April 20, 2008

Quarterbacks steal show at Los Angeles camp

LOS ANGELES Mater Dei quarterback Matt Barkley arrived about two hours late to Sunday's NIKE Camp at USC but he needed only a few minutes to prove why he's the nation's top-rated prospect.

Barkley, a Southern Cal commit, showed off his strong and accurate arm during 1-on-1 drills by hitting wide receivers on routes of all kinds. He and fellow USC commit, four-star tight end Morrell Presley, connected a few times, too.

Allan Bridgford, who has Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and Texas Tech offers, showed off a strong arm, good mechanics and was consistent throughout the camp. Barkley and Bridgford earned co-MVP honors at quarterback.

"It's sometimes hard in these things with the receivers for both Matt and (Bridgford) just top-notch guys who are going to be recruited very heavily," said quarterbacks coach Bob Johnson, who coaches Bridgford at Mission Viejo. "Matt is done with his deal and Allan has a lot ahead of him.

"He has a bunch of offers and more to come. They're both really good kids too and that's really important. Matt has all the throws, all the composure and he's played in huge games."

Said Barkley: "I just wanted to throw it around. Some of my boys are out here going to SC so I wanted to get a few throws in. To be on this field, you get the feeling that greatness happens here."

Several others also stood out. Poly's Morgan Fennell had a nice showing although Johnson said Fennell needs to continue working on his accuracy.

Fennell said he's hearing from Oregon, North Carolina, Stanford and Rutgers but has no offers yet. El Camino's Colton Morrison, a 6-foot-5 prospect, impressed as well. Johnson also said Citrus Hill's Caleb Herring had a nice camp.

South Hills prospect Cameron Deen, who said he's hearing from Colorado, Oregon State, UNLV and Stanford, also had a nice day. Deen said N.C. State has recently picked up its interest.

At wide receiver, Shaquelle Evans led the way. The Inglewood standout is well-built, strong but also athletic enough to beat defensive backs down the field. Anything that comes close, Evans will catch it. He attended UCLA's junior day on Saturday and said the Bruins, USC, California, Colorado and Notre Dame are recruiting him the hardest. Kenneth Scott, a 2010 prospect from Ontario Colony, also had a strong performance.

"The kid has some size and he can run," wide receivers coach Junior Tagaloa said. "If you have size and you can run at the next level it helps because you're only going to get bigger and better and faster."

Tagaloa said he was also impressed with Presley, who Tagaloa saw at previous NIKE camps and continues to improve, and Stanford commit Levine Toilolo, a 6-foot-7, 234-pound tight end from San Diego Helix.

Other receivers who stood out included San Diego Mission Bay's Dillon Baxter, a 2010 recruit who said Southern Cal is his top school. Florida and others are showing early interest. Ge'Shaun Harris, from Centennial, made a few nice catches as did Jordan's Delvon Purvis. Christian Thomas, a 2010 tight end from Palmdale Highland, looked the part as well.

Southern Cal commit Kevin Graf, from Agoura, won the offensive line MVP but San Bernardino Arroyo Valley's Michael Philipp was equally impressive.

Displaying power and good technique, Philipp, who has offers from many Pac-10 schools and is in the Rivals 250, consistently pushed back defensive linemen during 1-on-1 drills and showed a great deal of toughness. Los Osos prospect Matt Shinn was also a standout especially during 1-on-1 drills.

"Philipp was the most athletic lineman at this camp," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every said. "He has great feet. He picks them up and puts them down like a tight end. They gave the award to Graf but I would've given it to Philipp. Both are good kids so I would've voted 1a and 1b."

Four defensive linemen were standouts to position coach Marty Spalding starting with San Diego Junipero Serra's Sione Tuihalamaka, a relentless 6-foot-2, 275-pound tackle. Tuihalamaka was so active during 1-on-1 drills that Spalding had to pull him out a few times to give him a break.

"He was taking rep after rep after rep," Spalding said. "That takes away from other guys I'd like to see and I'm afraid; I don't want to see other guys hurt."

The three other defensive linemen Spalding noted were Centennial's William Sutton, who said he has an offer from UNLV, North Las Vegas Spring Valley's Nate Holloway and Ontario Colony's Craig Payne. Holloway is a 6-foot-4, 325-pound recruit who really made an impression.

"Please write something about Holloway," Spalding said. "Holloway can really play."

Phoenix Desert Vista defensive end Devon Kennard was on the practice fields but did not participate in camp. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound Kennard visited USC and UCLA this weekend.

He has also been to Arizona State and Texas and said he will take other trips before making a decision. Rivals.com rates Kennard as the eighth-best prospect and the top defensive end in the class.

Linebackers coach Chris Gizzi said Southern Cal commit Vontaze Burfict was the top player at his position. Burfict was smooth, athletic and worked hard in every drill.

"He's got natural smoothness," Gizzi said. "He takes control of it. He has that air about him that he's really talented."

Fellow USC commit Marquis Simmons was also a standout at linebacker. Gizzi called Simmons, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound recruit, the "real deal." Rancho Verde's Eric Martin and Leuzinger's Isaac Foster performed well at linebacker, too.

Gizzi also noted that Calabasas' Justin Cudworth, Diamond Ranch's Bryan Bonilla and Princeton Fuimaono, a 2010 prospect from Long Beach Jordan, were other standouts at that position.

Among the defensive backs, Bishop Amat cornerback Sheldon Price was the top player. Even though he's thin, cornerbacks coach Eugene Jackson said Price was physical and especially stood out in bump-and-run coverage.

"He looked really good, rangy, played really well in bump-and-run coverage, competed in our seven SPARQ stations and showed us good range of motion going through the drills," Jackson said. "In 1-on-1, he really stepped his game up to another level. He's tall enough to be a safety but he needs to put some weight on, at least 20 more pounds. At corner, he comes out of his breaks really well. He has good feet. His feet keep moving."

Pittsburg cornerback Avery Patterson had a smooth backpedal and Compton safety Chris Metcalf also performed well. Vachel Samuels, from Lynwood, recently picked up an Arizona State offer and might be close to getting one from Stanford. Jackson was also impressed with Converse (Texas) Judson cornerback Phillip Gaines and San Fernando's Rashaad Reynolds.

The first two NIKE camps in Miami and Gainesville, Fla., were loaded with players. Spalding said Los Angeles did not disappoint, either.

"I go to all these events, two weeks ago in Miami, the talent was at best mediocre, certainly disappointing for Miami and mediocre at best as I see it," he said. "Last week, in Gainesville was the best group we've seen in a long time and then we come to California and somebody just asked me, 'Did the kids work hard?' Kids in California work hard and they're coachable. The talent was good."

For more on the NIKE Football Training Camps, check out StudentSportsFootball.com.




Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2007 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.