PALO ALTO, Calif. – The NIKE Camp started out under a gray and cold Palo Alto sky. The field was wet and soggy, but neither a gray sky nor a soggy pitch was going deter the youngsters.
This camp had players who showed up from places as far as New Jersey, Oklahoma and Texas. They competed with players from the Western states of California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.
All of the camp invitees came with aspirations to impress college coaches who came from virtually every major program. You just knew a camp with this many young stars the sun would be shining before too long. Like the sun, many of these young guys shined.
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Everyone’s All-American Ekom Udofia (6-1, 288, 5.0) from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral showed everyone in attendance why he is among the nation’s very defensive linemen.
Udofia benched a camp best 185-pound, 48 times. He was very fluid and quick in drills even though the wet turf contributed to him slipping his recovery was impressive. With Udofia’s sheer explosiveness, strength and quickness it is easy to see why every major school is recruiting him.
One of the most impressive linemen we saw all day was offensive lineman/defensive lineman Matt Kopa (6-6, 265, 4.97) from Elk Grove, Calif.
Kopa displayed the ability to play either defense or offense on the nest level. Not only did Kopa move really well and was particularly light on his feet, but he has that lean frame that colleges love. He is committed to Stanford and after Saturday’s performance there will be plenty of schools that will try to his mind.
Another behemoth that showed his skills well was Nick Howell (6-5, 258, 5.0) from Fresno (Calif.) Bullard. He’s another one of these guys whose best days on the gridiron are ahead of him.
Howell is another one of those linemen that D-I schools love because he possesses such a high ceiling. His bloodlines are pretty good, too. Howell’s father is former USC great Pat Howell who also played in the NFL for many seasons.
Arizona is home for another offensive lineman who is destined to play D-I football. Offensive tackle Daniel Borg (6-4, 280, 5.4) from Tucson (Ariz.) Ironwood Ridge.
Borg sure looks the part and plays the part, too. He showed himself during the blocking drills. He very coachable; showing a willingness to learn. Borg already has several offers and will undoubtedly get more before the end of his recruitment.
If your favorite team is looking for a defensive end then more than likely your school has been by San Mateo (Calif.) Serra to check out Will Powers (6-4, 230, 4.6).
Powers flaunted an outstanding first step that made him tough to block off the edge. Though Powers has several offers already, after Saturday’s performance, look for his stock to grow even more. His potential is off the charts.
Offensive lineman Jacob Hickman (6-4, 250, 5.0) from Bakersfield (Calif.) Centennial was another trenchman that showed off a lot of athleticism and potential on Saturday.
Hickman had a lot of the same qualities that other the already mentioned linemen posses. He has good upside potential and should still grow. He’s another one who has that lean frame that could a lot more weight. In drills Hickman had an excellent first step and showed toughness.
Two of the best linebackers in the nation showed up. One of them Ryan Reynolds (6-2, 220, 4.6) from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman was a scene stealer.
Reynolds on a slow tack ran a 4.7 40, benched 185 pounds, 47 times and ran the shuttle in 4.38. His camp performance was a record breaker with a 108.7 score on the SPARQ rating scale. The previous record was 101.7.
What does that tell you about Reynolds performance? If Reynolds could see his stock get any hotter then after his camp performance, he will.
The other linebacker that that drew raves college coaches was Rey Maualuga (6-2, 235, 4.47) from Eureka, Calif. Maualuga pulled a muscle and didn’t participate much in the camp, but he passes the look test and more. He ran the 40 in 4.7 and that is how he injured himself. He did bench 185-pounds, 37 times.
Maualuga was very disappointed that he couldn’t compete more, but there will be better days ahead for him.
Three wide receivers from Southern California stood out. All three already have several offers and they did nothing but enhance their chances for even more offers.
They are DeSean Jackson (5-11, 170, 4.38) from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, Austin Usher (6-2, 195, 4.5) from Los Angeles (Calif.) Jefferson and Jesse Canada (6-2, 195, 4.42) from Monrovia, Calif.
Jackson showed great overall skills and was impossible to cover on the one-on-one drills. He showcased a pair of real soft hands and he knows what to do with the ball once he catches it.
Usher is your tall, athletic wide receiver that is so much in vogue today. He has a graceful stride that makes his speed deceiving. He’s a very confident wide receiver who has big time skills.
Canada also showed everyone in attendance why is one of the best wide receivers in the west. He showed nice body control and nice set of hands.
Another wide receiver who showed himself well was Jeremy Childs (6-0, 180, 4.5) from Los Alamitos, Calif., though he doesn’t have any offers yet, after Saturday’s performance look for that to change.
Childs has been compared to former Los Al standout wide receiver Keenan Howry who now plays his football on Sunday’s.
Lone Star State star Edward Brittan II (6-0, 175, 4.38) from El Paso (Texas) Montwood impressed a lot of college coaches and his name was buzzing around. Britton showed that he is fast and explosive. He recorded 39-inch vertical jump. His camp performance definitely will boost his recruitment.