Receiver J.J. Koski from San Ramon Valley of Danville has a big day at the 2014 Nike Football Training Camp for Northern California, but he wasn’t the only MVP as voted on by the coaches from his school. Teammate Dru Samia took the same honor among offensive linemen. Check here for more from a breezy day at Chabot College that attracted nearly 300 top players from throughout the West Coast.
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(Thanks to Harold Abend for contributing to this recap)
Two days after junior quarterback Kevin Davidson from San Ramon Valley of Danville looked like one of the top Class of 2016 prospects in the state at the Elite 11 Quarterback Regional at Chabot College, the school scored an even bigger coup by having two Class of 2015 players chosen as MVPs after Sunday’s Nike Football Training Camp for Northern California also held at Chabot.
It was thought heading into the final series of one-on-one drills going on within sight of each other that both receiver J.J. Koski and offensive lineman Dru Samia might be in the running for MVP honors. They had crisp, clean reps all day, but with the type of four-star and five-star talent that annually comes out for the NorCal Nike camp one can never predict who will get their names called out.
“Yeah, it’s exciting that we both won,” said Koski. “We just wanted to come out and show what we can do.”
Samia, who couldn’t be tracked down for comments and photos alongside Koski in the hectic aftermath of the event’s conclusion, is a 6-foot-4, 280-pound offensive tackle who has offers from Pac-12 schools, including nearby Cal.
“Hopefully, this is going to help a lot with my exposure,” Koski said. “I only have one offer right now (Montana) and I’d like to get more.”
Both players were aware that their region of the state (the East Bay) and their league (the East Bay Athletic League) had an abundance of sizzling players on Sunday.Among the defensive backs, for example, Koski and others both thought that Pleasanton Foothill’s Isaiah Langley easily could have been MVP as well.
“We all definitely get to compete every week in every game,” Koski said. “I think getting the chance to go against a great talent like Isaiah will just make you a better player.”
Winning MVP honors among the defensive backs was Fresno Central’s Dehlon Preston, yet another talented prospect from that program. Preston has committed to San Jose State, but winning MVP at the Nike Camp may open up his name to more prominent programs.
The two from San Ramon Valley were also joined by one more East Bay MVP since Concord De La Salle’s Kahlil McKenzie was tops among defensive linemen. McKenzie, in fact, ranks as one of the most dominating defensive tackles that some have ever seen at the event.
“It wasn’t so much that I came here on a mission or that I expected to be the MVP but I’m very pleased,” said McKenzie, a 6-foot-4, 315-pounder. “I came here to do what I always expect to do and that’s come out and dominate.”
MORE NIKE CAMP MVPS
(Note: the only non-Californian who as an MVP on Sunday was linebacker Jeremiah Ieremia of Hurricane, Utah. For all you need to know about the Nike events, CLICK HERE.)
Quarterbacks: Blake Barnett (Santiago, Corona) Sr.
After almost being the MVP of the L.A. Nike camp in April, Barnett came out on Sunday to compete in Hayward and got the MVP this time. With an invite to the Elite 11 Finals and a commitment to Notre Dame already in his pocket, Barnett didn’t obviously have to show up to improve his status much.
Barnett not only showed up but put on a show. He continues to become more of a national recruit. Some in the recruiting media are now beginning to mention him alongside Josh Rosen of St. John Bosco and Ricky Town of Ventura St. Bonaventure as the state’s top quarterback prospects.
Running Backs: Beau Bisharat (Jesuit, Carmichael) Jr.
Possibly the biggest surprise of the MVP honorees was Bisharat collecting the medal for running backs. It’s not that he wasn’t outstanding, but others with sterling resumes didn’t exactly trip and fall over themselves.
“I am a little surprised,” said Bisharat, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder who rushed for 1,100 yards a s a sophomore for the Marauders. “I feel pretty good and honored to win as an incoming junior. After the one-on-ones, I felt I had separated myself.”
SPARQ Testing: Kirk Johnson (Valley Christian, San Jose) Sr.
One of the highlights of the day was seeing Johnson show absolutely no lingering effects from a shoulder injury that knocked him out of Valley Christian’s last several games from last season.
The 2012 All-State Sophomore went through SPARQ testing before the event got ramped up and racked up a 117.72 score, highest of the day and higher than anyone had on Saturday at the Nike Football SPARQ Combine.
“I’ve just recovered from shoulder surgery so I felt I could improve these marks and do even better,” said Johnson, who along with his junior-to-be brother Collin (a receiver) has committed to Texas. “My goal is to just keep improving.”
SIX FROM NFTC ALSO GAIN
INVITES TO NIKE’S THE OPENING
It’s perhaps more important than being an MVP at an NFTC to collect an official invitation to Nike’s The Opening, the elite camp and showcase that will begin this year on July 5 at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
QB MVP Blake Barnett already had an invite and it was made official for De La Salle’s McKenzie and Foothill’s Langley as well. Also earning invites were wide receiver Trent Irwin from Hart of Newhall, defensive back Marvell Tell from Crespi of Encino and two from Hawaii – offensive tackle Semisi Uluave and defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko.
Irwin’s invite to The Opening came two days after his teammate since seventh grade, Hart quarterback Brady White, was given an invite to the Elite 11 Finals that also will be in Oregon at the same time.