June 16, 2009

Top recruits shine at Oregon half-day

The beauty of summer camps is that they are more relaxed than when games loom. Camp staffs can focus on teaching rather than preparation for an opponent. And both camps in Eugene Saturday were fun, although an NCAA rule cast a pall on the morning camp. It turns out that when two camps are scheduled for the same day on a college campus, athletes can't go to both. On Saturday, the majority of the D-1 prospects chose the afternoon Oregon camp. Sheldon star Curtis White explained while observing the NIKE Camp. "We've got the Oregon camp and I know it's a violation to do both on the same day. So we decided I should go to the Oregon one. We decided three days ago. I think for awhile they were trying to move the date but they just couldn't."

The NIKE Camp was still very well-run and coached as always. Top trainers from across the country converged to teach the fundamentals of gaining speed and agility, while focusing on cutting edge training technology constantly being developed by NIKE. Nonetheless, the Eugene camp has been shrinking and Saturday was it was small, somewhere around 150 all told. A few years ago it was closer to 300 athletes, last year about 200. The group this year consisted primarily of top high school players, many of whom will play in college at some level though few in the Pac-10. The second camp was a different story. "I think a lot of guys who are going are guys the Ducks are looking at hard," opined White. "So it's going to be good for my position, and I get some one-on-one time with Coach Osborne."

Highlighting the Oregon half-day camp for Duck fans were two existing Oregon commits, White and Terrance Mitchell. Mitchell was observing with his father from the sidelines, clearly enjoying the action. White was in the thick of the action. He worked out at both tight end with Coach Osborne as well as defensive line with Coach Azzinaro. Without identification on their jerseys it was tough to put names with faces, but not so with big George Uko who DSA has been tracking for some time. Uko was one of a number of high performing big men who showed up for training with the Oregon coaches. Other staffs from smaller colleges across the State joined Chip Kelly's group to ensure the details of technique were addressed.

DSA caught up with Mitchell and asked about his trip to Eugene. "Basically right now I came down to get know the coaches and another chance to see the campus which I already knew was nice," said the northern California standout. "This time I went a little deeper and really got to know all the coaches. I love the coaches. Coach Neal is a real competitive, real good guy. He's really going to push people. It's going to be a perfect fit for me."

Mitchell also explained why he was watching rather than participating in the half-day camp. "I've been doing a lot of these combines, a lot of these camps. I feel that I've proven to enough people what I can do and the coaches know what I can do so I came down here to make it fun. I get to watch."

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