The recent NIKE Camp in Oregon brought together close to 400 players from 21 different states as well as Canada and America Samoa. With the majority of players in attendance being from the Northwest, it was a player from Nebraska who stole the show and walked away with camp MVP honors.
The top overall prospect at the NIKE camp was easily Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic defensive lineman Myles Wade. The talented tackle prospect tested very well and dominated his position. However, since we already saw Wade at a previous NIKE camp (Stanford) we decided it was only fair to go with a player who was camping for the first time.
The player in question was Noah Keller, a 6-2, 222 pound linebacker from Kearney (Neb.). Not only did Keller test off the charts and walked away from the event with the top SPARQ Rating at 96.41, the 'backer was equally as impressive in the drills and had lead NIKE LB coach Chris Gizzi raving following the event.
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"I loved that kid, he was easily the top player I worked with," Gizzi said. "He's a thick, well muscled kid but surprising agile. He has good balance and linear speed and has great upside. He's a physical kid and I loved how competitive he was. He was incredible in the one on one drills."
Keller has a great frame but isn't one of those players who looks over-trained or peaked out. He showed great athleticism clocking a 4.66-40, 4.03 shuttle and jumped 37 inches in the vertical to go with 25 reps on the bench. He also shows up very well on film and had a big junior season totaling 118 tackles, 10 for loss, two sacks and one interception.
"Wow, I'm absolutely floored to receive this honor," Keller said upon being notified of his camp MVP honor. "This is actually kind of a dream come true. There were a ton of good players here so to be named the MVP, that's just incredible."
Keller had to make the road trip to Oregon for the NIKE camp because the event closest to him, Ohio State on May 5, coincided with the state track meet.
"I won the state championship in the shot put," Keller said. "Football is my main sport and the one I'm going to focus on in college but I enjoy track as well and didn't want to miss the meet. This trip was a little farther for me but definitely worth it, I had a great time."
On his camp ride immediately following the camp, Keller received good news in the form of his first scholarship offer.
"I talked to Colorado State 20 minutes after the event and they offered me a scholarship," Keller said. "It's always great to get that first one and I was pretty excited. The next day, I camped at Kansas and did pretty well there. I ran a 4.4 in the 40 and did pretty well in all the drills. The coaches talked to me for awhile after the camp and said there is a very good chance they'll be offering soon as well. So with the MVP at the NIKE camp, my first offer from CSU and now the Kansas camp, it was a great weekend for me."
Keller will next hit the Nebraska camp on June 16 and plans to take unofficial visits to Iowa State, Iowa, Kansas State and Colorado State over the summer.
"Those are all my favorite schools right now," Keller said. "Growing up in Nebraska, obviously I like the Huskers a lot since I've been watching them forever but I'm going to try and keep things open and make sure I make the best possible decision. I don't want to rush in to anything. I'm just going to check out all these schools, see who else decides to offer and then make my decision whenever I feel ready to do so."