NorCal Nike Camp MVPs

John Plattenburg of Corona Centennial and Nick Gibson of Corona both took home MVP honors from Sunday's NFTC at Laney College in Oakland. Photo: Willie Eashman.

John Plattenburg of Corona Centennial and Nick Gibson of Corona both took home MVP honors from Sunday’s NFTC at Laney College in Oakland. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Carta-Samuels also gets ticket to Elite 11 finals, two from Corona earn honors among running backs and DBs, while offensive lineman and receiver from state named as well.

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It’s not much of a crosstown football rivalry between Corona High and Centennial of Corona. It’s not that Corona is that bad, but that Centennial – with four CIF state bowl game appearances since 2007 and numerous high final state rankings – has just been that good.

Corona may have one shining light, however, for the upcoming season at the running back position. Senior-to-be Nick Gibson had a breakout day during Sunday’s Nike Football Training Camp held at Laney College in Oakland, earning MVP honors for the position. Big-time recruit Joe Mixon from Freedom of Oakley was another standout running back during the day.

Centennial was represented in the MVPs photo shoot as well. Huskies’ senior-to-be John Plattenburg was handed out top recognition for defensive backs. He was singled out among an outstanding group that included Adoree’ Jackson from Serra of Gardena and Adarius Pickett of El Cerrito.

Sunday’s event was one of the final stops on the national tour of NFTCs organized by the events division at Student Sports. It attracted more than 375 top players from throughout the state, many from the Western U.S. and a few from as far away as Texas and Kentucky.

In addition to the duo from the city of Corona, three other California players took home MVP status – quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels from Bellarmine of San Jose, offensive lineman Kammy Delp from Diamond Ranch of Pomona and receiver Justin Holmes from Oakmont of Roseville. The two out-of-state MVPs were defensive lineman Mori Savini from Utah and linebacker Joey Altieri from Oregon.

There was one more prize for Carta-Samuels, too. He was awarded the sixth “Golden Ticket” invite of the year for the upcoming Elite 11 finals to be held in Beaverton, Oregon. The national event still has 12 more slots to be announced.

For Gibson, to come out and do what he did – his intensity in the blocking drills was particularly noticed by everyone – off of a team that won just twice last season was one the top headlines of the day.

“It feels good to represent the school, but sometimes it does feel like our team doesn’t exist,” the 5-9, 190-pounder said when asked about playing in the same town as Corona Centennial.

Gibson, who rushed for 1,144 yards and scored nine times last fall, knows how important Sunday could be for his college recruiting prospects, but was just as happy to have gotten the experience.

“The competition here was just amazing,” he said. “We are put out there with the highest level of coaching.”

OL MVP Kammy Delp of Diamond Ranch was strong lining up as either a guard or tackle. Photo: Willie Eashman.

OL MVP Kammy Delp of Diamond Ranch was strong lining up as either a guard or tackle. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Plattenburg, who said he has 14 offers after collecting 75 tackles and five interceptions during his junior season, was happy to have another player from his town in the MVP circle. He also was quick to credit the advantage he has of practicing against Centennial’s legendary no-huddle, spread offense.

“The things I can take away from that every day are amazing,” he said. “Actually, I get to go against one of the best receivers I think in the nation, Barry Ware. That helps a lot.”

Needless to say, Delp probably elevated himself from being a second team Cal-Hi Sports all-state junior from the end of last season to being one of the elite all-state senior candidates heading into the summer.

“Coming into my sophomore season I was injured, but I started last year as a junior and things started going better,” the 6-4, 305-pounder stated. “I got better today by learning a lot of how to set up my pass blocking inside and outside.”

Delp took advantage of the trip to the Bay Area to go on an unofficial visit to Cal, but said the recruiting process for him is very early. He added that 10 colleges have offered so far.

“I was pretty much focusing on the task at hand, but at the end I thought I might have a chance (to be MVP),” he said.

Holmes is an emerging prospect similar to Gibson in that he’s from a team that has mostly struggled in recent seasons. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder caught 44 passes for 715 yards and nine touchdowns last year for the 4-6 Vikings and has done well in other events leading into Sunday.

Holmes wasn’t the only Oakmont player who was considered among the best on Sunday at his position, either. Teammate Trey Olsen (6-4, 225) was head-turning among the defensive ends.

Upcoming juniors look strong

In addition to the usual crop of seniors from next season who are jockeying for the attention of college football scouts and recruiting services, another great component of the NFTC is to get a closer look at those from the Class of 2015 and beyond.

Two of the best – who have a chance to be the type of players that colleges everywhere will offer – are both from 2012 CIF Division I state champion Granite Bay. Linebacker Cameron Smith (6-3, 245) showed his all-state sophomore honor is just scratching the surface. Tight end Dylan Keeney (6-4, 220) also was as good or better than many of the seniors.

Serra of Gardena running back Malik Roberson came to Oakland on Sunday one day after he blazed to a 10.46 clocking in the 100 meters to win his race at the CIF Southern Section Division IV track finals. Roberson was easily one of the best running backs in attendance. He and Jackson (leading the nation in the long jump) have a chance to help the Cavaliers win the team title in two weeks at the CIF state track finals in Clovis.

Speaking of Clovis, Jacob Daniel of Clovis North was one of the top Class of 2015 performers for the entire camp based on how he looked in the defensive line drills. Two other juniors-to-be who already look like they’re on an elite level are receiver Austin Aaron of Napa and defensive end N.J. Falo from Inderkum of Sacramento.

Note: There will be additional football stories, videos and photo galleries posted on in the next weeks based on all that we gathered over the three days in Santa Clara and Oakland. Some of that content will be for Gold Club members only. To join our team for an introductory price that will take you through the 2013 season, please CLICK HERE.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @CalHiSports

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