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The first batch of NIKE Camp registration information has been mailed out to prospects all over the country and already many are beginning to return their forms and confirm their spots for one of the 12 NIKE Camps across the country. Today the Blog continues to take a look at some of the early returnees...
*It's still very early to say who the top running back in the Class of 2007 is nationally, but definitely one of the few players that deserves to be mentioned in such a discussion is Racine (Wisc.) Park's John Clay. The 6-2, 225 pounder possesses freakish athleticism with a best of 4.37 in the 40 and a 290-pound bench press, and to say the least he gets it done on the field as well. Last fall Clay led Park to a state title, rushing for 2,032 yards and 31 touchdowns on his way to all-state and State Player of the Year honors. While his size may lead some to project him at another position in college, when watching Clay on tape it is clear that he can play and be a star at the running back position on the next level. Currently Clay is receiving mail from major programs all across the nation and has recently picked up his first three offers from Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa. Clay lists the Badgers amongst his current top five along with Michigan, Miami, Notre Dame and Ohio State. He'll hope to cement his status as perhaps the nation's top back at the May 5th NIKE Camp in Columbus.
*Quantavius Sturdivant had a big junior season and is now reaping the rewards of a productive 2005. The 6-2, 210 pound quarterback/athlete out of Oakboro (N.C.) West Stanley threw for 1,794 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 745 yards and another six scores last fall, earning Conference Player of the Year and Class 2A all-state honors. Last fall wasn't the first time that Sturdivant was recognized for postseason honors either, as he's already a three-time all-conference selection and has twice made all-state before his senior season. Sturdivant is a dangerous weapon because of his athletic ability at the quarterback position - his reported 4.55 speed in the 40 makes him a very difficult player to contain in the pocket on the high school level. He could very well end up at another position in college, possibly free safety, and already has offers in from both North Carolina and NC State. Virginia, Virginia Tech and Clemson fill out Sturdivant's top five and he'll attend the NIKE Camp in Clemson on May 21st.
*After missing his entire sophomore season, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser linebacker Chris Carter emerged last season as one of the top players in the state. Carter had a big junior year and is now considered one of the top recruits in the region and will likely be recruited at the national level although there is a chance things won't get that far depending on who offers a scholarship early in the process. Carter, 6-2, 205 pounds came out of nowhere last season and was one of the top rush ends in the state. He totaled 89 tackles, 11 sacks, forced four fumbles and recovered two others to earn 1st team all-league, all-country and all-state underclass honors. On the recruiting front, Carter is still waiting for his first offer, which is pretty surprising to us seeing how he projects as even better college prospect than his older brother David who just signed with UCLA four weeks ago. UCLA, Nebraska, Ohio State, Arizona, Washington, Colorado and New Mexico State are showing interest and UCLA leads USC and Arizona right now. Academically, Carter is carrying a 3.4 GPA and said he wants to major in Psychology in college.
*One of the top Class of 2007 players to attend a NIKE Camp a year ago was 6-2, 220 pound linebacker Devonte Campbell out of Forestville (Md.). Campbell lit up the Blacksburg NIKE Camp with outstanding times of 4.73 in the 40 and 4.22 in the shuttle and then went out and had a huge junior season last fall, totaling 718 yards and 11 TDs receiving and 62 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Campbell has progressed very quickly considering 2004 was his first season playing football. "He has been offered by Maryland, Virginia, Kansas State, Penn State, and will be offered by Syracuse, Pitt and UConn within the next day or so," says Forestville head coach Charles Harley. "Notre Dame and USC are very close (to offering) as well. The problem is I have been slow getting his tape out, but so far everyone that has seen it has either offered or are close to offering." Campbell will attend the May 6th NIKE Camp in State College this spring.
*One of the top lineman prospects in South Florida next year should be Miramar (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna's Emeka Nwankwo. The 6-5, 270 pounder is coming off a junior season in which he had 30 pancake blocks and earned first team all-county honors while helping Chaminade to an 11-2 record. Nwankwo has already picked up his first offer from Duke and likes the Blue Devils along with Miami, Florida, Notre Dame and Georgia in his early top five. Nwankwo projects as a guard at the college level and plans on attending the April 9th NIKE Camp in Miami.
*Another player who recently picked up his first offer, from the Houston Cougars, is Orange (Texas) West Orange-Stark WR Jacoby Franks. The 6-0, 176 pounder with 4.5 speed in the 40 is the younger brother of Texas A&M wideout Kerry Franks and is coming off a very productive junior season in which he caught 45 passes for 789 yards and nine touchdowns. Franks lists Texas Tech, A&M, LSU, Oklahoma State and Houston as his early favorites and plans on camping at Tech, A&M, LSU and Texas this summer. He'll also attend the April 22nd NIKE Camp in College Station.
*Beckley (W.V.) Woodrow Wilson is home to one of the Mountaineer State's top prospects in the Class of 2007. Massive 6-5, 320 pound offensive tackle Micah Carter is coming off a big junior season in which he registered 71 pancake blocks and his combination of strength and agility has colleges interested. Carter, who reports 5.2 speed in the 40 and a 375-pound bench press, already has an offer from Marshall, and also likes Penn State, Florida State, Miami and NC State. Carter will look to improve his game and standing with the colleges at the May 21st NIKE Camp in Clemson.
*Carter isn't the only top prospect to already confirm for the NIKE Camp on May 21st at Clemson, as Newport News (Va.) Woodside's Jared Detrick will also look to improve his game that day in South Carolina. Detrick is coming off a solid junior season in which he earned all-Peninsula district honors after totaling 86 tackles at both linebacker and defensive end and 200 yards receiving at tight end. Detrick sees himself as a middle linebacker in college and should fit well at that position with his reported 4.6 speed in the 40 and excellent strength (305-pound bench). Detrick currently holds one offer from Virginia and lists the Wahoos as his leader followed by North Carolina, Michigan, Miami and Oregon.
If you are a coach or parent that would like to get a top junior involved with the NIKE Camps, NIKE Combines or Elite 11 Quarterback events, or featured on the Junior to Watch Blog, email Brian Stumpf if you are located in the Eastern or Central part of the country ([email protected]) or Greg Biggins ([email protected]) if you are in the West.