Oakland is ninth NFTC stop

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The stars will be out at the Oakland Nike Football Training Camp this weekend with several top players trying to pick up coveted spots in The Opening in July.

Among those hoping to outshine the competition and win a trip to Beaverton, Ore., are two recruits from the ESPN 150 -- Max Browne and Michael Hutchings.

Browne, who also will be at the Oakland Elite 11 regional on Friday, will look to cap his weekend by locking up invitations to both prestigious summer events. Rated the nation's No. 13 recruit and No. 2 quarterback in the ESPN 150, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound junior from Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) has committed to USC.

Hutchings is rated the nation's No. 57 recruit in the ESPN 150. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, the junior outside linebacker from De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) has caught the eye of college coaches across the country and has earned 17 offers from the likes of Boise State, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon and USC.

"This weekend I'm just looking to compete," he said. "I want to compete each time I have a chance and just prove my ranking as one of the top players in NorCal."

This past season, Hutchings had 56 tackles, two sacks and an interception on defense for the Spartans, who finished with a 13-1 record and won a CIF Open Division state title. They ended as the nation's No. 10 team in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Now Hutchings is looking to enter his senior season as one of the team leaders of the defending state champs, starting with a spot at The Opening.

"My biggest strengths are going to be guarding the running backs in one-on-ones and the seven-on-seven portion of the camp," he said. "I want to be able to go to Oregon and compete with the best of the best and show off."

Browne and Hutchings are among the nation's top recruits who will be in attendance, but many other talented athletes are hoping to make a name for themselves -- and possibly improve their ranking with a stellar performance.

One of those athletes, Justin Davis of Lincoln (Stockton, Calif.), is a 6-foot, 195-pound running back who is rated the nation's No. 24 tailback by ESPN. He committed to USC on Thursday.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get an invite to The Opening and also just to go out there and compete with good, quality players," he said. "It would really mean a lot [to get an invite]. That's been one of my goals going into the spring and summer."

Davis carried 274 times for 2,380 yards and 36 scores this past season, leading Lincoln to an 11-2 record.

Junior quarterback Trent Hosick of Staley (Kansas City, Mo.) will be making quite the trek out to compete. The 6-2, 221-pounder and Missouri verbal commit threw for 1,422 yards and 10 touchdowns and ran for 2,403 yards and 31 scores this past season in helping Staley to its first state crown.

Teammates L.J. Moore and Hatari Byrd will be among the athletes to watch at the competition as well. The pair star in the defensive backfield (Moore is a cornerback, and Byrd is a safety) for Central East (Fresno, Calif.). They led the team to an 8-3 record this past fall.

Moore said he's looking forward for a chance to join some elite company at the event.

"It would be great," he said. "I've been working extra hard to be invited. That is my goal, and I'm going to do whatever it takes."

Another California standout, junior Elijah Qualls of Casa Grande (Petaluma, Calif.), feels like he has a lot to prove this weekend. Qualls is a 6-2, 260-pound lineman who can double as a running back in offensive sets. He's listed as an athlete by ESPN. He's already earned offers from USC, Arizona State, Iowa State, Michigan, Oregon State and Washington, and several more are likely on the way.

Qualls isn't the highest-rated recruit at the event, but he thinks that could change with a big weekend.

"I'm looking forward to the competition," Qualls said. "There are going to be a lot of great players there [at the Oakland NFTC], and I want to see where I stand. I know where I'm ranked, but rankings are just that -- they are only rankings, so I want to legitimately see where I am at compared with other California athletes."

It's not just his motivation that has Qualls ready for this weekend. He knows he has a unique blend of speed and skill that could be a big asset.

"Not a lot of DTs double as a running back, and I feel that gives me a great advantage," he said. "I appreciate everything I get. I feel like all these are chances to prove that I'm as good as other people say instead of everyone going by word of mouth."