Sunday, May 15, 2011
Scott Starr shines at Stanford NFTC
By Sean Ceglinsky ESPNLosAngeles.com
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- This was his chance to prove he belonged. Fittingly, Norco (Calif.) LB Scott Starr took advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself.
The highly-touted linebacker from the 2012 class played particularly well during the morning session of Sunday's Nike Football Training Camp on the campus of Stanford. And it was more of the same in the afternoon drills as the ESPNU 150 Watch List member successfully strengthened his growing reputation as of one of the premier prospects on the West Coast.
Scott Starr (right) established himself as one of the better OLBs on the West Coast at the Stanford NFTC.
"This is my first camp of the year, and I heard it was one of Nike's best, so I wanted to come out and see how I compared to the best players around," Starr said. "To be the best, you have to compete against the best, that was one of my main reasons for being here today."
With continued improvement and some added exposure, Starr's name could end up being mentioned in the same sentence as the nation's top players at his position. For the time being, however, Starr is taking steps in the right direction.
He already compares favorably to ESPNU 150 Watch List members from his home state, California. College coaches and scouts, alike, appear to think Starr is in the same category as Michael Barton (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) and Jabari Ruffin (Downey, Calif./Downey).
Starr has scholarship offers from eight different programs thus far, several from the newly-minted Pac-12 conference, among them being Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, Washington and Washington State. Boise State and Nevada are in the mix as well.
"I'm talking to a bunch of different schools, Michigan and USC are couple of them, but I haven't received an offer from either school. Hopefully soon," Starr said. "Really, I'm not in a hurry to commit. My goal is to keep on working hard and take my game to the next level. That's why it was important for me to have a good showing at this camp and I think I was able to do that."
Some onlookers might even consider his well-rounded effort a coming out party, of sorts. Regardless, Starr made good on his all-important opportunity.
Big boys in the trenches
When it came to offensive lineman at the NFTC, there was no shortage of talent. Ultimately, Isaac Seumalo (Corvallis, Ore/Corvallis), also on ESPNU 150 Watch List, was named the most valuable player at his position, despite plenty of competition for the honor.
Kyle Murphy (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente), Erik Magnuson (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) and Matt Cochran (Atwater, Calif./Buhach) were among the more well-known prospects in attendance. None of that mattered to Seumalo though. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound guard still managed to separate himself from his counterparts.
"Coming into this camp, I knew that there would be a lot of good players," Seumalo said. "Think about it, Murphy and Magnuson are two great players, two of the best on the West Coast. I know what I'm capable of and I was able to show everyone some of that today."
The fact Seumalo did well shouldn't come as major surprise. His services, after all, are in high demand, especially of late. Several schools are interested, with Boise State, Oregon and UCLA being among the more high-profile programs that offered him a scholarship.
Auburn has been in contact with Seumalo recently as well, although the Tigers have not offered. No matter, he doesn't plan on making a decision anytime soon.
"I'm going to take some visits soon, hopefully cut down my list after that," Seumalo said. "If I take care of things on the field, things will take care of themselves off."
Signal-caller steps to the forefront
Several top-notch quarterbacks from the 2012 class stood out during passing drills at Sunday's NFTC at Stanford. However, ESPNU 150 Watch List player Zach Kline (Danville, Calif./San Ramon Valley) was the most consistent of the group, seemingly head and shoulders above the rest at times.
Accordingly, the Cal commit was named the most valuable player for his position, easily beating out the likes of fellow ESPNU 150 Watch List members Matt Morin (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral), Bart Houston (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) and Jake Rodrigues (Rocklin, Calif./Whitney).
"From the moment I stepped out on the field today, I felt good, like I was in the zone," Kline said. "I used this camp as a measuring stick, to see where I'm at, and honestly, I feel like I'm in a good place right now. Everything is falling into place for me."
Cal should consider itself lucky to have landed a verbal commitment from Kline back in mid-September. Florida and Notre Dame were among the other programs to have recently expressed varied levels of interest.
"I'm solid with my decision to go to Cal, I'm happy with my choice and excited about the future," Kline said. "I like Berkeley, that's the place for me to be."
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com.