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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Hamani Stevens (Hemet HS, CA)

Hemet High School Hamani Stevens was named the MVP of the Nike Training Camp at the University of Oregon at Eugene.

UGENE, Ore. – Better late than never.

Hamani Stevens was the most impressive player at Saturday's NIKE Camp in Eugene.
That was the story for Hemet, Calif., offensive lineman Hamani Stevens at Saturday's NIKE Training Camp at the University of Oregon. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound four-star prospect was one of the last players to check in, but by the end of the camp he was at the front of the line after winning most the valuable player award for the offensive line.

"My ride was sleeping at the hotel," Stevens, a Riavls250 prospect, said.

"But I'm glad that I finally was able to get him up, and he hustled me over here. I was afraid I might miss it. Wining the MVP was one of my goals. Coming all the way from California, I didn't want to leave with nothing. I came out here, gave it my all and did what the coaches said. They all said coming out here helps you get better. I think I did."

It's hard to imagine that Stevens could get much better. He was easily the top player on hand at Saturday's camp, dominating in the one-on-one battles, looking great in the SPARQ drills and displaying his versatility in the position work.

But Stevens was especially active in the one-on-one battles where he didn't lose a battle. He lined up at guard, tackle, and he even worked on defense some, where he easily defeated a helpless would-be blocker. He said some schools have talked to him about playing offense and some have talked to him about defense in college.

He's open to either.

Stevens didn't lose a one-on-one battle on Saturday.
"I like every position," Stevens said.

"I'm not just an offensive lineman. I can go defense. I got the underclassmen all-state award on defense. I like offense, too.

"Where I end up depends on what college I pick. Oregon wants me to play defense. UCLA wants me to play offense. Most of the schools like me on offense. If I want to play defense I'll pick one school, and if I want to play offense, I'll pick that school. I'm probably leaning more toward offense. I think I have a better chance at doing better on offense. I went out there today and the one-on-ones were fantastic. I was getting guys on the ground and just had a great time out there."

He's also having a great time with the recruiting process. With offers from nine of the 10 teams in the Pac 10 and other schools like BYU and Colorado involved, Stevens has really enjoyed getting to know the schools and coaches recruiting him.

"The relationships I've built with the coaches have been amazing," Stevens said. "They just call you up and they act like they're your best friend. Maybe they really are your best friend. They give you a call and they say 'how was school today' or say whatever. They call you up and it feels like you're talking with one of your buds.

"Michael Gray here at Oregon is a great example. I'll call him up, and he'll bust out some jokes and we always have some good laughs. It's not all about football, sometimes it's 'how are things going' instead of 'come to my school' and always talking about football."

Stevens isn't sure when he expects to make a final decision. Instead of having a hard-fast deadline, Stevens says he'll just know when he's ready.

"If I get to a school, if I feel like I'm welcome, and that's the school that I need to be, then I'll commit," Stevens said. "But I don't have a certain time that I have to commit. It might be before the season. It might be after the season. When I get that feeling that this is the spot I need to be at, then that's who it's going to be.

"I might be going to USC's Rising Senior Camp. USC is the one school in the Pac 10 that's offered. They've told me if I come to that camp and do just like what I did right here today, then I would be able to get an offer. It wouldn't be like 'USC offered me, I'm going to commit right there.' I'm going to step back and look at all of my offers, and make the best decision for me."

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