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May 12, 2006

NIKE heads North

More than 500 high school football recruits are expected to attend the Palo Alto NIKE Camp this Saturday.

Held at the University of Stanford, recruits from all over the West Region will try to make a name for themselves during NIKE's second largest camp of the national tour. With coaches from every PAC-10 school represented, the camp annually features a variety of talent from Hawaii to New Jersey, Texas to Idaho.

This year, the camp will be headlined by several USC recruiting targets.

The defensive line will spotlight two standout players from Gardena (Calif.) Serra High School. Defensive end Apaiata Tuihalamaka and defensive tackle DaJohn Harris are two of the state's best at rushing the passer.

Tuihalamaka could play several positions in college, but with tackles that look more like Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka body slams, we project him as a defensive end or outside linebacker depending on his size.

Harris, who was recently offered a scholarship by the Trojans, is an undersized defensive tackle at 260-pounds, but his agility and nose for the football make him a playmaker with potential.

Other names to watch will be Flagstaff (Ariz.) defensive end James Brooks, Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood defensive tackle Simi Fili, Portland (Ore.) Benson Tech defensive tackle Myles Wade and Long Beach (Calif.) Poly defensive end Kenny Rowe.

Playing opposite of Tuihalamaka and Harris will be several top linemen from the Golden State, including Matt Summers-Gavin. While Gavin as yet to be offered a scholarship by USC, Georgia, Nebraska, Cal, Washington and Arizona State have already put the full court press on the 6-foot-5, 270-pound all-league selection.

As with the Southern California NIKE Camp, the offensive line may hog - literally - the spotlight. Other players to watch will be Justin Cheadle of Bakerfield (Calif.), John Huss of Roseville (Calif.) Woodcreek and Po'u Palelei of Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman.

While 2007 may not be the year of the receiver in California, it is a great year for defensive backs. In fact, there's a possibility two of the state's cornerbacks will be performing for a USC scholarship offer at Saturday's camp.

Los Angeles (Calif.) Jordan corner Antwoine Baker and Compton (Calif.) Dominguez corner David Ross were both evaluated by USC earlier this month. Neither was giving a scholarship after their personal workout, but both were asked to attend Saturday's camp.

"Coach (Ken) Norton thought I looked good during my workout, but they want to see me run a 4.50 (40-yard dash) up at Stanford," said Ross. "If I can do that, then they'll probably offer me."

USCFootball.com will have SPARQ updates, player interviews, photos and analysis from the camp throughout the weekend. For full camp results, visit StudentSportsFootball.com.


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