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May 23, 2012

Oakland Nike/E11: What we learned

MORE OAKLAND: E11 | Def. | Off. | Nike coverage

The Oakland Elite 11 and NIKE camp were held this past weekend at Contra Costa College. Here are five things West analyst Adam Gorney learned during his time in Northern California last weekend.

Browne could be special

The five-star quarterback has been written about so often there isn't much else to say. But what's been so impressive about Max Browne is his continued competitiveness and drive to get better.

The Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline quarterback did not have to show up for the Elite 11 - or especially stay for Sunday's NIKE camp - but he worked diligently at both camps and was thoroughly impressive on nearly every throw.

USC landed a big-time quarterback in Browne, who has put up insane statistics in his high school career and he has proven over time that he is an outstanding prospect who could really shine in the Trojans' offense.

Northern California has some QBs

The next recruiting cycle could be big for quarterbacks in Northern California and Palo Alto's Keller Chryst and San Marin Novato's Manny Wilkins will lead the way.

Chryst was arguably the most-consistent and impressive 2014 quarterback at the Elite 11 workout and Wilkins was solid both days. Wilkins was a virtual unknown before the weekend but that will change and it's expected both will pick up multiple Pac-12 offers as their high school careers continue.

Qualls is an intriguing recruit

There was a lot of chatter about Elijah Qualls prior to the NIKE Camp and after the event there is even more intrigue surrounding the Petaluma (Calif.) Casa Grande athlete.

Qualls is being recruited as a running back/fullback/defensive tackle, which is incredibly rare, and he's not a surefire pick for any of those positions. Is it possible that he's being courted at all those spots and he's still a player without a position?

The one thing we're impressed with regarding Qualls is that he's a hard-nosed, competitive prospect who gets after it. But against an average offensive line group at the NIKE camp, Qualls did not dominate as was expected, until some of the final reps.

Qualls definitely has the speed and power to dominate but to be considered among the elite players in the country he has to bring it every single rep on the field. The talent is definitely there to do it.

Fresno keeps churning out DBs

It is amazing that so many top cornerbacks come out of Fresno and this recruiting cycle is no different - actually it's one of the stronger years.

Four-star cornerback Johnny Johnson and four-star safeties L.J. Moore and Hatari Byrd lead the way and all three were impressive at times during the NIKE event. Johnson was getting a lot of hype from the NIKE camp coaches and he was especially good during drills. He sat out one-on-one drills, which was disappointing.

The 2014 class is also loaded with some serious talent. Wide receiver/defensive back Michiah Quick leads the way and Devon Brewer is also pretty good.

What's amazing is that all five of those prospects play at Fresno (Calif.) Central East, which means opponents could get shut out this season. That team's defense is absolutely loaded with at least five Division I prospects.

Another monster class for USC?

USC already has two five-star prospects and five four-star recruits in its class, and things could soon be getting even better for the Trojans.

Four-star linebacker Michael Hutchings was seen wearing a USC hat prior to the NIKE camp and it's no secret the Trojans are in good shape in his recruitment.

Five-star safety Su'a Cravens from Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta is expected to make his announcement on June 6. USC, UCLA, Ohio State and Michigan are the four contenders at this point.

Four-star wide receiver Darrell Daniels likes the Trojans as well, as does Qualls and many other top prospects.

Also impressive this past weekend was four-star running back Justin Davis from Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln, who recently committed to the Trojans. Everyone knows Davis can run fast and is a game-breaker but he really showed off his toughness and grit during blocking drills against linebackers.



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