Commentary

Stanford Nike camp MVPs

Originally Published: May 19, 2009
By Greg Biggins | ESPNRISE.com

There was plenty of talent at the Nike Football Training Camp at Stanford. These prospects were the position MVPs as voted by the position coaches.

Quarterbacks

Jake Heaps, 6-2, 198 (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline)
Heaps has grown an inch and put on almost 20 pounds since the Nike Camp in Oregon a year ago and had an incredible showing. In fact, along with Lakewood (Calif.) signal caller Jesse Scroggins, Heaps drew the most praise from the coaches this year. He showed off a live, accurate arm and had the ability to take something off his passes as well as add a little something extra. The coaches were impressed with his consistency and his sound technique.

Running Backs

Anthony Brown, 5-9½, 176 (Fontana, Calif./Kaiser)
Brown stood out at April's camp at USC and we even better in Palo Alto. Brown has a nice package of speed and strength with a great initial burst. The coaches talked about his ability to cut and slash and he showed great hands out of the backfield as well.

Wide Receivers

Ross Apo, 6-3, 192 (Euless, Texas./The Oakridge School)
Apo, a Texas commit, raised some eyebrows when he showed up to the camp wearing a pair of Oklahoma Sooner shorts, but he said not to read in to it and that he's still committed to the Horns. The big, physical receiver was a matchup nightmare for smaller defensive backs all day. Apo has great hands and never fights the ball. While the coaches noted he doesn't have great top-end speed, he is very smooth in and out of his cuts and uses his size well. He does a nice job creating separation when the ball is in the air and really attacks the ball in traffic.

Offensive Line

Jay Barlow, 6-2, 259 (La Mesa, Calif./Helix)
Barlow didn't start a year ago as the true center said his coach wanted to keep him strictly as the backup in case the starting center was injured. But Barlow will start this fall. He has a strong frame and has worked hard on his body in the last year. Coaches noticed his excellent feet, how hard he plays and that he has a nice mean streak to him.

Defensive Line

Rakeem Yates, 6-1½, 231 (Fresno, Calif./Edison)
Yates is an intriguing player because of his size and skill set. He looks like an inside linebacker but plays defensive tackle at Edison. During the one on ones, he showed a quick get off. This wasn't a case of a smallish defensive end lining up off the edge and just running around a big tackle. Yates played inside and took on every guard and center head up. He still couldn't be blocked and along with his quickness, uses his hands very well and has great strength.

Linebackers

Eric Kendricks, 6-1, 198 (Fresno, Calif./ Hoover)
Just three years ago, a no-name linebacker names Mychal Kendricks from Hoover emerged out of nowhere to earn LB MVP honors at the Nike Camp at Stanford and is now expected to start at Cal this coming season. So it shouldn't be surprising that Eric Kendricks, Mychael's younger brother, had a big showing to earn MVP honors. Kendricks, who is flying under the recruiting radar right now, stood out in the one on one pass rush drill as well as the one on one cover drills at the end of the camp. The coaches talked about how he's smart and covers a lot of ground on the field. He plays hard and never backed down from taking on the best backs in the camp. It will be interesting to see if Kendricks recruitment blows up the same way his brother's did three years ago.

Defensive Backs

Terrance Mitchell, 5-11½, 165 (Sacramento, Calif./Burbank)
Defensive back might have been the deepest in the camp and the race for MVP came down to a virtual toss up between three players. Along with Joshua Shaw (Palmdale, Calif.) and Anthony Jefferson (Los Angeles, Calif./ Cathedral), Mitchell led a strong group of corners but the coaches deemed the Sacramento standout the most consistent of the day. Mitchell is very athletic with great leaping ability and made some outstanding plays on the ball during one on ones. He's more quick than fast but can close on the ball well and is physical at the line. The coaches said he stood out in press coverage and also showed the ability to turn and run with just about every receiver he went up against.