The Oakland Nike Football Training camp rarely disappoints year in and year out. Often times several big names emerge from camp to go on and blow up on the recruiting trail. This year seems to be the exact same scenario, along with several other big names living up to the hype.
USC commit Max Browne earned an invite to The Opening.
There were a handful of invitations extended to the top players to Nike's premier event, The Opening set for early July in Beaverton (Ore.).
Max Browne, QB, Skyline (Wash.) Sammamish
Browne showed up with relatively little to prove. Already the top ranked quarterback and the No. 7 overall recruit in the nation. But, that isn't who the future Trojan is. Browne is a competitor on all levels and he started his weekend off right with an MVP performance at the Elite-11. Surprisingly he returned on Sunday to compete at the NFTC and prove he is the best. In the end he went home with an invitation to 'The Opening' and a better relationship with fellow USC commit, Justin Davis.
Hatari Byrd, S, Central East Campus (Calif.) Fresno
Byrd continues on his mission to prove he is one of the elite safeties in the nation. Without question he is physically ready to impose his will on anyone who crosses his path. The three-star has racked up offers from around the nation and shows no signs of slowing down. UCLA and Oklahoma have certainly grabbed his attention early. But an offer from USC will make them incredibly difficult to beat before signing day.
Justin Davis, RB, Lincoln (Calif.) Stockton
Once again another USC commit showed up with little to prove but worked hard anyways. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound four-star performed admirably in blocking drills and faced several fierce competitors along the way. Davis recently made his commitment to USC and it appears nothing will change that decision before signing day.
Hutchings was a fierce competitor on Sunday.
Cameron Hunt, OL, Centennial (Calif.) Corona
The offensive line collection wasn't especially deep but that shouldn't take anything away from Hunt. He was fierce and moved extremely well for his size. ASU and Boise State look like the favorites at this point with a decision possibly coming in the near future.
Michael Hutchings, LB, De La Salle (Calif.) Concord
'Hutch' showed up with his teammates D.J. Moffit and Victor Egu to showcase their stuff. The talented trio did not disappoint and proves why they will be a formidable opponent this season. Hutchings worked hard the entire day and went home with a much desired invite to the opening. The nation's No. 136 overall player is currently favoring USC, Oregon and Cal. Other teams remain in the mix, but it's likely he plays his college football out West.
Kevin Palma, LB, Mission Oak (Calif.) Tulare
Not only did Palma earn Linebacker MVP honors he was the top overall performer of the event. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound prep has yet to really surface on the national recruiting scene but his turn should come. He's strong, agile and moves incredibly well at his size. He was absolutely un-blockable all day and cemented his stock as the top performer at a talented event.
Elijah Qualls, DL, Casa Grande (Calif.) Petaluma
The four-star defensive lineman Qualls moved around incredibly well for a big man. He was not the MVP for the defensive line however it was splitting hairs between him and Misi Taifane. Qualls earned the invite to the Opening following the event which is an even bigger award. On the recruiting trail, Washington is the top team to beat at this time.
Carrington continues to impress and should benefit this Summer.
MVP by position
Quarterback- Jared Goff, Marin Catholic (Calif.) Greenbrae
The Cal commit was the top performer from a talented pool of quarterbacks. He earned the respect of several of his peers and camp coaches, most notably ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer.
Running Back- Andrew Ballin, Hoover (Calif.) Fresno
Ballin was virtually unknown headed into camp but made a big impact. He is incredibly quick-twitch and could easily end up with several new offers following his MVP performance.
Wide Receiver- Darren Carrington, Horizon (Calif.) San Diego
For quite some time now it's been expected Carrington would emerge on the recruiting scene. It hasn't quite come to fruition yet, but it will. Carrington was in a league of his own on Sunday.
Offensive Line- Cameron Hunt, Centennial (Calif.) Corona
2015 ATH Christian Kirk was impressive against a talented secondary.
Hunt was the clear leader of the pack on Sunday.
Defensive Line- Misi Taifane, Grant (Calif.) Sacramento
Taifane hasn't earned much recruiting fanfare thus far but his MVP performance should help him get noticed. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman was strong and showed great burst out of his blocks.
Linebackers- Kevin Palma, Mission Oak (Calif.) Tulare
As stated earlier, Palma was the top performer of the camp. He has shown well at two NFTC events this Spring.
Defensive Backs- Kevin King, Bishop O' Dowd (Calif.) Oakland
In perhaps the deepest position of talent, King showed very well. He is long and moves incredibly well for a player with his range. Expect things to pick up substantially for him this Summer.
Never too early
2014 QB Kyle Allen is already heating up on the recruiting trail.
The class of 2015 out west is already shaping up to be a special group. Two freshman wide receivers excelled on Sunday despite their age out of the 2015 class in Christian Kirk and Trent Irwin. Kirk landed on the 247Sports list of top ten performers and Irwin could have easily made the cut himself.
Despite his age, Irwin was one of the most polished receivers in attendance, showing great route-running ability and sure hands. You’ll never see the ball get into his body and if he touches it, he catches it. Despite his youth, Irwin is not a new name on the scene and both he and Kirk will likely be talked about a lot over the next three years.
Along with the pair of 2015 standouts there were several 2014 prospects making their presence felt. Quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Manny Wilkins both had great days in a talented pool of performers. Look for both of them to earn a lot of recruiting attention moving forward.
Fresno Central East (Calif.) wide receiver Michiah Quick already has five offers to his merit and displayed why he may be one of the top receiver recruits in the class of 2014.
Alameda (Calif.) cornerback Sulaiman Hameed is also another name to keep an eye on. He impressed 247Sports analyst Barton Simmons on several occasions throughout the day.
Well-stocked at El Cerrito
If you have El Cerrito on your schedule this year, you’re in for a challenge. The team is stacked with returning talent on both sides of the ball. If you have El Cerrito on your schedule in 2013, then you’re really in trouble because most of that returning talent still has two more years to play.
On Sunday El Cerrito featured three of the top underclassmen at the event in 2014 top100 talent Derik Calhoun, wide receiver Jalen Harvey and defensive back Adarius Pickett. Calhoun showed us exactly what we expected to see out of the early 2014 four-star. He is limited with his size but he has outstanding feet and quickness and even in shorts and a t-shirt, you could tell that he likes and seeks out contact and physicality.
Keep an eye out for 2014 WR Jalen Harvey.
Harvey also showed that he’s an elite 2014 recruit, earning his way onto our top performers list coming out of the event. Meanwhile Pickett shows the a lot of size and athleticism as a defensive back that should see him emerge as a highly recruited prospect as well.
Even the 2013 on Sunday class had some El Cerrito flavor in the shape of cornerback Marcellus Pippins. Pippins is an athletic cornerback prospect that has garnered a handful of offers over the spring and could be a name to watch into the summer.
Three to watch
There were three names that after seeing them on Sunday combined with earlier film evaluation should see a boost in recruiting this Summer.
Cameron Birse, QB, San Ramon (Calif.) Danville
Birse was in a tough spot last year having been behind Cal signee Zach Kline. Birse could have transferred from the program and after considering it, elected to stay. He has worked his tail off this Spring and as more coaches come through to see him may uncover a late gem at quarterback who was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Olito Thompson, RB, Concord (Calif.) Concord
Thompson is extremely well built on a slightly shorter frame. Arizona has made him an early offer but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see him in double digits early into his senior season if not before. He was rigid in his block technique and has great footwork for a bruising-style back.
Da'Mari Scott, WR, Cathedral (Calif.) Los Angeles
It wasn't until late in camp when Scott heated up. But during 1-on-1's with some of the top defensive backs he was consistently open and his physical frame made him tough to jam. Fresno State and Boston College have offered, but most of the Pac-12 shouldn't be too far behind at some point this Summer.
Barton Simmons contributed to this report