Sunday, May 15, 2011
By Greg Biggins
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The Nike camp at Stanford was strong at several positions but there was little doubt what position group was the strongest. As a whole, the crop of offensive linemen highlighted the camp and may have been the best group at any Nike camp this year.
MVP Isaac Seumalo (Corvallis, Ore./Corvallis) is no stranger to the Nike camps as he attended Oregon and Oregon State a year ago, earning MVP honors at both events. The talented guard prospect measured in at 6-foot-3½, 286 pounds and once again had a dominant performance and should definitely be mentioned among the top linemen in the region.
"He has everything you could want in a lineman," one Nike OL coach said. "He's a physical player and just seems to enjoy the nasty side of the game. He'll put a guy on the ground and just stand over him and smile.
"He kind of has a defensive mentality when he's playing and I love seeing that. Throw in the fact that he plays with great technique, has great feet and is super athletic and there's no doubt he's one of the best guys we've had all year."
Seumalo attended Stanford's junior day on Saturday and with offers from most of the Pac-12, it will be interesting to see if he decides to play at Oregon State, where his father Joe is the DL coach, or opens up his recruitment to other schools in the region.
"Right now, I'm staying open to everyone, I don't want to name a favorite or anything yet," said Seumalo. "I'm sure a lot of people expect me to play at Oregon State and I do like them a lot but I like some other schools too and I just want to go through the process a little more and see how everything plays out."
Murphy making moves
Kyle Murphy (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) has a prototype tackle frame with long arms and should have no problem adding weight in college. He moves very well and showed the necessary toughness needed to excel at the next level.
"I had fun and enjoyed the competition," Murphy said. "I liked the coaches, I didn't learn that many new things because we have some great coaches at San Clemente but I enjoyed competing against the other lineman and it was an overall fun experience for me."
Murphy also took part in the Cardinal junior day Saturday and although he won't name favorites, Stanford looks like it could be in a good spot for the tackle at this time.
Another solid guard prospect was Matthew Cochran (Atwater, Calif./Buhach Colony), who attended the Nike camp at USC back in April and was much improved at Stanford.
"He got a lot better," lead OL coach Pete Brock said. "I really like him a lot. He's a physical player and he's very coachable. He's a quick learner and has a lot going for him. He's strong, tough and I like how he moves around."
Cochran took a ton of reps in the one-on-ones and won most of his battles. His stock is definitely rising among college coaches as he's near double digit offers.
"I really wanted to do well here today," Cochran said. "I didn't think I did that well at USC. I felt like I had something to prove today and I was a lot more comfortable and knew what to expect. I tried to get as many reps as I could and overall, I was happy with how I did."
Magnuson shuts it down early
Before his knees let him down, Erik Magnuson (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) was very impressive and easily among the top players in the camp, regardless of position. At 6-5, 268 pounds, Magnuson has a great frame that he can grow in to and he plays with just the right amount of nastiness.
"My knees have been sore for awhile now because of basketball," Magnuson said. "I tried to do as much as I could but towards the end of the camp, they were really hurting and I had to shut it down. I still had a great time out here and learned a lot. I wish I could have taken a few more reps in the one-on-ones because I wanted that MVP award but overall, this was still a positive experience for me."
Notes on OL
• No one took more reps in the one-on-ones than Cedrick Poutasi (Las Vegas, Nev./Desert Pines). The 6-5, 330 pounds, was the one player who took reps at both guard and tackle. He is a wide-bodied lineman with huge ankles and calves. As a result, he doesn't have superior quickness but is very strong and physical and was very impressive during the run blocking drills.
• He wasn't able to duplicate his MVP showing from a year ago, but Stephon McCray (Fresno, Calif./Bullard) still showed elite talent. The 6-3, 301-pound guard prospect is very strong in his upper body and played with a mean streak. He didn't look as laterally quick as he did last year at Stanford, but once he was able to lock on his man, the play was over.
• Kelvin Shelton, (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde) was one of the real surprises of the camp. He took reps on both sides of the ball and looked strong at both tackle and defensive end. He has great athleticism and said he feels most comfortable on the offensive line.
• Fernando Villanueva (San Jose, Calif./Independence), Nathan Dean (Kirkland, Wash./Juanita), David Keller (Fresno, Calif./San Joaquin Memorial), Calvin Thomas (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), Tavita Taito (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) and Keenan Venuti (Los Altos Hills, Calif./Gunn) were a few other linemen who drew praise from the coaching staff and have the potential to play at the FBS level.
Greg Biggins is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's West recruiting blog and handles player personnel for the Nike Football Training Camps for ESPNRISE.com.