Nearly 350 players descended on Eugene, Ore., over the weekend for the 11th and final Nike football training camp of the year. The talent may have been a bit down compared to recent years, some big-time talent was on hand, including the first player to earn camp most valauable player honors two years in a row.
Lacey (Wash.) Timberline running back Jonathan Stewart is national top 50 player and showed why with a dominant showing Saturday. He came in at a rock solid 5-foot-10 and 224 pounds, ran a 4.52 in the 40-yard dash, 4.34 in the shuttle, jumped 37 inches in the vertical and did 29 reps on the bench.
He was equally impressive in the one-on-one drills, showing a great burst and running with power and balance.
"I think I could have done better in the 40 and shuttle but my technique was pretty bad," Stewart said. "I got a bad start in the 40 and slipped in the shuttle both times. I was still happy with how I did and I had a good time out here. Last year, I was kind of an unknown but this year, it seemed like everyone knew me and wanted to talk to me during the camp."
On the recruiting front, Stewart has offers from Duke and every school in the Pac-10 other than USC and UCLA.
"Oregon, Washington State, Cal, Tennessee and Florida State are my top schools," Stewart said. "I want to take all my trips before I commit anywhere. I'm just putting the decision in God's hands and will do what He feels is best for me. Early playing time isn't that big of a deal for me. I would like to play early, but it's not a huge factor for me."
Another running back who impressed was Putnam City (Okla.) speedster Da'Marean Pullen, who clocked a 4.52 in the 40 and may have been even more impressive than Stewart in the position drills.
Pullen has great running back instincts and is silky-smooth. He also had the best hands of all the backs in the camp.
"I was going to go to the Nike camp at Texas but I didn't make it, and now I'm glad because it was rained out," Pullen said. "I wanted to come out here and compete and see how I stacked up, and I feel I did pretty well for myself."
The strongest position in the camp had to be the defensive backs. The one player who showed up at the top of every coach's card was Jarius Byrd of Clayton, Mo. Byrd has a nice, athletic body and was the top corner in the one on one drills. He plays quarterback in high school but will be a good cornerback at the next level.
In terms of upside, no one at the camp may have more than Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea's rising junior Taylor Mays. At 6-3, 210 pounds, Mays looks like former UCLA corner Matt Ware but is even faster. He recently won the state championship in the 100 and 200 meters and will be one of the nation's top players in two years.
Mays plays safety and receiver in high school but showed he could play corner. He has great size and speed, but also showed a smooth backpedal, the ability to turn and run with any of the receivers and he does a nice job of fighting for the ball in the air.
In fact, we were as impressed as Mays this year as we were with Stewart at last year's Nike camp in Oregon.
Washington State commit Shelton Danzy of Seattle Rainier Beach had a solid showing and is easily one of the top corners in the West region. He is a physical player who loves to play press coverage. He runs well, has a strong body and has the kind of swagger you love to see in a cover corner.
Safety prospect Kevin Ellison of Redondo (Calif.) Union also impressed. He attended the Nike camp at Stanford but tested much better on a dry field and was just as impressive in the one-on-one drills.
At the quarterback position, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly's Theo Scott might have had the best day. Scott was a back up at Poly a year ago but three the ball well showing off plus arm strength and a nice spin.
Cory Slater from Renton (Wash.) Liberty is a talented quarterback who impressed us at the EA SPORTS Elite 11 quarterback workout at Cal three weeks ago. Slater throws a nice ball, was very accurate all camp and is an emerging sleeper out West.
Among the receivers, Tigard, Ore., pass catcher Jaleel Kindell was the best in the group. Kindell runs smooth routes, caught everything in sight and was unstoppable in the one one drills. Kindell repeatedly asked who the top defensive backs were so he could go up against the best but no one could check him on this day.
Jamil Turner from Spanaway (Wash.) Bethel and Johnny Lopez of Beaverton (Ore.) Southridge were also impressive. Both players showed nice, soft hands and were solid on the one-on-one drills.
TOP FIVE TESTING MARKS
Top 40 Times 1. Charlie Hazlenurst - 6-2, 196, QB - Menlo, Calif.: 4.47 1. Skylar Jessen - 5-10, 194, RB - Mead, Wash.: 4.47 1. Scott Jossis - 5-10.5, 162, DB - Mountain View, Idaho: 4.47 4. Cory Nicol - 5-9, 153, DB - Woodinville, Wash.: 4.50 5. Da'Marean Pullen - 5-8, 163, RB - Putnam City, Okla.: 4.52 5. Johnathan Stewart - 5-10, 224, RB - Timberline, Wash.: 4.52
Top Bench Reps 1. Andrew Misipeka - 5-9.5, 302, DT - Chaparral, Calif.: 35 2. Chris Labbee - 6-0.5, 356, DT - De La Salle, Calif.: 34 3. Robert McClintock - 5-9, 214, LB - Marshfield, Wis.: 33 4. Dan Garcy - 6-0, 211, LB - San Ramon Valley, Calif.: 31 5. Adam Musgrave - 5-10, 224, FB - Willits, Calif.: 30
Top Shuttle Times 1. Nick Webb - 6-3.5, 186, QB - East, Utah: 3.91 2. Chris Bologneri - 5-11.5, 188 - De La Salle, Calif.: 4.00 2. Nic Levesque - 4.00 4. Aaron Garcia - 5-10, 163, QB - Chino, Calif.: 4.03 5. Hunter Curtis - 5-10, 179, RB - East, Utah: 4.05
Top Vertical Jumps 1. Tyrone Davis - 6-2.5, 211, ATH - Olympia, Wash.: 39.7 2. Jonathan Stewart - 5-10, 224, RB - Timberline, Wash.: 36.9 3. Bryce Morgan - 5-7.5, 170, RB - Timpview, Utah: 35.8 4. Alex Pearlstone - 5-10.5, 169, WR - Sir Francis Drake, Calif.: 35.8 5. Jarrell Woods - 5-9.5, 190, RB - Novi, Mich.: 35.6
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