system in Fresno, and he will be a senior for the Grizzlies this year. While impressive on his part to get away from the bad elements in South L.A., it is not the remarkable part of his story.

Mackey is legally blind.

"I just try to focus and take as many pictures as I can in my mind," said Mackey. "As soon as [the ball] gets about five feet from my face, I make a move on the ball, until then, I can't see it."

Despite the handicap, he was one of the most impressive receivers on the field. Only his teammates know of his condition. After the camp, when told of Mackey being legally blond, opposing defensive backs looked in disbelief.

"I feel like I'm gifted, but it's hard, I'm just trying to make it," said Mackey.

We were told steps are on in place for him to have corrective surgery before the season. If he plays this well blind, we cannot wait to see what he will do once he can see.

A few other players who impressed us were as follows: 2012 Central quarterback Mike Baker, 2010 Visalia (Calif.) Mt. Whitney receiver Titus Grayson, 2010 Clovis East cornerback Julian Haymon, 2011 Redwood linebacker Phillip Martin, 2010 Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West receiver Steven McCray, 2010 Mt. Whitney quarterback Tanner Mendonca, 2011 Central linebacker Aarin Smith, 2010 Exeter (Calif.) linebacker Jaycee Totty, and 2012 Fresno (Calif.) Bullard running back Demetrius Warren.

Baker was the most consistent quarterback on the day. While Totty pulled down at least three interceptions in 7-on-7. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder has great ball instincts and played well in space. Few players could match Warren's footwork.

Clovis West defensive end Donavon Lewis, linebacker Josh Lang, and guard Stephon McCray tested and competed in drills but due to sickness and/or slight injuries they did not compete during the second half of the camp. Lewis did run an impressive 4.7 forty, while 6-foot-2, 324-pound McCray ran a 5.5.

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