BOULDER, Colo. - The NIKE Training Camp tour made its final stop in Boulder on Saturday. While it was not the most star-studded event of the year, there were a handful of blue-chip prospects in attendance.
The quarterback group featured five players that felt they had something to prove, despite the fact they have already made their college decision.
Boston College bound gunslinger Joe Boisture and Cal commit Austin Hinder followed up previous sub-par camp performances with a more consistent effort on Saturday. They were named position co-MVPs.
"I didn't perform as well as I could have at the Illinois NIKE Camp so I wanted to prove that I am actually better than what I showed," said Boisture, who hails from Saline (Mich.) High. "My dad was coming out here to visit some old college buddies so I came along and I'm glad I did."
Hinder was over-gripping the ball at the Berkeley Elite 11 regional camp on May 15. The Steamboat Springs (Colo.) High standout was also a little inconsistent the following day at the Palo Alto NIKE Camp.
"I came out here today and played calm and relaxed. You can't be all uptight at the quarterback position and hope to have a good day," said Hinder. "I was trying to show that I should be one of the Elite 11 quarterbacks. Hopefully I did that."
Hinder's picture-perfect release is one of the reasons why colleges from coast to coast were after his signature before he chose the Golden Bears. Adding weight to his 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame will be one of Hinder's main goals over the course of the next year.
"I eat six to seven meals a day. I do the Muscle Milk. I do everything I can," Hinder said. "It is so hard. The weight just doesn't stay on. I have to just keep doing it, though, and eventually it will."
Danny Spond and Kain Colter were trying to prove their worth as a quarterback on Saturday. Both are listed in the Rivals.com database as an athlete.
Spond only attempted 57 passes during his junior season playing in Littleton (Colo.) Columbine's run oriented offense. He was a dominant linebacker as a sophomore, leading most to believe he will move back to defensive side of the ball when he gets to college.
"People have always had their own opinion about me. Good for them. Whatever they are going to think is what they are going to think. I can't do anything about it," said Spond, who verbally committed to Colorado in April. "What I have to do is prove them wrong. Prove that I am a quarterback.
"I feel like because of my body frame (6-foot-3, 220-pounds) and the fact I don't get to throw much in high school, I had as much to prove as anybody today. And I thought it went pretty well. I took what I learned from the other camps and put it into play today. I feel like I proved I can compete with the other top quarterbacks."
Colter has exceptional footwork and good zip on his passes. But he lacks ideal height. A move to wide receiver or defensive back is not out of the question after he steps foot on campus at Stanford.
"Stanford is going to give me a shot at quarterback," Colter said. "That is all I can ask. If I can't excel there, then I will switch positions."
Lee's Summit (Mo.) High's Corbin Berkstresser threw more interceptions than touchdowns during his sophomore season. But it is easy to see why he figures to be one of the top ranked quarterbacks from the Class of 2011.
Physically, Berkstresser looks Division-1 ready. He stands 6-foot-4, 220-pounds and has a strong arm. It is the mental side of the game that Berkstresser needs to improve in.
Berkstresser committed to Missouri this past Thursday, little more than two weeks after the Tigers extended a scholarship offer.
"I bleed black and gold," Berkstresser told Rivals.com. "I'm a Tiger fan, through and through."
ONYEALI JR. SHINES
If he was a few inches taller, Nduka Onyeali Jr. would have his pick of colleges. Programs like USC, Texas and Florida would likely be after his services.
"I think about that all the time. But I can only work with what God gave me," said Onyeali Jr., who is closer to 5-foot-10 than his listed height of 6-foot-1. "You look at all the other top ranked defensive end prospects and they are all between 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-6. But I can't do anything about that. That is out of my hands."
Onyeali was simply too fast for the offensive linemen to handle during one-on-ones. He also used a variety of moves, which kept his opponent guessing.
"A lot of that goes to my high school coaches because we work on so many different moves every day, from swim to rip to spin to the out and in," he said shortly after being named the camp's defensive line MVP. "We are constantly working on that."
Duke recently became the 10th program to offer Onyeali Jr. a scholarship. Arizona State, Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, UNLV, TCU and Tulsa had previously offered.
"I would say by the middle or end of my senior season I'll narrow it down to a top five and then I am going to take my official visits, for sure," Onyeali Jr. said. "I am not 100 percent sure about any of the official visits I want to take yet."
The only offensive linemen that stood a chance against Onyeali Jr. on Saturday were juniors-to-be Spencer Drango and Brendon Austin.
Drango was named the offensive line MVP. The 6-foot-6, 260-pounder from Cedar Park (Texas) High has a quick back-peddle and he does a good job of staying low on his block.
"This is a good camp to perform well at because you know all these kids were invited here," said Drango. "When we were doing drills, I had a couple of the instructions tell me that I have good feet."
Drago has already received scholarship offers from Stanford, Baylor and SMU.
Austin is a 6-foot-5, 260-pounder that hails from Parker (Colo.) Chaparral. He was one of the top performers at Nebraska's camp earlier this month.
Denver (Colo.) East defensive lineman Lexington Smith also showed well during one-on-ones. He hopes his performance on Saturday will help him get some much needed exposure.
"I believe that because my highlight tape hasn't gotten out, that is the reason why I haven't gotten more recruiting interest," said Smith, who has yet to pick up his first offer. "At this camp today, I was able to put it all out there. I feel I made a statement."
Smith played at nearly 280-pounds last season. He currently stands in at 6-foot-2, 265-pounds.
"I wanted to lose some weight so I could increase my speed," Smith explained. "Now I am in the process of packing back on lean muscle weight. That shouldn't take away from my speed so it should all come together. I'll have a perfect combination of strength and speed."
RADLEY SHOWS OFF VERSATILITY
Lucky Radley is being recruited on both sides of the ball, so on Saturday he wanted to split time between running back and defensive back.
"I am really comfortable playing running back because I have been playing the position forever," said the Agoura Hills (Calif.) Agoura standout. "But I am just learning defensive back. I played on defense last season but I played linebacker."
Radley attended Colorado's Friday Night Lights camp the night before the NIKE Camp and he is expecting an offer in the mail from the Buffaloes. He already holds offers from Iowa State, San Diego State, Western Michigan and Utah State.
"I am enjoying the recruiting process. It is fun," Radley said. "I want to take it slow and take all my trips. I want to visit all the schools that offered me. Coming out here to Boulder was great. I heard it is a football town and it definitely seems like it is."
FUTURE BUFF GLAD TO BE HEALTHY AGAIN
At first glance Mister Jones looks more like a World class sprinter than a running back. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder from Littleton (Colo.) High has to constantly remind himself to stay low while running with the football.
Jones committed to Colorado this past week over an offer from Wyoming. He was averaging nearly 15 yards per carry early on during his junior season before an ankle injury sidelined him.
"I wanted to come to this camp because I did miss five games last year and I figured this would help me out," said Jones. "It feels great to be 100 percent again. We had a full-contact team camp up here [at Colorado] last week and I didn't have any problems at all."
Being able to stay close to home played a big role in Jones' college decision. His mother is battling cancer and he has four younger siblings.
"The relationship I have developed with [Buffaloes' running backs coach] Darian Hagan is also one of the reasons why I made the decision I did," Jones explained. "We talked about a lot of different things when I was at their camp last week and I think he has my [best] interest at heart."
ADDITIONAL CAMP STANDOUTS
Gage Shaeffer traveled all the way from Eden Prairie, Minn., to attend Saturday's camp. He earned the running backs MVP by performing well in every drill. He has received recruiting looks from Minnesota, Iowa and Iowa State but is still waiting for his first scholarship offer.
Lumberton (Texas) High defensive lineman Sean Sparks showed tremendous quickness during one-on-ones. The under the radar recruit could also end up playing tight end at the next level.
Zach Daugherty showed why San Diego State, New Mexico and New Mexico State have all extended an offer. The Las Cruses (N.M.) Onate linebacker possesses great lateral quickness.
Aurora (Colo.) Eaglecrest standout Aaron Swift was named the camp's top defensive back. He recently received his first scholarship offer from Air Force. Steamboat Springs (Colo.) High's Joe Dover was named the most valuable wide receiver.