CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Nike Football Training Camp tour hit the University of Illinois this past weekend, and five more invites to The Opening were handed out. The setting was ideal and the players embraced every moment of it. Each position had a headline player, and in the end three players from the ESPNU 150 stole the show.
Note: Selections are based upon feedback from NFTC position coaches as well as past and projected on field-performance. Athletes are in the Class of 2013 unless otherwise noted.
WR Laquon Treadwell, 6-3, 195, Crete-Monee (Crete, Ill.)
One of the nation's top receivers demonstrated from the beginning that he is a very special player. Treadwell at the very beginning had coaches raving about his ability to do everything. He was unstoppable off the line, leaving defenders playing catch up on every route. The ESPN 150 member (No. 42) easily earned position MVP honors and an invite to The Opening.
RB Jeffrey Jones, Washburn (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Jones caught the attention of the coaches very early, demonstrating a willingness to listen and soak in everything being taught. He is extremely quick and showed a variety of open-field moves that had defenders grabbing at air. Even more impressive was his route-running skills and ability to make any catch. Look for Jones' stock to continue to rise throughout the summer as more offers come in to join the four he already has.
QB: Danny Etling, 6-2.5, 212, South Vigo (Terra Haute, Ind.)
Breakdown: This was third workout for the Purdue commit on the Nike Tour and by far his best. The Purdue commit played smart and made elite-level throws consistently throughout the day.
QB: Max Staver, 6-5.5, 237, Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.)
Breakdown: Quick compact release to go with improved accuracy has Staver becoming one of the region's top passers.
RB: Ty Isaac, 6-2.5, 217, Joliet Catholic (Joilet, Ill.)
Breakdown: The USC recruit was silky smooth in all drills, diminishing the stereotype that bigger backs are not as elusive. He also looked very good running routes and showed some strong receiving skills.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott, 6-0, 197, John Burroughs (St. Louis, Mo.)
Breakdown: The Ohio State commit was named MVP of a very deep and talented group. Elliot should flourish in Urban Meyers' system once in Columbus.
WR: James Onwualu, 6-1, 203, Cretin-Derham Hall (Saint Paul, Minn.)
Breakdown: The Notre Dame commit was great during the half-skelly period, where he made some big plays as a result of great route-running ability.
WR: Jazz Peavy, 6-0.5, 173, Tremper (Kenosha, Wisc.)
Breakdown: The Nike Combine standout is not just a workout warrior as he proved to be talented enough at the position to merit some attention.
TE: Jake Butt, 6-6, 231, Pickerington North (Pickerington, Ohio)
Breakdown: Butt was unstoppable off the line and looked like a receiver in the open field. The Michigan commit is one of the most polished tight ends seen on the NFTC tour this year.
OL: Steve Elmer, 6-6, 305, Midland (Mich.)
Breakdown: This is one player that could easily start at the very beginning of his college career. Elmer moves extremely well for his size and completely dominated every rep he took.
OL: Tyler Lancaster, 6-3.5, 270, Plainfield East (Plainfield, Ill.)
Breakdown: One the best true centers we have seen on the tour this year. It's just a matter of time before big-time colleges take notice.
OL: Jamarco Jones ('14), 6-4, 282, De La Salle (Chicago, Ill.)
Breakdown: Already has been offered by Illinois and it's just a matter of time before more schools do. Jones is very quick out of his stance and knows how to use his strength to his advantage.
OL: Ross Piersbacher ('14), 6-3.5, 267, Cedar Falls (Iowa)
Breakdown: Already has been offered by Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Wisconsin after an All-State sophomore season.
DL: Alec James, 6-3, 219, East (Brookfield, Wisc.)
Breakdown: James is an impressive physical specimen and is also a very talented football player with more than 10 offers.
DL: Jason Hatcher, 6-2, 259, Trinity (Louisville, Ky.)
Breakdown: Displayed a variety of moves off the edge that showed why more than 15 schools have extended offers.
DL: Chikwe Obasih, 6-2.5, 230, Brookfield Central (Brookfield, Wisc.)
Breakdown: Had a huge junior season with 83 tackles and 15 sacks. Has earnined a handful of offers and just recently committed to Wisconsin.
DL: Elijah Daniel, 6-3, 245, Avon (Ind.)
Breakdown: Some would say Daniel was the top prospect at the camp after his MVP showing.
LB: Reggie Spearman, 6-1, 218, Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)
Breakdown: Was the top player of group from the very beginning and really shone when the ball was in the air earning MVP honors.
LB: Kellen Ash, 6-1.5, 196, Parkway South (Ballwin, Mo.)
Breakdown: Separated from the rest of the pack during the pass rush drills with his quickness and strength off the edge.
LB: Clifton Garrett ('14), 6-2,, 215, Plainfield (Ill.)
Breakdown: Already has been offered by Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan State.
LB: Nyles Morgan ('14), 6-1, 215, Crete-Monee (Crete, Ill.)
Breakdown: Has already been offered by Notre Dame and Illinois.
DB: Keelon Brookins, 5-10, 185, Tartan (Oakdale, Minn.)
Breakdown: Brookins has a great combination of size and quickness with exceptional cover skills.
DB: Jourdan Lewis, 5-10, 184, Cass Tech (Detroit, Mich.)
Breakdown: Lewis was dominant during the half skelly and one-on-one periods where he made multiple interceptions and pass break ups.
DB: Jayme Thompson, 6-2, 183, Central Catholic (Toledo, Ohio)
Breakdown: Thompson was solid from his safety position, constantly being in the right place at the right time.