Friday, March 8, 2013
Five stories to watch: NFTC Los Angeles
By Erik McKinney
The first Nike Football Training Camp of 2013 will take place this Sunday at Redondo Beach (Calif.) Redondo Union. The elite players in the West region will take part in what is unquestionably the biggest and most prestigious camp of the offseason. Heading into Sunday’s event, there are several storylines that will be worth watching as top recruits will be put to the test in individual, one-on-one and team situations.
Who gets the first invitations to The Opening? The first Nike camp of the spring means the first invitations to The Opening will be handed out. Last year, five recruits earned invitations immediately following the Los Angeles Nike camp. This year, is there a chance that with the talent scheduled to be on hand, the number could double? Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra) won the linebacker MVP award at this camp last year and has his sights set on the ultimate prize.
Dwight Williams was the linebacker MVP at the 2012 Los Angeles NFTC.
Quarterbacks on display Quarterbacks will always receive the headlines, and few positions are under more scrutiny at a NFTC. Multiple states will be represented at the event, and all eyes will be on a trio of quarterbacks with some impressive offers. Brandon Dawkins (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) holds offers from Notre Dame and Utah. Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) is into double digits, with Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, UCLA and West Virginia among those in the mix. Michigan commitment Wilton Speight (Richmond, Va./Collegiate School) is also scheduled to be on hand.
Who takes home OL MVP? There will be far more than three players to watch along the offensive line, but to see who shakes out as the top performer among a trio that features Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial), Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) will be one of the can’t-miss aspects of Sunday’s camp. Lobendahn is a verbal commitment to USC, while Talamaivao and Mama have both been offered by Alabama, as well as much of the Pac-12.
Take two for defensive backs? In the 2013 recruiting class, defensive back was, without question, the most impressive position in California. It might be more of the same for the 2014 class, and a statement could be made by this group on Sunday. Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) is the headliner and one of the most sought-after recruits in the state. But he is far from the only player capable of taking home position MVP honors on Sunday. Teammates Naijiel Hale and Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), safety David Williams (Los Angeles/Dorsey) and cornerback Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) are all extremely talented. Throw in 2015 standout Iman Williams (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and this group gets even deeper.
St. John Bosco’s world One of the questions heading into Sunday might not be whether or not a player from St. John Bosco takes home an MVP award. It might be how many the school is responsible for. With Mama on the offensive line and the tandem of Hale and Wadood in the secondary, the Braves will have a good chance to make an impression. Throw standout defensive end Malik Dorton into the mix along the defensive line and the chance for St. John Bosco to be the talk of the event goes even higher. If middle linebacker Chandler Leniu or wide receiver Shay Fields attends the event, the Braves could have a standout performer at just about every position.