First, the camp has moved from Buchanan High School, its home the last three years, to Central's Deran Koligian Stadium. The 6,000-seat facility is equipped with state-of-the art field turf and all the modern amenities. Second, Lee and Worrell have added two new events to this year's docket, Top Ball Hawk DB Camp and the Elite 7-on-7 Challenge. As well, the combine portion is a FREE event open to all rising 9-12 graders.
Finally yet importantly, Passing Down is the only the camp in the West featuring hands-on instruction from current NFL players covered by Scout.com.
Top Ball Hawk
This inaugural FREE camp is the brainchild of Worrell, who spent six years in the NFL after being earning first team All-WAC honors as a safety at Fresno State in 2002. Worrell has developed an elite DB camp with a unique point system to determine who the Top Ball Hawk is.
This year's event has attracted some of the top DBs in the California despite being in its infancy stage. Four-star Sacramento (Calif.) Grant safety James Sample headlines the field. His teammate Shaquille Thompson is one of the top defensive backs in the 2012 class. He is the younger brother of former Cal All-American cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson.
Bakersfield (Calif.) DB Mercy Matson is emerged as one of the top prospects in the West after a stellar spring. The newly crowned three-star aims to prove he is the Top Ball Hawk. His teammate Brandon Johnson was one of the top cornerbacks at the San Diego State Camp last month. He will also compete.
Clovis (Calif.) East safety Jerry Haymon is arguably the strongest DB in the West. The 6-foot, 200-pound standout can bench 400 pounds, and he uses every bit of that when he lays the lumber on opposing players. He impressed at Arizona State and UCLA camps last month with the only downside of his game being his hips and footwork. He's spent the last few weeks improving his flexibility, which he plans to show at Top Ball Hawk.
Castro Valley (Calif.) cornerback Giles Chapman is one of the quickest athletes in the Golden State. Despite his size, he's aggressive as he is confident. He will be one to watch on Friday. Fresno (Calif.) Memorial cornerback Jose Jolly was the top DB at the Big Picture Athletics Skills Camp last month. It will be interesting to see him against a much tougher field of competition at Top Ball Hawk.
Another one to watch is San Jose (Calif.) Leland safety Christopher Santini.
Livermore (Calif.) Granada athletes George Atkinson and Josh Atkinson had to pull out of Friday's competition because of a scheduling conflict. Also expected to miss is elite 2012 Fresno (Calif.) Central cornerback Tee Shepard, who continues to nurse an injured finger.
A few spots remain open for this FREE DB camp, click HERE for more information and to register.
Passing Down Elite 7-on-7 Challenge
Friday Night Lights comes to Passing Down in the form of an elite 7-on-7 tournament.
Originally, four teams – B2G, Cathedral, DB Guru, and Pro Sport – were invited to compete. However, only DB Guru and Pro Sport confirmed and late replacement Big Picture Athletics pulled out as well. Pro Sport, led by Cal quarterback commit Kyle Boehm, is the only team from the original four that will attend.
DB Guru, aka "Team Central Cali" disbanded to allow quarterbacks Mike Baker and Cody Kessler to comprise their own teams, Team 559 and Team 100, respectively. Bakersfield (Calif.) quarterback Brian Burrell leads Team Driller, and rising 2012 prospect, Kerman (Calif.) Marcus Montero leads Team Lions. Durham (Calif.) quarterback Nelson Fishback and Team NorCal round out the six-team field.
Team Pro Sport is an early favorite based on their second place finish at the AIGA Memorial 7-on-7 Tournament in May. Pro Sport defeated Team 1925 twice at the AIGA tournament and once in the Las Vegas Badger/New Level 7-on-7 Tournament in February. Team 1925 finished second in Badger/New Level's national tournament this past weekend. Besides four-star prospect Boehm, Pro Sport features standout athlete Kris Olugbode, linebacker Rufus Wolokolie, and safety Chris Santini.
Team 559 is the host team per se as Baker and numerous of his Central teammates make up the squad. Three-star wide receiver B.J. Kelley was Baker's top target last season for the Grizzlies and will be the top offensive threat for Team 559. Along with Central running back Robert Johnson and receivers Ernest Carter and Chinook Anderson, Team 559 should be fluid offensively. Also on the squad is Kingsburg (Calif.) duo Garrett Steele and Benton Bray. Steele is a standout safety and running back. Bray is one of the top tight ends in Central California. Giles Chapman will play corner and receiver for 559, and Fresno (Calif.) Memorial running back Chris Brown is arguably the top prospect at his position in the 2012 class. Defensively, they have the top linebacker in Central California in Shaq Moseley.
The top rated quarterback in the Golden State leads Team 100. USC commit Kessler is the 10th rated quarterback in the nation, according to Scout.com. However, after Kessler, the talent level drops on Team 100. Elite 2012 Fresno (Calif.) Bullard TE/DE Ian Taubler will be a huge target for Kessler. Three-star MLB Jared Norris and safety Jerry Haymon will lead the defense. Fresno (Calif.) Hoover athlete Tevin Ivy is a late addition to Team 100 that was unable to land fellow USC commits Jordan Payton and Victor Blackwell. Ivy is expected to play running back and cornerback.
The wildcard in the tournament is Team NorCal. Fishback has assembled a nice collection of players led by Grant defensive backs James Sample and Shaq Thompson. However, Fishback may have the best wide receiver tandem in the tournament. Esparto (Calif.) wideout Mike Evans missed most of last season with a hamstring injury. But the 6-foot-2, 195-pound target was on the original Scout 2011 watch list to start the season. Team NorCal also will have one of 2012's top receiving prospects in Woodland's (Calif.) Dalen Jones. Jones was the top wide receiver at Fresno State's June 6 skills camp. Besides the Grant duo, NorCal will also have athletic linebacker Michael Ayers out of Elk Grove (Calif.) Laguna Creek. Paradise (Calif.) athlete Austin Thayer is another to watch. The 6-foo-5, 215-pounder can play tight end and safety.
Team Driller will also have a solid defensive backfield. Mercy Matson is one of the top cover corners in the 2011 class. His counterpart Brandon Johnson is quick, athletic, and has excellent ball skills. Add in Fred Wilson, and Team Driller will be tough to beat through the air. Johnson and Wilson will provide Burrell will capable targets on offense.
Montero's Team Lions enters Friday as the underdog. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound Montero might have the most upside of any prospect in the tournament. He missed all of last season with a torn ACL after camping at USC and Oklahoma after his freshman season. He is poised for a breakout performance; however, he doesn't seem to have the surrounding talent to make it happen.
Passing Down will continue with its combine for the second consecutive year. This time, there is no charge to be tested, and no obligation to attend the two-day Passing Down Camp. Walkup registration will be taken on Saturday morning beginning at 8 a.m. for the 9 a.m. combine. Times will be recorded as official Scout.com combine numbers for prospect profiles.
Passing Down Camp
The traditional two-day camp begins on Saturday afternoon with a shorts-and-t-shirts session. 1-on-1s and 7-on-7 will follow the instructional period. The camp concludes on Sunday with two full-padded sessions. The camp's top performers will compete in the first annual Passing Down Premier Game held on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.
To register for the camp and more information, please visit PassingDown.com.