The sun touched down on DeBartolo Sports University and the hundreds of athletes that participated in our inaugural DeBartolo Football Festival at UNLV.
With beautiful weather throughout the weekend, and the famous â€śLas Vegas stripâ€ť in the background, there was an abundance of talent on display.
On Friday evening, festivities kicked off with our Football Showcase that allowed athletes to gauge their current skill level in competition through position drills and 1-on-1 match-ups.
Click here to view the All-Las Vegas Showcase Team.
Following the showcase, quarterbacks, wide receivers, and lineman competed in Skills Challenges providing a fun and competitive atmosphere featuring obstacle courses, accuracy and route running challenges, and position specific skills challenges.
Click here to view the top performers from Skills Challenge station.
Former NFL all-pro Curtis Conway and former NFL wide receiver Travis Hannah lead receivers through curriculum with the assistance of Brent Browner, an assistant at nearby Faith Lutheran High School and fitness director for the Las Vegas YMCA.
DeBartolo Sports University was graced with the presence of NFL great and future first ballot hall-of-famer Jonathan Ogden as the feature instructor for the Lineman Academy. Ogden was joined by DSU instructor Angelo Jackson and Dan Dolby, offensive coordinator at Faith Lutheran and former GM of the Las Vegas Gladiators.
DSU instructor Betsy Folsom took quarterbacks and wide receivers through a rigorous core training training program, while the lineman worked with former Worldâ€™s Strongest Man, Mark Phillipi, who operates his own performance training facility in Las Vegas. Korey Goodwin, also a well-regarded performance specialist in Las Vegas, spent time working with quarterbacks on their movement.
Below are notes and highlights from athletes who showcased talent, coach-ability, and a strong work ethic.
One of the first athletes invited to participate in the 2010 US Army All-American Bowl, AJ Derby made the trek to Las Vegas from Iowa City, Iowa. A highly-regarded quarterback at City High School, Derby has already collected offers from Florida, Alabama, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and the hometown Hawkeyes.
Derby possesses ideal size, athleticism, and demeanor for the position, but as a multi-sport, versatile athlete he has only played the position for a year.
Derby has an excellent attitude and exceptional willingness to learn. He will be one of the nationâ€™s most highly recruited quarterbacks in the Class of 2010.
Kain Colter (Englewood, CO/Cherry Creek HS) proved to be one of the best athletes at the quarterback position in attendance. Colter is extremely intelligent, displayed an uncanny ability to apply what was being taught, and has a division one arm. That explains why he already possesses scholarship offers from Arizona State, Stanford, Northwestern, and Colorado.
Gregory Watson (Rancho Cucamonga, CA/Rancho Cucamonga) showcased the strongest arm of the quarterbacks in attendance. Watson had great velocity on his throws but need to continue to work on his mechanics and to learn at times he will need to throw with less velocity. A proven winner at the high school level, Watson is worth a look.
Harrison Stewart (Yuciapa, CA/Yuicapa) improved immensely throughout the weekend. Stewart stands tall in the pocket and placed the ball very well during the weekend. He also had the longest toss in the QB Skills Challenge throwing for 62-yards. After growing three inches from last fall, Stewart will be a first-time starter on varsity in 2009 and is one to watch.
Las Vegasâ€™s best were on hand, including Class of 2010 quarterbacks Dalton Leilua (Desert Pines HS) and Devin Weidemann (Western HS). Leilua has great size and an electric arm but needs to continue to work on his feet and flexibility/mobility in the hips. Wiedemann threw a very nice ball throughout the weekend.
Other Class of 2010 standouts included Blake Hollingsworth (Baton Rouge, LA; University Lab), Paul Perguini (Tujunga, CA; Saint Francis), Cesar Hernandez (Los Angeles, CA/Franklin), and Rashan Harris (Henderson, NV; Coronado).
The Class of 2011 was well represented with several field generals who have been given the ball as starters for their respective varsity squads. That includes Cameron Pettersen (Las Vegas, NV/Sierra Vista) who showed the most improvement during the weekend of any the quarterbacks in attendance.
Chase Webster (Washington, UT/Desert Hills), Zach McElroy (Reno, NV/Bishop Manogue), and Jamaal Martin (Las Vegas, NV/Canyon Springs) were others that showed great promise as leaders of their respective teams.
Joe Portaro (Las Vegas, NV/Faith Lutheran) is considered to be one of the better quarterback prospects in Las Vegas, but was withheld from action due to a sprain ankle suffered days before the academy.
Drew Austin (Tacoma, WA/Graham Kapowsin) was a Class of 2012 quarterback that greatly impressed coaches. Malen Blackmon (Temecula Valley, CA/Temecula Valley) and Savon Moniz (Las Vegas, NV/Bishop Gorman) were other notable performers.
David Sills (7th grade) , who was featured in Sports Illustrated traveled from Bear, Delaware to Las Vegas. Sills continues to make rapid improvement with each year that passes, and was a great leader for other youth quarterbacks to work with and learn from during the weekend.
A standout youth performer, Jarrett Solomon (8th grade) drew raves from the coaches as one of the best overall quarterbacks at the academy. If Solomon continues to work hard and do the right things as a leader, he will be an exciting one to watch in the future. Fellow 8th grader Evan Radke made the trip from Boise, Idaho, and drew praise from the coaches as a young quarterback enjoyable to work with.
DSU alum Bradley Alexander (7th grade), a.k.a Pat White, was grateful to see one of our festival s come to Las Vegas, and once again showed plenty of promise for the future. Randall Cunningham, Jr. (7th grade), son of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, Taylor Mensik (7th grade), and Anthony Cruze (7th grade) were other youth quarterbacks that were notable performers.
Las Vegas showcased some of its top talent in the city at the wide receiver position led by Desert Oasis Class of 2010 prospect Elijah Mitchell. DSU instructor Travis Hannah commented from the get-go that Mitchell was the top performer at the position, and that trend continued until the weekendâ€™s end.
Mitchell has great size and is physical enough to get off the line, has great feet allowing him to run precise routes, and consistently snagged the ball with his hands. He looks to be one of the top prospects in Nevada this fall.
Canyon Springâ€™s Jonathan James stands below six-feet, but is stout, explosive, and shifty. He impressed coaches and was recommended as a division one athlete.
Libertyâ€™s Anthony Norris is an excellent target for quarterbacks at six-foot-four, 200-pounds and moves very well for his size. He also should receive division one interest. Bishop Gormanâ€™s Taylor Spencer has all the athleticism and tools to be a major player at wide receiver, but was a receiver Curtis Conway noted needs better body control in his route running and will need to add to his frame. Desert Pineâ€™s Eric Tuiloma has great hips and overall athleticism, which also allows him to project well as a defensive back.
Keith Holland, Jr. (Downey, CA/Downey) and Dwayne Brown (Fontana, CA/Fontana Kaiser) were two that traveled from California, and impressed with their performance and effort. Holland attended the Los Angeles festival, and continued to show improvement and ability to play at a high level. Brown, a Class of 2011 prospect, is explosive with great speed.
Other notable Class of 2010 performers included running back Victor Belen (Las Vegas, NV/Bishop Gorman), Austin Wilbers (Englewood, CO/Cherry Creek), Tyrel Garner (Henderson, NV/Foothill), Paul Bennett (Las Vegas, NV/Desert Pines), Adam Finlayson (Las Vegas, NV/Faith Lutheran), and Keiffer Mancebo (Las Vegas, NV/Durango).
Class of 2011 tight end Bret Lubbe performed with great effort throughout the weekend and made great improvement. Lubbe has a great frame at six-foot-four, 210-pounds and also projects on the other side of the ball. Fellow Class of 2011 prospects Zachary Ducksworth (Las Vegas, NV/Shadow Ridge) and Brandon Lopez (Las Vegas, NV/Spring Valley) will be asked to assume larger roles on their respective squads this fall.
Youth receivers Hayden Solis (7th grade), who looked like a high school wide receiver, and Longfeather Fox (7th grade) drew praise fro coaches for their effort and performance.
A special weekend it was for lineman to have the opportunity to learn and train with NFL great Jonathan Ogden, and it return, it turned out to be a group that worked diligently at honing their skill set and applying the knowledge being shared.
Class of 2010 lineman Spencer Johnston (Ramona, CA/Ramona) was the most impressive in pass protection not allowing anyone to get by him in 1-on-1â€™s. Johnston will need to continue to add to his frame, but has great tools to work with.
David Graham (Culver City, CA/Culver City) is an explosive athlete that plays with great effort and strength. Heâ€™s only played football for three years so his upside is high. J.J. Buttar (Las Vegas, NV/Faith Lutheran) performed very well in run blocking sets and holds up strong at the point of attack. William Hurlburt (Fallon, NV/Churchill County) was the biggest lineman attendance at six-foot-seven, 305-pounds and moved his feet well for his size. He needs to hold up stronger at the point of attack.
Connor Talbott (Reno, NV/Bishop Manogue) is a strong, fluid athlete that will be asked to a leader on the state champâ€™s offensive line out of need, but projects at the next level very well at his natural position â€“ linebacker. Teammate Alex Eekhoff (class of 2011) stands tall at six-foot-seven and is a capable athlete that will need to fill out his frame and continue to devote more time to learning the position.
Class of 2011 lineman Tala Atlimalala (Las Vegas, NV/Desert Pines) will also need to fill out his frame, but is explosive and plays with a great motor. To put it quite simply, he got after it. Teammate Allen Vaiao (class of 2012) has exceptional size for his size and a great temperament for the position.
Class of 2012 lineman Taeao Peterson (Henderson, NV/Liberty) drew praise from coaches all weekend long. Peterson moved very well and was explosive out of his stance. Liberty was also well represented with Class of 2010 lineman Taeao Remius, Michael Rosal, and Seth McDermott.
Youth lineman Antonio Whitfield (7th grade) already stands over six-feet tall, and has a wiry frame and athleticism to show promise as a defensive end in the future.
Other Class of 2010 notable performers were Jesse Perez (Pahrump, NV/Pahrump Valley), Derrick Casella (Burbank, CA/John Burroughs), Taeao Remius (Henderson, NV/Liberty), Zach Naish (Vista, CA/Rancho Buena Vista), and Remy Fabel (Fallon, NV/Churchill County).
Notable performers in the class of 2011 included Galyn Graham (Las Vegas, NV/Canyon Springs), Angel Gomez (Las Vegas, NV/Rancho), David Vargas (Las Vegas, NV/Spring Valley), and Xavier Evans (Fontana, CA/Fontana Kaiser).
DeBartolo Sports University thanks all participants, their families, and coaches who attended the inaugural Las Vegas DeBartolo Football Festival, which will surely be a stepping stone to many other star-studded events in the ideal destination of Las Vegas.
DeBartolo Sports University also thanks the football programs of Franklin High (Los Angeles, CA), Cheyenne (Las Vegas, NV), Faith Lutheran (Las Vegas, NV), Liberty High School (Henderson, NV), Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, NV), and Coronado High School (Henderson, NV) for each of their units being well represented at the events.
To all that were a part of the weekend, we look forward to working with you again!
Click below to view the top performers from the QB/WR/Lineman Skills Challenge on Friday evening...