Tag:LA Nike Camp
Posted on: June 22, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 12:51 pm
 

Washington Nike Camp Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SEATTLE – The 13th and final stop on the annual Nike Training Camp schedule made it's way back to the Northwest, and plenty of elite talent came out to Husky Stadium to compete. While these events are typically a time for the skill-position players to impress, the offensive linemen were actually the ones who stole the show.

Puyallup (Wash.) offensive tackle Joshua Garnett showed why he was a Top 100 prospect by flat-out dominating the opposition.

"I'm just happy to be out here, glad to get the MVP today,” Garnett said. “Definitely glad I didn't lose any one-on-ones, the only lineman that didn't lose any. Went over to the defensive side of the ball and won three of the four reps on defensive line, felt pretty good about that. Definitely showed my athleticism on both sides of the ball."

Garnett wasn't the only top offensive lineman in attendance. One of his good friends, Top 100 tackle Zach Banner, also participated. While the two play the same position and therefore didn't really go head-to-head, Garnett had no problem mentioning that he won the MVP award.

“Oh yeah, it felt good,” Garnett said. “He likes to talk a lot, he's a little louder than I am if you guys didn't notice. I'm definitely a little more calm, more mellow. I think it's good to come out and show people my talent. Just because I'm not 6-9, 350, I can still play and do the same exact stuff.

"When we go out in public, people say, 'Jeez, is that Zach Banner?' then we'll come out here in the drills and they'll see my athleticism. I'm not saying he's not, but he did allow some guys to go inside. Definitely I think it's good to come out here and show the difference."

The pair are so close that as recruiting has taken off, they've been able to talk and bounce ideas off each other. One idea many observers have floated is that the two are a package deal, and Garnett does not shy away from the fact that the two might end up at the same school.

“We're definitely going to be looking at the same schools, we're good friends,” he said. “We're going to look at the same schools just because of that chemistry we have together.

“Looking at Zach's list, there's going to be a couple schools that aren't going to be on (my list), probably about three or four of them. Me and Zach have different goals going to college. I'm really big into the football, don't get me wrong I want to play football, but I'm going to be looking into medical school and looking more at a pre-med program than I am a football power. I know I can can go to Florida or Miami or any SEC school, but I want to look at my life past if I played in the NFL.”

The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder is ranked 43rd in the country for the class of 2012 by MaxPreps. The four-star prospect is focused on life off the field as much as he is on it when it comes to recruiting. The biggest thing he's looking for is a program that allows him to succeed on the field while also preparing him for a career in medicine. Coincidentally, there was a top school across the street from where he was performing Sunday.

“U-Dub, obviously they have a great medical school,” Garnett said. “No. 1 medical school in the nation, so I'll definitely talk to some of the biology teachers and stuff. I'm definitely looking at U-Dub hard, and it helps them an awful lot having this medical school right next to it.

“Next week me and my dad are planning on going down to Stanford and Cal. My uncle lives close to Pasadena, in Upland, so we're going to go to UCLA and 'SC just to see those schools.”

Garnett holds more than 30 scholarship offers from powerhouses across the country, but at least two West Coast programs are sticking out as recruiting him the hardest.

“SC is coming after me hard, and so is Cal-Berkley, probably the hardest,” Garnett said.

Banner narrows list, impresses at Nike Camp

While Garnett is the athletic tackle that coaches look for, Lakewood (Wash.) offensive tackle Zach Banner is the mammoth left tackle prototype that has coaches drooling over his 6-foot-8, 320-pound frame. He performed well Sunday and left no doubts that he was an elite college recruit.

“I feel like I did good, I came out here and worked my tail off,” Banner said. “I got invited to The Opening and it's all a blessing. Me and Josh are going to go down there together. We've been working our tails off this whole spring and summer, and it's paying off for us. I know it's paying off for me, and coaches are seeing it.”

Like his good friend Garnett, Banner enjoys some healthy competition and felt the camp setting brought out the best in the both of them, even if he wasn't the one taking home the MVP award.

“Definitely. Even though we play the same position, we both come out to prove that we're the best,” Banner said. “It's always friendly competition, and we'll go back and laugh at it.”

On a strong year for West Coast linemen, Banner stands out literally and figuratively. Ranked 12th overall in the class of 2012, he has no problem answering who is the top offensive lineman in the state, much less the country.

“Yes, yes I do,” he said, confirming he was the state's top dog. “You think about it, me and Josh, we're best friends. If they were a defensive end or someone who played across from me, then it would be pure battle. Not only do we play the same position, but we work out together, we're good friends, we're getting recruited by the same person.

“We care about getting better, and I know, for sure, both of us got better today.”

On the recruiting front, Banner holds offers from just about every school in the country and has started the process of narrowing things down.

“I gave out my top nine earlier this week and in no particular order, it's U-Dub, Oregon, Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, USC, LSU, Florida State and Oklahoma,” he said. “I'm just narrowing it down as we go. I'm about to go into my senior year, so you have to do it sooner rather than later and I just felt like the nine, I'm not cutting anybody off.

“I'm going to narrow it down to a top five in December. I'll take all five of my official visits. No unofficials scheduled, but I do have two officials scheduled ... Michigan on Sept. 10 for the Notre Dame game and I'll be there all weekend for those two days. Then Notre Dame on Oct. 21 and 22 for the USC game. They're both good, and Michigan's game is the first night game there ever and the Notre Dame game will be the first night game in like 25 years. ”

Husky commits have friendly competition

Banner and Garnett were not the only players who had a healthy competition going. The two quarterbacks committed to the University of Washington, Denver signal caller Cyler Miles and Mercer Island (Wash.) quarterback Jeff Lindquist, both threw well this weekend as a preview of what's to come over the next four or five years for the Huskies.

“A little bit I guess,” Miles said when asked about the competition. “He's a cool guy, and I've got a lot of respect for him. He's a great quarterback, and I like him a lot. It's going to be fun. We're going to make each other better and wherever you go, there's going to be quarterbacks so it will be a good competition.”

“I met him today, so it was nice to get that relationship started,” Lindquist said. “In terms of competition, it was more of a friendly competition and trying to make each other better. There was no dirty mouthing or anything like that.”

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Miles enjoyed meeting Lindquist and several other future Washington teammates, who he ended up throwing to on a few occasions once he was warmed up.

“I felt I did all right, I was a little rusty at first,” he said. “It was good to interact with all the guys, a couple of whom have already committed just like me, so it was good to just hang with them. It was nice to see where I'm going to be at the next four years.”

The overcast skies forced the organizers to turn on the lights at Husky Stadium which was fine by Miles. The experience of playing on the turf and throwing into the end zone with big Washington lettering was a nice experience for him.

“It was nice, big old stadium with about 75,000 ...,” Miles trailed off, thinking about playing on the field in a few years. “It's great, though, to picture myself here next year and the year after that. It's exciting and something to look forward too.”

Miles pulled the trigger on a commitment to Washington just a few weeks ago in large part because of the relationship he developed with the coaching staff there.

“I just love the relationships the coaches have with the players,” he said. “It's a good fit for me because of the offense. I love the Pac-12 and the coaches, they were the ones most sincere with me, my mom and dad. I just felt like this fit me best.”

With two quarterbacks in the fold for 2012, both are continuing to spread the gospel about the Pac-12 program and trying to recruit a few others for the upcoming class.

“I'm trying to get Garrnett and Banner,” Miles said. “I'm just talking to them a little bit, at the end it's their choice. I'd love for all of them to come here and help build this program as it's rising up.”

“We'll probably get that coordinated,” Lindquist said of the two tackles. “We'll chip in here and there. I don't want to annoy them, but we'll get in a word here and there.”

Neal impresses once again

Scottsdale (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal is no stranger to the camp circuit. He's performed at both the LA and Stanford Nike Camps among others, and he surprisingly showed up in Seattle, hungry to improve his game.

"I felt I did good, but there's still some things I could work on,” Neal said. “I'm never satisfied, I'm always hungry and try and stay humble and keep working."

Neal's father, who handles all of his recruiting, showed up to watch his son in a UCLA sweatshirt on the chilly day. The younger Neal made sure to remind everybody that his dad was just trying to adjust to the weather, which was just a little bit different from the triple-digit heat at home.

"No, no, no, no indication at all, it's just to keep warm, that's all,” he said. “That's why he's wearing that and I'm wearing it and I have a Nike sweater on."

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound athlete showed off his athleticism all day and played at a high level at both receiver and corner. Schools are recruiting him at both, but Neal has no preference where he'll play at the next level.

"I feel comfortable at both positions," he said. "If they want to put me at receiver, I'll play receiver; if they put me at corner, I'll play corner. It doesn't matter, I just want to get on the field. Either/or, it doesn't matter to me. They're recruiting me as both. Some as receiver, some as corner. It just depends on where they want me to play."

Neal holds offers from more than 25 schools but plans on pushing all his official visits and a decision until after the football season.

"There is no list," he said. "There's only undecided. A lot of people are recruiting me heavily. They're all really pushing hard, but I just let my dad handle the recruiting and I just play football.

"I'm just relaxing until after my senior season. ... I'll take all five officials, but I'm just going to do them all after the season when I have a lot of free time."

Led by quarterback and Texas commit Connor Brewer, Neal is focused on helping Chaparral High, ranked No. 24 in the country by Maxpreps, to success yet again in his senior season.

"We're going to be good. Hopefully we'll get that three-peat,” Neal said. “That's going to be on our shirts."

Notes

-- One of the players who Neal frequently battled against -- on both sides of the ball -- was Lakewood (Wash.) athlete Cedric Dozier. The two would have one rep where Neal was the receiver and Dozier playing the press corner, and then they'd flip around. Their match-up was pretty even, and Dozier felt it helped him improve his all-around game.

“I did all right for the most part,” Dozier said. “I competed with a lot of good players from all over, and it really forced me to step up. There's competition and you've got to play. I didn't come here just to play no nobodies. You've got to come out here to play. There's people from all over that's really good, and that means you have to step up.”

Dozier said he's completely open as to what school he'll attend, but Cal and Washington are recruiting him the hardest. He'll likely make a decision after the season.

-- Washington commit Michael Rector made his pledge public just a few days before the camp and, it turns out, there was a reason for making a commitment earlier than he had originally planned.

“At first my parents and I wanted to wait until July or after school,” he said. “With a new receiver (Dwayne Washington) committing too, they were only going to take two, so we thought about it the day before school was out and thought it wasn't too soon to make the decision.”

Rector tried to hook up with the two Husky quarterbacks as much as he could while at the camp in order to start developing timing before any of them even stepped on campus for college.

“It was fun,” he said. “We got together whenever we could and ran routes and stuff. We like it a lot, and we're looking forward to it.”

The most impressive quarterback at the event was not the pair of commitments to Washington but rising junior Max Browne. He impressed earlier this year at the Stanford Elite 11 and recently picked up an offer from Clemson. He grabbed the MVP award and displayed a very strong arm, fluid motion and was able to make all the throws. Lefty Matt Morin, also a regular on the camp circuit, also impressed.

-- Everett (Wash.) running back Keivarae Russell took home running back MVP honors and showed the ability to get into and out of breaks very quickly. Seattle cornerback Jayshawn Jordan won the defensive back award and performed well, playing his man and the ball closely.

Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:41 am
 

Arizona State adds trio from Long Beach

Posted by Bryan Fischer

One is good, three is better for Arizona State. The Sun Devils received verbal commitments from three Long Beach (Calif.) Poly players Wednesday night in receivers Randall Goforth and Richard Smith and linebacker Salamo Fiso. This comes on the heels of fellow Poly wide receiver Josiah Blandin committing to the school on Monday.

"I talked it over with my parents and coaches some more and just decided it was the right time for me to go ahead and commit," Goforth told ASUDevils.com. "After visiting Arizona State, I loved it but didn't want to do anything too quick so I just came home and talked it over for a few days."

Goforth was named receivers MVP at the LA Nike Camp this past weekend, grabbing the award over several highly regarded players at his position.

"It was a lot of top competition out there, all the top recruits on the west coast," he told the website. "My main goal was just to go out there and compete, run through all my drills and everything really hard and just showcase my talents to the scouts and everything out here and I guess it paid off."

Blandin actually broke his collarbone at the event and had to leave early. All four of the players took in Junior Day in Tempe before heading back home to Los Angeles to participate.

"My family was happy about it," Smith told the website. "I'm going to have a lot of support there, it's a lot like home and it's close, not that long of a drive or anything, a good place to live. I'm going to be surrounded by good people including my teammates, what more can you ask for."

Arizona State has also offered a fifth player from Poly, linebacker Matthew Rowe. The recent commitments give the Sun Devils five commitments for the class of 2012, four of which are wide receivers.

Posted on: April 5, 2011 8:55 am
 

4/5 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

An atrocious national championship game closes out the college basketball season. It's a good reminder that the recruiting season never ends however.

- UCF has built up a bit of a pipeline from the Denver area to Orlando and the Knights are hoping that helps with quarterback Cyler Miles.

- Nice photo gallery of the LA Nike Football Training Camp.  
- Washington is getting aggressive in their pursuit of a quarterback in the class of 2012.

- The top running back in the country, Jonathan Gray, took in both Texas A&M and Texas this past weekend.

Posted on: April 4, 2011 9:52 am
 

4/4 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

So, who do you have tonight? UConn or Butler? Be sure to vote on the poll on the front of CBSSports.com. I'm guessing you've got Butler unless you're a longtime UConn fan.

- Great story on quarterback Bubba Starling, a Nebraska signee who faces a very tough decision on his future.

- Some reaction from a few of the unofficial visitors to Michigan.

- It seems Washington State head coach Paul Wulff made himself right at home in order to land a recruit.

- Offensive lineman Adam DePietro is up to five FBS scholarship offers.

- Some video and more reaction from yesterday's LA Nike Camp.

- A few Arkansas-related recruiting tidbits.

Posted on: April 4, 2011 2:07 am
Edited on: April 4, 2011 2:19 am
 

Los Angeles Nike Camp Recap

Posted by Bryan Fischer

LOS ANGELES -- Some of the best players on the West Coast descended upon the campus of USC for the annual Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp Sunday afternoon. Although there were several hundred skill position players that came out to leave their mark, it was Defensive Line MVP Aziz Shittu that literally and figuratively stood out from the crowd.

"I did pretty well, I just came out here to get better," Shittu said with a smile. "I keep trying to work on my speed and quickness on my get off."

The Atwater (Calif.) defensive tackle has seen his stock soar as of late. He recently picked up a scholarship offer from Utah to give him one from a majority of the Pac-12 schools and should be in line for a few more nationally based on his performance during the camp.

The barrel-chested Shittu was one of the most physically imposing defenders to participate in drills and displayed good speed and quickness off the line. Though many considered Monrovia (Calif.) defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy to be the favorite for the MVP award, there was little doubt that Shittu proved himself against the best of the best.

"It means a lot, there's great competition out here in Southern California so to come out and do well, it means a lot," Shittu said. "It shows I can play."

Encino (Calif.) tackle Jordan Simmons was named Offensive lineman MVP and was one of the biggest players at the camp. Though it took him awhile to get warmed up, the 6-foot-5, 320 pounder easily stood out as the best at the camp.

"I started off a little sluggish but I picked it up at the end," Simmons said. "I just came out here to compete against everybody else. It's great competition out here and I just wanted to go against it."

The highlight of the camp featured the two MVP's facing off against each other in one of the last reps of the day. Though the play lasted just three seconds, it was well worth the wait after Shittu used a very quick swim move to get around Simmons and sack the tackling dummy.

"I just read what he was doing," Shittu said. "I got a few hints from my teammates about what he was doing since they were on the O-line. So I tried to get a feel for what was going on."

The very humble Simmons, who played at both tackle and guard during the camp, had no problem giving credit where credit was due either.

"Yeah, he actually got me," Simmons admitted. "He gave me a swim move that was pretty good."

The Nike Camp offered a chance for many of the West's elite to compete against each other and test players who are almost always the best on the field wherever they go. The focus on competition at the camp also allowed players to improve their skils just as much as their stock among those that follow recruiting closely.

"It was fun and really intense, I liked a lot of the work we did today," McCarthy said. "Today I really wanted to learn some new stuff to take back to my school so I can work on it and get better. Today I wanted to get lower and really get off the ball."

Several other defensive linemen looked good on Sunday, including Riverside (Calif.) tackle A.J. Fanene and Fresno (Calif.) sophomore end Jaylen Ruiz. The offensive line also had plenty of standouts, including Anaheim (Calif.) guard Travis Averill, Las Vegas (Nev.) tackle Ronnie Stanley, Orange (Calif.) tackle John Lopez and Compton (Calif.) guard Dejon Allen.

Marks pulls in everything but MVP Award

Just a few weeks are impressing observers at the Las Vegas Badger Sports 7-on-7 tournament, Los Angeles(Calif.) wide receiver Gabriel Marks once again put on a show in the afternoon sun. Usually lining up against the top defensive backs, Marks pulled in impressive catch after impressive catch all day and was not afraid to be vocal about it either.

"Whenever you come to the the LA Nike Camp, you're going to get the best of the best," Marks said. "When you come out here, everybody is going to be here. All of the cameras will be out and if you mess up, everyone will see."

In a slight upset, Marks did not pull in the position MVP, which went to Long Beach (Calif.) wide out Randall Goforth. Marks won the award last year and though he didn't end up making it two MVPs in a row, he did end up making himself better.

"I just came out to hit it hard and learn stuff from some really great coaches," Marks said. "I felt I did alright. I had some things that I felt I could have done a little better on my releases but I caught a couple of deep balls."

"I really wanted to work on my speed. You can always work on your routes because you will never be perfect at running your routes. I want to get better so it's always something I'm working on."

Marks holds offers from SMU and Idaho and recently picked up one from Utah. In addition to Goforth and Marks, Bellflower (Calif.) wide out Bryce Treggs, Los Angeles (Calif.) receiver Kodi Whitfield, Lakewood (Calif.) receivers Darius Powe and Malik Gilmore and Inglewood (Calif.) receiver Derrick Woods all stood out at the position. San Diego (Calif.) tight end Taylor McNamara was tops at his position and solidified his status as the best at the position on the West Coast.

Morin grabs top quarterback honor

The Los Angeles Nike Camp in particular has always been known for it's quarterback play and was the launching pad for several highly recruited players such as USC's Matt Barkley and Boston College's Chase Rettig. Though the group this year was not as strong as in the past, it still had several good players able throw the ball with precision and Temecula (Calif.) quarterback Matt Morin ended up as position MVP after displaying a strong arm.

"I think it's such an honor," Morin said. "I didn't think I was going to get it but I guess I proved myself to the coaches with what I was able to do today. I'm really proud of myself and hopefully recruiting starts picking up in the next couple of months. I'm just honored to have this award right now."

Morin does not hold any offers yet but after impressing at the Nike Camp for the second straight year, the 6-foot-2 signal caller is starting to see the interest level from schools pick up.

"Right now, USC and Washington and Notre Dame are showing interest," he said. "Those are the top three right now and that's pretty solid. I took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in November and fell in love with the school. My family is a bunch of Notre Dame fans so I know it's an awesome school. I don't know where else I'm going to visit but I'll figure it out in the next few months."

Scottsdale (Ariz.) quarterback and Texas commit Connor Brewer, Shane Dillon of El Cajon (Calif.) and San Clemente (Calif.) quarterback Travis Wilson also stood out as the top players at the most important position on the field. For Morin however, it was an adjustment to his mental game that allowed him to preform just a tad bit better than the others on the day.

"I was a little bit shy going into camps last year," he said. "I wanted to come out here and show everybody who I really am. You have to have confidence. That's what I'm working on and I think I honestly proved that today. My footwork can always get better and everything else too but being a quarterback, it's the mental part of the game you have to have work at."

Underclassman Hayden Rettig out of Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral High also impressed and looked a lot like his older brother, Chase, throwing the ball around.

Posted on: March 7, 2011 12:15 am
 

Los Angeles Under Armour Combine Recap

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Although there wasn't a ton of highly recruited juniors at Santa Monica College for the Los Angeles Under Armour Combine Sunday afternoon, several underclassman managed to catch the eye of those in attendance. The event, which is designed to test players in various events before they receive coaching from former NFL veterans, had about 220 players participate.

One of the standouts was Sherman Oaks (Calif.) running back Khalfani Muhammad. The talented back is already MaxPreps' number one sophomore running back in California and he justified the ranking by being one of the more impressive players at the combine.

"It's something to look forward to," he said. "I'm just coming out here with a bang and show some of the big dudes what a little dude can do."

The 5-foot-7, 156 pound Muhammad turned in the third fastest 40 yard dash at the combine (4.56) and is already receiving the attention from several college coaches.

"I have a few, they can't really inform me until my junior year but I get some mail from several schools," Muhammad said. "Right now I'm just keeping all eyes open, I still have two more years and I'm just going to take it day-by-day."

The Notre Dame High standout will attend the Badger Sports 7-on-7 tournament in Las Vegas and the Los Angeles Nike Camp at USC later in the summer. The Trojans are one of two teams that Muhammad is looking forward to hearing more from.

"I'm really looking forward to USC and LSU, those are my two top schools I'm looking at that I want to get some letters from." he said. "My dad went to (USC) so he's an alumni. We've been around a lot, going to home coming games and activities they have.

"With LSU, every kid has a school and that's mine. Every since I went down to Louisiana, I just really liked LSU."

Muhammad's father, Luis Morales, was a track letterman at USC and one of the fastest sprinters in the country in the mid 1980's. It appears the young running back could be making a name for himself in a different sport as Muhammad is certainly someone to keep an eye on over the next few years. His sophomore year highlights are below.

Image for MaxPreps Video.


Gilmore looks the part


The only player at the combine with multiple offers was Lakewood (Calif.) wide receiver Malik Gilmore. Physically impressive at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Gilmore did not run a 40 yard dash due to being a bit tight but turned in a very good 4.38 shuttle time and a ran the L-cone in 7.3 seconds.

Gilmore actually just returned to Los Angeles after attending Cal's Junior Day on Saturday.

"It was awesome. Beautiful campus and I just loved everything up there," he said. "The basketball game was a blowout and the crowd was amazing, really loud. They're one of my favorites."

Holding offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Duke, San Diego State and Washington, there's really not one school in particular that is standing out at this stage in his recruiting.

"Notre Dame, Michigan, Arkansas, Oregon, UCLA, just a bunch of schools, I haven't really narrowed it down yet," Gilmore said. "I'll probably go to some other Junior Days and spring ball and stuff like that to go check out some other schools."

Gilmore has not set any particular plans to unofficially visit any of the out of state schools at the moment and may officially visit schools like Arkansas and Notre Dame instead.

"I don't really have a date, it's kind of up in the air right now," he said. "I just want to go see the different schools and meet the coaches before I make my final decision.

"I'm open. Staying close to home will be nice and everything but I kind of want to get out and stretch my legs some and have fun."

Top Combine Results

40 yard dash

1. Spokane (Wash.) wide receiver Chase Naccarato (4.55)
2. Phoenix (Ariz.) linebacker Jordan Leal (4.55)
3. Khalfani Muhammad (4.56)

Vertical Jump

1. Chase Naccarato (35.5")
2. Elk Grove (Calf.) running back Mark Jenkins (34")
3. Caminillo (Calif.) defensive back Jordan Nunnery (33.5")


Shuttle

1. Long Beach (Calif.) linebakcer Tanner Wrout (4.19)
2. Redlands (Calif.) defensive back Trevor Douglass (4.22)
3. Jordan Leal (4.22)
 
 
 
 
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