May 13, 2007

State College NIKE Camp brings out top talent

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The NIKE Camp in State College, Pa., didn't disappoint Saturday and was arguably the best camp this year for overall talent. Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway linebacker Shayne Hale was easily the most impressive player on hand physically, but others like Brandon Beachum raised their stock quite a bit.

Beachum, from Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney, worked out at running back at the event and it looks like his future position. Beachum was a natural in drills, flashed quick feet and was sure-handed throughout one-on-ones. He also took a few reps at linebacker, but at 6-foot-0, he's better suited for offense. Hale, who is as big as advertised, didn't go through drills but showed off his ability to turn and run in one-on-ones. He has defensive end size with linebacker speed.

At quarterback, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside signal-caller E.J. Manuel stood above the rest. The 6-foot-6, 202-pounder was smooth in his drops, accurate and showed off his strong arm. Chantilly (Va.) Westfield quarterback Mike Glennon was also impressive displaying great mechanics while Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic showed he could spin the ball.

In addition to Beachum, Hereford, Md. scat back Lonnie Liggins was outstanding in one-on-one drills and Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Accademy running back Ed Imeokparia had great hands. McKees Rocks (Pa.) Montour stud Christian Wilson worked out at running back so his best skills weren't on display. However, he certainly looked the part.

Forestville, Md. wide receiver Kevin Dorsey, a Maryland commitment, was the best at his position. Dorsey runs sharp routes, sells the deep ball and gets in and out of his cuts quickly. He also has excellent hands and adjusts well to the ball. Others who impressed at wide receiver were Pittsburgh (Pa.) Brashear's Ed Tinker, Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes athlete Marcus Davis and 2009 speedsters Devon Smith from Greenbelt (Md.) Eleanor Roosevelt and Je'Ron Stokes from New Castle (Del.) William Penn.

Detroit (Mich.) Renaissance wide receiver Samuel Gaymon was also outstanding as was Strongsville, Ohio wideout D.J. Woods. Convoy (Ohio) Crestview wide receiver Briggs Orsbon was very physical and showed hustle all day. He was hard to cover in the one-on-ones. Detroit (Mich.) Southeastern wideout Fred Smith used his size well and was tough to cover.

The offensive line position was a bit thin but there were a few standouts. Gates Mills (Ohio) Gilmour Academy tackle Matt Mihalik has good size and moved his feet well. He also showed a physical side in the one-on-ones as did Horsham (Pa.) Hatboro-Horsham big man Travis Poston. Chantilly, Va. offensive guard Douglas Boyle and Edensburg (Pa.) Bishop Carroll guard Steve Greene were also standouts at offensive line.

As expected Washington (D.C.) Dunbar Reggie Ellis was dominant during the one-on-ones. His first step is explosive and his bull rush was too much to handle. Novi (Mich.) Detroit Catholic Central defensive tackle Mike Martin has a great build for his position and play with leverage. Philadelphia (Pa.) St. John Neumann tackle Chris Palmer and Delaware defensive end Leon Mackey were also tough to handle in the one-on-ones.

2009 defensive lineman William Campbell from Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech is one to keep an eye on down the road.

With Beachum and Wilson playing running back and Hale limited to a few reps in the one-on-ones, Washington (Pa.) Trinity linebacker Michael Yancich was the clear standout. Yancich was excellent in coverage and showed quickness.

The defensive back position was loaded and arguably the deepest group at the camp. Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech cornerback Boubacar Cissoko, a Michigan commitment, had the best feet at the camp and showed impressive closing speed. Cissoko hasn't grown much since last year's Ohio State NIKE Camp but his skills are unquestioned. Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic safety Nick Moody has a linebacker's body with quick twitch instincts. The Florida State commitment is a great fit at rover. Detroit (Mich.) Southeastern safety Charles Burrell also had a good combination of size and speed.

Greenbelt (Md.) Eleanor Roosevelt safety Okechuckalu Okoroha raised his stock in the eyes of many with his coverage skills. Glenville, Ohio cornerback Donnie Fletcher was also very good in press coverage and showed quick reactions.

Mike Farrell can be reached at


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