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Receivers impress at LA Nike Camp

4/4/2012

NORWALK, Calif. -- They might be high school teammates, but Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., receiver Victor Bolden and safety Tahaan Goodman spiritedly disagreed about which position group won the head-to-head competitions at the Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday at Cerritos College.

"It was definitely the wide receivers," said Bolden, who stood out for the wideouts. "We got them good, and we dominated. The wide receivers definitely won today."

When told of Bolden's comments, Goodman gave out a hearty laugh before immediately forming his counterargument.

"He's crazy," Goodman said. "Everyone knows that the DBs won today. One-on-ones, two-on-twos, three-on-threes, we won. I don't know what he was thinking."

Both Goodman, an ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect with offers such as USC, Nebraska, Oklahoma and UCLA, and Bolden -- who is looking for his first offer and has received heavy interest from Texas A&M and Washington State -- did agree that the action was fun and competitive throughout the day.

For a wide receiver corps that's gone under the radar for the most part on the West Coast, being competitive on Sunday was a good thing, as the LA NFTC defensive back group read like a recruiting fantasy team.

With Goodman, Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga), Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) and Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) all residing in the Watch List, followed up by highly regarded prospects such as Tyler Foreman (Encino, Calif./Crespi) and David Price (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), the secondary was stacked.

But that only served as motivation for receivers such as Demorea Stringfellow (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde), who was one of several pass catchers to rise to the challenge.

"I wanted to go out there and show that I could dominate, and the other receivers did too," said Stringfellow, a 6-foot-3, 203-pound receiver with offers from Florida, Michigan, UCLA, Nebraska and Washington, among others. "I wanted to go against the best and showed that I belonged with them. And I wanted to dominate."

Stringfellow didn't leave disappointed, as his size combined with his fluid movement made him a matchup problem for the defensive backs. He even got Goodman in one of the better one-on-ones of the day, as the two jostled before Stringfellow got open enough to haul in a back-shoulder pass along the left sideline.

"They were doing a lot of those back-shoulder throws against me and not as many posts or deep balls," Goodman said.

"It was fun, though. One of the most fun times I've had in my life. You want to go against the best."

The best wide receiver on Sunday was Steven Mitchell (Mission Hills, Calif./Bishop Alemany), who was named the most valuable player of the group.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Mitchell, who sports 10 offers -- UCLA, California, Washington, Washington State, SMU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Mississippi -- was nearly unstoppable on slant patterns and also got deep a few times.

"I'm not that big at all, but I like my size," Mitchell said. "I don't think (defensive backs) expect that much from me because of how big I am, but I just work hard and get the job done."

Mitchell, who received an Opening invite as well on Sunday, was most excited about his matchups with Hawkins, the defensive back MVP who committed to USC after the camp concluded. They faced off a couple times, with each enjoying success.

"I got him, and he got me," Mitchell said. "So all in all, I think it went all right. He's a great player and it was fun to go against him."

But the battle that the LA NFTC receivers were fighting on Sunday wasn't necessarily against the highly touted DBs, but against any sentiment that the position was down in California.

Thanks to the efforts of Mitchell, Bolden, Stringfellow, Sebastian Larue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) and Da'Mari Scott (Los Angeles/Cathedral), the WRs might have just accomplished their mission.

"No one has better wide receivers than Cali," Bolden said.

"That's what we wanted to prove and we definitely did."