NORWALK, Calif. – The vast majority of the competitors on the Nike Camp circuit are rising seniors in the class of 2013. However a select few compete in the invite-only camp as underclassmen and even fewer out-play the seniors.
2012 will be Iman Marshall's first year on varsity but he is more than ready.
We take a look at some of the underclassmen that put themselves on the map with their Sunday performances. All prospects are in the class of 2014 unless otherwise noted.
Listed in order of performance
1. Iman Marshall, CB, Long Beach Poly (2015) - As loaded as the defensive back position group was at Sunday’s camp, it is impressive that an underclassman could even separate himself. Marshall did just that and did it as a freshman. With great length and instincts, Marshall was better than just about every corner at the event with the exception of Priest Willis and Chris Hawkins. Look for the Long Beach Poly standout to be one of the most highly recruited players in the nation for the 2015 class.
2. Ainuu Taua, DT, Lompoc – Taua does not have ideal height as a defensive tackle but he’s got plenty of everything else. Every time I looked up on Sunday, Taua was making his way to the quarterback in one-on-ones. He took a ton of reps, showed great pad level, an array of moves and pass rush instincts. As a high motor player on Friday nights, look for Taua to be highly recruited despite his size. Already he owns one offer from Utah.
3. Viane Talamaivao, OG, Corona Centennial – Despite some big-name multiple offer 2013 prospects in his position group, Faletuipapai earned the offensive line MVP award with his elite performance on Sunday. The tackle probably projects inside on the next level due to his size but he had great feet and athleticism protecting the edge in the pass protection drills. He landed an early offer from UCLA under the prior staff but has not seen a new offer come in since.
4. Dionte Sykes, WR, Williams Field (Ariz.) – If you’re looking for spectacular catches, Sykes had a few of the better efforts of the day on Sunday. The big wide receiver prospect showed great ball skills, out-jumping defenders and running crisp routes to find space. Already Sykes has a size advantage against almost any defensive back but when you combine that with his ball skills, he becomes a nightmare matchup.
5. Dwight Williams, OLB, Gardena Junipero Serra – Year in and year out Junipero Serra produces elite prospects and Williams looks to be the next in line for the clas of 2014. The athletic outside linebacker took home the MVP award for the position and really excelled using his athleticism in pass coverage.
6. Isaiah Nacua, DE, Bishop Gorman (Ariz.) – Last spring Kylie Fitts used his performance at the Nike Camp to propel him to one of the most extensive offer lists in the country. Nacua had a comparable performance on Sunday. He’s currently an undersized athletic defensive end but his athleticism is unique. He immediately jumps out in the position drills showing a change of direction and get-off that most DL weren’t able to match.
7. Kurt Scoby, RB, Charter Oak – A squatty but muscled up running back, Scoby was effective in just about every drill that was thrown in front of him. He could block much bigger defenders in the pass protection drill, he caught the ball out of the backfield naturally and with the success of backs like Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice and others, his stocky frame is looking like much less of a detriment.
8. Jaleel Wadood, CB, St. John Bosco – Wadood has the makings of being one of the elite corners in the 2014 class out west. He’s got the length, he showed the natural skill set in position work and he has the versatility to matchup with big receivers on the outside or in the slot against quicker prospects.