Top Performers from 2014 Oakland Nike Sparq Recruiting Combine
The Nike Sparq Recruiting Combine set up shop in Oakland on Saturday at Laney College to evaluate some of the most promising young football prospects from around the country.
Participants ranged from local Bay Area athletes to those coming from states as far away as Hawaii and Minnesota.
Bleacher Report was in the thick of it all to get an early look at the rising stars of 2015 and 2016. The following athletes stood out on Saturday as the top performers in the combine.
10. DB Nick Moore
Sparq Score: 90.00
High School: Pittsburg (Calif.)
Position: Defensive Back
Height/Weight: 5'8", 160 lb.
Nick Moore finished No. 17 overall on Saturday, just inside the Top 20 performers. The 17-year old defensive back had a particularly strong showing in the vertical jump, where he posted a 40.9-inch leap. He has big, strong calves and also displayed explosiveness in the agility drills, where he posted one of the best times on the day (4.44 sec.). He started in the secondary for Pittsburg this past season but went down early with injury and subsequently doesn't have any offers yet going into his senior year.
A strong performance in Sunday's Nike Football Training Camp and during his senior season could change that.
9. RB Sean Pinson
Sparq Score: 91.80
High School: Freedom (Oakley, Calif.)
Height/Weight: 5'10", 180 lb.
Sean Pinson spent most of the 2013 season backing up Freedom standout and Oklahoma signee Joe Mixon, and this offseason he's looking to improve his skills so that it's his name we are talking about next fall. He put up roughly 700 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards by his own estimation and had 10 touchdowns.
Prior to playing for Freedom, Pison attended Lakewood High in Colorado.
On Saturday, Pinson ran a 4.78 40-yard dash and posted 35.0-inch and a 36.0-inch score in the vertical leap and power ball toss, respectively. Those specs put him amongst the top of the running backs and earned him an invite to Sunday's NFTC event.
8. LB Patrick Pipitone
Sparq Score: 90.63
High School: Amador Valley (Calif.)
Height/Weight: 5'9", 193 lb.
Patrick Pipitone was one of the top-performing linebackers on the day, particularly excelling in the cone drills, with a time of 4.28 seconds and a vertical jump of 35 inches. He has a solid 5'9", 193-pound frame and he's still filling it out. By his own estimation, Pipitone had around 70 tackles during his junior season as a starter, and he's looking to build upon that going into his senior year.
Chapman University and UC Davis, among others, have expressed interest in him, but at this time, Pipitone does not hold any offers.
7. RB Dante Griffith-Johnson
Sparq Score: 92.37
High School: Emory (Calif.)
Position: Running back
Height/Weight: 5'10", 180 lb.
Dante Girffith-Johnson had one of the stronger showings of the running backs. He ran a 4.60 40-yard dash and a 4.37 agility drill, showcasing his powerful legs and quick feet. He started last year at Emory High but didn’t play the full year because of injury, so he doesn't have much tape yet.
Navy, Concordia, Illinois, Cal, Holy Cross and Northern Arizona have expressed interest in him at this time.
6. Demetrius Vinson
Sparq Score: 92.46
High School: Joseph Gregori (Modesto, Calif.)
Position: Running back
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190 lb.
Demetrius Vinson was one of just a handful of sophomores that posted a top score in Saturday's Sparq combine. The young running back just finished his first season of football since fifth grade; between then and now, he exclusively played basketball (small forward/shooting guard).
Vinson ran a 4.74 40-yard dash and recorded a 39.3-inch vertical leap. He's still got some room for growth, so this is one athlete to keep an eye on in the coming years.
5. WR Austin Johnson
Sparq Score: 94.29
High School: Mountain View (Calif.)
Position: Wide receiver
Height/Weight: 5’11", 170 lb.
Austin Johnson stood out amongst the wide receivers for his 40-yard time (4.60), which was one of the top times overall on the day. He also ran a 4.25-second cone shuffle, a testament to his agile feet and fluid hips. His vertical leap of 34.2" placed him in the 94th percentile, and his overall performance earned him an invite to Sunday's NFTC.
Like many of the other athletes at Oakland's Sparq combine, Johnson does not yet have any offers, and he said he is working toward having a senior season that turns some heads in his direction.
4. RB/LB John McDonald
Sparq Score: 96.78
High School: Lincoln (Stockton, Calif.)
Height/Weight: 5’8”/163 lbs.
In addition to being an overall top performer, John McDonald ran the fastest 40-yard dash on Saturday, with a time of 4.54. He also posted a 37.7-inch vertical leap, one of the best of all the running backs. Last season was his first year at Lincoln, as he previously went to Western Ranch (Stockton, Calif.).
He started for part of this past season but an injury saw him miss the latter half. As a result, he doesn't have a lot of tape yet, but he's also expected to start again this fall.
3. QB Shawn Munoz
Sparq Score: 100.20
High School: Enochs (Modesto, Calif.)
Height/Weight: 6'1", 170 lb.
Shawn Munoz was one of the first to crack the 100 Club on the day and really stood out amongst the other quarterbacks. He ran a 4.71 40-yard dash and a 4.23 in the cones drill, some of the highest times for his position group. His high school ran the veer option this past fall but will be changing the scheme to another spread offense for 2014, so the speed and fluidity he displayed will definitely help him succeed as a senior.
San Jose State and Fresno State have come to visit him at his school but neither school has offered him just yet.
His performance on Saturday earned him an invite back on Sunday, something he was excited about.
“I still want to show I can do more," Munoz said of getting to participate in NFTC.
2. S Jhalil King
Sparq Score: 102.78
High School: Deer Valley (Calif.)
Height/Weight: 6'1", 174 lb.
This was the first ever Sparq test for Jhalil King, and he posted one of the highest scores overall. On top of that, this past fall was only his second year ever playing football. He's already showing great athleticism and he will continue to grow and fill out his frame.
He recorded a 39.3-inch vertical jump and a 39-inch power ball toss, some of the highest marks amongst all the safeties. His agility time of 4.25 also earned him high praise from the coaches on hand and got him an invite to Sunday's NFTC camp.
1. LB Camilo Eifler
Sparq Score: 113.16
High School: Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 207 lb.
Camilo Eifler walked away from Saturday's Sparq combine with the highest score of all in attendance, and he's only a sophomore.
He ran a 4.76 40-yard dash and torched the agility test with a time of 4.28. He also had a vertical leap of 39.3 inches.
His tall, lean frame suggests he could add some more weight, which he will need to do if he wants to earn some offers in his junior year. But the athleticism he displayed on Saturday was quite impressive nonetheless.
He started on Bishop O'Dowd's squad this past season and will do so again this coming fall. In the offseason he is on the track and field team as a high jumper, with a personal-best height of 6'0".
This was his first ever Sparq test, so needless to say, Eifler was very happy with his score once he saw it.
“I thought I would score in the 80s," Eifler said. "Someone told me that was a good score and that's what I was going for."
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