May 18, 2007

NIKE Camp at Stanford draws Rivals100 talent


PALO ALTO, Calif. - Will it be the Darrell Scott show? Or will Lynn Katoa take that title? Don't forget about Robert Golden or Gerell Robinson either.


All of those national top 100 prospects will be on hand Saturday at Stanford University for the NIKE Camp's annual stop in Northern California. The event - just like it has in the past - is expected to draw many of the top prospects from the Western part of the country and definitely will go down as one of the most talented stops on the tour this spring.


More than 200 college coaches are expected to be at the camp most eyes will be on Scott, arguably the nation's top prospect for the class of 2008. The powerful and explosive running back has been laying low the past few weeks while countless college coaches from all over the nation continue to court him. He's been gearing up for the NIKE Camp and says he's prepared to put on a show.


"The NIKE Camp is a big deal," Scott said. "You know everybody is going to be watching you and looking at how you do. I don't want to disappoint anybody."


After rushing for 3,194 yards, 45 touchdowns and earning state player of the year honors in 2006, it's hard to imagine that he will. The final schools for Scott are LSU, Texas, UCLA, Colorado, Florida, Florida State, Miami, USC, Cal and Michigan.


Scott isn't going to be the only major headliner in Palo Alto.


Katoa of Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood has been one of the nation's most highly coveted linebacker prospects and the 6-foot-2, 220 pounder is making the stop at Stanford as part of an early summer tour that will also take him to schools like USC, Texas, Texas A&M, Miami, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Arizona, Wisconsin, Kansas State and Florida. The NIKE Camp will be a great opportunity for him to show that he's not only the top player in Utah, but also clearly one of the nation's top 100 prospects.


Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton athlete Gerell Robinson committed early in the process to Arizona, but that hasn't stopped teams from chasing after the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder. Many schools want him on the defensive side of the ball, but other schools love him as a potential receiver, so it'll be interesting to see what position he works out with in the camp. Despite his pledge, USC, UCLA, UTEP, Colorado, Florida, LSU and others continue to recruit him.


If Robinson works out at receiver, he'll might get a chance to go up against Fresno (Calif.) Edison cornerback Robert Golden. The 5-foot-10, 182-pounder committed early to Arizona and has been called the best player to come out of Edison since the highly-productive program sent Ricky Manning to UCLA and then on to the NFL.


"Robert is special," legendary Edison defensive back coach Tony Perry said.


"Every year one of my defensive backs come back they give me one of their NFL or bowl jerseys from their college team. I don't have a doubt that I'll be getting one someday from Robert. He's one of the best we've had since Ricky Manning."


Golden decided to end the recruiting process early, committing to Mike Stoops' Wildcats.


"The first day in April when coaches were allowed to make campus visits, Coach Stoops was here at our school," he said. "Every other program sent an assistant coach out but seeing Coach Stoops here meant a lot to me. We have been texting each other so we build that trust bond. That really made me feel comfortable going to UA because I know that I would be dealing with a real coaching staff that has love for me."


There are always plenty of skilled passers at the Palo Alto camp and this year looks to be more of the same.


UCLA commitment Nick Crissman of Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison will get his chance to prove he's among the nation's best. Most consider him only behind Dayne Crist in California, but could he be the state's best quarterback? Saturday's camp could go a long way toward answering that question.


And don't forget about Matt Scott from Corona (Calif.) Centennial. He's already picked up offers from California and Minnesota, and he's got to be one of the fastest rising prospects out West. Scottsdale (Ariz.) Notre Dame Prep signal caller Sean Renfree will also be there and he's already picked up offers from Georgia Tech and Oregon State. Plus it'll also be a great chance to check out super stud junior quarterback Matt Barkley.


Don't be surprised if Keola Antolin and Michael Ball from Nevada rise to the top of the running back group along with Scott.


Antolin from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman might not look like much physically, but when he gets on the football field he's unstoppable. He would be a perfect fit in a spread offense like Arizona, Oregon State or Texas Tech. Ball of Las Vegas Desert Pines is a thoroughbred of a running back. He's physical enough at 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds to run between tackles, but he's also fast enough to break the long runs. The soft Nevada commitment is the best running back in the nation that nobody is talking about.


Poway, Calif., tight end Ryan Deehan and Austin Holt of South Jordan (Utah) Bingham should be the headliners at the receivers and tight end group. Some are calling Deehan the top player in San Diego, and Holt committed early to BYU over a host of national scholarship offers.


The offensive line group is loaded with players like Cal commitment Tyler Rigsbee of Chico (Calif.) Pleasant Valley, Allen Carroll of Oakland McClymonds, Hamani Stevens of Hemet, Calif., and Washington commitment Senio Kelemente of Seattle Evergreen.


At D-line watch out for Tyler Hoover of Novi, Mich., Cameron Meredith of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei and Everette Thompson of Burien (Wash.) Kennedy. Hoover is one of the top overall players in Michigan and a 250 candidate. Meredith is a Rivals250 level player with multiple national offers and Everette has plenty of Pac 10 offers and was a pre-evaluation period Rivals100 selection.


Along with Katoa at linebacker, UCLA commitment Uona Kavienga is expected to headline. Others to watch at the position include B.J. Machen, an Ohio linebacker with double-digit offers, Jake Murphy, a star from American Fork, Utah, with offers from Stanford and BYU and Colin Shumate from Las Vegas.


Golden's teammate Brandon Leslie has been getting plenty of attention and should be one of the top defensive backs in the camp. Chandler, Ariz., cornerback Marc Anthony has also been getting plenty of attention and should be fun to watch. He has offers from Arizona State, Washington, Washington State and others.


Jeremy Crabtree is the national recruiting editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at jcrabtree@rivals.com.


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