The UCLA four-day football camp concludes today, and it's generally been successful in bringing a few key prospects to campus and possibly recognizing a few others.
The story we did Monday highlighted most of the standouts that participated: Four-Day Camp Story #1.
The most significant prospect that showed up for the camp in the last two days was Gavin Ketchum, the 6-4 wide receiver/safety from Oak Park (Calif.) High. Ketchum is very much a great-looking athlete, with great size and a great body, and good quickness and agility. As a wide receiver, he'd could very well play at the next level as your possession receiver, but he perhaps even has more potential as a safety, where his length and quickness combine with very good instincts, allowing him to cover quite a bit of ground.
Offensive lineman Devin Head, 6-4, 260, Corona (Calif.) Centennial, almost made an
appearance. Even though UCLA needs tackle prospects and Head projects as a guard, his
quickness and aggressiveness is getting him a long, serious look from the UCLA coaches.
Another prospect that will garner a long and serious look from the UCLA coaches is Chris Turner, the 6-4, 200-pound quarterback from West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade. Turner participated in the morning on Tuesday, showing his wares particularly in the seven-on-seven competition. Turner has good size, decent mobility, and is pretty well polished mechanically. His throwing motion is smooth and effortless. He has just decent arm strength, not necessarily a cannon, but solid, and he throws the ball with very good accuracy and touch. Turner also has the smarts you want in a quarterback. From what we've heard, Illinois has offered, while he's also getting serious attention from Michigan State. UCLA has started to look at him seriously as the second quarterback they'd take in the 2005 class with Osaar Rasshan. Turner also has offers from a number of other schools, such as UNLV and Boise State.
Rasshan has definitely looked better during UCLA's four-day camp than in any other event, and particularly at what is called "Bruin Ball." At the four-day camp at night, the IM field is taken over by Bruin Ball, which is a type of hybrid between a passing league and ultimate frisbee. Each team has 10-13 players and a play begins with a quarterback and the rest of his teammates on the line of scrimmage. The quarterback then passes downfield, but a receiver can then throw it down the field also. Rasshan is particularly able to exploit his athletic ability in Bruin Ball, showing his avoidability and quickness for his size. In the last couple of days in the camp, Rasshan has gotten much more comfortable throwing the ball, particularly in the seven-on-sevens. His passes down the field have stopped floating and his accuracy has improved. He has a strong arm and made some very strong throws on post patterns. But it's also very fair to say that he also still is very, very raw and a project. His mechanics need to be considerably refined, both in throwing the ball and his footwork. While he has great mobility, he doesn't throw the ball well on the run. And while it's tough to get a gauge from merely watching seven-on-sevens, it's evident that he still has a ways to go before he understands the mental aspect of quarterbacking. But all in all, his performance here at the four-day camp was encouraging. There is some definite raw talent there, and it will be interesting to see if the UCLA coaches can develop Rasshan into a quarterback that can effectively execute the UCLA offense.
An aside: It's a tradition that the coaching staff surprises the campers and takes on the championship Bruin Ball squad itself. The coaching staff has won the last four years and are undefeated. They again took on the championship camper team last night, but the results haven't come in yet. We'll keep you posted.
Other prospects who participated in the camp to keep an eye on:
Mike Aguayo, DL, 6-4, 255, Los Alamitos (Calif.) High, is a bit narrow framed, but has good agility and intelligence.
Jairus Byrd, a 5-10, 190-pound cornerback prospect from Clayton (Missouri) High, had a good four days at the camp. He has a very impressive, muscled body and very sure feet in coverage, with good closing ability. He played on Rasshan's seven-on-seven team and bonded with the quarterback. The word was that Byrd would commit to UCLA if offered. To date, it's uncertain if Byrd has any offers, but he was considered the best corner prospect at the recent Nike Camp in Seattle.
Marquel Martin, a 6-0, 185 pound defensive back prospect from Rialto (Calif.) High, looked good in the testing, running a 4.59, with a very good body. His teammate, Jerriman Robinson from Rialto (Calif.) High, who looked to be about 6-1 and 175, also had a good camp.
Another defensive back, 5-11, 180-pound Felix Sharpe from Kalamazoo (Mich.) Central, was also a good-looking prospect.
There were a couple other defensive linemen to watch: Brad Noell, 6-4, 240, Torrey Pines (Calif.) High; and Jess Ward, 6-2, 260, Rim of the World (Calif.) High.
There were also a few underclass offensive linemen to watch. John Kyed, who looked to be about 6-6 and 260, from Boulder (Col.) High, has the makings of a potentially elite prospect. Walter Watts, 6-3, 275, Los Banos (Calif.) High, had good quickness and instincts.