Recruiting: Nike Camp Overview
Nike Camp MVP Samson Taylor
Nike Camp MVP Samson Taylor

Posted May 5, 2003


With almost 350 athletes attending this year's Texas Nike Camp, there was plenty of talent on display as some of the state's best showcased their football skills and athleticism by competing against the course and each other in a multitude of drills this past weekend. The prospects that flocked to college football's version of the NFL Scouting Combine came to increase their exposure with college coaches while also hoping to raise their stock with recruiting analysts.

A few hundred spectators, including family, friends and high school coaches, observed the event while noticeably gawking at several of the more high-profile spectators; big name college coaching personalities. But those college coaches weren't there to entertain. Their mission was to carefully examine and identify athletes who could potentially fill slots on their depth charts.

And did they ever come in numbers...

Inside Texas Nike Camp correspondent Jeremy Warren termed it as "wall-to-wall" with D-I coaches. Here's Warren's report:

"This year's Nike Camp was filled to the brim with coaches from nearly 50-60 programs prowling the sidelines of Kyle Field and its practice fields, with the power conferences really standing out."

"Colorado, Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M represented the Big 12 while the PAC -10 boasted a total of five schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington State. SEC schools Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt sent assistant coaches with only Georgia Tech and Florida State attending from the ACC. Coaches from Big 10 schools Michigan State, Northwestern and Purdue were also on hand while Pittsburgh was the lone Big East representative. D-I independent Notre Dame also dispatched staff to College Station."

"While only one staff member from the University of Tennessee attended, Colorado sent six coaches along with head coach Gary Barnett. Georgia Tech (and former Dallas Cowboy) head honcho Chan Gailey was also on hand to personally review the nearly 350 prospects performing at the camp. A&M, obviously, had its entire staff in place to analyze the upside/potential of the future D-I prospects."

"In addition to the 'major' conferences, coaches from Army, Blinn Junior College, Brigham Young, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, North Texas, Princeton, Sam Houston State, SMU, Stephen F. Austin, Tulsa, Utah, Utah State and UTEP made the journey to Aggieville."

An impressive collection of coaches to say the least, but several of the Texas preps were just as "buzzworthy."

Camp MVP Samson Taylor from The Woodlands showed why he has offers from schools like Texas A&M and Northwestern: at 5-11, 200 pounds, he ran a 4.34 in the 40, a 3.97 in the shuttle (one of just five who ran under 4.00), jumped 37 inches in the vertical and did 21 reps of 185 pounds on the bench press.

A few other kids pushed Taylor for the special distinction of being named Texas Nike Camp's best overall prospect.

Quarterbacks Bobby Reid (of North Shore) and Kirby Freeman (of Brownwood) drew gasps, ahhs and a lot of praise as they showed off their abilities and potential to produce as next-level signal callers.

But if I were calling the shots for Nike Camp's best, it would have to go to the 6-8, 335-pound Denton freak, Herman Johnson. Surprisingly nimble for the giant he is and showing off a really good pair of feet, it was utterly apparent this Lone Star State Big Ugly has special written all over him. Dominant in almost every aspect of the camp, this kid has the tools to immediately step in and play elite-level D-I football. His prototypical size and upside screams of NFL 1st-round material. But he still owes college a few years before making that jump.

While the camp certainly had several of the state's bigger names, many others were noticeably absent, including Palestine RB Adrian Peterson, Texarkana WR Nathan Jones, Houston Westbury WR George Walker and Burnet WR Jordan Shipley. Richardson Lake Highlands DT Franklin Okam, Waco CB Marcus Walker, Fort Worth Dunbar CB Bobby Tatum and Houston Lamar S Andrew Kelson also did not attend.

Of course, the Big 12 South trend of "early" commitment-itis (totaling almost 25 of the state's top kids) probably limited the camp's star-power, but that's not to suggest the quality of the talent at the camp was low. Several kids made names for themselves and will certainly move up the rankings.

And if you were to put a finger on one unit overflowing with the most talent, you'd have to go with the group of defensive linemen consisting of Houston Lamar DE Brian Orakpo, Silsbee DT William Morrisey, Klein Forest DE McCollins Umeh, Temple DT/DE William Bell, Falfurrias DE Jesse Ramirez, Dallas White DE Micah Howeth, Dallas Carter DE Ryan Johnson, Houston Lamar DT Avery Williams, Katy Mayde Creek DT Eric Mikolajchak and Colleyville Heritage DE/TE Alan Davis, not to mention a couple of new names at the DE position we'll be filling you in on very soon.

Other Nike Camp notables included:

QB: Westbury QB/LB/DE Mike Nichols

RB/FBs: Brandon Roberson (Pearland), Ross Irving (Georgetown), Tim Ball (Lewisville Hebron)

WRs: Tory DeGrate(Waco), Bobby McCoy (Klein Forest), Otis McDaniel (SA Taft), WR/DB Kevin Robbins (Crockett)

TEs: Dillon Conway (Rockport Fulton), Alan Davis (Colleyville Heritage)

OL: Eddie Rollman (Burnet)

DLs: Justin Head (Merkel), DE/TE Jared Harrell (Massachusetts' Thayer Academy)

LBs: Luke Tiemann (Pflugerville), Tad Scott (Alto), Ronnie Palmer (Spring), Rashad Bobino (La Marque), Bradley Bullitt (Garland Naaman Forest)

DBs: Jeffery Jack (Houston Madison), Jessie Joseph (Richardson Berkner), Martel Vanzant (Tyler Lee), Curtis Williams (Arlington Sam Houston)

ATHs: Kerry Franks (West Orange Stark), Hugh Charles (Keller), LaMarkus Hall (Harker Heights)

[Editor's note: This is the first report in our comprehensive coverage of the College Station Nike Camp. Stacey Dean and camp correspondent Jeremy Warren will provide IT subscribers with scouting reports, camp analysis, commentary and interviews with coaches (Dennis Franchione and Gary Barnett, to name a couple) over the next couple of weeks.]



Related Stories
College Station Nike Camp Report
 -by FOXSportsRecruiting.com  May 4, 2003
Nike Camp Report: A Day in the Life
 -by LonghornDigest.com  May 6, 2003
Nike Camp Report: Brian Orakpo
 -by LonghornDigest.com  May 6, 2003

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