Commentary

Wideout Toma, QB Barkley among winners at Burger King Skills Challenge

USC commit Matt Barkley was the top quarterback during the skills challenge at the Under Armour All-America Game, writes Jon Mahoney.

Updated: January 3, 2009, 1:00 PM ET
By Jon Mahoney | ESPNRISE.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Robbie Toma understandably didn't get a lot of pub playing for Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii) considering the senior wide receiver was teammates with the nation's No. 1 outside linebacker, Manti Te'o.

But Friday, Toma grabbed some ink of his own with an impressive victory in the Hands Competition at the 2009 Burger King All-American Varsity Skills Challenge at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound UCLA recruit caught every pass thrown his way and finished the course in 27.348 seconds. Toma edged River Hill (Clarksville, Md.) wide receiver Michael Campanaro, who registered a 27.551. After hauling in the last pass thrown to him, Toma dropped to the ground and did a mock snow angel to honor New England Patriots Pro Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker, who did a snow angel of his own -- albeit in actual snow -- a couple of weeks ago against the Arizona Cardinals.

The tribute was fitting; from the stands some of Toma's fellow Under Armour All-Americans were comparing the diminutive but talented pass-catcher to Welker. Toma laughed when recalling his Welker impression, but he was serious about how proud he was to represent his state with the win.

"I'm just so happy because we've just got to show the people what we do in Hawaii," Toma said. "We can play football too out there."

While Toma is a relative unknown in high school football circles, the same can't be said for Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) quarterback and USC recruit Matt Barkley -- the No. 10 overall player in the ESPNU 150. Barkley managed to impress even those who already knew about him with a dominating performance in the Pass Attack.

Barkley placed first with 236 points and threw such blistering passes the targets looked like they were close to being knocked over. Garrett Gilbert of Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) and Josh Nunes of Upland (Upland, Calif.) tied for second at 190 points.

Gaither (Tampa, Fla.) speedster and local star Jarvis Giles took home the Obstacle Course title in a lightning-quick 27.832 seconds.

"I just stayed calm," said Giles, who has committed to South Carolina. "I was praying, I was really praying. I really wanted to win this. I just said, 'God, I'm just going to leave it in your hands.' That's the last thing I said and I just went through it. And as you can tell, God was on my side."

Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) defensive end and Oklahoma recruit Justin Chaisson closed out the competition by winning the Lineman Challenge in an impressive 23.587 seconds. His time was five seconds faster than Saguaro's (Scottsdale, Ariz.) Corey Adams, who finished in 28.727.

Jon Mahoney covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com.

Jon Mahoney is a football and baseball editor for ESPNHS. Email him at jon.mahoney@espn.com.