PALO ALTO, Calif-More than 520 prospects worked out below a bright Northern California sun Saturday for the Palo Alto NIKE camp on the campus of Stanford University.
The event was the largest in terms of player participation and brought college coaches from across the country, including Southern Cal's Pete Carroll, first-year Stanford coach Walt Harris and a host of assistants.
"Overall, the camp ran very smoothly," StudentSportsfootball.com recruiting analyst Greg Biggins said. "The talent was good."
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The talent on hand nearly unanimously agreed that the camp was helpful in improving their football skills.
"Whenever you get coached, everything is going to help you," Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood running back Stanley Havili said. "I'm going to take what I've learned and go home and train for the season."
Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon linebacker/defensive end Tom Hansen had a very strong day in the testing portion of the camp. Hansen ran the 40-yard dash in below 4.6 seconds, had the third-highest vertical jump and was tops in the bench press. His testing numbers caught the ears of many of the college coaches in attendance, including one Mountain West Conference assistant who was actively seeking Hansen out at the camp's conclusion.
According to Biggins, former Green Bay Packers linebacker and Student Sports linebackers coach Chris Gizzy believes that Hansen projects more as a defensive end at the next level, given his size, strength and speed.
Seattle O'Dea safety Taylor Mays, a Student Sports junior All-American and a pre-evaluation Rivals100 member, led a talented group of defensive backs. Mays, who measured in at 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, looks like a linebacker but plays fluid and possesses the speed to excel in coverage. The pre-evaluation Rivals100 selection has offers from multiple schools from throughout the country, including BCS bowl participants Southern Cal, Oklahoma and Michigan.
"He looked like the real deal," Biggins said.
Mays also drew praise from Rivals.com recruiting analysts scouting the event.
Oakland McClymonds standout Josh Tatum impressed onlookers in linebacker drills. Tatum, who has an offer from many of the nation's top programs, including one from national champion Southern Cal, clinched his spot as one of the top prospects in California by showing off impressive lateral movement and has the attitude of a linebacker.
"He was a monster out there," Biggins said.
Fairfield (Calif.) linebacker Jamarr Robinson also enjoyed a solid day.
"I thought I did very well in individual testing," Robinson, who has offers from Arizona State, Colorado and Wyoming, said.
A pair of Las Vegas running backs, Demarco Murray of Bishop Gorman and Eric Jordan of Las Vegas High, were the most impressive at that position. Murray, who posted a top 10 time in the 40-yard dash, has offers from multiple programs, including Michigan, Florida and Oklahoma and has been compared to Southern Cal all-purpose back Reggie Bush. Jordan, who displayed solid speed in one-on-one drills and had the highest vertical leap at the event, has an offer from hometown UNLV.
Tatum's teammate Derrick Hill enjoyed a big day in defensive line drills and tested well, posting a top five mark in bench press reps. Hill said that the large gathering of coaches at the event inspired him. Hill, who has offers from California and Arizona among a host of others, has great athleticism for a player his size (6-foot-3, 260 pounds).
"There was a crowd and I had to give them a show," Hill said.
Fresno, Calif., defensive end Chris Lewis was impressive as well and caught the eye of Rivals.com recruiting analyst Rick Kimbrel, who believes Lewis will soon emerge as a big-time prospect. Lewis is an outstanding wrestler and uses those skills to his advantage on the football field.
Wide receiver Tyquan Knox from Los Angeles Crenshaw was the best in the one-on-one receiver/defensive back drills, according to Biggins. Knox should soon see his attention increase from recruiters based on today's performance.
"No one could even come close (to Knox)," Biggins said. He added that David Ausberry also had a solid day catching the football. Ausberry has offers from Southern Cal and Michigan, among others.
Kimbrel was impressed with Los Angeles Jordan athlete Ricky Thenarse, who worked out with the receivers.
Along the offensive line, San Pedro (Calif.) prospect Zack Heberer and Los Banos (Calif.) prospect Walter Watts were impressive. Watts has committed to UCLA while Herberer has interest from San Diego State and Utah.
At quarterback, Biggins liked Valencia (Calif.) prospect Michael Herrick, who has an offer from Ole Miss.
For detailed results of the Palo Alto Nike Camp, including every 40 time, vertical jump and bench press mark, you must visit StudentSportsFootball.com. StudentSportsFootball.com. Student Sports is the organizer of all Nike Training Camps.