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April 18, 2008
LOS ANGELES ? Miami and Gainesville, Fla., proved to be worthwhile stops on the NIKE Training Camp tour, and Sunday at USC some of the West's top players ? led by the nation's top-rated prospect, quarterback Matt Barkley ? will have a chance to prove themselves.
The Mater Dei standout will have a solid group of quarterbacks joining him. Mission Viejo's Allan Bridgford has Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and Texas Tech offers after throwing for 2,508 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. El Camino's Colton Morrison and Junipero Serra's Ted Landers will be two other quarterbacks to watch.
Barkley, a Southern Cal commit who threw for 3,560 yards with 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season, and the other quarterbacks should have an impressive list of wide receivers available during 1-on-1 drills.
Inglewood's Shaquelle Evans, No. 34 in the Rivals 100, will be one of the prime targets. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound recruit stood out at the U.S. Army National Combine and looks to have another impressive showing at the NIKE Camp. Evans has more than a dozen offers.
Four-star USC commit Morrell Presley, the No. 77 recruit in the 2009 class, and Stanford commit Levine Toilolo, a 6-foot-7, 234-pound prospect from San Diego Helix, will be two of the top tight ends at the camp.
Narbonne athlete Byron Moore is also expected to participate. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound recruit lists offers from Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota and others. San Diego Mission Bay athlete Dillon Baxter, a 2010 prospect, will be one to watch.
The linebackers should be a strong unit, led by five-star Southern Cal commit Vontaze Burfict, the No. 15 recruit in the Rivals top 100, from Centennial.
Also at linebacker, Arcadia standout Todd Golper will work out. The UCLA commit is rated as the No. 201 prospect in the Rivals 250. Four-star prospect Marquis Simmons, from Dominguez, and Chris Metcalf, from Compton High, will also be at the camp. Both are Southern Cal commits and members of the Rivals 250. Athlete Ronald Powell, a 2010 prospect from Rancho Verde, will be one to watch.
The running back group is not deep but has a few high-level prospects who could challenge the linebackers during drills.
Southern Cal commit Patrick Hall, rated No. 30 in the Rivals 100, could have a breakout performance as he looks to have a big senior season after sharing time with Darrell Scott at St. Bonaventure last season. Hall was an asset on offense, defense and special teams in his junior year.
San Jose Bellarmine Prep's Usua Amanam, who lists Stanford with high interest and also has a Northwestern offer, will be one of the other top running backs. Listed with 4.46-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Amanam rushed for 1,656 yards and 20 TDs last season. He also caught three touchdowns. Apache Junction, Ariz., prospect Shane McCullen will also look to have a big day.
The defensive line will also be well-represented with Phoenix Desert Vista defensive end Devon Kennard leading the way. Rated as the eighth-best player in the Rivals 100, Kennard lists high interest in Southern Cal and Arizona State. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound prospect also has offers from Florida, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and many other top programs.
Mission Hills defensive tackle Edward Nuckols, who has offers from Arizona and Colorado but lists Oregon with high interest, is rated No. 224 in the Rivals 250. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound recruit had 34 tackles and rushed for seven touchdowns last season.
On the offensive line, Beverly Hills' Caylin Hauptmann and San Bernadino Arroyo Valley's Michael Philipp lead the way. Both are Rivals 250 members. Philipp, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound prospect, has offers from many Pac-10 schools. Mater Dei offensive guard Chris Ward will be a 2010 prospect to watch.
The defensive backs should be a strong group as well. Upland cornerback Osahon Irabor has Arizona, Arizona State and Cal offers and is being recruited by many other Pac-10 schools.
Bishop Amat's Sheldon Price and Leuzinger's Dijon Washington are two others to keep an eye on. Washington, ranked No. 226 in the Rivals 250, has a Washington State offer. He had 50 tackles and two interceptions in his final six games last season.